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McDonnell wins, NJ and NY-23 await



Former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) is the new governor of Virginia. Photo by Nikki Kahn of the Washington Post

Former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell defeated state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) in the Virginia governor's race, a win that was expected but nonetheless buoys Republicans nationally and inserts McDonnell as a player in national politics in 2012.

McDonnell's expected victory hands control of the Virginia governor's office back to Republicans for the first time in nearly a decade. McDonnell's victory also comes almost one year to the day from when President Barack Obama became the first Democrat in 34 years to carry the Commonwealth in a presidential election.

Virginia Republicans also claimed the lieutenant governor and attorney general's offices, according to the Associated Press, marking the first time since 1997 that one party has won all three statewide offices.

"These significant victories speak to the fantastic campaigns run by Republicans across the Commonwealth and the voters' clear rejection of liberal tax and spend policies that Washington Democrats are trying to force on Americans," said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele of the Virginia results.

From a national perspective, it's not the size but rather the composition of the McDonnell coalition that should be encouraging to Republicans. McDonnell won overwhelmingly among Independents, the same Virginia voters who fueled Obama's victory over Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) in 2008.

McDonnell's messaging throughout the campaign -- even through the "thesis" kerfuffle -- was aimed squarely at these independents. He talked relentlessly about the need to create jobs in the state and decried the growth of government under the Obama Administration; McDonnell never spoke about social issues unless prompted.

Independents are absolutely essential to the two other critical contests on the ballot tonight -- the governor's race in New Jersey and a special House election in New York's 23rd district.

The rise of Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman in Upstate New York was initially fueled by unaligned voters disgruntled with the status quo in Washington. And, in New Jersey, independent Chris Daggett rose from nowhere to relevance thanks to voters' stated disgust with the two major parties and their nominees.

Republicans were cautiously optimistic about their chances in each of those races, particularly after McDonnell's strong victory. While Hoffman's candidacy drove state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, the endorsed Republican, from the contest, national GOPers have claimed him as one of their own in the final days of the race.

And, in New Jersey, there was evidence in (some) last-minute polls that former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R) was closing the gap with Gov. Jon Corzine (D) as Daggett faded and independents opted for the Republican nominee.

Polls will close in New Jersey at 8 p.m. and in New York at 9 p.m.

For the moment, Republicans are left to rejoice in McDonnell's victory. Expect McDonnell, who won praise for his campaign from national party strategists of both political stripes, to emerge as a model for the sort of person the GOP must nominate to reclaim governorships and Senate seats in swing states.

And, although McDonnell has pledged to serve a full term, he will almost certainly wind up on some 2012 vice presidential lists due to the primacy of the Commonwealth in both parties' political calculus.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 3, 2009; 8:01 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Next: An independent move to GOP

Comments

Oh my God! After a nearly year-long absence the far-right Georgetown troll has returned. Here is to hoping "37th and O" disappears again. Her rants are ridiculous.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 4, 2009 3:38 AM | Report abuse

Ugh, so much static on your blog today, Chris.

"That's surprising, and bears ruminating on."

Totally agreed, Douglas.

Posted by: nodebris | November 4, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Obama is NOT what he claimed he was during last year's campaign. He is a FRAUD.


He promised a transparent, post-partisan, post-racial administration.

He has been a FAILURE on every account.

They could draw up a bipartisan health care bill - it just would not include a massive government programs - it would instead concentrate on curbing the worst abuses of the insurance companies.


Obama is a part of the ultra-left wing who is completely out of touch with America.

Release the files in Hawaii, what is the big deal???


Obama is not even doing in Afghanistan what he promised.


Obama's idea of bipartisanship is to pretend to have a meeting, and then ARROGANTLY say that they won the election and they aren't going to make any concessions. NOT exactly what Obama promised last year.

Obama has to realize that the American people did NOT vote for this kind of administration last year.


The stimulus bill was a left-wing special interest give-away AND OBAMA DIDN'T CARE THAT HE GOT CAUGHT WITH HIS HAND IN THE COOKIE JAR.

