Editor's note: The hotly contested campaign for the midterm elections is over. As the results come in, CNN's political contributors share their quick thoughts on what's making news.
So far, the election isn't quite the far-right stampede it was supposed to be. Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado and Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania were putting on strong showings in their Senate races; Independent gubernatorial candidates Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island and Eliot Cutler in Maine were also hanging tough.
This election is not - and was never - an outright endorsement of the GOP. It is about independents swinging against unified Democratic control of Washington.
There's also a lot of evidence of ticket splitting this year; look at the GOP's Tom Corbett sailing into the governorship in Pennsylvania, but Pat Toomey trailing his total. In Oregon, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden was returned to office, but GOP candidate (and former NBA star) Chris Dudley was also elected. This is happening across the country: Voters want the checks and balances but aren't willing to straight-ticket vote if one of the candidates is on the extremes. This is about trying to re-balance government, not empower a new ideological movement.
It's a victory for the founding fathers' vision of checks and balances.
John P. Avlon is a CNN contributor, senior political columnist for The Daily Beast, and author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America."
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