http://cnnpoliticalticker.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/t1larg-cnn100-capitol-t1larg3.jpg?w=283&h=159 width=300 height=169]Editor's note: The hotly contested campaign for the midterm elections is over. As the results come in, CNN's political contributors share their quick thoughts on what's making news.
Avlon: A victory for checks and balances
So far, the election isn't quite the far-right stampede it was supposed to be. Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado and Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania were putting on strong showings in their Senate races; Independent gubernatorial candidates Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island and Eliot Cutler in Maine were also hanging tough.
This election is not - and was never - an outright endorsement of the GOP. It is about independents swinging against unified Democratic control of Washington.
There's also a lot of evidence of ticket splitting this year; look at the GOP's Tom Corbett sailing into the governorship in Pennsylvania, but Pat Toomey trailing his total. In Oregon, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden was returned to office, but GOP candidate (and former NBA star) Chris Dudley was also elected. This is happening across the country: Voters want the checks and balances but aren't willing to straight-ticket vote if one of the candidates is on the extremes. This is about trying to re-balance government, not empower a new ideological movement.
It's a victory for the founding fathers' vision of checks and balances.
John P. Avlon is a CNN contributor, senior political columnist for The Daily Beast, and author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America."
http://cnnpoliticalticker.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/t1larg-rubio.jpg?w=640 caption="Republican Marco Rubio won the Florida Governor's race last night over Democrat Kendrick Meek and current Governor, Independent Charlie Christ." width=300 height=169]
Bennett: Vice President Rubio in 2013
Tuesday was a great night for Republicans because as Marco Rubio said, we now have a second chance. It's still important to remember this country is not quite yet a Republican country, but as of Tuesday night it is saying it is most definitely not a Democratic Party country either.
Let us celebrate, but then let us get to work, the serious work we promised.
We must keep our promises, and we must never cease explaining not only our positions but also why we hold them. And look forward to Vice President Rubio in 2013.
William Bennett, a Republican strategist and radio talk show host, is a former education secretary and federal drug czar.
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