The votes rolled in pretty fast from AL-1, and Bradley Byrne beat Dean Young by a five-point margin, with the robust turnout generated by Young’s wild rhetoric probably making the difference.

You want a dissenting voice from the “moderate beats Tea Party” hype we will soon here from pundits remote from Alabama? Here’s Alabama reporter John Sharp talking to the victor:

The election which generated national media coverage in recent weeks became a contest of labels: Byrne as the “establishment” Republican supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against Young, the “Tea Party conservative” favorite who had the backing of popular Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore.

But Byrne said he felt the characterizations of the two was not accurate.

“Every time they interview me, I would say they got it wrong,” Byrne said. “This is about, in the minds of the voters of this congressional district, who is the most effective person to represent us in Washington. That’s why the vote total is the way it is. They want (someone who will be) the most effective.”

Strategy and tactics, folks, not ideology; that’s what separates these two candidates and most of the Republicans fighting each other these days.

Meanwhile, in VA, the Attorney General’s contest between Democrat Mark Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain will come down to absentee ballots and probably a recount. At the moment WaPo has Obenshain leading by 928 votes with 99.65% of precincts in.

And out in Washington State, official returns show Republican Janet Angel narrowly defeating Democratic incumbent Nathan Schlicher in a key state senate special election that some observers consider a national bellwether.

We’ll have a more considered analysis of all these returns tomorrow morning.

As for the apparent unwillingness of scattered voters around the country to give us some sort of clear political signal, Joe Jackson responds: “You Can’t Get What You Want (Til You Know What You Want).”


Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.