Although last night was a good night for Republicans and a bad night for incumbents, I must admit that I'm disappointed that Democrats held John Murtha's seat -- for now.

In the western Pennsylvania special House election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha, Republican Tim Burns called and conceded the race to Democrat and former Murtha aide Mark Critz.

The race was painted by Republicans as a referendum on the "Obama-Pelosi agenda" and Republicans are now likely to face questions about whether or not, even in this environment, just criticizing the "Obama-Pelosi" agenda as Burns had done through this entire campaign is sufficient. This district was precisely the kind of district that Republicans needed to win in order to become the majority party this fall.

Republicans will argue that the turnout advantages for Democrats in a special election on primary day with a competitive Democratic primary at the top of the ticket were too great to overcome, but that they will win this seat in November.

Excuses are nice, but not as nice as winning. The results weren't even very close.

In the end, Republican Tim Burns didn't come that close to winning the race in Pennsylvania's 12th District. Democrat Mark Critz took the seat with 53.4 percent of the vote to 44.3 percent for Burns, a margin of 12,208 votes, with the remainder of the vote going to a Libertarian Party candidate.

Coming after polls showed Burns running as high as 49 percent -- in the one district that voted for Kerry in 2004 and McCain in 2008 -- it was a shock and a disappointment to tea party activists. Robert Stacy McCain, a freelancer who made four trips into the district to shadow Burns, reported that Burns allies like Diana Irey, who ran against the late John Murtha in 2006, were even interpreting early results that showed Critz narrowly winning some Democratic precincts as proof that Burns would win.

Despite other losses yesterday, Democrats should draw great solace from Critz's victory. I think this special election was the main event yesterday, and it doesn't point to a Republican takeover of the House in November.

Back to the first article, let me point out some bad word selection in this paragraph about Blanch Lincoln's failure to win the nomination for her own seat:

In Arkansas, incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, facing the toughest political battle of her career, failed to win the majority of votes in the Democratic primary. She will now face a runoff election with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter on June 8.

Lincoln was the target of much of the same anti-incumbent sentiment as Specter. But unlike the Pennsylvania senator, she did garner a majority of the votes, but not the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.

I think the word they were looking for is "plurality".

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