The 20 Most Memorable Moments From Campaign 2010

20) Basil Marceaux: Meet the Republican Alvin Greene, Basil Marceaux, who ran for governor of Tennessee:

19) The Republican Trainwreck In The Colorado Governor’s Race: Initially, Tom Tancredo looked like a jackass when he mounted a third party campaign in the Colorado governor’s race. However, after Dan Maes turned out to be a flaky, lying, self-aggrandizing creep, his campaign imploded and conservatives moved their support over to Tancredo. In a massive “screw you” to the people he let down, Dan Maes refused to get out of the race and managed to drain off enough support to guarantee that Democrat John Hickenlooper would win the race.

18) Dale Peterson: How good was Dale Peterson’s ad? Good enough to make people care about the race for the Alabama Agriculture Commission. Unfortunately, Peterson lost. But, we still have this ad.

17) John McCain — Border Warrior: How seriously did John McCain take J.D. Hayworth’s primary challenge? So seriously that the Republican most closely identified with open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens cut this ad that makes him sound like, well, J.D. Hayworth on the issue:

16) Joe Miller vs. Leesa Murkowskee: Joe Miller defied the polls and came from behind like a rocket to knock off Lisa Murkowski in the primary. Then surprisingly, Murkowski decided to run what most people thought was a hopeless write-in campaign. After running a fairly solid campaign, Miller blew it at the end and Murkowski started coming back. Miller still looked like he was on pace to win, but now, after the vote, it looks like Murkowski is going to pull out a victory. The biggest lesson? Don’t trust polls in Alaska.

15) The Rent’s Too Damn High Candidate: The New York governor’s debate would have been a dull affair had Jimmy McMillan from the Rent Is Too Damn High Party not showed up to electrify the crowd:

Debate With “Rent Is Too Damn High” Candidate – Watch more Funny Videos

14) Rand Paul’s Civil Rights Act of 1964 SNAFU: Rand Paul’s first mistake was going on the Rachel Maddow show. His second mistake was trying to have a philosophical debate about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Predictably, that led to a firestorm of criticism and cries of racism. Fortunately, that event motivated Paul to bring in some top notch staffers who helped steady the campaign and that ultimately led to an easy win.

13) What does calling your opponent a “whore” get you? Jerry Brown’s campaign got caught on tape calling Meg Whitman a whore. So, did that inspire a ferocious response from the National Organization of Women? Not unless you consider an endorsement less than 24 hours later to be a “ferocious response.”

12) The wealthiest candidates dramatically underperform: Between the two of them, Meg Whitman and Linda McMahon spent almost 190 million dollars. Their reward? They were both declared losers the moment the polls closed. On the other hand, Rick Scott did manage to just barely eke out a win in the Florida governor’s race. The cost? A mere 73 million dollars.

11) Alvin Greene: In a stunning development, Alvin Greene won the right to be the Democrats’ sacrificial lamb in a race against Jim DeMint without even campaigning. Greene turned out to be a rather noteworthy candidate and not just because he faced a felony obscenity charge for showing porn to a college student before propositioning her. Greene had some rather “unique” ideas like, “Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays.” He also gave GREAT interviews:

10) Alan Grayson Finally Gets His Just Desserts: Grayson is like the villain in just about every Hollywood movie that gets made these days: A nasty, dishonest creep who has absolutely no redeeming values that reside outside of his wallet. His campaign against his opponent Daniel Webster was par-for-the-course. For example, in his “Taliban Dan” ad, he deliberately took comments that Webster made out of context in order to make him appear to be saying exactly the opposite of what he was actually saying:

Happily, Daniel Webster managed to defeat the Eddie Haskell of the Democratic Party in an 18 point landslide.

9) Democrats run, run, run away from Pelosi and Obama: It was bad enough that Democrats across the country desperately tried to avoid talking about the bills they passed, but it was unusual how many Democrats spoke out against Pelosi. Bobby Bright, Jim Marshall, Roy Herron, Patrick Miles, and Mike McIntyre among others all explicitly said they wouldn’t support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. Frank Caprio added that “[Obama] can take his endorsement and really shove it.” Gene Taylor managed to top all of them not only by noting that he wouldn’t support Pelosi, but by letting it be known that he voted for McCain over Obama in 2008. This was probably the best ad from this vein: Jim Marshall’s “I’m not a dirty San Francisco liberal like Nancy Pelosi” ad.