The stimulus bill was NOT the place for that kind of spending - it was a BETRAYAL.

OBAMA IS FRAUD - IT IS THAT SIMPLE.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | November 3, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Obamania is finished.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | November 3, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Deeds lost because he refused to allow Obama to campaign for him until the last minute. It was almost as though he tried to pull an "Al Gore" - who realized too late that allowing Clinton to campaign for him might, in retrospect, have been a good thing.

Same for Mr. Deeds, who won't be going to the governor's mansion. This was Deeds race to lose and he seemed determined to lose it from the getgo. What in the world was he thinking?

But not to worry; once voters realize what they bought, they'll be eager to return it by 2012....

As far as more women voting for McDonnell - well, I don't put too much stock in that as a bellringer for 2012. Democrats just weren't fired up and I blame that on Deeds, without giving credit to McDonnell.

Also, Republicans vote more consistently than Democrats, even though usually Democrats outnumber Republicans, and most Republican women vote "with their man."

Deeds was the wrong candidate. Whoever thought he'd be a winner should have their head/s examined....

Posted by: kentuckywoman2 | November 3, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

"Expect McDonnell, who won praise for his campaign from national party strategists of both political stripes, to emerge as a model for the sort of person the GOP must nominate to reclaim governorships and Senate seats in swing states."
====================================

It wasn't any really great strategy other than to copy the democratic strategy that won them the last two Governor's elections: Run as a moderate-centrist, talk about creating jobs and improving transportation, avoid social issues, and in the republicans case, criticize Obama. Now, McDonnell is going to have to deliever on the jobs and transportation issues, but since the republican's economic policies (which run to an almost cult like worship) of the free market, limited government, and no new taxes will kill any job growth and any transportation initiatives, the democrats should have no problem winning back the statehouse in four years...

Posted by: bromisky | November 3, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Good luck, Republicans. Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it.

Now you have a state that has already had its budget and essential services slashed to the bone. The future looks grim and you will be stuck having to explain why you can't fulfill any of your promises to create jobs and fix transportation.

College students beware: you are about to get a massive tax increase in the form of tuition increases to make up for all the money McDonnell will drain from your schools to pay for prisons that will be needed to house the mentally ill who can't get treatment anymore.

Car owners beware because you will need new suspensions since the state is about to get out of the pothole filling business and snow plowing business.

Posted by: thuff7 | November 3, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

hoos3014, you misunderstand me. I am indeed a former Republican, but since about 2006, a very partisan though pro-life Democrat.

I stand by the point of the comment you refer to - I think that any Democratic opposition researcher who stumbled on that document would think they'd hit pay dirt.

I don't think of opposition research as an evil - it's a fact of modern campaigns. A candidate needs to know his opponent's record in detail, and doesn't have time to do the research in person.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

douglaslbarber: It was no "democratic researcher" that found the thesis, it was McDonnell himself who practially invited a WashPo reporter to go look it up.

Enjoy your win, you don't need the conspiracy theories today.

Posted by: hoos3014 | November 3, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The Virginia surprise, to my mind, is this:

I'd bet that any Democratic opposition researcher who unearthed McDonnell's graduate thesis (from Pat Robertson's CBN University, name changed since its founding) would have been absolutely certain that they'd found pay dirt. Abortion should be illegal? Not controversial for a Republican. A woman's place is in the home? Yowsa.

Turns out it was worth little or nothing. Men backed McDonnell overwhelmingly, but a majority of women who voted also voted for him.

That's surprising, and bears ruminating on.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

'I grew up in the shadow of Mt. Vernon and George Washington was always my model of a servant leader. Washington understood power and service and accountability and duty and honor. He said remember that it is action and not the commission that make the officer and more is expected out of a leader than a mere title. So when I beat my Nigerian slave down I utilize my power. For my ownership of the darky is not in itself enough guarantee a bountiful harvest. Thus I am a successful farmer and a leader of our new free market society.'

Near quote from V: the victory of the Grand Old Party's party spoken by Bob McDonnell. Every one was wearing red in defiant recognition of the TV premiere.

