With the exception of North Dakota and the almost-sure election of Republican Gov. John Hoeven to a Democrat-held Senate seat, the election of Rep. John Boozman in Arkansas was considered the likeliest Republican net gain in the Senate.
Sure enough, physician Boozman unseated Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who was backed by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in a difficult primary race. The conservative Boozman handily wins.
Portman Pulls Off A Big One
Although it was no surprise, former Ohio Rep. and Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman won the seat of retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R.-OH) convincingly. Portman, known as an expert on the budget, rolled up a margin of 3-to-2 over Democratic Lieutenant Gov. Lee Fisher.
Much like the first Budget Director Charles Dawes (who went on to be vice president under President Calvin Coolidge), Portman is expected to emerge quickly on the national political stage. Although he was considered more “establishment” than “tea party,” Portman is widely respected for his knowledge of the budget and federal spending.
Coons Holds On To Delaware
There really was no surprise in the result of the race for the Senate seat of Joe Biden. Democrat Ken Coons, the New Castle County Executive who ran after Biden’s son (and State Attorney General) Beau Biden chose not to, defeated conservative activist Christine O’Donnell.
Coons could easily qualify as the luckiest man in politics—making the race when long-presumed candidate Beau Biden said no and then drawing surprise GOP nominee O’Donnell (who made headlines after defeating moderate Rep. Mike Castle in the primary and then becoming a national target of the liberal media).
Marco, Marco, Marco!
To the surprise of just about no one, former House Speaker and conservative favorite Marco Rubio won an easy plurality in the three-candidate U.S. Senate race from Florida.
Having forced Republican Gov. and early favorite Charlie Crist into an independent candidacy, Rubio rallied both traditional GOPers and newer tea party activists into a winning team. Returns indicate he will win about 45% of the vote to 30% for Crist and 24% for Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek.
There is already talk of the son of Cuban refugees running for President some day.
Rand Paul Leads GOP Senate Night, Defeats Conway
In the first big Senate result to come, Rand Paul was projected the winner of the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R.-KY). Despite a hard-fought primary battle and highly personal attacks from Democratic opponent and State Attorney General Jack Conway, the opthamologist and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-KY.) appears to have won convincingly.
The Pauls–Sen. Rand and Rep. Ron–will be the first father-son team in Congress in which the son is in the Senate and father in the House. Barry Goldwater and Ted Kennedy, for example, both were in the Senate while their sons Barry, Jr. and Patrick were in the House.
Return of the Jedi: Coats Wins in Indiana
Twelve years after he retired from the Senate, Dan Coats came back to win his old seat in a landslide.
The former senator, who also served in the House and as ambassador to Germany under George W. Bush, was headed for a victory of 60% of the vote over two-term Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth.
Stalwart conservative Coats succeeds the Democrat who succeeded him and retired this year. A proud Republican House Member in the “Class of ’80” that came in with Ronald Reagan, Coats was styled by backers as “the keeper of Ronald Reagan’s flame.” Ellsworth never recovered after voting for the Democratic-backed health care bill even after the Stupak amendment barring federal funds for abortion, which he had previously said he would insist on before supporting the measure.