For some members of both parties, the unexpected outcomes of Tuesday's primaries meant that good things lie ahead. Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party victor in Delaware, paints her insurgency as a victory for a populist, libertarian groundswell in the country.
"Unfortunately, the establishment Republicans have lost their way," she told Fox Business Network. "They've abandoned the principles on which not only our party was founded, but our country was founded -- limited government, low taxation, free enterprise. And what my campaign is about is returning the political process back to the people. So we're kind of challenging their power."
Sarah Palin, who endorsed O'Donnell, also claimed victory, despite not being on Tuesday's ballot. "These contested primaries have been great for voters, great for our party, great for democracy at work," she told Fox News. "What we need to do is not lose sight of the ability we have here now, the opportunity to celebrate and capitalize on a weakened left, a weakened Democrat Party. And we need to go forth and conquer for the American people."
Some Democrats were similarly upbeat, though for different reasons. "I have to say, I think voters are going to look at this and it's going to be a wake-up call. Because what we just saw was the complete purging of moderates and independents out of the Republican party," said Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, on CNN.
Appearing on CNN beside Van Hollen was his Republican counterpart, Mike Pence of Indiana. He called O'Donnell's candidacy an "upbeat positive mainstream conservative message." But in a sign that Washington is not much changed, at least not yet, he changed the subject: "There's a party that has a problem out there today and, frankly, it's the Democratic Party on Capitol Hill and it's this administration," he said. "The American people are tired of the borrowing and the spending and the bailouts and the takeovers. And they're looking for men and women all over the country that are willing to come to Washington, D.C. and rein in this federal government."