Something Special: It's called a special election for a reason. The race did not take place on a usual date nor was it conducted under normal circumstances. Early wrangling over protocol determined a lot about the campaign's trajectory. The way the state decided to conduct it -- allowing party central committees to choose nominees instead of instituting a "ballot royal" free-for-all -- initially dampened Democratic hopes of winning, and gave some support groups pause about the extent to which they would play.
Also, overall turnout was much less than it will be in a normal statewide general election, so projecting ahead to 2012's Senate and presidential race based just off of Tuesday's numbers is far from a perfect science; a silver lining of sorts for Democrats, if there is one.
Drama for Obama: The president isn't popular in the district. Time and again, Amodei and his allies tied Marshall to Obama. And it worked. Meanwhile, the Democrat struggled to distance herself. Things weren't always this way: the president lost to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the district by less than a hundred votes in 2008.
It's even easier for Republicans to tie Rep. Shelley Berkley to the president, given her presence in Congress. Berkley has virtually no shot of winning the area that would make up Sen. Dean Heller's old district next year in the Senate race, but she doesn't have to, nor does she have to keep it extremely tight. However, in an overall race that's expected to be very close, she'll want to neutralize Heller's advantage there as much as possible. The president's current standing there won't help her case.