Ed Kilgore

This is your comprehensive hour-by-hour guide to Election Night 2010. It will help you follow all of the bellwether indicators throughout the day and interpret the returns. So what are you waiting for? Print it out and keep it close during every minute of the agonizing countdown.   What to Look for Early on Election Day: There will be lots of anecdotal reports during the early hours of voting about turnout and the expectations* of both parties and many candidates. It’s colorful, but don’t believe any of it.

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The inevitable loss-induced "struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party" has already begun. In a New York Times op-ed, The Nation’s Ari Berman has written that liberals should “Boot the Blue Dogs,” suggesting a smaller but more ideologically homogeneous Democratic congressional caucus would be happier, more effective, and more progressive. I disagree with Berman's argument on substantive grounds—particularly the CliffsNotes version that the Times’ word limit imposed on him—but in addition, isn't this a really weird time to be talking about a purge of Democratic moderates?

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Fired Up?

California's ballot-initiative system has a way of touching off culture wars that dwarf the buzz surrounding mere state and congressional elections. (Think of Proposition 8 or Proposition 187.) But even by California standards, this year’s Proposition 19 is becoming something of a legend. In case you haven’t heard, Proposition 19 would legalize the possession and cultivation of small quantities of marijuana, while enabling the state and/or local governments (in theory, at least) to license and tax larger commercial pot-growing enterprises.

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As Election Day approaches, national pundits are naturally focused on certain highly competitive marquee contests. And when observers need some comic relief from the tension of the campaign trail, there’s always Christine O’Donnell to supply fresh material. But there are a significant number of “sleeper” races around the country that haven’t attracted much national attention, even as they rivet the locals. And one of the most surprising is down in South Carolina, where the once-legendary Nikki Haley’s cakewalk to the governorship is stumbling a bit. Remember Haley?

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Meg Whitman = Arnold

With all the talk about nasty or misleading political ads this year, it’s rare to focus on really good, really effective ads. But California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown has come up with one that is very effective without being nasty. It features a long series of alternating video clips of current Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican nominee Meg Whitman uttering banal outsider-business-executive talking points in identical or near-identical terms. This approach is effective on three levels.

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With just two weeks left until Election Day, and early voting well under way in many states, we’ve reached that point where partisans are getting sweaty palms and looking for any kind of evidence of a late trend in their direction. In this respect, today has been a good day for Democrats. New polls show alleged dead heats in two Senate races (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) where most observers were all but assuming Republican victories as a near-certainty.

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With just two weeks left until Election Day, and early voting well under way in many states, we’ve reached that point where partisans are getting sweaty palms and looking for any kind of evidence of a late trend in their direction. In this respect, today has been a good day for Democrats. New polls show alleged dead heats in two Senate races (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) where most observers were all but assuming Republican victories as a near-certainty.

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Colorado's election keeps defying expectations. At first, it seemed that Republicans would make a clean sweep: In a rightward-leaning year, the state has an open gubernatorial seat, an appointed Democratic senator who barely survived a primary challenge, and three vulnerable Democratic House seats all in play.

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With some help from the media, various officials at the National Organization for Women, and her opponent’s clumsiness, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman succeeded in turning an offensive epithet uttered in private by a Jerry Brown staffer into a major campaign brouhaha.

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Having just watched the long-awaited, one-time-only debate between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican nominee Sharron Angle, I have to say I can’t imagine too many voters were swayed one way or another by what they saw, though the post-debate spin could change things. The debate format was unusual, to say the least: Every question was essentially a viewer-suggested attack line offered up by the moderator to one candidate or another; indeed, he articulated them with visible emotion, alternatively identifying with angry Tea Partiers or angry progressives. Reinforcing the sense of K

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