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Ed Driscoll

Blogospheric Election Night Round-Up

November 3rd, 2009 - 5:26 pm

We’ve already linked to Jim Geraghty’s snapshot of Virginia as the polls closed, but here’s more on tonight’s races.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary: “McDonnell Wins”:

The race has been called for Bob McDonnell. The extent of the win is not yet certain, but it will be a large margin. Very large. Republicans will hold all three statewide offices and will pick up seats in the House of Delegates. Republicans will immediately begin targeting three to four vulnerable House Democrats.

The spin game has begun. Democrats say it doesn’t reflect on anyone other than the hapless Creigh Deeds. Republicans  will point to McDonnell’s laser-like focus on a number of Obama policies and his ability to retake, by a huge margin, a state which Obama took a year ago. All the chatter about Virginia being “Blue” will cease. This is the backyard of the White House, as Karl Rove, says on Fox. The White House will have many nervous Democrats to console.

New Jersey’s polls have closed. Now we will see if the Democrats can squeeze by in one of the Bluest states in the country.

So much for permanent majorities.

ABC News: “’09 Exit Polls: Vast Economic Discontent Spells Trouble for Dems in 2010.”

Michael C. Moynihan at Reason:One Man’s Judas, Another Man’s Purged Moderate”:

Nothing but worthless Twitter chatter from NY-23, but watching the Obama partisans on MSNBC bemoan the GOP’s supposed surrender to the extreme “teabaggers,” those who ran a “moderate” Republican like Dede Scozzafava out of the race in a quest for ideological purity, the Stalinists of Frank Rich’s fever dreams, are in the very next breath denouncing Joe Lieberman as a Judas figure, a betrayer of progressivism for obstructing a really horrid health care bill. Lieberman is, of course, now an Independent and those who obsess over his supposed betrayal of liberal causes have every right to boo and hiss from the balcony. But the Scozzafava excommunication is, in most important ways, no different. Like Lieberman, she tows the party line on certain issues (gun control, for instance) but offends members of her party that believe, for instance, that support for bailouts and card check are anathema to conservative principles.

But because of Lieberman’s willingness to support Republican candidates in the next election cycle, talk show hosts like Rachel Maddow, who is leading the charge against the supposed purging of moderate Republicans by knuckle-dragging teapartiers, hyperventilated that the Senator from Connecticut supported—get this—the moderate Maine Republican Susan Collins! Bipartisanship (or is it post-partisanship?) is when the other guys come to our side, not the other way around.

And speaking of which, Allahpundit of Hot Air spots “Arianna Huffington lecturing [Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) on the dangers of … rigid ideological purity."

Well, she ought to know.

AP (the Associated Press, not Allahpundit) on VA:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republicans wrested political control of Virginia from the Democrats on Tuesday as independent voters swung behind the GOP, a troubling sign for President Barack Obama and his party heading into an important midterm election year. New Jersey decided whether to stick with unpopular Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.

Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell’s victory in Virginia over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds was a triumph for a GOP looking to rebuild after being booted from power in national elections in 2006 and 2008. It also was a setback for the White House in a swing state that was a crucial part of Obama’s electoral landslide just a year ago. The president had personally campaigned for Deeds.

Independents—the crown jewel of elections because they often determine outcomes—were a critical part of the diverse coalition that carried the president to victory in Virginia and across the country. But, in the midst of a recession, still early in Obama’s term, they fled from Democrats in a state where the economy trumped all.

Early returns showed that by a 2-1 margin McDonnell was winning rapidly growing, far-flung Washington, D.C., suburbs—places like Loudoun and Prince William counties—that Republicans historically have won but that Obama prevailed in last fall by winning over swing voters.

More from the other states as they come in.

Update (5:35 PM Pacific): From the main Pajamas Portal: Decision ‘09: 2% Reporting in NJ: Christie 49%, Corzine 43%; GOP Sweep in VA."

