Why did the Democrats -- whose House gain currently stands at 18 seats, with some still uncalled -- somewhat underperform Congress-watchers' expectations of a 25 to 35 seat pickup last night? The basic answer is that, downticket, yesterday simply wasn't as big a "change" election as anticipated. Take Alaska, which didn't even see fit to trade in two of the most loathed Capitol Hill denizens in decades!
And this could change, but Michele "McCarthy" Bachmann is ahead in her race. --Eve Fairbanks
Electoral guru Stu Rothenberg has offered up his final House prediction: Democrats could capture Republican seats numbering "quite possibly well into the 30s." The drama here has been overshadowed by the presidential race, but that's just as big a Democratic congressional wave as we saw in 2006, when 31 seats switched. Anti-Bush fervor and excitement over Obama helped fuel this -- knock on wood -- tremendous wave, but so did adaptibility.
Lawsuits! Shady associates! Dirty money! It's very hard to keep track of what the hell's been going on in these final days of the Norm Coleman-Al Franken showdown in Minnesota, so here's a little cheat sheet for you to keep track. Rentgate: This was the first of Coleman's several election-season scandals.
Trent Lott urges the GOP to quit its mere fooling around with Joe Lieberman and pop the question: Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) says Senate Republicans should pull out the stops to persuade Sen.
Salon identifies nine GOP congressional districts where dramatically increased African-American turnout may well hand the seat to a Democrat. Seven of them are below the Mason-Dixon line. --Eve Fairbanks
Louisiana Representative Bill Jefferson, a study in arrogance: With just eight days to go in the Democratic Party runoff for the 2nd Congressional District, the embattled but increasingly confident incumbent, William Jefferson, seems committed to a stay-away strategy, limiting contact with the news media and largely ignoring his opponent, former television news anchor Helena Moreno. ... Asked to distinguish himself from his challenger, Jefferson, who is seeking a 10th term, was dismissive. "Well, it's quite obvious," he said with a laugh.
Invaluable reader CB flags a doozy in the annals of GOP congressional candidates doing increasingly desperate things to muscle ahead: California Republican candidate Zane Starkewolf's robocall tying his Democratic opponent to George Bush -- sexily. Take a listen; it's worth it. Like the fellow at the top of the Republican ticket, Starkewolf seems uncertain of which tack to take: back off of his outlandish stunt, or double down on it?
What's with the National Republican Senatorial Committee's bizarre effort to cast Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken as a sex offender? It would seem that there's plenty of stuff on Franken out there -- he screwed up his taxes, his mean humor means he wouldn't be able to be bipartisan, etc -- that at least has some tenuous relationship to his actual record or persona. But no, "Al Franken Wants To Molest You" is the line of criticism the NRSC has selected.
It takes terrible luck or astonishing talent for a congressional Democrat to be endangered this year. Still, there are a half-dozen Democrats who really could lose their seats a week from tomorrow. On the bad-luck end, there's Nick Lampson, the Texan who replaced Tom DeLay in 2006 and who'll probably get bumped out again thanks to the district's deep-rooted conservatism. There's Louisiana's Don Cazayoux, a conservative Democrat who won a special election only to see another Democrat enter the November race as an independent spoiler.