Posted by: chavez66 | November 3, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I missed this before from broadwayjoe: "@dog: When Deeds pissed off Wilder and Johnson in the space of few weeks and then wasted his time talking gun rights to yahoos, Deeds's goose was cooked and the race was over."

Exactly. For those, like myself, interested in polling differences between black and white democrats, the gun control issue's worth looking at. I have no evidence, just a hypothesis, that blacks likely to vote and vote democratic may find NRA support to be a deal-breaker to a much greater extent than do whites likely to vote and vote democratic.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I have to claim responsibility for pushing Deeds in the primaries. My bad, I apologize to my fellow Virginians. I couldn't stomach McAuliffe, though. And I worried about Moran, perhaps unjustly, because his brother lives on the line between technically legal and downright skanky. (Nice guy, though, I've met him several times.) But he was in the Post the week before the election involved in that accidentally released list of House ethics probes -- imagine that right before the election, "Dem Candidate's Brother Embroiled in Ethics Probe." Swell. Deeds is straight up, whatever his other failings.

Next time, better candidates! Hey, you young Dems: get cracking. You can ride a cresting wave. Demographics and an evolving culture are on your side. You just have to be there with a good board, a good head, and well-hone skills when the big one comes rolling in.

Posted by: nodebris | November 3, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, I wish McDonnell the best, but I have this dreadful feeling we're about to suffer the reincarnation of the Ghastly Gilmore. Let's see if he walks the moderate walk. Another John Warner wouldn't hurt anyone, and I'd be pleasantly amazed if the goopers accidentally elected one.

The AG and LG, no one, and I mean no one, in Virginia pays attention to those offices unless they do something scandalously stupid, or stupidly scandalous. Which is a pity, because typically the LG or AG is a candidate in the next Gov race.

Folks are going to regret Cuccinelli, though, bet you. If I were female, gay or dark skinned, I'd be considering a move to Maryland about now.

Posted by: nodebris | November 3, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

angriestdogintheworld wrote, "the big question that needs to be debated... can black voters be convinced to vote for a white, moderate to conservative Democrat. Because I really think that had the Democratic Party in Virginia run a black candidate, this Christian Broadcasting Network ditto head would have been beaten soundly."

-------------

It seems to me that Deeds did far worse at attracting black votes than an optimal white candidate might have done. For one thing, his emphasis on liberal social issues - abortion, gay marriage - during a time of economic crisis was a major strategic error with all voters, and especially, I'll bet, with black voters.

I say that because not only is any random black voter more likely to have a pain in the pocketbook when times are hard, but also those blacks who vote and vote democratic tend to be more socially conservative than their white counterparts.

Second, Deeds majorly misplayed the Obama connection, at first trying to distance himself from the president.

Finally, Deeds seems to me to be just a horrible communicator. Not even Sarah Palin's equal - and that's got to put him in about the 2'nd percentile of elected dog-catchers in the USA, let alone governors of major states.

So I think the answer to angriestdog's question is, "It remains to be seen." Let's see how Senator Jim Webb polls in that demographic next time his number's up. I'll bet he does well.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

The biggest loser in the Virginia race is not the Democratic Party, either nationally or in Virginia, but the Washington Post. The Post's handpicked Democratic candidate Deeds, who seems to have verified pre-primary suspicions of many Democratic insiders that he was not ready for prime-time, ran an awful campaign that never conveyed a positive affirmative message as to what he was all about and how we would solve Virginia's policy problems.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 3, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Broadwayjoe, that's what I was guessing, and I agree with your assessment. CNN says of its exit poll that 24 per cent those questioned reported that their vote expressed discontent with President Obama. I think we already knew that 24 percent of white Virginians in a low turnout election probably have the Confederate Battle flag tattoed some place or another.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 9:25 PM
___________

I did the early voting this time. When I went to the polls, no one was there. No one--from the time I entered until the time I left.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 3, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