Update (5:40 PM): Michelle Malkin:  "Ballot Watch: Waiting for the results that everyone tells us mean nothing."

Update (6:15 PM): Cassy Fiano on the early results from the other big races of the night:

In New York, The Hill is claiming a victory for Hoffman (albeit prematurely). We’ll have to stay tuned for the final results in both NJ and NY.

The thing the Republican party needs to remember here, and especially in the NY-23 race, is that they can claim no credit for these victories. In fact, in the NY-23 race, Doug Hoffman will have won in spite of the GOP. It should be sending a pretty clear message to the Republicans like Meghan McCain who like to say that Americans want a “moderate”, Democrat-lite version of the GOP. Democrats haven’t won in NY-23 in over 110 years, and yet here they are, contenders to take the seat because the GOP decided to go for a Republican that would surely get the Meghan McCain stamp of approval. What does that tell you? Abandoning conservative principles to get liberals in the media to like you does not win you voters, and it’s a testament to Doug Hoffman, not the GOP, that he could walk away tonight victorious.

I’ll keep updating over the next 24 hours as the results come in. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: The AP confirms McDonnell’s win; says the NJ race is still too close to call. Notes that independents are heavily favoring Christie.

UPDATE: The AP is now reporting that Christie has gained an early lead, with Christie at 52%, Corzine at 41%, and Daggett at 6%.

More as it comes in.

Update (6:21): Here's the Intrade betting results so far.

Update: (6:30): ABC's Jake Tapper tweets, "NBC's 'The Biggest Loser' is at the White House tonight. This is not a joke."

Meanwhile, the Politico reports "Gibbs: Obama 'not watching returns.'" Why yes, that is reminiscent of this moment; when a president who's obsessed with domestic issues was surprisingly removed from them.

Update (6:51): The Hotline reports: "NYC Mayor: Bloomberg Wins Controversial Third Term":

Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I) won re-election today, a little over a year after he signed a controversial bill that changed the city's term limits law and allowed him to seek a third term.

With just 6% of the precincts reporting, Bloomberg leads Comp. Bill Thompson (D), 53-44%. WNBC-TV is reporting that their parent network has called the race for Bloomberg.

Bloomberg shattered his own record for personal campaign spending for U.S. political office. Through 10/15, he had contributed more than $85M to his own campaign, and he was well on his way to breaking the $100M mark.

Thompson, meanwhile, had spent just $6.6M as of the latest filing deadline, pocketing a little over $3M in public matching funds.

FDR could not be reached for comment.

Update (7:09 PM PST): No link yet, but apparently AP has called NJ for Christie. But in NY-23, Ace of Spades tweets "eeesh... 20% of precincts in, Owens 51%, Hoffman 43%."

Update (7:13): "TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Republican Chris Christie has defeated Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey."

Update (7:20): Hoffman cratering on InTrade.

Update (7:22): Greg Pollowitz on Twitter: "Does this mean Bruce Springsteen must leave NJ now?"

Update (7:27): Frank J. on Twitter: "Christie reminds me of the large guy from the Sopranos who was the nicer mobster. Nicer mobster is pretty good for NJ."

Heh.

Update: (7:38): The Politico's Ben Smith: "NBC reverses Bloomberg call"

Wow: This is looking to be a very long night for the billionaire-incumbent-front-runner in New York.

With more than a third of the votes in, it's a 1-point race. NBC called it for Bloomberg — but just reversed that call. The New York Times continues to indicate that Bloomberg has won.

I still think Bloomberg will pull it out, but then, I didn't give Christie that big a chance, either.

Speaking of Christie's victory, Jonah Goldberg writes:

Wow. That's just amazing. I don't see how the White House can spin it away. Remember their explanation for Deeds' loss was that Deeds didn't embrace Obama enough. Corzine hugged Obama and made the election about Obama in a state Obama carried by 15 points and where Dems outnumber Republicans by a wide margin. And he lost.

That's gotta hurt.

