Election Roundup: Stunners, Snoozers & "You Lie" Guy


Your daily dose of news and tidbits from the world of money in politics: REPUBLICAN WAVE SWEEPS LOWER CHAMBER: Just two years after Democrats captured the White House and both chambers of Congress, a resurgent Republican Party struck back in yesterday's midterm elections. The GOP captured at least 60 seats in the House of Representatives, according to The New York Times -- far beyond the margin they needed to recapture the House of Representatives. And while Democrats held control of the Senate, Republicans now hold a total of 46 seats in the Upper Chamber.

And so, for your election round-up pleasure, here is a brief 2010 midterm election summary: some of what mattered, some of what didn't and most of what we've yet to find out.


-- THE TEA PARTY: The House of Representatives was the big prize of the evening, and the Tea Party seems to be holding the trophy this morning. According to The New York Times, 39 Tea Party party candidates will be inaugurated into the House of Representatives come February. 

-- HARRY REID: Despite flipping a total of at least six senate seats from blue to red Tuesday (two seats are still being counted), the GOP still failed to claim the Upper Chamber. And nobody is happier, or more emblematic, about the Democrats' ability to hold the line than still-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who won his race last night against Republican Sharron Angle by a surprisingly wide margin, and helped his party hold power in the Senate. Tight polling and Reid's high profile still made this race a monster when it comes to money, however: Reid and Angle had raised a combined total of $44.1 million by mid-October, the third-most of the election cycle. Outside groups also poured money into the race as they tried to sway the outcome, spending nearly $18.2 million. More than $10 million of that pot benefited Angle.

-- JOE WILSON: The Republican Congressman from South Carolina's 2nd District -- perhaps best known for shouting "You lie!" during President Obama's joint session on health care reform -- won his sixth term in office Tuesday. But he had to outrun a surprisingly strong Democratic opponent in Rob Miller. Both Wilson and Miller ended up raising millions of dollars by fund-raising off of Wilson's outburst. By mid-October, Wilson had hauled in about $4.6 million to Miller's about $2.9 million. Both relied heavily -- more than 90 percent -- on individual donors. The candidates combined had raised about $7.5 million, making it one of the most expensive House races of the cycle.

-- ALAN GRAYSON: Like Joe Wilson, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) has made a name for himself based on his boisterous brand of politics. And like his conservative counterpart, he also worked hard to sell that aspect of his personality: Grayson had raised about $5.1 million by mid-October, much of it from individuals that celebrated Grayson as a liberal firebrand. Grayson, however, was not as successful at the ballot box, falling to his opponent Republican Daniel Webster. Grayson at one point late in the race labeled Webster "Taliban Dan" in a much-ballyhooed advertisement.

-- BLUE DOGS: The fiscally conservative Democratic caucus that recently helped turn both chambers of Congress blue was decimated in this year's election, losing 28 members in the House of Representatives -- more than half their coalition in that chamber. Members such as Rep. Glenn Nye (Virginia) and Rep. Frank Kratovil (Maryland) were in tight fund-raising races with their Republican opponents heading into the final stretch, as OpenSecrets Blogearlier reported. Like many of their colleagues, they lost their seats last night.


-- REP. CHARLIE RANGEL: The troubled New York Democrat, whose recent ethics charges have dogged his long-running career, still won re-election by 85 percent of the vote. Rangel spent a total of $3.9 million on his re-election bid: out-spending his opponent nearly 27:1.

-- REP. JOHN BOEHNER: heretofore to be known as the presumptive speaker-elect of the House of the Representatives, easily won re-election early in the night with 66 percent of the vote. Nobody expected this to be a close race of course -- even though Boehner had raised about $8.2 million for his campaign by mid-October. Much of that money was distributed to other Republican colleagues, in pursuit of the crown jewel: the House of Representatives.


-- A swath of races in the House of Representatives, as well as several Senate races, all of which have yet to be called.

-- Twelve House races are still yet-to-be-decided, according to the New York Times. Of those races, Kentucky's 6th District is particularly close, with only about 600 votes separating Democratic incumbent Rep. Ben Chandler and his challenger, Republican Andy Barr. Barr currently trails in the tally, but the race may be headed to a recount.

-- Three senate seats are still being decided, as well: 

Alaska, where a three-way battle was fought between Republican-turned-independent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent, Tea Party-backed Republican candidate Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams;  
Washington state, where Democrat Patty Murray is trying to hold off Republican businessman Dino Rossi to keep her seat;

Colorado, where another Tea Party-backed candidate is trying to overtake Democrat Michael Bennet, who was appointed to the state's senate seat by President Obama in 2008. Alaska and Washington could both take weeks to decide, given the complicated ballot schemes involved in each race. The Denver Post, however, has already put Colorado into the Bennet column. No other sources have yet to confirm that outcome, however.


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