2010 Election Wrap-up

Well now that the dust has settled a little I thought I’d wade in with my thoughts on the outcome of Tuesday’s election. First overall it was good night for Republicans, they picked up 60 seats in the House of Representatives, 6 in the Senate, 6 Governorships and dozens of seats in state legislatures all over the country.

A few quick comments…

First, 5-6 to seats in the Senate where all we could realistically hope for. Anyone predicting Republicans would pick-up 10 seats and gain control of the Senate was deluding themselves.

Second, even in a wave election candidates and campaigns matter. Republicans lost winnable races in Nevada and  Colorado because of flawed candidates or bad campaigns. In Colorado Dan Maes, the Republican candidate for Governor imploded after a series of mini-scandals including revelations he had embellished his resume.

In Nevada, Sharron Angle had every advantage imaginable… She was running against Harry Reid, a wildly unpopular incumbent in a state that leads the nation in unemployment and foreclosures and she lost.

I don’t think Ms. Angel was a bad candidate, I do think she ran a bad campaign. For starters her campaign was slow to transition from the primaries to the general election and she was savaged by Harry Reid for weeks before she responded. Yes, I know she was short of cash after the primaries, but she raised and spent a record amount of money in the general election… It wasn’t a lack of money that lead to her loss — ultimately I think it was the combination the pounding she took from Sen. Reid and his allies coupled with one to many seemingly small gaffes and her unwillingness to engage the media.

I can’t overemphasize that last point… The media may be a bunch jackals, but whenever a candidate refuses to engage and answer question it leaves voters thinking they have something to hide. Whether they want to or not candidates have to engage with reporters. When they don’t voters get suspicious.

Lastly, I agree with Haley Barbour, it’s time for new leadership at the RNC. Whatever Michael Steele’s strengths the RNC was wholly ineffective in this election cycle and for that reason alone the committee needs to choose a new chairman when Mr. Steele’s term is up.

Anyway, a few interesting election tidbits… In Iowa voters fired three Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage. Color me unsurprised, I’m agnostic on the issue of gay marriage… I think it’s an inevitability. That said, the decision to legalize  gay marriage should be made by state legislatures not the courts. If the courts are continue insert themselves into the debate and usurp what should be a legislative decision there’s going to continue to be a backlash, including calls for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

In Oklahoma voters approved a measure that would bar judges from using international law or Islamic law when deciding case. Liberals are of course incensed and threatening to sue.

Voters in Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah all approved ballot measures that would amend their state constitutions to better protect the secret ballot in organizing elections. Call it a shot across the bow of unions who are pushing for a “card check” check law that would do away with secret ballots in union organizing elections. For the most part Americans don’t like idea the government to taking away a workers’ right to a secret ballot and they certainly don’t like the idea of workers to be pressured into joining a union.

Voters in Florida Overwhelmingly approved a nonbinding resolution calling for an amendment to the Constitution that would require the federal government to balance the budget without raising taxes. This got 3.5 million votes so it can’t be dismissed  as some obscure nonbinding resolution people paid no attention to… It really is the spending, stupid.

Last but not least, according to net neutrality opponent Scott Cleland all 95 Democrats who signed the Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s net neutrality pledge lost their reelection bids. I’m not sure what to read into that other than Tuesday was really bad day for Democrats. Regardless, I have to wonder when so called “net neutrality” supporters will get it through their heads that too much government regulation is the problem?

Edit: It occurs to me  I should mention the biggest winner of the night was Sarah Palin… Ms. Palin endorsed 43 House candidates and 12 Senate candidates in this election cycle. Of the candidates she endorsed, 30 won House seats and 7 won Senate seats. And their were several races still to be decided.

Sure, a couple of her higher profile candidates lost, but at a minimum that’s a 67% average.

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