The voting is over but results continue to trickle in and reactions to yesterday's historic midterm elections are coming in fast and furious.
We'll be updating this blog throughout the day Wednesday as party leaders, politicos, and analysts react to the election results.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray has won her re-election bid against Republican challenger Dino Rossi, according to the Seattle Times.
Democrat Pat Quinn has been declared the winner of Illinois' gubernatorial election, according to the AP.
The Seattle Times reports that Sen. Patty Murray's lead over Republican opponent Dino Rossi "is looking increasingly difficult for Rossi to overcome." Still, there are hundreds of thousands of ballots that still must be counted.
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray has expanded her lead over GOP challenger Dino Rossi in Washington, the Seattle Times reports. According to the web site Murray now has 50.8% of the vote.
Democrat John Kitzhaber has been projected to be the next governor of Oregon.
Republican Dino Rossi may be poised to take the lead in Washington's close Senate race. According to the Seattle Times:
Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's campaign is preparing supporters for a possible tightening of her race against Republican Dino Rossi as more ballots are counted today.
Murray's deputy campaign manager, Alex Glass, said she won't be shocked if Murray falls slightly behind Rossi this afternoon. That's because King County is only expected to count 45,000 ballots, which may be dwarfed by new totals from other counties. (Spokane County alone will count 30,000.)
Former Providence, Rhode Island Mayor David Cicilline will become the second openly gay and Jewish member of congress, according to Israeli news web site Ynet.com. Cicilline, a Democrat, won the race for Rhode Island's 1st District House seat on Tuesday.
Rep. Barney Frank is the House's other openly gay and Jewish legislator.
There are four openly gay members of Congress.
Fox News' Shep Smith asked newly-elected New Jersey Republican John Runyan to explain what spending cuts he would make on Wednesday. The former NFL player and tea party favorite replied to Smith with a vague answer that prompted the host to push for more specific answers.WATCH:
While Smith is incorrect about Social Security (it's solvent through 2037), his line of questioning is logical.
If the Tea Party is disgusted by spending, what programs do newly elected officials intend to cut?
...this was most decidedly not a historic year for women. In fact, it's the first time in 30 years that Americans have seen a net loss in the total number of women in political office. As Lawless explains, Democratic women lost a lot of seats, and Republican women—despite all the hype —did not gain enough seats to make up the difference. Hence, we have backslid in the year of the woman.
A common refrain since Tuesday's elections is that Tea Party candidates may have cost Republicans multiple Senate seats. Many believe that if the GOP had nominated more mainstream candidates than Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado, the party could have easily won those three races. One person who does not feel that way is Texas Sen. John Cornyn. "I don't think it really made that much of a difference," the National Republican Senatorial Committee said on a conference call.
Video from Nevada's Senate campaign parties last night:
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who headed up the Senate GOP's campaign efforts this cycle, acknowledges the diminishing chances that Ken Buck will capture Colorado's Senate seat for the Republicans. ""I will concede Colorado looks increasingly difficult for us," he says.
A retired Army lieutenant colonel who once faced the possibility of a court-martial over his supervision of an abusive interrogation of an Iraqi detainee has won his bid for U.S. House seat in Florida's 22nd District.
Republican and Tea Party favorite Allen West defeated Democratic incumbent Ron Klein on Tuesday.
West won despite making controversial statements in which he compared Islam to Naziism and contended that terrorists are infiltrating the American military. In addition to West's comments, NBC News tied the disgraced veteran to a criminal gang of bikers.
VetVoice suggested that West could start a new caucus, the War Criminals Caucus, and posted explosive details of the 2003 interrogation that prompted the military to fine West and ultimately force him out.
West supervised soldiers as they beat an Iraqi police officer whom they believed had information of a future attack. West fired a gun next to the police officer's head. Eventually, West would admit that it was possible he was "wrong" about the detained cop, Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi.From The New York Times:
Arriving at the interrogation room, West approached Hamoodi, took out his gun, and chambered a round. He placed it in his lap with the gun barrel facing Hamoodi. "I had drawn out my pistol as a means of conveying a threat to him for the seriousness of wanting the information," West told investigators.
Hamoodi said that after West's arrival, "a soldier pulled his shirt over his head, and numerous others began to punch him in the chest." The beating bruised his ribs, said Hamoodi, but those bruises had healed in the month that passed before he met with investigators.
Said West: "Yes, there had been sporadic body punches and shoving to the individual, which I witnessed but did not allow to get too brutal."
Hamoodi still didn't give West or the soldiers the information they wanted, either because he wasn't part of the assassination plot or because he was being an uncooperative witness.
West ordered Hamoodi out of the interrogation room and took him outside the facility, where Hamoodi says West pointed to six soldiers who were standing in line with their weapons in hand. Through the Egyptian translator, West told Hamoodi: "If you don't talk, they will kill you."
When that didn't work, West admitted to pushing Hamoodi's head into a clearing barrel full of sand, which is typically used for clearing weapons. West then put his gun into the same barrel, near Hamoodi's head and fired.
"In my anger I do not know if I fired two shots in to the barrel or one into the air and another into the barrel," said West in his sworn statement.
In early September, the New Times Broward-Palm Beach reported that West's Wikipedia entry had been scrubbed of unflattering details relating to the interrogation.
West retired from the military in 2004 with full benefits.
Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, GOP Calif. Senate candidate, concedes, offers congratulations to incumbent Barbara Boxer, the AP reports.
Check it out here. AP has Bennet up 7,500 votes out of 1.4m.
Via @SwingState: Of the 9 freshman Democrats elected this year, just two are straight white males.
President Barack Obama said Wednesday that voters frustrated by the pace of economic recovery dictated a Republican takeover of the House in midterm elections, adding, "As president I take responsibility" for a failure to restore job growth more quickly.
