Whew what a night… I was up until about 1:00 a.m. this morning tracking results and scribbling down various thoughts on yesterday’s elections.
First, I’m not sure how much we can or should read into the results one thing is clear from the exit polling though: the economy is the number one concern of voters.
Second, all in all Republicans did pretty well yesterday. They won governorships in Virginia and New Jersey… states that President Barack Obama won by wide margins last year. And they came closer than any sane person would have thought possible in California’s 10 Congressional District were a relative unknown named David Harmer came within 11 points of John Garamendi, the state’s Lieutenant Governor… Republicans have lost CA-10 by and average 37 points in the last 4 congressional elections. That alone should make Democrats a bit nervous!
Virginia and New Jersey
Barack Obama beat McCain in Virginia by 13 points last year; this year Bob McDonnell won it by 17. Republicans swept the statewide races winning Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General by wide margins. They’re also poised to gain a half dozen seats in the state legislature. Lets not forget Tim Kaine, the current Virginia governor is also Democratic National Committee chairman… A post he was put into in part to help consolidate Democratic gains in the state.
As bad as the loss in Virginia was things are even worse in New Jersey, where Barack Obama beat John McCain by 15 points last year. New Jersey is one of the bluest, blue states in the nation, republicans haven’t won there in more than a decade. And yet despite considerable support for the incumbent governor, John Corzine, from both the President and Vice President Chris Christie won the state by 4 points.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call the New Jersey governors race a referendum on Barack Obama, though I think safe to say the mystique is gone… Barack Obama invested both his prestige and a fair amount of political capital there and the Democrats lost. That should make Democrats from moderate or conservative congressional districts in other states a bit nervous about aligning themselves to closely with the President agenda… After all if they fall behind in their re-election bids the President’s support may not be able to drag them across the finish line.
What mess… The special election in New York’s 23rd Congressional district was a complete Charlie Fox Trot from the start. Many of us had hoped that Doug Hoffman would be able to pull off a miracle yesterday and he came damn close to doing it… and given where the race was three weeks ago I suppose you could argue, as Erick Erickson does, that yesterdays results are a moral victory for Conservatives.
What went wrong? Lets start with choice of Dede Scozzafava, from all reports she’s a good woman but her positions on the issues and her voting record in the state legislature didn’t endear he to grassroots activists. The local Republican Party bosses who hand picked her should have realized that and chosen someone with a more moderate record. Second, third party campaigns are always risky propositions and Doug Hoffman did far better than anyone could have expected. Third, Ms. Scozzafava’s decision to withdraw from the race and endorse Democrat Bill Owens appears to have swung the election his way… Owens beat Hoffman in the areas where Ms. Scozzafava’s support had been the strongest.
On the bright side Republicans have a chance to win back the seat in next year’s mid term elections… Assuming they rally around a better candidate who shares the core principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism.
The bottom line is NY-23 may turn out be a good loss if it shakes up the Republican Party Establishment and forces them embrace core conservative principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility.
- The Obama magic has faded – Glenn Reyolds, New York Post
- GOP Gets Some Love – Wall Street Journal
- Contests serve as warning to Democrats: It’s not 2008 anymore – Washington Post
- Independents fuel GOP victories in Va., N.J. – Washhington Times
- THE INFLUENCE GAME: Liberals targeting moderates – Associated Press
- The Conservative Victory in New York – Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Corner
- The GOP elite’s $1 million object lesson — and the message of NY-23 – Michelle Malkin
- The top five lessons from yesterday – Power Line