@dog: When Deeds pissed off Wilder and Johnson in the space of few weeks and then wasted his time talking gun rights to yahoos, Deeds's goose was cooked and the race was over.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 3, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Broadwayjoe, that's what I was guessing, and I agree with your assessment. CNN says of its exit poll that 24 per cent those questioned reported that their vote expressed discontent with President Obama. I think we already knew that 24 percent of white Virginians in a low turnout election probably have the Confederate Battle flag tattoed some place or another.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

the big question that needs to be debated... can black voters be convinced to vote for a white, moderate to conservative Democrat. Because I really think that had the Democratic Party in Virginia run a black candidate, this Christian Broadcasting Network ditto head would have been beaten soundly.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 3, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps now he can change his webpage so that it doesn't look like Obama's...

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 8:10 PM
______

Mac had more nice things to say about 44 than Deeds did.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 3, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

At least in the sources I'm reading, there seems to be a conspiracy of silence among those writing about exit polls with regard to the racial composition of the set of people who actually voted in this year's Virginia election. Info would be much appreciated.

Finally, that photo of NYC Mayor Bloomberg emerging from a voting booth makes him look like a geeky Vladimir Putin.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 8:57 PM
________

The word is that the composition was totally monochromatic. Pale in the extreme. Kinda back to the 50s. The MSM will downplay that fact or not report it at all.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 3, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't think he IS a veteran. With mattadamsdietmanager's other spelling mistakes, maybe he is really a vegetarian or an invertebrate and he just doesn't know how to spell them either?

Posted by: steveboyington | November 3, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

"I am so glad the Republicans are winning. As a veteran i was so disgusted as a veteran to see Illegal Aliens taking jobs away from Americans on Obama's watch. The fact that there is too much government in Illinois. As a veteran i had to fill out too many government forms just to take a census exam and deal with a lazy state employee. Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 "

If you filled out forms and gave them to a STATE employee to be a census taker, please tewll me WHICH census. To work for the U. S. Deciennial Census you fill out a form on line and take a Civil Service test. It is a Federal job and a Federal Appointment. The form isn't all that long.

And just what change in policy under Obama made any change at all in immigration, legal or otherwise, employment or otherwise.

I would suggest you get your facts straight, but you don't seem to have any real concept of the idea of facts as snippets of reality.

So go back to LaLa land and mutter.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 3, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Finally a Republican that says it like his party thinks and acts it. Women: get back in the kitchen and cook me some bacon and eggs. We GOP men will get back to what men do best: anything we want. Welcome back, 1950s.

Posted by: steveboyington | November 3, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

mattadamsdietmanager1014, you're not by any chance a veteran are you? I think I finally got it after your 3'rd iteration within your 65 word comment (9 words of which were devoted to asserting your status as a vet).

Now just exactly what insight a veteran has into immigration policy, than a person who never served would lack, escapes me at the moment - especially since every veteran is well aware that service in our military is one way people who are not US citizens can and do become citizens. Immigrant people, even, as Snagglepuss might say.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Deeds's "I'm not an Obama Democrat" strategy didn't get him too far, did it?
Tiny turnout. Since Deeds did no outreach, no blacks or young people turned out. Pretty sad stuff. Henceforth, many will call him Creigh {Mis]Deeds.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 3, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

How many days does Virginia have to allow McConnell to demand a recount? Beware of what you ask for, wishes do get granted.

McConnell has to deal with Virginia's budget. Like every other state in the union the times are fast approaching when Virginia will have to raise further revenues, and as Governor McConnell will have to be the one to ask, and the one to sign the bill when they get raised.

Maybe Virginia democrats have learned the James Rhodes theory if fiscal prudence: Let your opponents have the Statehouse when it is necessary to raise taxes.

But congratulations to McConnell, and I hope he has a great time on the bubble.

HJe will be a better advertisement for the Democrats than Deeds ever could have been.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 3, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

"Wait till they live with what they voted for."

Margaret, we have been saying this for many years. There is a problem. It gets worse for the hard working American voter every year (since whatever nostalgic benchmark they hold dear) yet, the fish keep biting on the same lure.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 3, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

If Hoffman wins in NY it will set back the dental profession a century. The man needs to get his teeth cleaned in order to be camera-ready.

