Sen. Ted Stevens's (R-Alaska) concession to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) in Alaska's Senate race has liberal bloggers cheering Stevens's pending departure from the upper chamber, while others anticipate Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) will usher in sweeping healthcare reforms in the next four years after reports that he has been tapped to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Congratulations are in order for Begich, Daily Kos's brownsox declares after Stevens's concession this afternoon, telling readers they can "kiss the longest continuously serving Republican in Senate history goodbye." Stevens's defeat gives Democrats 58 Senate seats and reopens the possibility of a filibuster-proof, 60-seat majority, as Senate races in Minnesota and Georgia still have yet to be decided, Political Animal's Steve Benen notes, proclaiming that 60 seats would be a milestone for Dems but wouldn't necessarily solve all the party's problems.

President-elect Barack Obama's reported selection of Daschle for HHS secretary was clearly designed to shepherd ambitious healthcare reforms through Congress, Ezra Klein asserts.