Democrats Win Virginia Governorship And Lead In New Jersey
Reposted from late last night.
President George W. Bush had made a last minute campaign appearance to help the GOP candidate in the closely-watched Governor’s race in the GOP-leaning state of Virginia but it apparently didn’t help the Republican candidate, who is expected to lose, according to the AP.
And, in another closely watched state race, the Democrats are ahead in New Jersey. The AP:
Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine won the Virginia governor’s race Tuesday, defeating Republican Jerry Kilgore in a GOP-leaning state despite a last-minute campaign visit from President Bush.
In New Jersey, Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine opened up a strong lead against Republican Doug Forrester.
Kaine had 851,560 votes, or 51.1 percent, to Kilgore’s 776,161 votes, or 46.6 percent, with 86 percent of precincts reporting.
In New Jersey, Corzine had 507,350 votes, or 53.2 percent, to Forrester’s 416,503 votes, or 43.7 percent, with 42 percent of precincts reporting.
In New York, Mayor Mike Bloomberg was ahead by a wide margin in very early returns. Voters also picked mayors in Detroit, Houston, San Diego and Atlanta.
Several factors need to be kept in mind. Bush made a highly publicized lightning trip to Virginia to try and tip the race there. It didn’t work. If California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s initiatives all go down in flames (and they could) this will be a depressing night for Republicans — and it could signal a distancing of some Republicans going into 2006 who might feel a Bush visit or adhering loyally to the Bush line could be hazardous to their political career health.
Also, when you look at these governor races, note that there were vital local dynamics, including scandals, etc. that had nothing to do with George W. Bush. For instance, the AP notes:
Both New Jersey and Virginia saw races for governor marked by record-breaking spending and nasty personal attacks. Corzine and Forrester spent upward of $70 million on the governor’s race. Acting Gov. Richard Codey assumed the office last year when Gov. Jim McGreevey, a Democrat, resigned over a homosexual affair, but Codey decided not to run.
In Virginia, at least $42 million was spent in the contest between Kaine and Kilgore, the former state attorney general. Democratic Gov. Mark Warner cannot seek a second term.
However, you can’t escape the large political context: the multi-faceted controversies swirling around the Bush administration, the bungles, the scandals all are likely to have some kind of impact.
The question is precisely what…and more about that will be known as election night progresses, once it ends — and the votes can be analyzed. Our contention for several months now is that the GOP would have to be in trouble since its electoral victories relied heavily on its conservative base but also on large chunks of independent and moderate voters who, as various polls have shown, are leaving the GOP fold in large numbers.
UPDATE: A writer on Daily Kos notes that one of TMV’s FAVORITE political analysts Larry Sabato called the Virginia race correctly. Sabato has an excellent track record which is why we have posted excerpts from many of his new writings (and will try to do so on a regular basis again).