Wednesday, November 4, 2009

News Talk Online November 4, 2009: Election Night 2009: Winners And Losers

By ALAN JASIE Paltalk News Network

Yesterday’s results are final and today will be a busy day for the spin doctors on both sides.

In the Virginia gubernatorial race, the Republican candidate Bob McDonnell crushed his Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds by 18 points, 59 percent to 41 percent. McDonnell ran a first rate clean campaign which stayed on message and appealed to both Republicans and independents. Deeds, the surprising winner of the primary, never got his campaign and could not excite the Democratic base to come out to vote for him in this purple state.

Interesting factoid: This is the ninth time in a row that Virginia, which allows it governors only one term, has elected someone who is not from the same party as the president of the United States.

New Jersey also held an election for governor and Republican Chris Christie, a former U.S. District Attorney defeated Democratic incumbent John Corzine in a three way contest that included the independent candidate Chris Daggett. Christie received almost 49 percent of the votes to Corzine’s 44.5 percent, and Daggett won just under 6 percent of the ballots cast. Corzine spent close to $25 million, much of it his own money in this loss to Christie.

Factoid: This is the sixth time in a row for New Jersey electing its governor from the opposition party of the president.

Across the river in New York City, independent and former Republican Michael Bloomberg has been reelected for a third term in a race against City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. that ended up much closer than expected. Bloomberg picked up 51 percent to 46 percent for Thompson even though the billionaire mayor poured over $90 million of his own personal fortune into the race. While many New Yorkers like their mayor, there was clearly a backlash against Bloomberg for having the term limits law (two terms) overturned in order run again.

The most interesting race last night was in New York state’s 23rd congressional district. This was special election fill the vacant seat of Republican John McHugh who resigned when he was selected by President Obama to be secretary of the Army. There was no primary and the candidates were selected by their parties to run for this seat.

Until two weeks ago, there were three candidates running: Republican Deidre Scozzafava, Democrat Bill Owens and the Conservative Party’s Doug Hoffman. Scozzafava, who is pro choice and for gay marriage angered many major players in the party, bringing this race to national prominence. The likes of Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, Dick Armey, Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty lined up against Scozzafava and endorsed Hoffman. Media personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck also went after the Republican. The ultra Conservative Club for Growth poured in about $1 million on Hoffman’s behalf. Scozzafava exited the race last Saturday and asked her supporters to vote for the Democrat. With all that firepower behind Hoffman, he still lost to Owens. The tally for last night was Owens with 49.5 percent, Hoffman with 45 percent and Scozzafava picked up 5.5% (the ballots were printed before her withdrawal).

Some political observers are saying yesterday was a repudiation of President Obama’s policies. I disagree.

McDonnell ran a smart positive campaign against Deeds who never got his campaign off the ground. Corzine’s loss rests on his ineptitude as governor for the past four years.

While the Conservative lost in the 23rd, it was a clear message to many moderate Republicans – you are either with us or we are against you! That could spell trouble for Florida’s Republican governor Charlie Crist in next year’s Senate race against ultra Conservative Marco Rubio to fill the seat that Mel Martinez gave up and is currently occupied by Crist appointee George LeMieux. In Texas, will Kay Bailey Hutchinson be met with Conservative opposition when she opposes Republican Governor Rick Perry next year?

Another question is how the Democrats will react to yesterday's election results. Will they get skittish (and it never takes much to get the Dems quaking) or will they look at the results as half empty/half full? They may have lost the two gubernatorial races but they picked up two seats in the House. Along with a win the NY 23rd District they also picked up a seat in California’s 10th with Lt. Gov. John Garamendi’s win.

To paraphrase a recent election slogan: Spin, Baby, Spin!

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