Related: "Remember, Nothing Ever Reflects Upon President Obama."

Meanwhile, Jim Treacher quips, "No wonder Hoffman is struggling. His opponent didn't have any help from Obama."

Update (7:58): No link yet, but Corzine has apparently conceded; meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal calls it for Bloomberg.

Update (8:05): Hotline notes that Corzine has conceded.

"Generalissimo" Duane Patterson adds, "could there be two more welcome words on this tuesday night than 'Corzine concedes?'"

Meanwhile, a Corner reader jokes, "Obama goes to Europe and comes back with no Olympics.  Goes to NJ and his candidate looses.  Same in Va.  Maybe he should stay at home since he comes back empty handed each time."

Andrew Breitbart dubs the election, "A referendum against community organizing."

Update (8:09 PM PST): "NBC calling NY-23 for Owens." If so:

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Related: Moe Lane concurs.

Update (8:29): In the New York Post, Glenn Reynolds writes, “The Obama Magic Has Faded:”

All politics is local, they say, and Tuesday’s off-off-year elections certainly had their local angles. Jon Corzine has been a terrible governor even by the undemanding standards of terribly governed New Jersey. Creigh Deeds, though he looked good to Democratic Party recruiters not long ago, turned out to be an undistinguished campaigner, more driven by the concerns of Washington Post editorialists than of Virginia voters. And NY-23 Republican nomineee Dede Scozzafava was a bizarre choice, bizarre enough to inspire a seemingly quixotic third-party run by Doug Hoffman.

* * *

Indeed. Read the whole thing.™

Update (9:01 PM) PDT: Allahpundit does the cybernetic humpty-hump.

Update (9:37): The cast of Day By Day channels their inner Braveheart:

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Update (9:43 PM): Good news and bad news out of New York State for Republicans. First up, Roger Simon on the bad news — “The Strange Case of NY23:”

November 3, 2009 was a great day for the Republican Party with resounding wins in Virginia and, improbably, New Jersey where Bruce Springsteen blared as Chris Christie began his victory speech. (I wonder if Bruce will sue.) But in the midst of the welter of re-upped GOP glory only one year after ignominious defeat, there was one outlier – New York’s Twenty-Third Congressional District.

Now I realize that the surprise loser there, Doug Hoffman, ran as a Conservative, not a Republican. But I submit in this case that was a distinction without a significant difference because virtually all the Republican establishment had lined up behind Hoffman by the day of the election.

So why – in what was clearly a Republican year – did Hoffman lose? Well, there are several reasons and, yes, the Democratic victory was narrow, thinner than the five or so percent that went to withdrawn Republican nominee Scozzafava who herself endorsed the Democratic candidate. Still, the 23rd is a safely Republican, even conservative, district. In a year where the GOP racked up a 20% margin in Virginia and coasted easily in Jersey, a state in which Obama romped in ‘08 by 16%, what was the problem?

Well… I might as well say it… social conservatism. America is a fiscally conservative country – now perhaps more than ever, and with much justification – but not a socially conservative one. No, I don’t mean to say it’s socially liberal. It’s not. It’s socially laissez-faire (just as its mostly fiscally laissez-faire). Whether we’re pro-choice, pro-life or whatever we are, most of us want the government out of our bedrooms, just as we want it out of our wallets.

Hoffman’s capital-C Conservative campaign, however, tried to separate itself from the majority parties by making a big deal of the social issues. He was all upset that Scozzafava was pro-gay marriage, seemingly as upset as he was with her support for the stimulus plan. He projected the image of a bluenose in a world that increasingly doesn’t want to hear about these things. Hoffman’s is a selective vision of the nanny state – you can nanny about some things but not about others. I suspect America deeply dislikes nannying about anything.

There is, of course, a message in this for the Republican Party going forward. You can choose to emphasize the social issues or not. Today may show the former is a losing proposition.

