-> Turnout! 2002's turnout was ony 1.8 million. Yesterday, we topped 2.3 million--an increase of more than half a million voters. In fact, more people voted for Mark Green in 2006 than voted for Jim Doyle in 2002. (It still pales compared to 2004's 3 million, but, you know, mid-terms.)
-> Health care referenda making a difference. One Wisconsin has remained relatively invisible in the Cheddarsphere, and yet in the real world, they made a huge difference. Cory Liebman tells us,
The high cost of health care was on the minds of many voters as they went to the polls yesterday. [. . .] It appears that this may have led to the Democratic takeover of the state Senate.
Republican State Senators Dave Zien and Ron Brown both lost in yesterday's election. Racine County Executive Bill McReynolds also lost his bid for the state senate. As a study from the Institute for One Wisconsin showed, all of these areas lead the state in paying high health care costs. All of these areas also had grassroots efforts that put health care on Tuesday's ballot. Those advisory referendums calling for health care reform won by overwhelming margins. Eau Claire County passed the health care reform referendum by 83%, La Crosse County by 84%, and the City of Racine by 83%. It seems that this very clear call for health care reform played a major role in flipping the state Senate in this election.
There was even a huge upset in a state Assembly race in Eau Claire. Democratic candidate Jeff Smith focused on health care reform and narrowly beat incumbent state Rep. Rob Kreibich.
The people of Wisconsin have spoken on health care reform and have entrusted the Democratic Party with the state Senate. They should make reforming health care one of the first items on their agenda to honor the wishes of the people that elected them.
-> The South Dakota abortion ban and the Arizona gay marriage ban both lost at the polls yesterday. I was hoping Wisconsin would be the first state to turn back the tide of anti-gay sentiment, but at least one state did this cycle. Kudos to everyone in SD and AZ who worked on the side of goodness and light this year.