TPM News

Four candidates who died while campaigning won their elections on Tuesday. Two deceased candidates lost.

In California, state Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D) won re-election with 59% of the vote. Oropeza, who was 53, died two weeks ago from complications of cancer. The local Democrats, however, mailed supporters encouraging them to vote for Oropeza anyway.

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With the 60-odd gains for the House Republicans, let's take a special look at a particular brand of Republicans, whose ranks have potentially been enlarged tonight: The Crazy Caucus, those members of Congress who become especially well known for saying and doing things that are not just very conservative, not just right-wing...but really out there.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet Your New U.S. Senators]

Current folks that we've kept track of have included Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), and Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA). It can be hard, looking at a crop of 60 incoming freshmen, to know exactly who will or won't distinguish themselves in this area. But in particular, four GOP pickups offer a lot of promise.

Other folks could very well pop up in the next two years, but these four bear close watching.

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In an exclusive interview with ABC News this evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi broke silence about the devastating losses her caucus suffered in Tuesday's midterm. Fighting back tears at times, Pelosi called the results "disappointing," but said she's made no decisions about what's next for her.

"I'll have a conversation with my caucus, I'll have a conversation with my family, and pray over it, and decide how to go forward," she said. "Today isn't that day."

Pelosi described the outcome as you'd expect: "a very disappointing result...a tough loss."

In a conversation with President Obama after it was clear the House was lost, the two "expressed pride in the work that we had done," she said, and has "no regrets," about how it all went down.

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The tea party is now officially part of the legitimate political scene. How do we know? After the movement's electoral victories last night, the bickering that goes with political victory has begun. As the various tea party groups try to read the tea leaves from last night, the infighting that marked marked the movement's emergence onto the scene has spilled over into the post-election euphoria.

First, let's take a look at how well the tea party candidates fared last night. Though many of their high-profile Senate nominees -- Sharron Angle in Nevada, Joe Miller in Alaska, Ken Buck in Colorado and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware -- appear to have come up short in the final tally, the tea party has a lot to be proud of. Kentucky's Senator-elect, Rand Paul, is about as tea party as they come and will likely serve as a vocal mouthpiece for the movement in the upper chamber of Congress.

By the numbers, though, the tea party did not do that well. NBC News crunched the data and found that off the dozens and dozens of tea party candidates on ballots last night, about 60% of them lost. Still, with the GOP still running scared from from the tea party, even the 32% of candidates that made it through will be a potent force in the new Republican majority in the House.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today that it is his "goal" to pass the Defense Authorization bill -- and with it, repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- in the Senate's lame-duck session, but warned that it'll be a tough squeeze.

According to The Hill, Reid said today that being able to pass the massive, traditionally must-pass funding bill will depend on Republican cooperation and support.

"The problem we have with the defense authorization bill is that it takes a while to get done," he said. "If we can get some agreement from the Republicans that we can move the bill without a lot of extraneous amendments, I think it's something we could work out. That would be my goal."

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At his post-shellacking press conference this afternoon, President Obama said that he'll sit down with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders before the end of the year to reach a compromise on extending the Bush tax cuts.

"[M]y goal is to sit down with Speaker-elect Boehner and Mitch McConnell and Harry and Nancy sometime in the next few weeks and see where we can move forward in a way that, first of all, does no harm; that extends those tax cuts that are very important for middle-class families; also extends those provisions that are important to encourage businesses to invest, and provide businesses some certainty over the next year or two," Obama said. "And how that negotiation works itself out I think is too early to say. But this is going to be one of my top priorities, and my hope is, is that given we all have an interest in growing the economy and encouraging job growth, that we're not going to play brinksmanship but instead we're going to act responsibly."

A quick primer:

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Conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) -- founder of the Tea Party Caucus -- will make a bid to be part of House leadership next Congress, likely touching off a tough intra-GOP battle for influence over the new majority.

In a message to her supporters on Facebook, Bachmann writes, "I am pleased to announce that I am running for Chairman of the House Republican Conference! Constitutional Conservatives deserve a loud and clear voice in leadership!"

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1||November 2, 2010: Republicans celebrate their takeover of the House of Representatives with a party at National Republican Congressional Committee election headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Above, Republican Governors Association Chair Haley Barbour.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

2||NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX)||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

3||Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

4||||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

5||Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

6. ||RNC Chairman Michael Steele||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

7||||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

8||||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

9||Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

10||Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

11||||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

12||Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

13||Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) with his wife.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

In his press conference this morning, President Obama said he'd be willing to tweak and improve his signature initiatives, particularly health care reform. But in new talking points sent our way, the White House makes clear that Obama will veto any attempt to repeal those accomplishments.

It would be a mistake to spend the next two years re-fighting the political battles of the last two years. The President is proud of the progress we have made for average Americans - from health care reform, to financial reform and reforms to our education system. While he has always made it clear that he is open to ideas from both sides of the aisle to improve these important new laws, he will not accept attempts to repeal or weaken them.

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