- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 9, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Despite the overall dismal results of Tuesday’s elections, there were a few positive developments for conservatives.

Senate races in three states (Georgia, Alaska and Minnesota) remain too close to call, but it is unlikely that Democrats will be able to reach the 60 votes necessary to end a filibuster.

In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose parliamentary skills will be needed on behalf of Republicans, won a hard-fought race with 53 percent of the vote. In Mississippi, Republican Rep. Roger Wicker won a difficult race to serve the remaining four years of Sen. Trent Lott’s term. In Nebraska, retiring Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, a moderate who clashed with conservatives on issues like Iraq and illegal immigration, will be replaced by former Gov. Mike Johanns, a conservative.

Republicans wrested four House seats from the Democrats.

In Florida’s 16th Congressional District, Tom Rooney’s win over scandal-plagued Democratic incumbent Tim Mahoney is very good news for conservatives. Mr. Rooney, an Army veteran who made combating illegal immigration a focus of his campaign, is probably more conservative than Rep. Mark Foley, who resigned two years ago. In Louisiana’s 6th district, Bill Cassidy, a state senator and physician, recaptured one of the three seats Republicans lost in special elections earlier this year. Dr. Cassidy is a favorite of Louisiana conservatives for his support of tax cuts and pro-family legislation. Texas’ 22nd district, formerly held by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was recaptured for Republicans by Pete Olson, a conservative stalwart who served as chief of staff to Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn. In Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District, state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins emphasized her opposition to tax increases and illegal immigration in unseating freshman Democratic incumbent Rep. Nancy Boyda.

In a number of other races, right-of-center Republican opponents survived stiff challenges to win re-election.

In Minnesota’s 6th district, freshman Rep. Michele Bachmann, a conservative leader on an wide array of issues, won despite a well-financed effort to defeat her by the national Democratic Party. In Arizona’s 3rd district, Rep. John Shadegg held on to his seat despite a campaign in which national Democrats spent more than $2 million in an effort to defeat him. In a few cases, moderate Republicans were succeeded by conservatives. In Minnesota’s 3rd district, where moderate Rep. Jim Ramstad is retiring after nine terms, his successor will be state Rep. Erik Paulsen, an anti-tax conservative.

There is a strange twist in the Alaska Senate race, where incumbent Republican Ted Stevens, a convicted felon, narrowly leads Democratic challenger Mark Begich and votes are still being counted. If Mr. Stevens were re-elected and subsequently expelled, Gov. Sarah Palin would appoint a temporary replacement to serve out the remainder of Mr. Stevens’ six-year term (in all likelihood a conservative Republican), and a special election would be held within 90 days.

No Democrat has been elected to the Senate from Alaska since Mike Gravel in 1974.


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