It was a bad night in my beloved-but-ever-more-Blue Colorado, where the Left succeeded in letting Denver keep excess marijuana tax revenues, raised taxes in Colorado Springs, and killed off school reform in JeffCo. But overall it was a very good off-year election for a few specific Republicans and for the right in general.
Let’s go to Rick Wilson for the details of what happened in Maine and in Washington state:
First, on economics, which is always the secret underpinning of every presidential election, and most races down the ballot. Ballot questions on taxes and the economy are particularly interesting: in Portland, Maine, a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15 crashed and burned spectacularly. I’m not sure if I can emphasize enough…PORTLAND. It was defeated by local businesses who made direct contact and appeals to their customers, using some aikido to cede a bit on the question, but arguing that $15/hour was “too far, too fast.”
Three other economic questions were resoundingly answered in dark-blue Washington State last night. Ballot proposition 1366 cuts Washington State’s sales tax from 6.5% to 5.5%, but more interestingly, puts a political trap on the table. The liberal Washington legislature can keep the tax rate at 6.5%, but it will have to submit a 2/3 vote of both houses of the state legislature to do so, putting Members on record. The liberal wish list of spending in Washington has been outracing the wallets of the state’s population, and this brake on their spending is surprising, and smartly constructed. Washington voters also overwhelmingly approved removing a recent 11.9 cent gas tax increase, and the removal of recent business tax hikes that exempted the software industry, which can only be seen as a small victory against crony capitalism.
At WaPo, Laura Vozzella and Jenna Portnoy have the story on Terry McAuliffe’s wipeout in Virginia:
Republicans held onto the Virginia Senate in fiercely contested elections Tuesday, leaving Gov. Terry McAuliffe without legislative leverage or political momentum as he works to deliver Virginia for his friend and ally Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.
The outcome was a blunt rebuke to McAuliffe (D), who had barnstormed the state with 24 events over the past four days and who portrayed the elections as a make-or-break moment for his progressive agenda.
That must have been an especially bitter loss, since a pickup of just one seat would have given the Democrats effective control of the Senate, and McAuliffe his only effective allies in the state legislature.
Oh effing well — serves him right for teaming up with Mike Bloomberg and his out-of-state money in support of gun control:
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe led a well-financed effort, with help from deep-pocketed donors and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group, to help his party in a handful of competitive races. Republicans were helped by the Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington-based GOP group largely backed by corporate interests that invested heavily in key races.
In a closely watched Richmond-area open seat, Republican Glen Sturtevant narrowly defeated Democrat Dan Gecker to hold a seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. John Watkins.
Message to Dems: Keep running on gun control, please.
And then there’s Kentucky.
In the Bluegrass State last night’s loss might prove to be the Democrats’ most stinging over the long term:
Just two years ago, Kentucky Democrats boasted a deep bench of three young stars who aligned to prove the party could still win in the conservative South with a message focused on the economy and jobs instead of abortion and gay marriage.
But Kentucky voters have now rejected all three, capped by a disastrous election for Democrats on Tuesday in which they lost four of the five statewide constitutional offices they held coming into the election, including the governor’s office for just the second time since 1971.
“The degree to which the national party is out of step with mainstream Kentuckians has created an environment where it’s extraordinarily difficult for a Democrat to win statewide,” said state Auditor Adam Edelen, who lost his re-election bid to little known Republican state representative Mike Harmon.
Kentucky had been something of a bright spot for Democrats, who have lost over 900 offices at the state & local level since Barack Obama was sworn in seven years ago. Three of those bright spots were snuffed out last night, due in no small part to Governor-Elect Matt Bevin’s effective campaign to repeal ♡bamaCare!!! in his state. That detail is even more telling, given that Kentucky is considered to be one of the few places where ♡bamaCare!!! might actually be working as intended.
Democrats lost almost everywhere yesterday on the economy, on taxes, on gun control, and on ♡bamaCare!!!.
What’s left for them to win on?