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Sen. Harry Reid took the stage at his raucous victory party to thank his wife, his family and all his supporters for not giving up on him. He said his victory represented a repudiation of black-and-white ideology -- presumably represented by his opponent Sharron Angle "It's not about us versus them," he said. "It's about every Nevadan working together."

But Reid acknowledged that his victory wasn't the end of his fighting days.

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In his concession speech tonight, failed New York Governor candidate Carl Paladino resorted to his old "take a baseball bat to Albany" metaphor, by whipping out a baseball bat and saying he has a message for Democrat Andrew Cuomo: "As our Governor, you can grab this handle and bring the people with you to Albany. Or you can leave it untouched, and run the risk of having it wielded against you. Because make no mistake, you have not heard the last of Carl Paladino."

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Jon Stewart was covering the election live tonight, and he was a little surprised that Republican Sen. David Vitter "has absolutely destroyed his challenger by going out with hookers. So really what is the message we're sending America tonight? It is better, I think, to go see prostitutes than in fact to believe Social Security is a right."

Stewart was also happy for New York Governor candidate Carl Paladino: "Carl Paladino's campaign to not be elected governor has succeeded. Andrew Cuomo is the victor. Paladino, of course, tried very hard not to be Governor. He must be feeling very pleased tonight."

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With 51 Senate seats, Democrats have retained their majority in the United States Senate, setting the stage for a divided Congress that will likely define the next two years of American politics.

As it stands now, Republicans have 46 seats in the Senate, and Democrats have 51. Senate races in Colorado, Washington and Alaska are still up in the air. The new Senate breakdown is at least 49 Democrats, 46 Republicans and 2 Independents who caucus with the Dems.

The new Senate, when sworn in January, will be missing some big names observers have been used to hearing, including Arlen Specter (D-PA), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Jim Bunning (R-KY), all of whom either retired or were defeated by primary opponents.

In the end, Democrats lost President Obama's old Senate seat but kept Vice President Biden's. Losing Senators like Russ Feingold (WI) and Blanche Lincoln (AR) will change the dynamics for the party caucus quite a bit. But Democrats can hang their hats on caucus leader Harry Reid's win in his home state of Nevada, a race that no one thought he had locked up.

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In most election years, the fact that Harry Reid beat a far right political naif like Sharron Angle wouldn't be big news. But this year its among the biggest and happiest for Democrats all night.

With both MSNBC and Fox calling the race in Reid's favor by shortly after 12:30 a.m. ET, Reid was beating Angle 51 percent to 44 percent with less than half the precincts reporting and the results trending in his favor.

Reid was not supposed to win this election. His approval ratings are terrible in Nevada, where unemployment and foreclosure rates are among the highest in the country. And as the face of the Senate Democrats, his constituents rightly hold him accountable for unpopular Democratic policies that have been unable to prevent economic depression in his state.

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Democrats are closing up shop, both at DNC headquarters and at their party ("party") at the Liaison hotel. No dog and pony show. No speeches.

That difficult task will be left to President Obama, who will speak from the White House tomorrow morning.

Numerous Democrats who worked on this campaign have described the night -- particularly from the point of view of House races -- as a bloodbath. There's no way to spin that at an election night party. So they're not going to try.

NRCC ELECTIONS HQ -- The next Speaker of the House is one emotional dude. As he celebrated the end of Democratic rule in the lower house of Congress with several hundred friends here in downtown Washington, John Boehner broke down and cried while the crowd chanted "USA! USA!"

"I've spent my life trying to chase the American dream," Boehner said, his voice cracking. He went on to espouse the virtues of capitalism and small business ownership in the way that you'd expect from the man who just led the Republican Party back from the political wilderness. Except with more tears.

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Republican Rep. Mark Kirk was won the Illinois Senate race over Alexi Giannoulias, and snatched President Obama's old seat away from the Democrats.

With 10,838 of 11,209 precincts reporting, Kirk leads Giannoulias 49.56%-47.15%. The AP and MSNBC have called the race for Kirk.

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Well this was a bizarre interview:

Chris Matthews talked to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on MSNBC tonight, and got a bit frustrated when she wouldn't answer his questions: "Congresswoman Bachmann -- are you hypnotized tonight? Has someone hypnotized you? Because no matter what I ask you, you give the same answer. Are you hypnotized, has someone put you under a trance tonight?

Bachmann replied: "I think the American people are the ones that finally are speaking tonight. We're coming out of our trance, really we're coming out of our nightmare. I think that people are thrilled tonight. I imagine that thrill is probably not quite so tingly on your leg anymore."

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Pennsylvania voters chose Republican Pat Toomey to take over the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Arlen Specter (D) tonight.

This is a storyline that was supposed to play out for Toomey six years ago, when the conservative former Congressman challenged the moderate Specter in the 2004 GOP primary and lost.

A lot has changed in those six years, most of it tipping the balance of things in Toomey's direction. His fringy conservative fiscal politics -- Toomey is a former head of the Club For Growth -- have become GOP mantra with the rise of the tea party, and the shift rightward for his party forced Specter to change parties and become a Democrat. Specter's story ended, of course, with a successful primary challenge from the left mounted by Rep. Joe Sestak, the man Toomey defeated tonight.

Toomey now heads into a Senate caucus seemingly read to adopt his hardcore conservative fiscal views and equally right-leaning social policy agenda. Like Toomey, many of the incoming class of freshman Republican Senators have flirted with the idea of privatizing Social Security, and suggested the best way to reform the nation's health care problems is to undo all the reforming the last Congress just got done with.

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