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Starting Lineup: After The Storm

Tea Party Mandate? In his victory speech, Kentucky Senator-elect Rand Paul provided a glimpse of what could be an upcoming struggle within the now larger GOP Senate caucus. "Tonight, there's a Tea Party tidal wave," he said. "We're sending a message to them!" At this point, the Tea Party caucus -- or those who were backed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) -- is six members strong (including DeMint). But it's worth keeping in mind that the Tea Party appears to have stood in the way of the GOP winning a majority. Look no further than Christine O'Donnell's loss in Delaware and Angle's loss in Nevada. That's two seats the GOP could have picked up. And Joe Miller's upset primary victory fueled the Tea Party Express' challenge in Delaware; without it, we could be talking about Republican Delaware Senator Mike Castle. Biggest Surprises: The Democratic loses that surprised this editor the most: Reps. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas), Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) and Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) losing and Reps. Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas) and Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) trailing at the time of this writing. On the flip side, a trio of Iowa Democrats -- Reps. Bruce Braley, David Loebsack and Leonard Boswell survived. Same for a trio of North Carolinians -- Reps. Heath Shuler, Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell -- all of whom looked in some degree of trouble. Wisconsin Washout: The scope of the Democratic devastation is perhaps most evident in Wisconsin -- a state that have backed the Democratic nominee in the last six presidential elections. On Tuesday, the Democrats lost the governorship to Republican Scott Walker. Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold was ousted by Republican Ron Johnson. Democrats lost two seats in the House and control of both -- yes, both -- chambers of the state legislature. Don't forget that Pres. Obama kicked off the 2010 campaign season with a major rally in Milwaukee on Labor Day this year. White House Watch: Obama will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. and will undoubtedly discuss the midterm results. Vice Pres. Joe Biden has no public events scheduled.

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