8:07 AM PT: MT-Sen: Hell to the yeah! The AP has now called the Montana Senate race for Dem Sen. Jon Tester. An absolutely amazing win, in an exceptionally brutal contest that looked like a tossup to the bitter end—so much so that we didn't even get this call until Wednesday morning. With 85% reporting, Tester has a 49-45 lead over GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg. If that holds, that will actually be way more comfortable that Tester's 2006 squeaker. Nice going, Senator!
8:12 AM PT: I'm still piecing my way through the state legislative picture, but here's an update from the DLCC on Democratic successes on Tuesday night:
Democrats gained majorities in the Colorado House, Maine House and Senate, Minnesota House and Senate, New York Senate, and Oregon House. Democrats made historic gains in the Pennsylvania Senate, New Hampshire Senate, and New Hampshire House.
Despite significant spending to defeat them, Democrats held majorities in the Iowa Senate, Kentucky House, Nevada Senate, New Mexico House and Senate, Oregon Senate, Colorado Senate, and the Washington House and Senate.
8:25 AM PT: FL-18: Down Florida way, Democrat Patrick Murphy looks to have pulled off an upset so enormous it makes me just want to do a happy dance! But despite Murphy's 2,456-vote lead (outside the automatic recount margin of 0.5 percent) with 100% reporting, GOP Rep. Allen West is refusing to concede. Murphy's declared victory, though, and I just can't imagine what the West campaign thinks its next steps will be.
8:28 AM PT: Oh, hah, I guess this is it:
8:37 AM PT: ND-Sen: With 100% of precincts now reporting, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp has 2,814-vote lead over Republican Rick Berg, in what surely has to go down as one of the most amazing holds for Team Blue in recent memory. Berg isn't conceding, and since Heitkamp's margin is less than 1%, he could ask for a recount, but that is a huge gap to make up in the absence of some kind of systemic reporting problem (which there are no reports of). An official canvass will begin on Friday.
8:52 AM PT: NC-07: If Dem Rep. Mike McIntyre survives, it'll truly be miraculous. He's currently clinging to a razor-thin 50.1-49.9 lead over Republican David Rouzer—just 378 votes. Rouzer can ask for a recount since the margin is less than 1%.
9:01 AM PT: NH-St. House: Add one more to the pile? Democrats are declaring that they've retaken the New Hampshire state House, but it's an enormous body and there are still a ton of seats outstanding. Meanwhile, a Democratic state senate candidate who lost by 15 votes says she'll seek a recount, which could potentially swing the balance of power in the upper chamber to the Dems, too.
9:25 AM PT: NY-St. Sen: So a crazy thing happened on Tuesday night: Democrats might—might—have retaken the New York state Senate, even though the GOP had a free hand in drawing the ultimate screw-the-Dems map. (I guess there's only so long you can defy demographics.) Here's the deal: Team Blue held its two vulnerable seats, SD-15 and the open SD-37. Dems also picked up, as expected, SD-55, an open GOP seat. But there appear to be two shocker victories. In SD-41, Democrat Terry Gipson looks to have defeated GOP Sen. Steve Saland, who staved off a primary challenge after voting for gay marriage, but who nevertheless still had to deal with that opponent running on the Conservative Party line. That allowed Gipson to squeak out a 1-point, 44-43 win.
And in the new "63rd" seat (actually SD-46), Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk has a 140-vote lead over Republican Assemblyman George Amedore, in a contest where George Soros's super PAC spent heavily against Amedore. But here's where things get really complicated: In SD-17, the so-called "super Jewish" district, "Democrat" Simcha Felder defeated Republican David Storobin, but Felder is super-cozy with GOP leadership and seems to prefer caucusing with them, though he might just sell out to the highest bidder. Then there's also the "Independent Democratic Conference" (aka the IDC)—a group of four wankerish "independent" Dems who enjoy tormenting their nominal party to gain perks from Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos and may side with him for control of the chamber.
So here's how it all looks, if Tkaczyk hangs on: You have 28 actual Democrats, 4 IDC members, 1 Simcha Felder, and 30 Republicans. If the IDC sticks together, then they'll hold the balance of power and Felder won't matter. Supposedly, the IDC despises the current Dem leadership, so perhaps some kind of deal could be struck to bring them back into the fold. But I think it might be challenging for these four people elected on the Democratic line to side with the GOP when "Democrats" almost certainly have the majority in the chamber. And it could be a while before we see how things shake out, since these kinds of negotiations have tended to drag on in a lengthy and ugly fashion in the past. But what we do know for sure is that the GOP had a very bad night on election night.
9:34 AM PT: CA-36: There are still a bunch of formally uncalled races in California, one of which is CA-36. But according to the SoS, 100% of votes are reporting, and Democrat Raul Ruiz has a wide 51.4-48.6 lead over GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack. Local media is declaring Ruiz the victor. Awesome win.
9:38 AM PT: ME-Sen: Staying true to form, Maine's new senator-elect, independent Angus King, is still refusing to declare whether he'll caucus with the Democrats or the GOP in the Senate. Hey, Angus if you want to join the Republican minority—or hell, execute your cockamamie plan to caucus with no one—that's fine with me.
