Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) scored a surprisingly decisive victory over Republican Sharron Angle, despite holding low approval ratings and representing a state with the highest unemployment rate in the country.
Reid's victory is one of the rare Democratic bright spots of the night. The Angle campaign this morning put out a release this morning all but anticipating the defeat of the Democrats' Senate leader.
All the networks and the AP called the race only about two hours after polls closed in Nevada, with Reid jumping to a sizable lead in suburban Clark County (Las Vegas). With 41 percent of precincts reporting, Reid leads Angle 51 to 44 percent.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Robert Menendez (N.J.) said Reid persevered despite the barrage of negative attacks he faced from Republicans.
Angle, a Tea Party favorite, struggled on the campaign trail, making frequent gaffes. Her unstinting conservative voting record in the state legislature also proved to be potent fodder for Reid to use against her.
The big question to come is whether Reid will stay on as Senate Majority Leader now that Democrats have maintained control of the Senate despite sustaining losses. Reid's disapproval rating back home was well above 50 percent, and was directly tied to many of the president's policies.
Early indications are that he'd have the support of his Democratic colleagues if he chose to remain as leader.
"Politico was wrong, Huffington Post was wrong, hell, all the pundits were wrong. Harry Reid isn't just Dracula, he isn't just Lazarus, he's our Leader and our whole caucus is thrilled that he's unbreakable and unbeatable," Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said, in a statement.