2002 won't go down as the most disappointing election in history -- I worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 1994, so believe me, I know from disappointing elections -- but it was a lot worse that I ever would have imagined. At least in 1994 we knew it was going to be bad.
The only two races I really cared about were the Minnesota Senate race and the Northern Virginia Transportation Referendum, and I came out on the wrong side of both of those. About the former, I have to say I'm disappointed that Norm Coleman won -- he's pretty much an empty suit, not to mention an opportunistic hack -- but at least he's better than the last Republican Senator from Minnesota, the deeply stupid Rod "Alcatraz on the Potomac" Grams.
The defeat of the transportation referendum is just baffling. This is the second most congested metropolitan area in the country. I'm certain that everyone in Northern Virginia has been a victim of the crappy transportation infrastructure on more than one occasion. The state government is broke, and even if they weren't, the rest of the state has a historical bias against funding transportation projects in Northern Virginia. And this was a chance to pay for desperately needed infrastructure improvements without interference from Richmond ... and it was voted down.
I swear to God, there are days when I don't know why we let Virginia back into the Union.
There are a few bright spots for Democrats:
- Illinois elected its first Democratic governor since 1976, and its first woman attorney general.
- Iowa re-elected Tom Vilsack, the first time a Democratic governor has been elected to a second term in that state in 30 years.
- Wisconsin sent a Democrat, to the statehouse for the first time in 16 years.
- Kansas elected a Democrat, Kathleen Sebelius, in an open seat election -- that is, the incumbent was not running for re-election -- for the first time in 66 years.
- In Oklahoma, little-known Dem Brad Henry upset the widely known and heavily favored Republican candidate, Steve Largent.
- Michigan elected Jennifer Granholm, its first Democratic governor since 1991 and its first woman governor ever.
- In a huge upset, Democrat Dave Freudenthal won the Wyoming statehouse.