No list of the best campaigns of the year is complete without mentioning one of the newest stars in politics: Florida Republican Sen.-elect Marco Rubio. Rubio's 2010 story is pretty unbelievable: He went from being in the state legislature, to forcing Gov. Charlie Crist -- who was once one of the most popular governors in the country -- to abandon the Republican Party and then thoroughly trounced him in the general election with a campaign that committed no missteps. The question for Rubio now is what's next. Will he chart a moderate or conservative course in the Senate? And will he seek to position himself for the 2012 presidential ticket?
The best campaigns weren't limited to statewide races. One House example that jumps out is Republican Sean Duffy's Wisconsin congressional campaign. The former MTV "Real World" star announced early in the cycle that he would challenge veteran Rep. David Obey (D). Duffy's strong fundraising and campaign organization helped force Obey into retirement, and it was smooth sailing for Duffy from there. Duffy aired some particularly unique ads that drew on his background as a lumberjack competitor, and he went on to defeat Democrat Julie Lassa by a large margin.