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Republican Sweep NJ, VA Governors Races

Former U.S Attorney Chris Christie (R-N.J.) ousted New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) tonight, delivering Republicans a sweep of the two gubernatorial contests on the ballot today.

With more than three quarters of all votes counted, Christie led Corzine 50 percent to 44 percent, according to tabulations from the AP.

Christie's victory was the more closely-fought of the two races as Corzine moved from a double-digit deficit into a small lead in the final weeks of the campaign. But, the collapse of independent candidate Chris Daggett, who was taking just five percent of the vote with 75 percent of precincts reporting, and the broad distaste for Corzine among the state's voters doomed the incumbent.

Corzine's loss comes on top of a stunningly large defeat for Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) at the hands of former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R). (McDonnell is only the third candidate for governor in Virginia history to win more than one million votes; George Allen was the first in 1993 and Tim Kaine was the second in 2005.)

Republican strategists quickly seized on the twin losses in two states carried by President Barack Obama in 2008 as evidence that voters were rebelling against full Democratic control in Washington.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele called the results a "clear rejection of liberal tax and spend policies that Washington Democrats are trying to force on Americans."

Democrats, for their part, stuck to their pre-election talking points, noting that it had been 24 years since the president's party had won even one of the two governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia.

"With the worst recession since the Great Depression and history favoring the other side, we knew this race would be difficult," said Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, about the Virginia result.

At the center of both Republican victories were independents, the same voting bloc that went overwhelmingly for President Obama in 2008.

Christie walloped Corzine among independents by a 58 percent to 31 percent margin, according to exit polling in the contest, a major turnaround from 2008 when President Barack Obama won independents 51 percent to 47 percent over Arizona Sen. John McCain.

In Virginia, McDonnell's victory was driven by his wide 65 percent to 34 percent margin among independents. Last year, Obama split independents with McCain (49 percent for the Republican, 48 percent for the Democrat) in the Commonwealth.

White House strategists were quick to note that Obama's numbers remain high with independents but the fact that unaligned voters went so heavily against the Democratic candidates in Virginia and New Jersey are almost certain to cause considerable consternation among those Democrats targeted in 2010.

The other two closely watched races on the ballot today were in New York.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) held a narrow 49 percent to 47 percent edge over New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson (D) with 68 percent of precincts reporting. That the race was so close given Bloomberg's massive spending edge -- he reportedly dropped $100 million on the race -- may well be a testament to the anti-incumbent mood in the country.

In the upstate New York special election to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Democrat Bill Owens led Conservative party nominee Doug Hoffman 51 percent to 44 percent with just under one-third of precincts reporting.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 3, 2009; 10:22 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Next: Democrats Salvage Night with NY-23 Special Win

Comments

The biggest swing wasn't in those who voted, but in those who DIDN'T vote compared to other election cycles. The Dems have a partisan advantage in the state, yet they were unable to capitalize on that advantage this election cycle. A lot of folks didn't bother to take the time to vote. Turnout for the VA election was just above 40 percent which is about 5 points lower than 2005 and 2001.

Posted by: JPRS | November 4, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

GoldandTanzanite wrote "A powerless workforce with no bargaining position and no expectation of a living wage" is what constitutes success for Republicans."

Having had a partner who worked for Arkansas-based Tyson foods in a chicken processing plant, I have to agree. And of course, if Tyson could ship those jobs to communist China or Viet Nam they would do it in a second, to take advantage of a work force which faces even harsher discipline than the anti-union so called right-to-work laws which characterize the American south.

These Republicans are peculiar. Send you kids off to die in wars and when they lose, send your jobs off to the dictatorship we lost to.

I was going to say "These Republicans are funny", but it's not funny at all.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 4, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

I dunno. I don't really understand what constitutes success for Republicans.

==

A powerless workforce with no bargaining position and no expectation of a living wage

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 4, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

"The folks who backed Hoffman only made the Republican Party stronger."

Well, Republicans lost a vote. But I guess it's a moral victory?

