Dems solidly took the House last night, gaining 28 seats. The results from key races we were watching, with the good news first:
The biggest win of the night was in California’s 11th district where voters ousted Richard Pombo (R) in favor of Jerry McNerney. The country’s natural resources rejoice.
In New Mexico’s 1st district, state Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D) and incumbent Heather Wilson (R) remain neck-and-neck in what has been a heated race.
League of Conservation Voters Dirty Dozen denizen Charles Taylor lost his seat in North Carolina’s 11th district to Democrat Heath Shuler — a big win for environmental voters. The 8-percent margin was much higher than election forecasters predicted.
In Pennsylvania, two pro-environment Murphies battled it out against incumbent Republicans. The race between Jim Gerlach (R) and challenger Lois Murphy (D) in the 6th district concluded with the incumbent prevailing with a slight margin, but the jury’s still out on Patrick Murphy (D) and Michael Fitzpatrick (R) in the 8th.
In New Hampshire’s 2nd district, Democrat Paul Hodes defeated six-term Republican incumbent Charles Bass.
Gabrielle Giffords (D) defeated Randy Graff (R) in Arizona’s 8th district.
In Wisconsin’s 8th district, Democrat Steve Kagen won over Republican John Gard.
In Indiana, green-leaning Dems got two big victories — in the 2nd district, where Joe Donnelly (D) topped Chris Chocola (R), and in the 8th district, where Brad Ellsworth (D) bested John Hostettler (R).
Peter Welch (D) beat out Martha Rainville (R) for the lone Vermont seat.
In Colorado’s 7th district, Democrat Ed Perlmutter beat Republican Rick O’Donnell.
Leonard Boswell, the incumbent Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Jeff Lamberti in Iowa’s 3rd district, where industrial hog farming factored into debates in the run-up to the election.
In Pennsylvania’s 7th district, challenger Joe Sestek (D) defeated incumbent (and certifiable lunatic) Curt Weldon (R).
And in a particularly interesting New York House race, voters in the 19th district selected Democrat John Hall (better known for penning the pop song “Still the One”), who received the Sierra Club endorsement, over incumbent Republican Sue Kelly, who was endorsed by the League of Conservation voters.
Losses: In Florida’s 13th district, Republican Vernon Buchanan defeated Democrat Christine Jennings in an absolute squeaker.
In Connecticut’s 4th Congressional district, incumbent Chris Shays (R) beat Diane Farrell (D), and in the state’s 5th district, 12-term incumbent and green Republican Nancy Johnson lost to Democrat Chris Murphy.
In Nevada’s 3rd district race, Republican incumbent Jon Porter retained his seat against Democratic challenger Tessa Hafen, Harry Reid’s press secretary.
Ohio green-leaners had a somewhat depressing night. In the 15th district, Deborah Pryce, supporter of ANWR drilling and weakening the Endangered Species Act, beat challenger Mary Jo Kilroy. And in the 1st district, Democrat John Cranley lost to Republican Steve Chabot.