But there’s a ray of sunshine for the GOP in New York State, The Conservative Victory in New York”, according to email published on NRO’s Corner:

From a New York political observer:

The biggest defeat for RINOs in New York wasn’t the pre-election collapse of Dede Scozzafava in the 23rd CD. It was tonight’s stunning victory by conservative Republican Rob Astorino in the race for County Executive of Westchester County—the affluent and heavily taxed suburb just north of NYC, which has been solidly Democratic for more than a decade. Astorino’s victory is a stinging rebuke to the brand of New York Republicanism personified by Assemblywoman Scozzafava, former Gov. (and Westchester native son) George Pataki, and Westchester’s famously liberal former state Sen. Nicky Spano of Yonkers, who had endorsed incumbent Democratic County Executive Andy Spano (no relation) and engineered Andy Spano’s endorsement by the local Conservative party. Astorino, 42, a county legislator who used to co-host a satellite radio show with Cardinal Egan, happens to be pro-life — but going against the trend established by Pataki and other suburban Republicans in the 1990s, he didn’t waver from that position. He knew the pro-choice swing vote in Westchester would be motivated by primarily economic issues. He was right, and has a bright future in statewide politics if he does a good job. An even more stunning Republican showing came in the other big, affluent NYC suburb, Nassau County, where an underfunded Republican named Ed Mangano was — as of midnight — in a dead heat with the charismatic Democratic County Executive Tom Suozzi. Meanwhile, the GOP recaptured control of that county’s legislature. Nassau residents apparently were so fed up with the status quo that they may have returned control of county government to the same discredited GOP machine that nearly drove the county into bankruptcy just eight years ago. In a word, Wow.

And from the Westchester Journal News:

Voters rejected the Democratic incumbent’s bid for a fourth term, opting instead for a candidate who pledged to downsize government and cut the highest county taxes in the nation.

“It’s far surpassing anything we expected,” Astorino said after taking Spano’s concession call at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. “But I think the message resonated. People wanted change and they are going to get it starting in January.”

Astorino’s victory came despite Democrats’ 2-1 margin over Republicans among Westchester’s 538,822 registered voters.

With 87 percent of the votes in, Astorino had 58 percent, Spano 42 percent, according to the unofficial results.

Going forward, Ramesh Ponnuru posits “A Republican Strategist’s Take:

I just spoke to a smart one. He argues that the Virginia governor’s race offers more lessons for Republicans than either the New Jersey race (because there was an incumbent on whom it was a referendum) or the New York congressional race (because its circumstances were too odd). One of the lessons he draws is that Republican candidates have to “finish the sentence.” Instead of just saying that we have to keep taxes and spending low, and thus pleasing conservatives, he said, McDonnell explain how these policies would create jobs and “plug the hole in Richmond.” Too many Republican candidates, he says, forget to do that.

He pours cold water on the idea that the elections were a referendum on Obama. “Obama’s numbers in Virginia are not that bad. He’s not upside-down, that’s for sure.” (That is, more people rate him favorably than unfavorably.) “I guarantee you that McDonnell got a lot of votes from people who approve of [the job Obama is doing].” He takes the vote to be a rejection of many of Obama’s policies. But he adds, “I don’t think that Republicans should come away from this and think that all that we have to do in 2010 is run against Obama. McDonnell had a very vigorous policy agenda.”

“Finishing the sentence” and reminding constituents that all politics are indeed local — and ultimately fiscal — sounds like excellent advice.

Update (10:00 PM): Mickey Kaus has your winners and losers of the night. And in case I missed this earlier, “Hoffman Throws In Towel — Conservative concedes after falling behind by 4,337 votes.”

Update (10:30 PM): Or actually, a flashback to last week, when Neil Cavuto said, “If, and it is certainly a big if, Republican challenger Chris Christie goes on to win the New Jersey gubernatorial election next week, I think I will know what turned the tide…”:

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And on that note, barring any big late night breaking news, I think this post has run its course, and regular blogging will resume on the regular blog. Thanks for stopping by our special election night round-up!

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