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Local politicos react to Tuesday's election

Political activists in the District are responding to Tuesday's elections that saw the GOP win the governorships in Virginia and New Jersey, while voters in Maine supported a referendum to repeal that state's gay marriage law.

Robert Kabel, chairman of the D.C. Republican Committee, said Governors-Elect Robert F. McDonnell of Virginia and Chris Christie of New Jersey offered a road map for D.C. Republicans on how to make inroads in the 2010 city elections.

Republicans do not hold any seats on the D.C. Council, even though the law requires that at least one of the at-large council seats go to a minority party. Council member Michael Brown, a former Democrat who won his race as an independent, holds that seat.

Kabel noted that Christie and McDonnell made gains in Democratic strongholds compared with previous GOP campaigns in those states.

"Last night's victories only reinforce the idea that Republicans can win in traditionally Democratic areas with the right message," Kabel said. "The DCGOP will run candidates in 2010 that will resonate with urban-Democratic voters who want options in who they may select for elected office."

Kabel's statement, however, may be a bit of wishful think.

Although McDonnell narrowly carried Fairfax County, he lost the inner suburbs of Arlington and Alexandria by nearly 2 to 1. And according to exit polls, nine of 10 black voters in Virginia supported Democratic candidate R. Creigh Deeds, a state senator from Bath County. African Americans, who make up 56 percent of the population of the District, supported Gov. John Corzine (D-N.J.) by similarly large margins.

A more telling outcome from Tuesday related to the District may be the vote in Maine to repeal that state's same-sex marriage.

The vote will probably empower both sides of the debate in the District to fight harder over the proposal to hold an initiative on the issue next year. The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics is deliberating about whether opponents can go forward with their proposal to hold a public vote on whether to restrict marriage to one man and one woman.

Peter Rosenstein of the Campaign for All DC Families issued a statement this morning calling the Maine outcome "another sad moment in the fight for equal rights."

"It once again is an example of why the rights of a minority should never be put to a vote on the majority," Rosenstein said.

But the Rev. Harry Jackson, a leader of Stand4MarriageDC, countered the Maine results underscore the need for a referendum in the District.

"The denial of D.C. residents having a vote on marriage is a civil rights outrage," Jackson said. "We will continue our fight in having DC residents vote on this very important issue."


-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 4, 2009; 11:38 AM ET
Categories:  GOP , 2010 District Election , D.C. Council , D.C. Democrats & Republicans , Tim Craig , same-sex marriage  
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Comments

Correction -- The law requires that 2 of the at-large Council seats be held by a non-majority party member and those seats are held by Councilmembers Michael Brown and David Catania.

Posted by: andrewgerst@hotmail.com | November 4, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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