I dunno. I don't really understand what constitutes success for Republicans.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 4, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

The folks who backed Hoffman only made the Republican Party stronger.

Scozzafava would have been a disaster had she won because she would have voted the same as Owens, but had done so as a Republican.

Hoffman will defeat Owens easily in a rematch in 2010.

==

Denial and defiance, check

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 4, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

NY 23 is the real story-the wing nuts lost.

Posted by: brisbaneharris | November 4, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Washington13 wrote, "The reality of what happened tonight in all the elections will effect policy on a national level. The folks who backed Hoffman only made the Republican Party stronger."

So let me make sure I understand you here. You're saying that when Republicans win, it's a repudiation of Democratic policy, and when Democrats win, it makes the Republican party stronger.

I have no doubt that you sleep well. Too well.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 4, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

"Forget a month, give him another week and he wins."

We can all make these unprovable assertions. Another week and Hoffman would have just exploded into a fireball. Now obviously 25% of the population would vote for a big fireball if you said he was conservative, but that's not going to win an election.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 4, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Obama is President and I may not have my job in the morning.

==

What cheap trite melodrama. If your employment is insecure it's your own damn fault, quit whining about the president.

And don't forget to file your hours for tonight. Attaboy.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 4, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

CNN is calling NY-23 for Owens

Apparently this district is going Dem for the first time since the 1800s.

If you don't want to read anything into this, then go ahead. It's just an offyear Congressional election. But to read into governors races is just stupid. States split tickets all the time.

Well, do what you want, but there's absolutely no predictive value in looking at govs races. This is supported historically. Cali elects Republican governors all the time. Virginia was a reliably red state, but elected Dem govs frequently. Kansas has a Dem governor. They weren't particularly close to voting for Obama.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 4, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin doesn't learn from mistakes, she's like an NFL linebacker who gets himself fired up by playing tapes of people dissing him.

That'll get her about 24 per cent in a general election for president against an intelligent opponent. 38 percent if the Democrats nominate a pinniped.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 4, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

The reality of what happened tonight in all the elections will effect policy on a national level.

The folks who backed Hoffman only made the Republican Party stronger.

Scozzafava would have been a disaster had she won because she would have voted the same as Owens, but had done so as a Republican.

Hoffman will defeat Owens easily in a rematch in 2010.

It's been real folks, but I've got work tomorrow, at least for the time being.

Obama is President and I may not have my job in the morning.

Congrats to the GOP on a very good night.

Posted by: Washington13 | November 4, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Chris---

I think you should have highlighted your closing point as your headline----ANTI-INCUMBENCY. Incumbents in trouble seemingly across the board. Times are tough, that means those in power are not going to be looked upon favorably.

Also there is perhaps an anti-establishment statement, especially an anti-big-money statement. Bloomberg nearly lost despite a huge advantage in resources. Corzine went down to defeat, despite his massive campaign spending. What else do they have in common? Close links to Wall Street-----which is clearly viewed as out-of-touch. This is a bad time for any politician with Wall Street ties. There is tremendous anti-Wall Street sentiment throughout the nation, among folks of all political persuasions. Wall Street, along with the lack of governmental regulation and oversight, are generally viewed as responsible for the economic mess resulting from the September 2008 financial collapse.

The New York-23 results in the end are probably best viewed as a "locals" vs. "outsiders" contest. Hoffman did not even live in the district and had little knowledge of local issues there like the St.Lawrence Seaway and Fort Drum, both of which are central to the district economy, and imported lots of outsiders to help him in the closing weeks of the campaign. That aspect was overlooked by the national media in their pre-election focus on the Republican Civil War in Upstate New York.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 4, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Forget a month, give him another week and he wins.

==

You keep saying this. You're wrong. It was only the hastiness of his candidacy (and millions from corporate donors outside the state) that let him come close.

Get bloody real. Hoffman has the personality of a dentist's drill. The eyes of a fanatic. The hygiene of a baglady. Give people time to get to know him and he'd have inspired revulsion on about eight different levels.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 4, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Money Prediction: Bill Kristol will read these tea leaves and conclude that the wisdom of neoconservativism has prevailed.

