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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Portents of Election 2013 -- Review & Outlook, The Wall Street Journal

Republicans beat themselves in Virginia. Is Christie a model?

The major political parties split Tuesday's pair of Governor's races, as Democrat Terry McAuliffe won a close race for an open seat in the swing state of Virginia while Republican Chris Christie romped to a second term in New Jersey. The party that should do the most soul-searching is the GOP.
Start with the embarrassing fact that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli lost to Mr. McAuliffe, a carpetbagger and crony capitalist from central casting. The chief fundraiser for Team Clinton was the first Virginia gubernatorial candidate of a sitting President's party to win since 1977. The defeat has many fathers, including incumbent Republican Bob McDonnell, who can only serve one term and got himself into a political-gift scandal that made it hard for the GOP to run an ethics campaign against Mr. McAuliffe.
Mr. Cuccinelli's supposed friends in the tea party also stabbed him in the back by pushing the government shutdown. About 30% of Virginia voters live in the Washington, D.C., suburbs that are packed with government employees, and nearly 90% of voters in exit polls blamed Republicans for the shutdown. If Senator Ted Cruz, Heritage Action and the kamikaze caucus had spent money for Mr. Cuccinelli instead of attacking fellow Republicans in August, he might have won.
The bigger question for 2014 and beyond is whether Virginia is moving from swing state to majority Democratic. This seems unlikely only four years after Mr. McDonnell won 59% of the vote. Mr. Cuccinelli also spent the last week campaigning against ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion in Virginia, and it helped him close what was a double-digit deficit.
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