Day-after chatter focused on how independent voters were pivotal in helping drive Republicans to victory in the New Jersey and Virginia governor races.

“The independent voter today is the keystone,” a very happy chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, said on CNN.

“And if you don’t have a message for them, if you don’t have something to say, they’ll let you know by going with the other team or staying out of it altogether. Last night they came home to the GOP,” he said. After repeated TV appearances since last night’s results, Steele is holding a press conference at 10 a.m.

USA/Tim Kaine, the outgoing governor of Virginia and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, made the TV rounds on behalf of his party — his main message was that Creigh Deeds, the Democrat who lost  the race to replace him in the Virginia statehouse, had been an “underdog” all along.

Kaine also focused on (surprise, surprise) the Democrat win for a House of Representatives seat in New York over the Conservative Party candidate that Sarah Palin had endorsed.