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Disappointing, but not Determinative
Wednesday November 9, 2005
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Of all the love I have won or have lost;
there is one love I should never have crossed
She was a girl in a million, my friend
I should have known she would win in the end
Tuesday was election day in Virginia and New Jersey among some other places, like New York City.
The huge surprises would have been if Mayor Bloomberg (R) had lost in New York, or Sen. Jon Corzine had lost in New Jersey.
But it was Virginia onto which the national press glommed as the precursor to the 2006 national mid-term elections.
Here, Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine was facing Republican Jerry Kilgore in a race which was neck-and-neck through election day.
A Governor in Virginia may serve only one four-year term. A person can serve more than one term, but not in succession. The incumbent Governor is a Democrat, Mark Warner. He is very popular with some polls putting his job approval in the 70% range and would be a shoo-in for re-election, were he not barred from running.
Thus, the constant drumbeat yesterday (to which the rest of the Popular Press Marching Band will be added today) that "Virginia is a Republican State" would appear to be somewhat out of tune with the truth.
Here, for instance is a list of the men who have served as Governor of the Commonwealth since 1982:
Charles S. Robb - D (1982-1986)
Sharp-eyed Mullsters will note that over the last quarter of a century there have been four Democrats and only two Republicans elected Governor of this "Republican State."
It appears that the Republican candidates for Lt. Governor and for Attorney General will both have won close elections, and there was only about a 40,000 vote drop-off from those who voted for Governor.
It is quite likely that the difference in the Governor's race was a lack of enthusiasm for the Republican candidate together with the admiration for the incumbent Governor, much of which may well have splashed up on his Lt. Governor.
Having said all that, there are some signs of worry for the White House.
By the time all the votes are counted, voter turnout here will barely reach 43%.
[For an hour-by-hour listing of the results from Virginia go to the Secret Decoder Ring page]
You might say that indicates a serious lack of voter anger with President Bush. It doesn't appear that people were getting up early, getting in their cars, and waiting in long lines at the polls to express their displeasure.
The Republican party has a better voter turnout program than the Democrats. In fact, it was that technical superiority which led me to believe the GOP would win this race. Follow me here: There didn't appear to be a great deal of voter intensity here in Northern Virginia; The GOP knows how to turn out its voters; The Republican will win in a low-turnout election.
Simple. Brilliant, almost. And wrong.
It appears that, while voters may not have been eager to express their anger at the President, Republicans voted, not with their feet, but with their derrieres: They sat on them.
You have heard me say many times that in this era, a White House which is aggressively on message is an unstoppable political force in America.
This White House would do well to study the results in Virginia to see whether the current lack of a coherent message and a lack of aggressiveness in delivering that message led to a victory for the Democrat in this "Republican State."
However, it is a long way from last night to next November. Do not be surprised if, by this time next year, a resurgent President Bush - aggressively on message - is seen as the wind at the back of successful Republican candidates all across America.
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On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: The full lyrics to the Beatles song, the promised hour-by-hour results (which are pretty interesting), a Mullfoto for the "English First" crowd, and an odd Catchy Caption of the Day.
Gerald L. Baliles - D (1986-1990)
Doug Wilder - D (1990-1994)
George Allen - R (1994-1998)
Jim Gilmore - R (1998-2002)
Mark Warner - D (2002-2006)
Copyright © 2005 Richard A. Galen
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