On Election Night, What You Might Have Missed

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Some elections, President Obama said today, are "exhilarating." Others are "humbling."  Last night's was chalk full of news -- so much news that you might have missed some of it.


** The Three Iowa judges who ruled that same-sex marriage was legal were all roundly defeated, thanks to a blizzard of ads and heavily conservative turnout.  But every vulnerable Democratic member of Congress was re-elected, thanks to a stellar, caucus-honed Democratic ground game.  Once again, Iowa is an exception.  Note bene: Gov. Tim Pawlenty, not leaving much to the imagination, got out of the gate with a statement praising Iowa votes for removing "judges who were making laws, rather than interpreting them. They broadcast to Iowa and to the nation the clear and strong reminder that the Constitution says 'We the people' not 'We the judges'. The people of Iowa defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and activist judges wrongly attempted to undermine that."

** The Tea Party was a stronger force on the coasts than in the interior of the country. And of the 123 candidates backed by the Tea Party, most didn't win.  That said, there's no question that the movement brought Republicans back from the dead. 

** For all this talk about a Democratic renaissance in Texas, it's going to be quite a legislative feast for Republicans. They now have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.  The same goes for Florida.

** Several Democrats who should have lost their races did not. These include Gary Peters.  But voting no on health care didn't save a majority of Democrats: 20 of them were defeated. 

** At least 20 of the Democratic seats that President Obama won in 2008 are now held by Republicans.

** According to the Cook Political Report's David Wasserman, House Dems lost only about 25% of their caucus depending on final returns, but lost an estimated 60.07% percent of their previous land area. Yes, Democratic districts tend to be concentrated in and around cities -- but this statistic shows how Republicans won back the countryside.

** Republicans picked up more state legislative seats this year than any party has done since 1974. 16 state legislative chambers flipped from R to D.

** Californians and Floridians approved non-partisan redistricting measures. Colorado voted to opt IN to Obama's health care plan and by two thirds, voted against an anti-abortion measure. 

** The prospect of green energy lives in California; Proposition 23, which would have compromised the environmental legacy of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was defeated.


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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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