9:48 AM PT: And it also looks like the Dems have picked up New Hampshire's unusual Executive Council, which has certain veto powers over the governor's actions. (The prior iteration of the EC stymied outgoing Dem Gov. John Lynch more than once.) Dems now have 3 seats versus 2 for the GOP. And here's a rundown of where things stand in the lege as of Wednesday morning:
9:49 AM PT: Check this out:
10:30 AM PT (David Jarman): WA-Gov: If it's the day after Election Day and you're in Washington... that means you're probably still watching the votes being counted. At the end of last night's counting, Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee led GOP AG Rob McKenna 51.3-48.7. There are still 1.3 million votes remaining to be counted, meaning McKenna would need to win 52% of the remaining ballots to pull it out. Since this spread isn't much different from Inslee's margin of victory in the top 2 primary, I wouldn't expect the numbers to change much. Traditionally, the Dem share would increase as King County would take the longest to count -- but King County says that they've streamlined operations this year and they may be reporting at a rate fairly proportionate with the rest of the state, so don't count on the spread increasing.
So, while the nation's longest gubernatorial winning streak apparently continues (the Dems haven't lost a race since 1980), it's also looking like an even longer streak may continue too. In this blue state, a Democrat hasn't won the Secretary of State election since 1960. (As I've explained before, people have gotten entrenched with the idea of electing a moderate, good-government Republican to this job as their token act of ticket-splitting.) Republican Kim Wyman, the Thurston Co. Auditor, is currently defeating Democrat ex-state Sen. Kathleen Drew, 50.3-49.7. Dems are holding all the other statewide offices, though, including Bob Ferguson picking up the open AG position vacated by McKenna.
California Democrats appear to have picked up a supermajority in both houses of the state Legislature Tuesday night, a surprise outcome that gives the party the ability to unilaterally raise taxes and leaves Republicans essentially irrelevant in Sacramento.Now you may have thought that Republicans were already irrelevant in California, but the state labors under a 2/3rds requirement in both legislative chambers to raise taxes, one that leaves the budgeting process a chaotic nightmare. Democrats have hovered just under that mark for a number of years now, but they finally broke through that yesterday, thanks to a little independent redistricting commission assist. Observers weren't expecting the Dems to hit the 2/3rds mark in the Assembly, but an upset win by Fullerton mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva over GOP Asm. Chris Norby in northern Orange County appears to have gotten it done.
11:04 AM PT (David Jarman): ND-Sen: With the AP call in MT-Sen, North Dakota's Senate race was the last remaining question mark... and that's just been answered. Republican Rick Berg has conceded. With 100% counted, the margin remains within a few thousand votes, but it's a small state, and he probably didn't see a route to reversing the count. So, counting Angus King as a Dem, that means the Democrats gained 2 seats in a cycle where until weeks ago the legacy media was talking about a Republican majority.
(By the way, big props to Dana Houle for being the first person to publicly demonstrate, one year ago, that Heidi Heitkamp might actually have a chance to win this thing for the Dems.)
11:19 AM PT (David Jarman): CA-26, MI-01: Some good news and bad news in two races that didn't get called last night, that just got called this morning. The good news is in Ventura County's open CA-26, where the call is in favor of Dem Julia Brownley, who squeaked 52-48 past GOPer Tony Strickland after he led most of last night. The bad news is in the Upper Peninsula's MI-01, where Dem Gary McDowell fell just short in his rematch against GOP frosh Dan Benishek, losing 48.2.-47.5.
And Taniel is absolutely right: there are comparatively few races going into overtime this year, unlike, say, 2008 or 2010, where the House races went on like a prolonged toothache. The only House races where there hasn't been a call or concession are CA-07, CA-36, CA-52, AZ-01, AZ-02, AZ-09, FL-18, and NC-07, which we'll keep watching today and all week if need be. An optimistic note: the Democrat is leading in all but one of these races (AZ-02, which seems likely to be one of the cycle's biggest upsets).
11:31 AM PT (David Jarman): CA-35: You probably saw the defeat of Pete Stark coming, but the loss of Blue Dog Rep. Joe Baca to state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod in the San Gabriel Valley's 35th wasn't high on too many watch lists... and now it's a subtle but important move of the Dem caucus's ideological needle to the left. Michael Bloomberg's late intervention (he dislikes Baca over gun issues) may have actually paid dividends here. McLeod finished with 55.7% of the vote.
What I'm wondering is whether Baca is kicking himself for not running in the 31st, where half of his old constituents are. His decision to run in the 35th (whether the other half of his constituents are) seems premised on the 35th being a bluer district than the 31st (64% Obama in '08, instead of 56%). If he'd left the 35th for McLeod and run in the 31st, though, he would have cleared the Dem field of all the nobodies who ran there, faced Gary Miller (or Bob Dutton), cleaned his clock last night, and still had a job (and the Dems would have one more seat, instead of Miller's fluky win). Coulda, shoulda, woulda. [By the way, h/t to micha1976, who made the same point in the diaries.]
11:44 AM PT: Nevermind, nevermind: Tisei has officially conceded. How much you wanna bet he regrets running that stupid ad featuring nothing but rolling surf on a Massachusetts beach? Like a premature victory dip in the ocean, except... glug glug.