What Does It Mean?

No two ways about it – a big, big night for the GOP. We won’t know the outcome in Louisiana until December. But it’s now looking likely that the GOP will end up with a 54 – 46 seat majority in the next Congress. We still haven’t heard from Alaska. And we can’t totally count Landrieu out. But this is close to a maximal win for the Republicans.

It now seems clear that Warner will hold on in Virginia – which of course wasn’t even supposed to be remotely close. The big surprise for me tonight is Hagan – the polls, the quality of the race she ran, it really seemed to me that she was going to win. Hagan going down is about what should have been a winning campaign simply not being strong enough to overcome the national tide. Sen. Roberts’ win is basically the reverse of that.

To me, in evaluating the significance of the night’s results, the governors’ races are the bigger tell than the senate seats. The truth is that the Democrats were fighting for the Senate on a merciless, largely red-state terrain. They had some key retirements on top of that.

The governors’ races are quite a different matter.

Scott Walker wins – three election victories in four years, an undeniable credential for national office. Sam Brownback holds on in Kansas, a state which he’s basically run straight into the ground and torn apart the state GOP. That can only be explained by a tide bringing him over. Illinois, Florida, Connecticut (possible), Colorado (possible), Maryland. These results aren’t about terrain or candidates. They’re about the national political climate.

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