November 4, 2009
Victory in Virginia, Republicans Sweep State
Washington Post, Loudoun Independent, Concede Defeat
A tremendous victory, and one of the largest in modern Virginia history
As of this writing, the State Board of Elections unofficial results shows that with 99.76% of precincts reporting, former Attorney General Bob McDonnell received 1,158,871 votes, for 58.65%, with Senator Creigh Deeds taking 814,582 votes, for 41.23%
For Lieutenant Governor, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has 1,102,159 votes, for 56.41%, with Jody Wagner at 849,958, for 43.50%.
In the race for Attorney General, Senator Ken Cuccinelli won with 1,118,287 votes for 57.53%, and former Delegate Steve Shannon was at 823,734 votes for 42.38%
In Loudoun County where I live, with 100% of the precincts reporting, Tag Greason defeated Delegate David Poisson, receiving 14,520 votes for 57.45%, to Poisson's 10,723 and 42.42% to become the new delegate for Virginia's 32nd District.
The entire 32nd district is within Loudoun. Four other districts carry over into Loudoun. Three were occupied by incumbent Republicans, and they all won handily, one being unopposed. The other was occupied by a Democrat who was also defeated.
For what it matters, yes, I campaigned for all of these Republicans. Long and hard, in fact. This year it paid off, big time.
The media defeated
The Washington Post went after McDonnell from the outset, mostly after a thesis he wrote twenty years ago in which he speculated as to whether it was best for women to work outside the home, etc. A few days before the election they called Cuccinelli a bigot; and yes they used that word. A local paper published an old charge against Greason that had been dismissed by the prosecutor without ever having gone to trial. I'm not going to set up links to all these because they don't deserve the attention.,
The Deeds campaign made much of the thesis, and the Post obsessed over it for weeks.
None of it worked in the slightest. Voters were interested in jobs and the economy, and solving our transportation problems. They voted for the candidates that offered solutions.
A bit of Virginia and Loudoun voting history
In 2000, Bush/Cheney won Virginia with 52.5%, and Loudoun with 56.12%
In 2001, Democrat Mark Warner (now a U.S. Senator) won the governor's race with 52.16%, though he lost Loudoun with 45.84%
In 2004, Bush/Cheney won Virginia with 53.68%, and Loudoun with 55.69%
In 2005, Democrat Tim Kaine won the governor's race with 51.72%, and Loudoun with 51.64%
In 2008, Obama/Biden won Virginia with 52.62%, and Loudoun with 53.66%
This year, McDonnell won Virginia with 58.65%, and Loudoun with 61.05%, a tremendous achievement by any measure.
Before you conclude too much from the above, a few caveats are in order. I ignored the House of Representatives and Senate, mostly because I don't have all night to write this. Also, Loudoun is one of the fastest growing counties in the state, having almost doubled in population every ten years for the past few decades. This makes it hard to tell how much of the swings are due to people voting differently or new blood in the county. Again, I just don't have time to do a complete analysis.
What does it all mean?
I found the insights that follow are exactly right:
At National Review:
The big lesson from last night's election results is this: Creating a majority coalition matters. Both McDonnell and Christie won independent voters by large margins. Christie presented himself as an electable alternative. McDonnell ran a positive campaign that emphasized concrete ideas to solve problems confronting Virginians. He gave voters something to vote for. He was a thoroughly conservative candidate who, rather than focusing on "firing up his base," emphasized modern ideas and fiscal responsibility in order to attract independent voters. His model should inspire Republican campaigns across the country. In the end, we live in a center-right nation, and it is critical that we remember to bring together both the "center" and "right."
Rich Lowry on what the Democrats need to do to assure continued GOP victories
If you're a Republican campaign official, you have to be thinking tonight, please, Democrats, keep doing what you're doing. Please, keep governing like you can't pile up enough debt fast enough. Please, keep exposing Obama's faux moderation from the 2008 campaign for what it was. Please, keep trying to jam through an unpopular, utterly unwieldy health-care bill sold on serial dishonesties. Please, keep dismissing your opposition as irrational and illegitimate. Please, keep up with the prickly arrogance. Please, keep sweeping Democratic ethics problems in Congress under the rug, making a mockery of your talk of reform. Please, keep piling on the initiatives to increase the middle-class cost-of-living, with huge, broad-based tax increases inevitably to come. Please, keep focusing on health care and global warming when what people care about most is jobs. Please, please, please, keep doing what you're doing right now -- all the way to November 2010.
Ramesh Ponnuru, after speaking with a political consultant:
He pours cold water on the idea that the elections were a referendum on Obama. "Obama's numbers in Virginia are not that bad. He's not upside-down, that's for sure." (That is, more people rate him favorably than unfavorably.) "I guarantee you that McDonnell got a lot of votes from people who approve of [the job Obama is doing]." He takes the vote to be a rejection of many of Obama's policies. But he adds, "I don't think that Republicans should come away from this and think that all that we have to do in 2010 is run against Obama. McDonnell had a very vigorous policy agenda."
The key, then, is to run against Obama's policies but not the man itself. As reprehensible as it is for Barack Obama to have associated with Bill Ayers and to have been a member of Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United church for twenty years, they don't matter to independent voters. May a hundred Bob McDonnells shine.
The White House doesn't seem to understand any of this, though, if this story in the Washington Post is to be believed, anyway:
As they woke up this morning on the one-year anniversary of President Obama's historic election, senior West Wing aides proclaimed themselves largely unconcerned about what last night's Democratic losses might portend for their boss or his agenda.
White House officials rejected what they said was over-hyped conclusions about the impact on Obama of losing the governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, and instead sought to focus attention on the Democratic victory in New York's 23rd Congressional District.
"We won a congressional seat that's been in Republican hands since Ulysses S. Grant was president, in part because of the disunity in the Republican Party," senior adviser David Axelrod said in an early-morning phone interview. "That was the only truly national
contest on the ballot."
Axelrod said the intervention of national conservatives in pushing the moderate GOP candidate out of the New York race will be the only lasting impact of the night.
"The most portentous thing that happened yesterday was that the right wing of the Republican Party ran a moderate Republican essentially out of the race, and lost a seat they had held for more than 100 years," he said. "I don't take that as discouragement."
I do hope this is an accurate story, because if it is these Democrats are digging their own graves.
Note - one more issue to resolve but it'll be back to blogging again very soon.
Posted by Tom at November 4, 2009 10:00 PM
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Tom, that's wonderful news!!! It may surprise you but as a Euro I did pay attention to this election and the one in NY too. From over here, it seemed mcDonnel would win anyway while Christie's victory was in doubt. That in both states GOP candidates won is, I hope so, a sign on the wall for the current administration.
Man, you guys got to do EVERYTHING you can to keep America from Europeanizing. I felt pretty bad re that on Nov 3, 2008, but exactly one year later, a thing like this lifts my spirits again.
I know you are the campaigning guy. Hat off to you!
Posted by: Outlaw Mike at November 5, 2009 5:00 PM