The Republicans are trying not to gloat. The Democrats are licking their wounds. And the Greens? They're somewhere in between.
The party didn't run all that many candidates this year -- at least not compared with the major parties. Nationwide, it boasted 541 candidates, the vast majority of whom vied for either state or local offices. Of them, just 67 were elected.
But compared to where the party was in 2000, says Dean Myerson, national political coordinator, the gains are significant. The 500-plus candidates are about twice as many as the party ran two years ago. The 67 newly minted officials have brought the party's current total to 171. And one of those officials recently became the party's first to be elected to a state legislature (Maine).
Myerson attributed the increases, along with the party's expanding membership -- the Green Party counts about 250,000 members nationwide -- largely to its leftist takes on the war on terrorism and, to a lesser extent, to the cascade of corporate scandals this year.
And those increases have prompted the party to take on some of the trappings of big-time political parties: It has a national headquarters in Dupont Circle. It has been recognized by the Federal Election Commission as a national committee. And it has a training school, where it teaches its prospective candidates the finer points of electioneering.
All of that isn't to deny the fact that the party has a long way to go toward being competitive. Its candidates are routinely excluded from campaign debates, ignored by the news media, badly outspent by the major parties and, in many states, kept off the ballot. And the party, which is strongest on the West Coast, the Upper Midwest and parts of New England, has yet to make significant inroads into the South and many rural areas.
Still, the Green Party appears to have survived this GOP-dominated election with at least a degree of aplomb. "People look at the election as a bad election for progressives, but it was actually just a bad election for Democrats," Myerson said.
2 Ga. Democrats
It didn't take long. After the big Republican sweep in Georgia on Tuesday -- including the upset of Gov. Roy Barnes -- two Democratic state senators have switched to the Republican Party.
Sens. Don Cheeks of Augusta and Dan Lee of LaGrange announced their decisions Friday during a victory tour for Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue, the first Republican in 130 years to capture the Georgia governor's mansion, the Associated Press reported.
With the 28-28 split, neither party will have enough votes to pass a measure by themselves. Twenty-nine votes are needed to pass any bill in the Senate.
The party switchers have seriously damaged the power of Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, who presides over the body but does not vote. He accused Republicans of a partisan power grab. He said the senators should resign and stand for reelection immediately as Republicans and refund their campaign contributions. "The people who cast their votes in the last election elected 30 Democratic senators," Taylor said. "They should be given the opportunity to vote again."
Cheeks said he worked closely with Perdue when both men were Senate Democrats. Perdue switched parties in 1998. "Sonny Perdue needs help in the state if he's going to do the job he's capable of," Cheeks told the AP. "He can't do it if he has two legislative bodies fighting him." The House remains in Democratic control.
Lee, first elected in 1998, said he received no promises for switching parties. Perdue said Lee will serve as his assistant floor leader.
Allen to Seek
Senate GOP Post
It may be a tough act to follow, but Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) wants to succeed Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
"Had Bill decided to run again for chairman, I would have been an enthusiastic supporter,'' Allen said in a letter to colleagues Friday, declaring his intention to run. Frist had a highly successful term, as Republicans regained control of the Senate in Tuesday's elections.
Allen, 50, is backed by Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) for the post, which is responsible for recruiting, advising and raising money for GOP Senate candidates. He ousted senator Charles S. Robb Jr. (D-Va.) in 2000 and since has taken credit for raising $3 million for Senate Republicans.
Other names floated for the NRSC chairmanship include Sen. John Ensign (Nev.).
Staff writer Spencer Hsu contributed to this report.