SENATE: No to 60: Senate Democrats pulled down the low-hanging fruit in the competitive races, marking VA (Warner), NH (Shaheen), NC (Hagan), NM (Udall) and CO (Udall) in their camp. But the races that were higher reaches for Team Schumer -- KY (McConnell) and MS-B (Wicker) -- stayed in Republican hands. In the wee hours of the night, the Minnesota, Oregon, Georgia, and Alaska races all remained too close to call, but only a perfect storm of wins in all four states would grant Democrats the nine extra votes that they must net to beat a filibuster. In Minnesota, this morning, Coleman leads Franken by just 762 votes. Stevens leads by 3,353 votes. (By the way, Don Young leads by more than 16,000 votes with 99% in.) Gordon Smith leads by about 13,000 votes with 75% reporting. Chambliss is three-tenths of a percentage point from dropping below 50% with 99% of precincts reporting. (If he were to drop below 50, there would be run-off.)
HOUSE: Democrats appear to have netted at least 17 seats in the House. Dems picked up 12 seats held by Republican incumbents, nine more open seats that had been held by Republicans. But Republicans were also able to pick up four seats held by Democrats. About a dozen remain undecided.
Baked Alaska: Apparently Northern Exposure doesn't matter all that much in the Land of Perpetual Daylight. Into the wee hours of the morning, it was STILL unclear (as of 4:30 a.m.) if convicted Sen. Ted Stevens and under-investigation Rep. Don Young were going to lose. In fact, both were winning their races – despite calls from the party's top brass for Stevens to resign.
Purple Shays: The news out of the House was mixed for Republicans, who were bracing for a potential bloodbath. Jim Himes' victory over Republican Chris Shays represented the ousting of the lone GOP representative in the Northeast, and the fall of incumbents in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida underscored McCain's toxicity in battleground states. (Of note, though: the Cuban Diaz-Balart brothers did survive in spite of Obama's long coattails in the state.) But Republicans who feared losses in the high 30s in the U.S. House are breathing sighs of (relative) relief this morning, with 22 seats (as of 5:15 a.m.) evaporating from their camp into Democratic hands. The Cook Political Report's David Wasserman notes a silver lining for those GOPers fearful of a House juggernaut: November 4th turned out to be a good day for conservative Dems in tossup races and a tough one for those on the more liberal side of the spectrum. Ashwin Madia lost in MN-03, for example, unable to overcome Erik Paulson's efforts to paint the Iraq War veteran as a tax-and-spend-liberal. But anti-abortion mother of five Kathy Dahlkemper pulled off a swing-district win against Republican Phil English.
Get Out of Gaffe Free: The utterers of the two mega-gaffes of the election's waning weeks were both not punished by voters. Michelle Bachmann (MN-6), who was accused of McCarthyism after calling for the investigation of "anti-American" Democrats, and John Murtha (PA-12), who implied that some of his constituents are racists, both won reelection. The one that didn't get away? North Carolina Republican Robin Hayes -- who took heat after declaring that "liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God" --- was defeated in a rematch against Larry Kissell.
They Love the Gov'nor: Among the nation's 11 gubernatorial races, only one -- in Missouri -- saw a challenger beat a member of the incumbent party. State Attorney General Jay Nixon (D) beat Representative Kenny Hulshof for the seat vacated by Matt Blunt (R). But in North Carolina, Democrat Bev Perdue rode Obama's long coattails in the state to beat popular Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory; she'll replace outgoing Democrat Mike Easley. Incumbent Christine Gregoire won the madly-fought rematch of her 2004 race against Republican Dino Rossi. And Indiana's Gov Mitch Daniels sailed past once-promising Jill Long Thompson to win reelection.
"Democrats increased their ranks in Congress last night, picking up seats from the Canadian to the Mexican borders and ushering in a new era of Democratic power in Washington the party has not seen since the 1960s," the Boston Globe writes.