What an incredible night. It looks like conservatives seem to have begun to find their footing again and a very clear message was sent. Here are my thoughts on Election Night.
Surprise of the Night – Steven Palazzo
I don’t think the magnitude of this race can be overstated. In the end analysis, “that” he won wasn’t the surprise. “How” he won was. In 2008, Gene Taylor had over 70 percent of the vote in 2008. On Tuesday night, he had 47. That’s awfully long way to fall, and Palazzo ran a great campaign and had an awesome ground game and earned the victory. I said it would take a huge wave to get him over. He got it, but he earned it. Turnout was up. Palazzo got really good people around him and Congressman Palazzo will be going to Washington DC. Congrats to him. As a related sidenote, Joe Tegerdine might want to reconsider his political future (forever).
Underreported story of the night – State Houses
A bunch of state houses went into the R column last night – 18 chambers to be exact. These have huge, national and decade-long implications due to redistricting, which will be fought one statehouse at a time in the coming 12-18 months.
– Obviously Steven Palazzo and Alan Nunnelee for running great campaigns and unseating powerful incumbents
– Haley Barbour was the “belle of the ball”. In the end analysis, I think 30 governor seats will be Republican including PA, MI, OH, NM and FL. Those have huge 2012 implications AND redistricting will be largely impacted.
– Delbert Hosemann had a great day for ensuring for smooth election day sailing
– The Tarrance Group nailed the polling. I had originally discounted their results in MS-1 and MS-4. I shouldn’t have. They are the “go to” firm in Mississippi.
– Obviously Travis Childers and Gene Taylor. They both painted themselves into a corner and tried to occupy this “neither fish nor fowl” existence of a Mississippi Democrat.
– Blue Dogs around the country got hammered for the same reason.
– The MS Democratic Party and leadership of Jamie Franks. The MS Democratic Party is in abysmal shape and I candidly believe that calls for Jamie Franks ouster from within will be coming shortly.
– The NRA, Right to Life and the US Chamber of Commerce all went down a peg. They all had both candidates in MS-1 and MS-4 that supported their positions. They tarnished their brand substantially due to some programmatic “incumbent rule”. The smarter play was to not endorse anyone. It proves that their endorsement (especially when you have both candidates sympathetic to your concerns) doesn’t carry the stroke people once thought it did. It will cost them . . . and it should.
– Anzalone Listz. John Anzalone’s outfit seemingly got suckered to manufacture some results for Travis Childers shortly after Labor Day. Their stock in polling this race and others straight up went down several notches.
– Kelly Mims in the Court of Appeals race. Kelly Mims, a plaintiffs lawyer in North Mississippi, had a winnable race against Donna Barnes and candidly just screwed up. He seemingly tried to pretend he was a conservative and wasn’t. Not many folks that host Obama “watch parties” could be classified as such. He lost this race when he tweaked Haley Barbour and tried to make people believe he had Haley’s support. He didn’t. He awoke the giant and got slapped down by the Barbour machine.
As a result of Nunnelee’s election, there will be a special senate race in North MS. There will be a special house race in South MS to replace Palazzo. There will also be several key judicial runoffs and I would guess a process to replace Transportation Commissioner Bill Minor, who recently passed away.
Mississippi Democrats continue to be in just utter disarray. I don’t think that Jamie Franks can survive this kind of electoral beatdown AND the personal dust up he has going on right now. The party staff has been a revolving door of people leaving as fast as humanly possible once other options arise. MS Dems now represented by 1 of 4 congressmen, 1 of 8 statewide elected officials. The MS Speaker of the House race is officially in jeopardy and Republicans have a real shot to convert and win straight up. That will likely be from a combination of party switchers and Republican wins in 2011. In the coming weeks, I believe that “conservative” Democrats will look around and see that they don’t have a home in that party. With redistricting looming and the pendulum swinging rapidly to the right, I think that many candidates will consider their future and switch. It will simply continue to get tougher for conservative Democrats to stay Democrats with Bennie Thompson, Jim Hood and Barack Obama as the top standard bearers for the party.
There is now major pressure on Brad White, the MS GOP and Haley Barbour’s political organization to capitalize on the momentum and to convert some switchers and recruit good candidates for 2011. The MS House and Senate can both be held cleanly in Republican hands.
Finally, all indications are that Republican primaries for statewide races will basically be “for all the marbles”. For the top two spots (gov and lt. gov), I continue to handicap Phil Bryant and Tate Reeves as heavy favorites at this point.
Those are my thoughts. What does the YP nation have to add?