Last Tuesday, 16 of the small-business-friendly Democrats in the top 20 U.S. Senate races won. Here are the final results:
#1 -- Pennsylvania: State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. [D] beat junior Sen. Rick Santorum [R], 59%-41%.
#2 -- Ohio: U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown [D] defeated senior Sen. Mike DeWine [R], 56%-44%.
#3 -- Rhode Island: Former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse [D] beat incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee [R], 53%-47%.
#4 -- Virginia: After two days of vote-counting, Jim Webb [D] was declared the winner over junior Sen. George Allen [R], 50%-50%.
#5 -- Montana: State Senate President Jon Tester [D] narrowly beat junior Sen. Conrad Burns [R], 50%-50%.
#6 -- Missouri: State Auditor Claire McCaskil [D] defeated junior Sen. Jim Talent [R], 51%-49%.
#7 -- Maryland: Open seat. U.S. Rep. Ben Cardin [D] beat Lt. Gov. Michael Steele [R], 55%-45%.
#8 -- Arizona: Junior Sen. Jon Kyl [R] defeated his challenger, State Democratic Party Chair Jim Pederson [D], 55%-45%.
#9 -- New Jersey: Incumbent Sen. Robert Menendez [D] beat his challenger, Tom Kean Jr. [R], 54%-46%.
#10 -- Tennessee: Open seat. Businessman Bob Corker [R] defeated U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. [D], 51%-49%.
#11 -- Michigan: Junior Sen. Debbie Stabenow [D] beat her challenger, Mike Bouchard [R], 58%-42%.
#12 -- Minnesota: Open seat. After consistently running a positive, high-road campaign since the day she announced her candidacy, Hennepin County Attorney General Amy Klobuchar [D] handily won over U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy [R], 60%-40%. [Politicos take note: Geez, maybe deceptive and mean-spirited attack ads aren't the key to winning elections these days...]
#13 -- Washington: Junior Sen. Maria Cantwell [D] staved off her challenger, Mike McGavin [R], 60%-40%.
#14 -- Nebraska: Junior Sen. Ben Nelson [D] defeated his challenger, Peter Ricketts [R], 64%-36%.
#15 -- Nevada: Junior Sen. John Ensign [R] beat his challenger, businessman Jack Carter [D], a businessman, 57%-43%.
#16 -- West Virginia: Senior Sen. Robert Byrd [D] defeated his challenger, multimillionaire John Raese [R], 66%-34%.
#17 -- Vermont: Open seat. U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders [I] beat Richard Tarrant [R], 67%-33%.
#18 -- Florida: Senior Sen. Bill Nelson [D] staved off his challenger, former secretary of state and current state Rep. Katherine Harris [R], 61%-39%.
#19 -- Connecticut: Junior Sen. Joe Lieberman [D/I] won over Democratic challenger Ned Lamont and GOP challenger Alan Schlesinger, 56%-44%.
#20 -- Junior Sen. Daniel Akaka [D] beat his challenger, state Rep. Cynthia Thielen [R], 63%-37%.
In addition, now that Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., will be steering the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, perhaps the end to rampant cronyism and multibillion-dollar, no-bid government contracts is near. We can only hope that the playing field for small businesses will even be more level and fairer than it's been since, well, January 2001.
This afternoon, BusinessWeek.com's Jeffrey Gangemi reported that leaders of small-business advocacy groups are optimistic: "They think the election results will have specific benefits for different industries, ranging from increased access to to federal small-business contract set-asides to more loan availability through the embattled Small Business Administration."
Sources: BusinessWeek.com, National Journal, The New York Times
Just released: Former Sen. John Edwards' book, "Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives." [Great gift idea for folks of all political stripes!]