Fight to watch: "[House Republicans] are willing to spare their leader, Ohio Rep. John A. Boehner. His No. 2, Minority Whip Roy Blunt, might not be so lucky, however, as it appears he will avoid an inevitable challenge from his top deputy, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor," Politico's Patrick O'Connor writes. "Beyond that, there was only chaos. And finger-pointing."
Does the comeback start Thursday? "20 leading conservatives will gather Thursday at the home of Media Research Center chairman Brent Bozell," The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reports.
One Democratic battle brewing: "Less than a day after firming their grip on the House, Democrats geared up for an internal battle royal as Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (Calif.) launched a bid to wrest the gavel of the Energy and Commerce Committee from Rep. John Dingell (Mich.)," Roll Call's Tory Newmyer and Paul Singer report.
It could have been worse for the GOP: "Just about all the conservative Republicans in traditionally red territory held seats needed by the GOP to avoid a blowout: Senators Roger Wicker in Mississippi, Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and, probably, Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, along with House members John Shadegg in Arizona, Cynthia Lummis in Wyoming and the Diaz-Balart brothers in Florida," Time's Michael Grunwald writes. "It looks like graft-convicted Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska will somehow retain his seat long enough to get expelled, and his ethically and temperamentally challenged porkmate, Don Young, was reelected as well."
Picking up some pieces . . . The Oregonian calls the Senate race for Democrat Jeff Merkley, but the votes are still being counted, and there's been no concession or declaration of victory.
In Minnesota, after the AP "uncalled" (great new term) the race it had handed to Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, a recount in on tap. "Sen. Norm Coleman's narrow lead over DFL challenger Al Franken in the U.S. Senate race narrowed even more Wednesday, guaranteeing a recount that would be the state's biggest ever and could stretch well into next month," per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Alaskans like their guys: "While a Democratic wave swept the rest of the nation, not even FBI investigations could keep Alaska's Republican Congressional delegation from holding leads the day after the election," per the Anchorage Daily News' Sean Cockerham and Tom Kizzia.
No final word yet out of Georgia, either. Democrats are plus-5 in the Senate, so far, and plus-19 an counting in the House.
"The outcome of four closely contested Senate races remained undecided, as congressional Democrats began initial planning for the agenda of President-elect Barack Obama," Greg Hitt writes in The Wall Street Journal. "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that boosting the shaky economy will be a top priority when the 111th Congress convenes in January, especially if lawmakers don't act on a stimulus package this month. The California Democrat added that a range of Democratic priorities, from reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil to widening access to health care, especially for children, will also be advanced next year."
"Democratic leaders are tamping down on expectations for rapid change and trying to signal they will place a calm hand on the nation's tiller," Mike Soraghan writes for The Hill.