Got my vote in this morning as did my children (picture the three of them standing on each other shoulders with a long overcoat). Now, it's time sit back, wait for the results, and engage in idle speculation. Speculation about who is going to emerge victorious for example.
Here's the way I see things playing out starting with the Minnesota Congressional races.
CD-1 Walz (D) vs Demmer (R): If this is indeed a wave election for Republicans as most now expect it to be, this is the most obvious seat that one would expect to flip from Democrats to Republicans. I'll take Demmer in a close one.
CD-2 Kline (R) vs Madore (D): What would the point spread be if the Gopher football squad played Oregon? That's the difference that's likely to separate John Kline from his opponent this year.
CD-3 Paulson (R) vs Meffert (D): For a brief time, the Third was considered a possible swing district. Not this year as Paulson wins reelection fairly easily.
CD-4 McCollum (D) vs Collett (R): If John Stewart's rally had truly restored sanity, the voters in the Fourth would kick Betty McCollum to the curb. But it's still a mad, mad world (especially in St. Paul) and McCollum will hold off the toughest challenge she's yet faced.
CD-5 Ellison (D) vs Demos (R): The Fifth is my home turf and we've been proud to have a Demos sign in our yard. Joel has run a fantastic campaign and has shown that you don't need a huge budget to create smart, effective campaign ads. But the DFL stranglehold on the Fifth is such that it's all but impossible for a Republican--no matter how hard they work--to prevail. Ellison returns to Washington as my Congressman (sigh).
CD-6 Bachmann (R) vs Clark (D): Democrats have essentially pissed away a great deal of money (over five million bones), time, and resources trying to defeat their bête noir Michele Bachmann. Once again, it will all be for naught as she will cruise to a comfortable (6-8 points) win.
CD-7 Peterson (D) vs Byberg (R): Peterson's managed to retain just enough credibility as a "blue dog" Democrat to stave off a serious challenge this year. It will be closer than usual, but he will be reelected.
CD-8 Oberstar (D) vs Cravaack (R): In my mind, easily the most interesting Congressional race in the state. Oberstar personifies everything that is wrong about our political class. But over the years voters in the Eighth has proven stubbornly unwilling to tear out their Democratic roots. If this is an election that makes history, it will be because lifelong incumbents like Jim Oberstar are sent home. This is probably based more on what's in my heart than my head, but I'm going with Cravaack in a narrow, but enormously significant Republican win.
If these results are borne out, it will flip the Minnesota House delegation from a 5-3 Democratic edge to a 5-3 GOP advantage. It may not seem like much of a shift, but given the way things have gone in Minnesota lately it would be seismic.
Overall, I think the GOP will pick up sixty-three House and eight Senate seats. That's not based on any detailed race-by-race analysis, rather just a guess based on the numbers I'm hearing. Some specifics on notable national races:
Alaska: To the spoiler goes the victory as Murkowski wins.
California: The state goes against the grain and continues its decline by reelecting Barbara Boxer.
Delaware: The bearded Marxist beats the witch (sounds like code words for the uprising to begin).
Florida: Rubio rises in the Sunshine State.
Nevada: The only way Harry Reid will be seeing the Senate chamber in the future will be in the company of stinky tourists. Angle edges him out.
Wisconsin: Badger state voters perform their own campaign reform by sending Feingold packing.
Republicans will prevail in most of the notable House races and spare the country from having to hear from people like Alan Grayson anymore. But we still will have Barney Frank to kick around, which actually might not be that bad of a thing.
Mostly good news for the GOP here with a few notable exceptions. A new Sink hole will develop in Florida as voters unwisely go for the Democrat and California will sink deeper into the abyss by bringing back Governor Moonbeam.
Back to the local scene.
MN House 15B: Despite a last minute smear and fear campaign from his opponent, King Banaian will win election and become the first member of the Northern Alliance to wield political power. Bwah, bwah, bwah…
MN State Auditor: Pat Anderson returns to her role as taxpayer watchdog.
MN Attorney General: Lori Swanson deserves to lose this race to Chris Barden, but something tells me she'll hang on by virtue of her nice Minnesota name.
MN Secretary of State: This is a tough call. From what I can discern, just as many people were impressed by Mark Ritchie's performance during the 2008 Coleman/Franken recount as put off by it. Dan Severson is a strong candidate who would make an excellent Secretary of State. It will be close, but in the end I see Ritchie prevailing.
MN Governor: This is the statewide race that really matters this year and it's going to be tight. To borrow a phrase from a noted hockey guru, if Tom Emmer loses this race he's going to take it to his f***ing grave. In what is shaping up to be a big Republican year against a candidate as deeply flawed as Mark Dayton, Emmer should have been positioned to pop the champagne early tonight. Unfortunately, an unfocused and often off message campaign has lead to a situation that's truly up for grabs. After securing the GOP endorsement, Emmer's campaign stumbled around like a forty-one-year-old quarterback who just took a helmet to the chin. To his credit, of late he's tightened up his message and done a much better job on the stump. But it might be too little too late.
In the past, my conviction that the people of Minnesota would have enough sense not to elect clearly unqualified candidates has been scorched. Twice bitten in this manner, I should be extra shy about falling back on it again. (sigh) Alright people of Minnesota, I'm giving you one more chance. Please don't pull the football away again. I have to believe that when you look deep into your hearts and more importantly your minds, you will realize that Mark Dayton can not, should not, and (God willing) will not govern the state of Minnesota.
You took a flier with Jesse when times were good. You decided that Al Franken would best represent the state in the Senate because…
...uh..Okay, I still haven't been able to solve that riddle yet. But now the times are much too serious and the stakes are much too high. We can't afford (quite literally) to have Mark Dayton govern our state for the next four years. So even though my confidence in my fellow citizens has been shaken, I still gotta believe that in the end they will do the right thing this year. Emmer by an eyelash.
UPDATE: The Heartland Instititute (a fine place even if they do let that Boychuk character scribble for them) is running an Election Night Prediction contest. Submit your picks for what the House and Senate will look like after the election in the comments and you could win a signed copy of PJ O'Rourke's new book "Don't Vote, It Only Encourages The Bastards."