At least in the sources I'm reading, there seems to be a conspiracy of silence among those writing about exit polls with regard to the racial composition of the set of people who actually voted in this year's Virginia election. Info would be much appreciated.

Finally, that photo of NYC Mayor Bloomberg emerging from a voting booth makes him look like a geeky Vladimir Putin.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad the Republicans are winning. As a veteran i was so disgusted as a veteran to see Illegal Aliens taking jobs away from Americans on Obama's watch. The fact that there is too much government in Illinois. As a veteran i had to fill out too many government forms just to take a census exam and deal with a lazy state employee.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | November 3, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Libs are such losers.

Maybe Barry can extend his apology tour to va, nj and ny.

Dems are spiraling down fast. Just let them get their word out. Dems 15 minutes are up. A quarter of voters are remorseful.

Posted by: snowbama | November 3, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

rcvinson64, McDonnell has hidden his very conservative social and fiscal agenda from voters who gain all their knowledge about a candidate from 15 second ads on teevee. They sat with their mouths open and he spooned a made-up version of himself into them. Wait till they live with what they voted for.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | November 3, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

This article is far too premature. And for all the comments concerning Obama's approval rating: his approval rating was brought down by all those idiots who forget whose 8-year old mess he's trying to clean up. Deeds would have been an ideal choice for Virginia; he is a right-leaning liberal. Now we're stuck with Mr. Cleaver who by golly better have his dinner ready when he gets home from the office.

Posted by: molly116 | November 3, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

rcvinson64

I agree. What is up with Americans voting for these people?

"If you elect me to government, I'll make sure to bleed it and wreck it. Then, we'll prove we were Right all along. Then you will elect us again"

Posted by: shrink2 | November 3, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Let's see how long it takes this guy to destroy our economy, cut taxes and services and run for another office, while telling us how useless government is. I can't wait for women and minorities to get what's coming to them. You sat at home watching Jerry Springer and these guys are going to make you pay for your complacency.

Posted by: rcvinson64 | November 3, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Now maybe the Democrats and President Obama will put the American people 1st.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | November 3, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

mattadamsdietmanger worries

"Illegal Aliens are taking Veterans and Americans benefits and quota's all throughout the state" of Illinois.

Well I worry about the future of this country too. I don't think this is an example of illiteracy, I think this person is really worried about "Veterans and Americans benefits and quota's" being taken away by Illegal Aliens.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 3, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell defeated state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) in the Virginia governor's race, a win that was expected but nonetheless buoys Republicans nationally and inserts McDonnell as a player in national politics in 2012.

Ah, didn't we hear this same kind of rhetoric when Jim Gilmore was elected governor. He was billed as the new moderate voice for the republicans and provided a clear strategy for how to win independents and blue-dog democrats. Well that didn't work out too well for the republicans, either.

Considering that Virginia is the home of the NRA, Pat Robertson and the Jerry Fawell legacies, it certainly comes as no surprise to me that McDonnell did as well as he did.

So now we get to see how Mr. McDonnell will do as governor and whether HIS rhetoric can be translated into policies that the public embraces after seeing the details.

Posted by: dlpetersdc | November 3, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: huangzhixian106 | November 3, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Jeez Ciz, give the guy at least one day in state office before elevating him to the national level.

Posted by: M__M | November 3, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Illinois has a 10.5% unemployment rate with corruption, high taxes on the people. Illegal Aliens taking Veterans & Americans benefits and quota's all throughout the state. People there are fed up. Illinois will change from blue to red next year with wins for Republicans.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | November 3, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Democrats brought this on themselves, NO UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENTION, WASTE TIME ON HEALTHECARE, CORRUPTION, NO JOBS, SAYING WERE OUT OF RECESSION = NO WINS FOR DEMOCRATS!

This will happen in Illinois next year it will go to the Republicans. President Obama and the Democrats are dragging their feet to much on things!

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | November 3, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps now he can change his webpage so that it doesn't look like Obama's...

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

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