The president said he was eager to sit down with the leaders of both political parties "and figure out how we can move forward together."
"It won't be easy," he said, noting the two parties differ profoundly in some key areas.
He spoke at a White House news conference on the day after Republicans captured control of the House and cut deeply into the Democratic majority in the Senate.
"No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here," he said, a clear warning to Republicans that he won't simply bow to their demands for a sharply conservative switch in economic policy.
With his comments, Obama largely followed the lead of Republican leaders who said earlier in the day they were willing to compromise - within limits.
With unemployment at 9.6 percent, both the president and the Republicans will be under pressure to compromise. Yet neither must lose faith with core supporters - the Republicans with the tea party activists who helped them win power, Obama with the voters whose support he will need in 2012.
The president said the economy had begun a recovery since he took office but Americans became wary when they saw government bailouts of failing banks and two of the Big Three U.S. automakers.
"I think people started looking at all this, and it felt as if government was getting much more intrusive into people's lives than they were accustomed to," he conceded.
Many Republicans campaigned by calling for repeal of the health care legislation Obama won from Congress, but the president said repeal was a nonstarter.
"If Republicans have some ideas" for cutting costs of health care or making other changes in the bill, he said he would be glad to take a look.
"There are going to be some examples of where we can tweak and make progress," he said. "But I don't think if you ask the American people, `should we stop trying to close the donut hole that helps seniors get prescription drugs, should we go back to where people with pre-existing conditions can't get health insurance' ... I don't think you'd have a strong vote from people saying, `Those are provisions I want to eliminate.'"
- Associated Press
"We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn't change how things got done."
BigGovernment says it has confirmed the rumors:
Big Government has now learned that Rep. Michele Bachmann, one of the first GOP office-holders to recognize the importance of the tea party uprising, will enter the race for GOP Conference Chair.
The number 4 position in House Leadership, the Conference Chair is well-positioned to inject grass-roots energy into the majority caucus. It is energy the DC GOP establishment desperately needs. Without it, last night’s historic win will be only a blip on the political landscape.
Senate races in three states and a handful of gubernatorial races remained extraordinarily close Wednesday and seemed destined for contested vote counts that could drag on for weeks.
The tight votes signaled how closely divided American voters are in an election that produced a split Congress, with Republicans taking control of the House and Democrats maintaining power in the Senate.
The candidates in the Washington state and Colorado Senate races were separated by a few thousand votes after campaigns that attracted tens of millions of dollars in spending. The Republican nominee in the Alaska Senate race was already gearing up for a legal fight and sending lawyers to the state.
Several gubernatorial races were in similar territory, including Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois and Connecticut.
It could take weeks before a winner is named in Alaska's Senate race because of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in candidacy.
More details here.
- Associated Press
One of the powerhouse Democratic advocacy releases a long, probing statement on last night's election results. Full text below:
Last night was devastating, no question. Our members spent months working tirelessly for our progressive heroes and to help Democrats keep the House--and the results are far from what we wanted.
We are glad our progressive hero, Barbara Boxer, will be returning to Congress, but we're deeply saddened at the losses of Russ Feingold, Tom Perriello, and Alan Grayson—all of whom have fought hard for progressive principles and the American middle class. These folks ran proudly on their records, but in the end, as Democratic incumbents, the combination of voter discontent and corporate cash was just too much for them to overcome.
We have seen significant accomplishments over the last two years —more children have health care, more Americans are protected from predatory practices on Wall Street, and more students can afford to go to college. But Republicans and corporate front groups like the Chamber of Commerce, aided by FOX News, systematically misled the American people about the nature of those gains.
And then voters, desperate for a majority that would fight for the middle class instead saw lobbyists successfully protect Wall Street bonuses, strip the public option out of the healthcare bill, protect the insurance companies’ antitrust exemption, kill “cram-down” legislation that could have helped homeowners, and mire the energy bill in gridlock. And whether they were motivated by self-interest, a genuine belief in their ability to strike a compromise, political calculation, or fear, far too many Democrats were willing to go along.
Democrats who decided to play ball with corporate interests found themselves friendless: not only did voters turn their backs on them, but so did the industries they sought to mollify. From Glenn Nye to Blanche Lincoln, play-it-safe Democrats have been sent packing. Corporate interests and oil billionaires poured unprecedented cash into political attack ads hitting not only front line Democrats, but turning previously safe seats into bitter fights for survival. This means we now have a Republican majority in the House of Representatives that owes its majority to big corporations and a small handful of wealthy donors. And, it suggests that claiming to support Democratic principles while quietly pandering to corporate interests is no longer a winning political strategy.
Our country still faces many challenges as we try to recover from the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. Last night’s election was not a mandate for the Republican vision of America, which is built around tax cuts for the super-wealthy and privatizing Social Security and Medicare. Instead, last night we saw an anxious and frustrated electorate rejecting the status quo in the only way possible: by voting out those in power. And we saw their frustration effectively exploited by corporate front groups whose sole interest is promoting their own political agenda.
The problems our nation faces are not small, and neither are the solutions we need. Democrats do not hand over the reins of power today. They still have time to accomplish big things to help move our country forward before the Republicans takes control of the House. Now is not a time to cower. Now is a time for Democrats to show that they are truly committed to fighting on behalf of the middle class. Before turning over the gavel, Democrats must end the Bush tax breaks for the super-wealthy, and pass legislation to stem the flood of cash from corporations and anonymous billionaires that is corrupting our elections. If Democrats abandon their responsibilities and leave town without accomplishing these goals, they will not have learned the real lessons of this election.
Our members worked for change in 2004, in 2006, in 2008. Our members will now work to hold this new Congress accountable, and are more determined than ever to work again for change in 2012.