4) In the wake of the surprising loss of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Republicans were quick to point out that she didn't take their advice to go negative on her opponent, Joe Miller. In Delaware, however, Castle heeded their warnings and attacked O'Donnell relentlessly. The local papers ran plenty of stories about O'Donnell that cast her in an unflattering light. And, he even got help from the Delaware Republican Party in attacking O'Donnell as a fringe candidate with a checkered past. None of it mattered.
This should be a sobering sign to national Democrats who are counting on a similar strategy to beat many of these Tea Party candidates this fall. To be sure, comparing a Republican primary electorate to a general election electorate is apples and oranges. Even so, it's abundantly clear that these are not typical times. Frustration and anger with the status quo is so intense that what might give voters pause a couple years ago, might not matter as much this year.
5) In New York, given Democratic state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's huge warchest and big lead in the polls, the conventional wisdom has long held that regardless of who he faced this fall, he was the odds-on-favorite. However, it's worth taking Republican Carl Paladino seriously. Yes, he has lots of personal baggage. But, he's also got lots of money (primary loser Rick Lazio didn't) and a "mad as hell" message that's obviously got some appeal in a state where political corruption and incompetence runs rampant.
6) In another major upset, Washington, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty lost his reelection bid to council chairman Vincent Gray. Under Fenty, crime dropped and scores at schools improved, but opinion polls time and again showed voters considered the mayor disconnected. Fenty took much heat for his support of DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, whose performance-based system for schools led to a dismissal of a number of teachers and principals.