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Gov. Brian Sandoval led a Republican landslide in Nevada on Nov. 4.
At the risk of sounding obvious, the 2014 midterm election cycle proved to be a pretty universal disappointment for Democrats.
At the top of the ticket, the loss of the Senate, and roughly a dozen House seats, puts the Republicans in fairly firm control of the U.S. Congress heading into 2015. But that was only the tip of a deep and wide electoral iceberg, which included the loss of several closely contested gubernatorial elections, and a disaster at the state legislative level.
One could build a credible argument that two states were the epicenter of the Democratic doldrums in 2014.
In the eastern half of the United States, it was West Virginia. Not only did the Democrats surrender an open U.S. Senate seat by north of 20 points, and lose an incumbent member of the House with nearly four decades in office, but they also lost control of both chambers of the state legislature. This might not seem like a huge deal, until one realizes that the Democrats held a 24-10 advantage in the state Senate prior to the election, and lost eight seats (one due to a post-election party switch) to fall into the minority.
In the western half of the nation, the story, without question, had to be Nevada. The irony is that the state was scarcely a story going into November. Its Republican governor was considered an absolutely safe bet for re-election, there was no U.S. Senate seat at stake, and once the prospects for a competitive contest in the swingy 3rd district in the U.S. House dimmed, it appeared that the House delegation was going to be unchanged.
And, then … electoral disaster for the Democrats. In his traditional pre-election predictions, Nevada sage Jon Ralston predicted a very ugly election night for the Democrats. It was worse than even he projected. They not only lost the state Senate, but also lost the state Assembly, which nearly no one had in play. And freshman Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford wound up losing his Vegas-area House seat (which few saw as competitive until mid-to-late-October) to Republican assemblyman Cresent Hardy. And, in the litany of statewide races, it was a total wipeout. The ultimate indignity: Democratic rising star Ross Miller, the son of former Gov. Bob Miller, lost his bid for attorney general to Adam Laxalt, whose candidacy was so flawed more than a half dozen of his own relatives endorsed Miller.
It was ugly, but it was also instructive. Follow me below the fold for some lessons from this enormous batch of electoral suckage.