Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NY-23 and the GOP

The Republicans are spinning hard tonight after losing a congressional district they've held for over 150 years. The last time a Democrat won in that area, Canada was still a colony of the British Empire and included only southern Quebec and Southern Ontario. Yes, there were unique circumstances at play here as I've outlined previously. The really devastating news for the GOP is that congressman-elect Bill Owens (D) almost cracked 50%. The spin before the Republican dropped out was that even if the Democrat sneaked up through the middle, Hoffman or whoever won the GOP nomination in 2010 would wipe the floor with him on the larger midterm stage. With Scozzafava barely on the radar, Owens can honestly say he won this election head-to-head albeit with a rare endorsement from the official Republican candidate. Losing what should have been a safe house seat isn't good for the GOP, irrespective of circumstance. Remember, the GOP has seen this play before, Dennis Hastert's old seat (IL-14) was lost to the Democrats in a special election and lost again on election day last year. This was accompanied by similar double victories by Travis Childers (D) in Mississippi's 1st. While Barack Obama's coattails will be gone for Democratic candidates in 2010, this is not the way the GOP would like to start that campaign.

As for the elections in New Jersey and Virginia? State races won for state reasons. Particularly New Jersey where Jon Corzine's massive unpopularity was simply too much to overcome. As for Virginia? True to recent form, they voted opposite of the president's party a year after his election as they've done for the past 33 years. Although, if I'm honest, that's probably a coincidence. I would stipulate that Democratic Northern Virginia (the "fake Virginia" for you McCain voters) may be more interested in Washington DC than Richmond. Governors are useful in congressional and presidential elections to raise money and campaign, set the rules of the game, and potentially become federal candidates themselves. However, rarely are their elections about what is going on in Washington.


Anonymous said...

The one thing I would add about Virginia and New Jersey is that they hold this distinction of having a race for governor on an "off-year" from most all other states and that is the year after the presidential election. So it's not that much of a stretch to think it does play a factor as there tends to naturally be a pull-back of support for the party winning the White House. As Virginia and New Jersey are both known for being more "purple" than many states, I just don't think it is all coincidence.

Virginia has the added factor of only allowing a single-term for governor, which I find just strange no matter how much a person might be for term limits. I just find it strange. From having lived in Virginia once upon a time, it does make things awkward for both parties. Inevitably they have popular governors who have to give up the governorship after a term, and it makes it tough on whoever tries to run after them. I saw it happen with both Republican and Democratic governors there.

Sad to see the Maine vote on same-sex marriage fall again, but the news out of Washington state. Sounds like they may be on their way to keeping their "marriage in everything but name" law. It's still close but looking pretty positive. The vote in Seattle's King County was 66% to keep the strong domestic partnership law.

Andy said...

I don't think there is much that's "devastating" about the loss of NY-23. It's too bad, but the election turned into a bit of a debacle as the result of circumstances that will never be repeated.

You could also look at the very substantial jump in the Republican vote in CA-10 (from a 65-31 margin in 2008 to 53-43 last night).

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