==

The GOP governor wins have national implications of course.

The bluing of one of the longest-running GOP districts and the Palinite losing, naah, don' mean she-it.

I can't wait to hear what Tim Pawlenty has to say about all this.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 4, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

I don't know.

He got 45% after registering single digits a month ago.

He gained 9 points per week.

Forget a month, give him another week and he wins.

Posted by: Washington13 | November 4, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

"I'd bet my income over the next year that Republicans fail to learn this lesson. I expect them to push defiantly forward with the worst of their bigots and crazies and keep losing.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite"

Well, CFG has been doing this for quite a while. Pump up unelectable candidates. It's actually quite funny when they get involved in Republican primaries. They tend to push an unelectable candidate to victory and then vanish and leave it to the RNC to try and get the guy elected. I don't see them ending this practice.

And no way Palin sees this as a repudiation of her politics. No matter what, she'll be convinced that she helped, not hurt the cause. This is just her lack of introspection.

It sucks that Republicans aren't going to marginalize the extremists, but that's how it goes. They won't be able to ignore the victories of the moderates forever. This is just another example of them marginalizing a moderate and losing a seat altogether. Not quite of the level of Arlen Specter, but the same principles are at work.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 4, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Using polling data from a 9-term incumbents fifth through ninth election cycles does not prove anything.

The incumbent who left the district brought in BIG money to NY-23.

He was personally popular.

About +13% more popular than Obama in the same district in 2008.

Posted by: Washington13 | November 4, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Money Prediction: Bill Kristol will read these tea leaves and conclude that the wisdom of neoconservativism has prevailed.

Is there somewhere I can buy a call option on that?

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 4, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Hoffman has conceded.

If you think that voters getting to know Hoffman would have benefited him, you're daft, man, just plain daft.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 4, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Give Doug Hoffman another month without Scozzafava and he wins this seat easily.

I didn't think he was going to win this seat as an relatively unknown third party candidate anyway.

He will win it as a Republican.

Democrats can try to hang their hat on NY-23, but it's a seat they will hold temporarily and look at the carnage around you.

Maine is going to vote down Gay Marriage.

Andy Spano just lost in Westchester County, NY by 16 points.

It should disturb Democrats that the only thing that seems to have saved Owens was the fact that Obama stayed away from him.

Posted by: Washington13 | November 4, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

One message for Republicans:

When national conservative organizations knock off local favorite moderate Republicans in Republican primary elections, Democrats win the general election.

==

I'd bet my income over the next year that Republicans fail to learn this lesson. I expect them to push defiantly forward with the worst of their bigots and crazies and keep losing.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 4, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

"And the only conservative who ran as one is losing. "

Not to mention that this guy is the only one who has a vote on any health care bill

Posted by: DDAWD | November 4, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

"The last time a Republican won Virginia by this kind of margin was 1961.

The last time a Republican won New Jersey by this kind of margin was 1985."

When was the last time a Democrat won NY-23 by this margin?

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

Washington13, you are obviously intelligent and informed enough not to believe the spin you're posting about NY-23.

Here are NY-23 congressional results going back a ways, given as a per cent of votes cast:

2009 special election:
Too close to call

2008:
Rep: 65.3
Dem: 34.7

2006:
Rep: 63.1
Dem: 36.9

2004:
Rep: 70.7
Dem: 29.3

2002:
Rep: 100
Dem: 0

2000:
Republican: 60.5
Conservative: 20.9
Democrat: 18.6

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

I guess that's enough for now.

I'd say the change from 2000 till tonight does not favor Republicans in that district, and it doesn't look like Lady Sarah, or National Review, or Rush or Glenn are miracle workers there.

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

The Health Care Bill my have died tonight as a result of the elections in Virginia and New Jersey.

==

Are you on crack?

Those were state races. Democrats have picked up double handfuls of Congressional seats in the last two elections. Those are national races.

Two Republicans all but denied ever having heard the word Republican and won against opponents who ran lousy campaigns.

But I guess when you're on the losing side you need to grasp whatever flimsy straws float your way.