8) The Citizens United Decision: A Supreme Court victory over the showing of Hillary The Movie helped knock out part of McCain-Feingold. That opened the door to more corporate spending, which helped the GOP. The Democrats complained incessantly about this in the final stretch although in the end, they managed to outspend the GOP even with the ruling in place.

7) Tim Scott and Allen West win: There hasn’t been a black Republican in the House since J.C. Watts left office in 2003. After this election, there will be two: Allen West and Tim Scott, both of whom are popular with grassroots conservatives.

6) The NRSC Endorsement of Charlie Crist: Conservatives were thrilled when Marco Rubio threw his hat in the ring for a Senate seat in Florida. Here was a young, accomplished Hispanic conservative with the sort of attitude, ideas and charisma that got Tea Partiers excited. Then, Florida Governor Charlie Crist decided to run and almost immediately, the NRSC endorsed him. This produced a massive backlash against the NRSC that helped set the tone for the rest of the year. It also scarred the NRSC so badly that it didn’t publicly endorse another squish in a competitive primary for the rest of the cycle. Given that Crist left the Republican Party and ran as an independent, that was probably a wise decision on the NRSC’s part.

5) The Tea Party vs. The Establishment: The Tea Party went head-to-head with the establishment Republicans in a number of races and this year and this time around, the conservative grassroots had the horsepower to prevail. Rand Paul beat Trey Greyson. Mike Lee knocked off Robert Bennet. Marco Rubio beat Charlie Crist. Joe Miller beat Lisa Murkowski in the primary, although it looks like she’s going to win in the general election. Christine O’Donnell defeated Mike Castle. Carl Paladino defeated Rick Lazio. Ken Buck knocked off Jane Norton. Sharron Angle defeated Sue Lowden. Arlen Specter left the party out of fear he’d lose to Pat Toomey. Trey Gowdy crushed Bob Inglis. This cycle, like no other before it, sent a message to Republican incumbents: It doesn’t matter who you are or how long you’ve been in D.C. — you can be beaten in a primary.

4) Christine O’Donnell: Republicans looked like they had a gimmie victory lined up in Delaware as popular Republican squish Mike Castle appeared to be poised to get the nomination. Next thing you know, Christine O’Donnell was endorsed by the Tea Party Express, Jim DeMint, and Sarah Palin. After O’Donnell won, it turned into a gimmie seat for the Democrats. O’Donnell’s campaign also inspired the biggest wave of outright liberal sexism since Sarah Palin hit the national scene. The worst of it was when Gawker actually paid some loser to talk about a hot and heavy make-out session the two of them had. Of course, it’s also never a good sign when a candidate actually feels compelled to start off an ad with the words, “I am not a witch.”

3) Scott Brown’s victory: It doesn’t get much sweeter than winning a high profile special election and putting a Republican in “Ted Kennedy’s seat.”

2) Palin’s Revenge: The Year Of The Republican Woman: The Democrats mocked Sarah Palin from the moment she came on the scene. They pronounced her finished when she quit as governor of Alaska…yet, who was the single biggest force in the entire 2010 election cycle? Sarah Palin. She raised massive amounts of money, her endorsements swung primaries, and she did more to promote women candidates than anyone ever has before. Not all of them won, but a number of prominent women candidates did make it over the finish line including Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley, Mary Fallin, Kelly Ayotte, Renee Ellmers, Vikki Hartzler, and Kristi Noem.

1) The Democrats’ Election night shellacking: Although all the results aren’t quite in yet, we already know that 2010 was the best night for the GOP since the forties. They won more than 60 seats in the House, at least 6 seats in the Senate, added at least 10 governorships, 18 state legislatures, and 600 statewide races. Given that this is a census year, those gains in the state legislatures and governorships are particularly important because the gerrymandering that will occur as a result will add more seats to the GOP’s totals in the House for a full decade.

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