Over at Advance Indiana, Gary Welsh announced the winners and losers of the election. He beat me to the punch. I agree with his selections and now provide my own separate list of Winners. Losers will come later.
1. Indiana Republican State Committee – The state GOP weathered the huge Obama storm with nary a scratch. The Republicans may have lost just one seat, if that, in the Indiana House, did not lose any state senate or congressional seats. All that in a year when a Democrat presidential candidate won the state for the first time since 1964. The Republicans are poised to retake the House in a year in 2010, right before redistricting.
2. Brian Bosma – The leader of the House Republicans will benefit from holding the House Republican numbers in a very difficult year. He is poised to be speaker again after the 2010 elections which history says will be a rebound year for Republicans.
2. Andre Carson – He ran far better than his grandmother ever did, racking up a 30 point victory. It doesn’t matter than his opponent, Gabrielle Campo, was not well known. Where the Republican always got a substantial part of the vote was in Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents crossing over to vote Republican against the against the Carson name. It is for that reason that the 7th District was always on the outskirts of being competitive when the base numbers said otherwise. Carson's huge win might give Campo, Tom Rose and others second thoughts about running in 2010.
3. Marion County Democrats – They won all four county-wide races (circuit court judge, coroner, surveyor and treasurer) and extending those races from a competitive 54-46 in 2004 to a comfortable 60-40 margin in 2008. Those races expose a gaping 20% baseline majority for Democrats in the County. That will make it extremely difficult for the Marion County GOP to recruit top candidates willing to run for other county-wide offices. I expect those numbers will cause Carl Brizzi to decide against another run for prosecutor. He'll probably go to the private sector or accept an appointment, perhaps in a second Daniels' administration.
4. Governor Daniels – I never thought he could get the incredible cross-over vote he did. I questioned the strategy of not emphasizing to his supporters how close the race might be, which is generally the way of encouraging turnout. In the end it did not matter as he scored an impressive 20 point victory.
5. Barack Obama - He ran a tremendous race and utilized technology in a way no candidate has ever done before. John McCain’s strategy was not the best, but this was not a race McCain lost. It was a race that Obama won and convincingly so.
ADDENDUM: On Indiana Week in Review the consensus among the non-politicos was that Bosma and the Republicans were the loser for not getting a majority in the Indiana House. I'm still not buying it. A Democrat presidential candidate won the state for the first time since 1964. The Democrats had record numbers of new registrations in the state and their turnout driven by Obama was off the charts. If you look at the races last time almost all of the close races involved Republicans narrowly beating out Democrats. I do not think this was the year the Republicans had the shot of picking up the House. I think that year is 2010. The fact that the GOP essentially serve this year is a win for Republicans.
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