And the only conservative who ran as one is losing.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 4, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

This is a very bad night for Democrats and for President Obama.

The Health Care Bill my have died tonight as a result of the elections in Virginia and New Jersey.

Other state races in Pennsylvania and New York have shown crushing defeats for Democrats.

Even the Gay Marriage Law may be voted down in Maine.

Big NIght for Republicans.

Posted by: Washington13 | November 4, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Here's my overview.

A year after Dems won a stirring unanimous decision against Republicans:

Democratic voters are listless, waiting for promised policy victories.

Republican voters are energized, many of them convinced that some combination of Nat Turner, Karl Marx and Osama bin Laden occupies the White House.

This effect has a north-south axis: it is most pronounced in the south, least in the north.

Two messages for Democrats in today's votes:

1) It's the economy, not the social issues.

2) The more you bring Wall Street insiders into your national and state governments in an effort to win the confidence of markets, the more you make yourselves indistinguishable from Republicans, who make a more consistent pro-Wall Street case.

One message for Republicans:

When national conservative organizations knock off local favorite moderate Republicans in Republican primary elections, Democrats win the general election. Happened in my largely rural Eastern Shore of Maryland district in '08 (Republican Gilchrest, Maryland 1'st District, knocked off by ideologues, Democrat Frank Kratovil won). Perhaps will happen again tonight in NY-23, which is in any case closer to a historic Democratic win than any Republican I know of would have predicted this morning.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 4, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

The only race that matters directly to me is a win, as initiative conservative idiot Tim Eyman loses a big one in Washington state. This marble-mouth is one f those libertarian-type azz-nozzles who gets initiatives on the ballot to cut taxes and starve state government.

Heard him on the radio once, a guy who makes Sarah Palin sound nuanced, pull-ring slogans about "giving the voters more choices," where "choice" has been redefined from "selection" to "inconsiderate selfishness." He lost.

One friend of mine bought a nice condo up north and had to sell it at a loss when one of Eyman's idiot projects reduced bus service and he was unable to get to work. One guy I would love to take out into the woods and come back alone.

Of the three races that CC has been hooting about the only one that matters is a Democrat win, as Doug Greenteeth, the only one of the three who ran as a Republican, loses to Owens.

Expect substantial buyer's remorse in VA once McDonnell reveals that he's not the Democrat he ran as. Christie will probably be fine.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 3, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing sweet about losing the Governor's Races in Virginia and New Jersey by margins of Victory by Republicans that have not been seen in years.

The last time a Republican won Virginia by this kind of margin was 1961.

The last time a Republican won New Jersey by this kind of margin was 1985.

The Democrat in NY-23 is getting 49%. Obama received 52% in 2008.

If Hoffman had more than a 1 month campaign, he would have won this seat.

Also, if Obama had shown up in NY-23 last week, Hoffman would have won.

Posted by: Washington13 | November 3, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Re Owens and Hoffman: if Republicans want to win in the Northeast, they need to keep the unspeakable she-mantis Sarah Palin far, far away.

Posted by: mattfugazi | November 3, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Owens has enough votes.

There are 11,000 absentee ballots.

Most were filled out before Hoffman became the leading opposition.

It was too little too late.

Also, PPP has tweeted that they have learned their lesson when it comes to polling in the middle of a candidate dropping out.

Lesson Learned: Don't do it.

Posted by: Washington13 | November 3, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

A Dem win in NY-23 would be sweet on so many levels, not least that it's the only treat left to be won.

Oh, and it would be a direct hit on the Republican right, and tend to tarnish the reputation (such as it is) of Barbie.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

49-45 Owens with 86% reporting

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Hoffman is catching up. 49-46 in favor of Owens with 76% reporting

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Bloomberg wins

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Local Election in NY:

A 3-term Incumbent Democrat County Executive in Westchester County NY which borders the Bronx, NY who was picked to win, Andy Spano, just lost by 18 points to the Republican, Rob Astorino, 58% to 42%.

The Democrat Brand is a disaster here.

