Monday, November 25, 2013
neither candidate was a strong performer with a large following. Cuccinelli rigged the selection for the Republican ballot by foregoing the usual primary where the election would be open to all in the party in favor of a convention where he could control the delegates and the nominating process. The Democrats chose to have a primary which was mostly pro forma for McAuliffe. Cuccinelli was also linked to the "pay to play" scandal which the current Governor McDonnell is mired in with Federal investigations ongoing. Both the AG and the Governor became part of the anti-choice issue, mandatory vaginal ultrasound pregnancy matter, and climate change denial debates in recent years in Virginia, which made the atmosphere, in my mind, seem somewhat surreal. Yet despite all of these perceived negatives on the Republican side, the Democratic candidate did not produce major inspiration amongst the Democratic faithful. Off year elections are often known for low turnout and lack a compelling reason for voters to show up with no national races on the ballot. This year was no different, as about 2.2 million voters took part in this election, compared to over 3.8 million in the Presidential election last year. Terry McAuliffe won with about 48% to 46% with a libertarian candidate taking a small percentage.. It is not yet known whether or not the Democrats will sweep all state-wide offices as the AG race is still considered within the margin for a possible recount. Suggestions were made that the Republican role in the Government shutdown hurt their side, but the issues with the healthcare roll out hurt the Democrats. National figures such as President Obama and former President Clinton campaigned for Terry McAuliffe, while Governor Scott Walker and Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio stumped for the Cuccinelli campaign. Others noted that the shutdown was a major negative and that the AG ducked out of an event when Senator Ted Cruz was speaking, even though they have both been touted as Tea Party favorites. Some claimed that since the national party and figures such as Reince Priebus and Chris Christie decided to keep this race at arms length, Cuccinelli's campaign was hurt in the final turnout. Do these races have national implications for the 2014 races? I think it is hard to predict from this distance as voters often have short memories. Currently neither party is actually held in high esteem, although the Republicans still seem to be taking the hit for the shutdown and may take more if this show is replayed in January. The President took a major hit with the ACA website debacle, but may regain positive poll numbers if the website situation and enrollment improve soon. Certainly foreign affairs with destruction of biologic/chemical weapon from Syria, negotiations with Iran, and the wind down in Afghanistan are all positive events which should rebalance the slate for the President. Usually, foreign events do not poll high, but each of these situations could have prolonged military issues and now seem to be defused. The "Bomb Iran, Bomb Syria" chorus from Senators McCain and Graham have been stilled for a while at least and I do hope they are eventually silenced. The "nuclear option" exercised in the Senate last week may finally allow the President to have an effective team of officials and judges in place in order to pursue at least part of his agenda, since there appears to be little that will get done legislatively.