Russ Feingold's concession speech nearly brought a tear to my eye, and as I will discuss in the future weeks, I am not optimistic about the policy implications of a state government entirely controlled by Republicans. But for now, it is time to join the Republicans in gloating about last night's election results!
On the governor's race, I predicted Walker's margin of victory would be 6 points. Alas, twas 5.
The result of the Senate race, which still hurts to look at (how soon I would trade in Barbara Boxer or MIchael Bennett for Russ) also came within one point of the 4 point margin I predicted.
I predicted Tammy would get 60 percent -- she got 62. I correctly predicted that Steve Kagen would do better than Julie Lassa, but I did not forsee the effect of an independent candidacy in the 7th CD. So Lassa lost by a slimmer margin than Kagen, and both lost by more than I predicted.
The Assembly...wow. Nobody predicted quite that. "Floored" was how one Democratic member described his/her feelings as Mike Sheridan, the Assembly speaker who represents an overwhelmingly Democratic district, went down in flames. I predicted the chamber would go GOP, but not by anywhere near the margin it did. The Dems will have their smallest Assembly caucus since 1957.
The State Senate also caught me off guard. With much skepticism, I predicted the Dems would hold a one seat majority, based on the correct guess that Kathleen Vinehout would win, and the incorrect guess that Jim Sullivan and Pat Kreitlow would as well. Never did I expect Majority Leader Russ Decker to lose. GOP will be up 19-14 in the Senate.
However, closer to home, my prediction for the 77th Assembly District was right on the money. I guessed Hulsey, despite all of his shenanigans, would beat Manski by 15 points. In the end, he won by 18. I am particularly proud of this stroke of luck because there was essentially no reliable polling done on the race. Ben Manski said this about the race:
The Sconz was right. Straight ticket voters appear to have made up the majority of my opponent's votes. We can wonder what would have happened in an actual head-to-head race. But for now, Jack Craver was right: the straight-ticket was too much to overcome.
A tip of my hat to Dave Blaska for correctly predicting the State Senate composition. Although I called for the Dane County Association of Political Pundits to strip him of his squirely credentials after he predicted that Jon Erpenbach and Sondy Pope-Roberts would lose, I admit that as soon as some of the more shocking Dem losses came in, I actually bothered to check Erpenbach's returns.
However, Erpenbach's double-digit lead points to another fallacy on Blaska's part: Calling Green County a "strongly Republican County." In case you missed it, Green voted for both Feingold and Barrett last night and represented the only gain for Assembly Democrats, as Janis Ringhand took back the seat being vacated by Brett Davis.