I am surprised that Republicans are doing so well.

Posted by: Washington13 | November 3, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Just an Observation.

I bet Doug Hoffman is wishing that President Obama made a couple of appearances with Bill Owens.

Posted by: Washington13 | November 3, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

broadwayjoe wrote, "The haters are going to hate 44 regardless of what he does so he might as well be bold..and great."

Yep. I hope he has it in him. He's a smart guy. Smart hopefully equates to "adapts".

FDR didn't enter office intending to wage class war against his own class, but he got pushed into it by his opponents, and played his part perfectly.

Hopefully he wasn't a "once in a nation's history" type deal.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

"(McDonnell is only the third candidate for governor in Virginia history to win more than one million votes; George Allen was the first in 1993 and Tim Kaine was the second in 2005.)"


What is the significance of one million? Oh, its just a nice round number that doesn't mean squat without knowing the number of eligible voters? I see.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 3, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza wrote, "McDonnell is only the third candidate for governor in Virginia history to win more than one million votes; George Allen was the first in 1993 and Tim Kaine was the second in 2005."

Another way of saying that: "In three of the last 5 elections for Virginia governor, the winner received more than one million votes."

Ahem.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

@doug: I agree. I continue to believe that BHO must adopt a "Let Bartlet be Bartlet" approach to move forward. Triangulation as public policy is bogus. The haters are going to hate 44 regardless of what he does so he might as well be bold..and great. Get Reid to nuke the filibuster and start lining up up-or-down votes on each of BHO's initiatives.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 3, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

usadblake, these are not mid-term elections, these are off-year elections. During mid-term elections, every member of the US House of Representatives has to stand for re-election, as does 1/3 of the US Senate.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

RE New Jersey: During the hardest economic times since the Great Depression, a democratic candidate who "dipped into the personal fortune he accumulated on Wall Street, repeating the pattern that won him a U.S. Senate seat in 2000 and the governor's office four years ago [in 2005]" may have been the wrong messenger for his party.

Perhaps what the Democratic party needs now is the courage of its convictions - if it has any left, after all its Clintonian "triangulations" and all of its compromises with the business class, which include the presence of Wall Street exec Lawrence Summers and Wall Street Exec/tax cheat Tim Geithner in the Obama administration.

President Obama, if he reads this election right, will tack left, not right. The problem is that Democrats can't consistently win elections between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | November 3, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Is the Mid term election sweep by the Republicans indicative of results in 2012?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=6427

.

Posted by: usadblake | November 3, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

@d: thanks for FACT-based reporting. The agenda driven, BroderWorld stuff being peddled here is tired.

If you saw the ridiculously low turnout here in Virginia and the extremely monochromatic demographic, the results were not shocking, much less a BHO referendum. How anyone can extrapolate from these scattered elections, which turned in every case on local issues and the qualities of the respective candidates and their campaigns, is beyond me. Deeds lost the moment he failed to get Wilder's endorsement.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 3, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

This taste of Democracy problem.

Along the time line
everybody gets little sweet and bitter.

Can we stand it?

Posted by: shrink2 | November 3, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

The NYC mayor race is razor thin now.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

"If Bill Owens wins, it's a repudiation of this whole 'conservative-rising' cr*p you have been pushing for months...

Posted by: drindl "

Yup. Hoffman is the only one of the three who hasn't been essentially pretending to be a Democrat.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

This will be fun.

The Democrats are terrible the Republicans are worse.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 3, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Jesus, what a tired compendium of recycled Beltway CW. Yawn.

'McDonnell is only the third candidate for governor in Virginia history to win more than one million votes; George Allen was the first in 1993 and Tim Kaine was the second in 2005.)'

Gee, do you think that the fact that there are simply more, you know, people there now might have something to do with it?

And this is the real story...

'In the upstate New York special election to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Democrat Bill Owens led Conservative party nominee Doug Hoffman 51 percent to 44 percent with just under one-third of precincts reporting.'

If Bill Owens wins, it's a repudiation of this whole 'conservative-rising' cr*p you have been pushing for months...

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

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