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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

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So it was what it was. I didn't expect it to be much more.
-So what are the bloggers saying?
-People are winning, people are losing! It's great!
Seriously, though, I think it was in general, a good thing. Thanks to Owen and everyone at WTMJ4, especially Pete and Laticia, who spent the evening in the cramped little Studio D with us.

I'm sure it was a very long drive home for Owen. As we were leaving, he expressed his feeling that Doyle was just not a Good Person, and that of all the losses, that's the one that is hardest to take. Well, I know that punched-in-the-gut feeling of seeing what you've worked hard for fall short. I gave up blogging for three solid months after November 2, 2004. I don't envy him or his party's near-term future.

As I'm writing, I'm doing scary well on my predictions. That never happens. Fred's head must be spinning.

One thing Owen and I talked about, in those looooong stretches between the brief bursts when they threw the thing to us, is the seeming anomaly between the way the state seems to have voted in general--Democrats are doing very well, which I'll get to in just a moment--and the staggering margins by which both state-wide referenda passed. I'm shocked at the size of the margin especially for the amendment, not because I thought it would fail (I predicted it would pass) but because I assumed a Democratic Wave would keep it close. TMJ's exit poll results, which are the only ones I saw as they flashed on the screen, showed Dems voting 70-30 against the amendment. I guess that 30% really added up to a lot of votes statewide, to make that margin so large.

One thing my wife pointed out: The Republicans scheduled these referenda votes in a stunt to boost their turnout. These referenda passed handily, and yet they still have lost key races. Even Jack Voigt, the Republican who's been State Treasurer since forver, seems poised to lose to a Democrat, simply because this was, Attorney General's race aside, a Dem year despite the referenda turnout.

So, yeah, as I predicted: the AG race is the nail-biter. Given the relative difference between the way Van Hollen's people were treating the media and the way Falk's people were treating the media during the night, I think Van Hollen's less confident. As I type this, there's just a couple thousand votes difference, and I still think Falk'll squeak it out. There will be recounts, though, and probably some pretty nasty accusations along the way.

And, as I write this, the Dems are winning or almost winning not two, not three, but four State Senate seats. They've called Lehman over McReynolds; Vinehout is leading Brown, Sullivan is leading Reynolds, and Kreitlow is within 50 votes of Zien. The Assembly will stay Republican, no doubt, but some upsets may be in the making: My internet friend and fellow educator Randy Koehn is within a couple hundred votes of turning John Gard's Assembly district Blue.

In the end, I think it was a good day for Democrats, locally and nationally. Kagen's win in the eighth Congressional district was certainly part of that Wave. The Doyle win is incredibly important. The Kagen win is massively symbolic. The amdendment, well, we'll work through it. Senator Scott Fitzgerald claimed recently that the amendment actually wouldn't ban civil unions--with a Dem Senate and Gov, maybe we can test him on that, seeing as how CUs are supported by 60% or more of us. There is room, in other words, for mitigation. Maybe. (And we'll see how long it takes for the court challenges to start against, for example, the City of Milwaukee's domestic partner benefits.)

It's late. I want to see how it ends. But I have an exam to give in the morning. Good night.

Okay, late update (1 AM): Sullivan wins--with 99% reporting, he's 2400 votes up. Vinehout wins, too, according to WisPolitics (if not the newspaper's site). That means we have the Senate! Kreitlow is also now back in the lead, 1500 votes up with 75% in; that seat gives us a 18-15 margin, which would really change the dynamic.

Van Hollen is now up by 20,000 votes, and Jack Voigt is back up, as well. Maybe the Rs will hold some state-wide offices.

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