On a night of unexpected returns, it was a Reform Party governor-elect of Minnesota who uttered the theme of gubernatorial and Senate upsets across the country: "We shocked the world."
Jesse Ventura, a former wrestler, won the Minnesota governorship and for the first time since 1934, the president's party picked up House seats in an off-year election.
In the next several days there will be plenty of pontification about how Ventura was able to bring the Reform Party the respect that Ross Perot could not. But since the paid pundits, for all their wisdom, were entirely wrong on their predictions for the U.S. House (see Pundit Watch), we'll let Minnesotans take first crack at explaining their votes.
"I'm sick of false promises. Jesse Ventura is not willing to make promises. I don't think any candidate's ever done that."
Jean Krawiecki, a 30-year-old Duluth homemaker (Duluth News-Tribune)
"What people want is not to be looked on condescendingly by the major-party candidates. They want someone who will speak their language."
Hy Berman, a University of Minnesota history professor (Duluth News-Tribune)
"He's the only reason I'm voting today. I never voted before because I never thought it would make a difference. But with this guy, I know it will. He's not owned by anybody."
Steve Larson, a 28-year-old Duluth truck driver (Duluth News-Tribune)
"I feel Jesse's a leader and he could get people together and hammer out an agreement of some sort."
Galen Wittenberg , 48, of Glencoe, Minn. (The Star-Tribune, Minneapolis)
Senate Success Rests on Uncalled Nevada Race
With the Nevada contest between Democratic incumbent Harry Reid and Republican Rep. John Ensign still too close to call, six seats traded hands last night. Democrats picked up Republican seats in Indiana, New York and North Carolina, while Republicans picked up Democratic seats in Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.
Nevada Senate Race
If Reid is able to retain his Nevada seat, the night will be a wash and the Senate will still have a 55-45 Republican majority.
Reid, Ensign Race Even (Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nov. 4)
Election Returns: Nevada Senate (washingtonpost.com)
Illinois Senate Race
Using his personal fortune and avoiding media interviews, Republican Peter Fitzgerald ousted Democratic Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun.
Fitzgerald Ousts Moseley-Braun in U.S. Senate Race (The Chicago Tribune, Nov. 4)
Moseley-Braun Concedes (The Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 4)
Election Returns: Illinois Senate (washingtonpost.com)
Indiana Senate Race
As polls predicted, former Democratic governor Evan Bayh beat Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke in the contest for the seat left vacant by retiring Republican Dan Coats. It was the largest victory margin ever by a Democratic Senate candidate in Indiana.
Bayh Overwhelms Helmke (The Star-Tribune, Indianapolis, Nov. 4)
Election Returns: Indiana Senate (washingtonpost.com)
Kentucky Senate Race
The Kentucky Senate race was as close as polls promised, with Republican Rep. Jim Bunning finally edging out Democratic Rep. Scotty Baesler.
Race Goes Down to Last Precincts (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Nov. 4)
Bunning Wins Senate by Razor-Thin Margin (Lexington Herald-Leader, Nov. 4)
Election Returns: Kentucky Senate (washingtonpost.com)
New York Senate Race
Matching Republican incumbent Alfonse D'Amato negative ad for negative ad, Democratic Rep. Charles Schumer picked off one of the most vulnerable GOP senators.
Schumer Wins Election Using D'Amato's Tactics (The New York Times, Nov. 4, registration required)
Election Returns: New York Senate (washingtonpost.com)
North Carolina Senate Race
Political newcomer John Edwards carried the Democratic banner in his win over Republican Sen. Lauch Faircloth. The last person to successfully defend the seat was Democrat Sam Ervin in 1968.
Edwards Ousts Faircloth (The News & Observer, Nov. 4)
Election Returns: North Carolina Senate (washingtonpost.com)
Ohio Senate Race
Saying that late-breaking campaign money-laundering allegations against Republican George Voinovich might have affected the outcome if they had been made public earlier, Democrat Mary Boyle may ask a court to throw out the vote. Voinovich won the seat held by Democratic astronaut-turned-senator-turned-astronaut John Glenn.
Boyle May Ask Court to Void Loss Due to Scandal (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Nov. 4)
Election Returns: Ohio Senate (washingtonpost.com)
Five Gubernatorial Races Spurn Poll Predictions
Jesse Ventura's Reform Party victory in Minnesota lead a night of five gubernatorial upsets. Candidates who trailed in the final polls ended up winning the statehouse in Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota and South Carolina
Georgia Gubernatorial Race
Democratic state Rep. Roy Barnes won the most expensive gubernatorial race in Georgia history, defeating Guy Millner for the office held by term-limited Democratic Gov. Zell Miller.
Barnes Vows to Follow in Miller's Footsteps (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 4)
Election Returns: Georgia Governor (washingtonpost.com)
Hawaii Gubernatorial Race
Maui Mayor Linda Lingle (R) was not able to capitalize on a poor Hawaii economy and lost to Democratic Gov. Ben Cayetano.
Cayetano: Narrow Win a 'Wake-up Call' (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Nov. 4)
Election Returns: Hawaii Governor (washingtonpost.com)
Iowa Gubernatorial Race
Tom Vilsack fought back from a 20-point deficit in the polls to defeat Republican Jim Ross Lightfoot and become Iowa's first Democratic governor in 20 years. He succeeds 16-year incumbent Republican Gov. Terry Branstand.
It's a Shocker! Vilsack Bests Lightfoot in Race for Governor (The Des Moines Register, Nov. 4)
Election Returns: Iowa Governor (washingtonpost.com)
South Carolina Gubernatorial Race
For the first time since 1886, a South Carolina governor lost his bid for reelection, as Democrat Jim Hodges defeated Republican Gov. David Beasley.
Big Turnout, Lottery Fever Forge an 'Historic' Upset (The State, Columbia, S.C., Nov. 4)
Election Returns: South Carolina Governor (washingtonpost.com)
Ryan Thornburg can be reached at email@example.com
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