Voters cast their ballots; Democrats brace for big losses

The Washington Post takes a look back at some of the more memorable moments from the 2010 campaigns.
By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 2, 2010; 11:53 AM

Voters headed to precincts across the country Tuesday to cast their ballots in the pivotal 2010 midterm elections, with Democrats bracing for major losses in both chambers of Congress but hoping to hang on to their Senate majority.

The campaign ended as it began: loud and often mean. But the nationwide barrage of last-ditch attack ads and the sniping among the country's political leaders appeared to have little effect on the dynamics of the year.

Republicans are confident that they will recapture control of the House, while Democrats are preparing themselves for what appears likely to be a significantly smaller majority in the Senate.

Steven Duerst, the president of the College Republicans at the University of Wisconsin, campaigned late into the night Monday for Senate candidate Ron Johnson, who is leading longtime incumbent Russ Feingold (D) in pre-election polls.

"Without any background in finance or economics, I can tell that the economy is a disaster," said Duerst, explaining how even in a liberal bastion like Madison, the College Republicans have been innudated with volunteers this election cycle.

Duerst's father owns his own title insurance business; Duerst has watched him lay off employees, watched his face contort with stress and pain. "We're not going to be able to live the American dream like our parents did," he said while stumping for votes. "It scares me that the things that make this country great are going to disappear."

Meanwhile, in Washington state, supporters of Republican challenger Dino Rossi held a "victory rally" Monday to pump themselves up for what they hope will be an upset over incumbent Sen. Patty Murray (D).

"As big government takes over, our voices become smaller," said Rossi supporter Shelly Garofalo, 47, whose stuggle to find work has led her to stump for a candidate who promised more jobs and less deficit. "Liberalism leads to socialism and socialism leads to communism."

Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine told CNN Tuesday morning that party officials believe they can hang on to their Senate majority, despite the Republican momentum in an election cycle dominated by voter concerns about the economy. "In the House, it's going to be tough for us," Kaine acknowledged. ".... We're not throwing in the towel. We're encouraging everybody to get out there and vote."

President Obama stayed at the White House Monday, having campaigned over the weekend in hopes of influencing an election that could throw a roadblock in front of his agenda. Obama granted a round of radio interviews, including one with Ryan Seacrest of "American Idol," and will do more interviews Tuesday, hoping to spur Democrats in battleground states to go to the polls to offset highly energized Republican voters.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), poised to become speaker if Republicans take control of the chamber, lashed out at the president in a radio interview and in a speech he delivered Monday night in Cincinnati.

Boehner seized on a line from an interview Obama gave on Oct. 25 to Univision Radio, in which he indicated that Republicans are "enemies" of Latinos.

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