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After GOP landslide of Election 2010, what next for Obama?

Election 2010 voters sent a strong message of discontent to President Obama on the economy. They also handed him a big political challenge: work toward greater bipartisanship.

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The Senate tea party caucus may not be all that big. Aside from the losses of Ms. Angle and Ms. O’Donnell, the fate of other tea partyers remained uncertain. The Colorado Senate race, featuring tea partyer Ken Buck (R) against appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D), the outcome was too close to call. The implosion of the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Dan Maes, who was originally backed by the tea party before it abandoned him, may have hurt GOP turnout. In Alaska, GOP tea party nominee Joe Miller also appeared to be trailing in his intraparty battle royale against write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), whom he had defeated in the primary. Those two races could take weeks to resolve.

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The Senate will still have a healthy contingent of GOP establishment pros. Witness the election of former Sen. Dan Coats (R) of Indiana back into the Senate and former Bush administration budget master Rob Portman to the Senate in Ohio. Also new to the Senate will be outgoing Gov. John Hoeven (R) of North Dakota and Rep. John Boozman (R) of Arkansas, who defeated Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D).

The Democrats weren’t completely hopeless in House races. Democrats beat two Republican incumbents, Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana and Charles Djou of Hawaii, both of whom had won the historically Democratic seats in the last two years under quirky circumstances. The Democrats also picked up the seat of Rep. Mike Castle (R) of Delaware, who lost his Senate primary to O’Donnell. But they lost an open House seat in Illinois that they had a good shot at winning, the seat vacated by Rep. Mark Kirk (R), who won President Obama’s old Senate seat Tuesday.

The Republicans won critical governorships. In a year of congressional redistricting, governors' offices become extra-important. So the GOP victory in Ohio and possibly in Florida, two key swing states, took on added significance. The biggest prize of the night, California, changed to Democratic hands, and New York stayed in Democratic hands. Republican Rick Perry, governor of Texas for 10 years, won four more. And Illinois was too close to call.