Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Election Day 2009: A good day for the GOP, but don't make too much of it


UPDATED BELOW.

It is expected to be a good day for Republicans, notably in several key races across the country, including the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey (my former homestate -- I went to high school in Mendham) and Virginia and the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District. In another high-profile race, independent Michael Bloomberg is expected to win re-election easily as mayor of New York.

My sense is not to make too much of Republican victories today. If Republicans win, it won't be because of a resurgent GOP, or because of voter opposition to Obama, it'll be because of local factors that have little to do with national politics. Referendums on Obama, Congressional Democrats, the economic stimulus package, the bank and auto bailouts, and health-care reform these elections are not, even if voters emphasize the economy.

We all know what the Republican spin will be. Don't let it fool you.

Republicans have done very well in Virginia, where Bob McDonnell has defeated Democrat Creigh Deeds. It would seem that the "nice guy" lost, a nice guy who was also, from what I can tell, a terrible candidate despite a solid record in state government. Yes, Republicans will herald this as a major victory in a state that went for Obama last year and that, in general, has been trending purple, but Virginia has a long history of voting for the out-of power party and, in this case, it also voted for the better candidate.

In NY-23, there seem to have been disruptions at the polls, notably by pro-Hoffman teabaggers.

By the way, there's also a same-sex marriage vote in Maine, where turnout is high, and a domestic partnership vote in Washington. We'll be keeping an eye on those, too.

More later. (As I flip between CNN, the Lakers-Thunder (Zombie Sonics, as Bill Simmons calls them) game, and the Leafs-Lightning game, with one of my favourite cooking shows, Good Eats, coming on at 10 pm.)

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By the way, CNN has some of the key results here.

At 9:23 pm, Chris Christie (R) is leading indumbent Gov. Jon Corzine (D) in New Jersey, 50-44, with 44% of precincts reporting. (I expect a narrow Christie victory.)

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11:55 pm - Hilarious takedown of the media by Jon Stewart tonight. They do blow everything so ridiculously out of proportion, as if every vote is endowed with meaning well beyond the reality of the situation. Of course, they're in the business of pumping up "the news," and of ratcheting up the drama, we know that, but whatever "analysis" they offer is so typically inane that they just end up undermining whatever minute traces of credibility they have left.

As I say above, the few votes that were held today do not either individually or collectively add up to a referendum on anything. Yes, there is division in the GOP. Yes, what happened in NY-23, where the far right triumphed yet again in its ongoing effort to take over the party, is meaningful, part of a larger historical trend, but it was pretty much inevitable that the Conservative and, in recent days, Republican candidate would do well in a historically Republican district. All a Hoffman victory would mean is no change in the House (the GOP holding a GOP seat) and a more conservative Republican House caucus.

And that's really the story tonight. These races were all local, even NY-23, which had captured broader national attention. Virginia, a red-purple state, went Republican. New Jersey, a blue-leaning swing state that frequently elects Republicans to high state office, kicked out a relatively unpopular Democratic governor and replaced him with a moderate. There isn't much more to say.

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12:19 am - Okay, here's what's going on in ten key races.

In brief:

-- Bloomberg narrowly won re-election in New York City. I didn't follow this race closely, but I was expecting a wider margin of victory, not least because of all the money he spent on himself. Of course, it's not terribly surprising that his opponent, a Democrat, did well in what is overwhelmingly a Democratic city.

-- With 87 percent of precincts reporting, Owens is up 49-45 over Hoffman in NY-23. I'm surprised.

-- In New Jersey, Christie beat Corzine 49-45. More or less as expected.

-- In Boston, Thomas Menino won a record fifth term as mayor, beating Councilor Michael Flaherty 57-42. Menino won for the first time on November 2, 1993. I was a junior at Tufts.

-- In Maine, it looks like the the same-sex marriage law signed by Gov. John Baldacci earlier this year might go down to defeat. 

12:36 pm - CNN has just declared Owens the winner in NY-23! I figured the vote would be close, but this is, I admit, stunning.

Will this shut the right up? No, of course not. It's more emboldened than ever, and it will attribute this defeat to a corrupt and inadequately conservative Republican establishment that picked Scozzafava and was too slow to back Hoffman. And it'll write it off just as it writes off blue states generally.

But what will Glenn Beck do without such a willing protégé in the House? Yeah, he'll move on and apply his madness elsewhere.

I would have liked Corzine to win in New Jersey, but, honestly, I never much cared for him, and I figured the Republicans would sweep Virginia. But Owens' victory in NY-23 makes up for those losses, and more. It's a fantastic outcome.

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12:49 am - More good news: the Leafs lost!

Good night.

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1 Comments:

  • hi this shut the right up? No, of course not. It's more emboldened than ever, and it will attribute this defeat to a corrupt and inadequately conservative Republican establishment that picked Scozzafava and was too slow to back Hoffman. And it'll write it off just as it writes off blue states generally.



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