A bad day for the Obama White House but a good day for the American people
That’s the easiest way to summarize the collapse of the Democratic candidates around the country yesterday.
In Virginia and New Jersey the Republican victories last night were bigger than they were in 1993.
Voters were clearly unhappy. According to Mike Allen of The Politico, network exit polls showed that 85 percent of Virginia voters and 90 percent of New Jersey voters were worried about the economy.
Governor Haley Barbour put it best: "It’s not about the President personally…the President’s policies are unpopular.”
It will be interesting to see if any congressional Democrats get that message or if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is able to push through the massive leftwing health bill this coming Saturday.
The Biggest Winner? Bob McDonnell in Virginia
The biggest winner last night was Bob McDonnell and his campaign for governor in Virginia.
McDonnell is so attractive and effective as a candidate, and so knowledgeable after years in the state legislature and four years as Attorney General, that he should be a model for all Republicans to study.
He is a solid conservative who knew how to appeal to suburban voters, how to deflect the Washington Post’s attacks, and how to appeal to minority voters.
The results were overwhelming in Virginia. Republican enthusiasm was up, and after a year of the Obama presidency, Democrats were demoralized.
The result was a turnout in which 47 percent of voters identified themselves as Republicans and 36 percent identified as Democrats. This is an enormous change for a state which one year ago gave President Obama 53 percent of the vote.
The Fallout in Virginia: Four Democratic Seats are Now at Risk
Four Democratic congressmen from Virginia are now at risk because their districts went for Bob McDonnell last night.
• In Rep. Glenn Nye’s (D) 2nd District, McDonnell was winning by a whopping 63 percent to 37 percent with 130 out of 161 precincts reporting.
• In Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D) 5th District, McDonnell was winning by 61-39 with over 90 percent of the vote counted.
• In Rep. Rick Boucher’s (D) 9th District, McDonnell was ahead 68-32 with 295 out of 336 precincts in.
• In Rep. Gerald Connolly’s (D) 11th District, McDonnell was up 56-44 with 68 of 168 precincts reporting.
And not just Virginia House members should take note. Virginia Senators Jim Webb (D) and Mark Warner (D) need to look carefully at the impact of the energy tax in the cap and trade bill on Virginia voters.
Chris Christie’s Victory Margin was Four Times Christine Whitman’s
In a more Democratic state than Virginia, former federal prosecutor Chris Christie’s (R) win yesterday in New Jersey was an equally impressive Republican victory.
Christie won by over 100,000 votes, which is four times moderate Republican Christine Todd Whitman’s margin in 1993.
As for the Democrats, incumbent Governor Jon Corzine’s 44 percent of the vote was a huge drop from President Obama’s 57 percent of the vote in New Jersey just a year ago.
Troubling News From New York 23
The news wasn’t all good last night.
Both conservative activists and Republican leaders need to think long and hard about the only bad result of the night in New York’s 23rd congressional district.
The Democrat beat the conservative candidate 49 percent to 44 percent, with the Republican getting only 5%.
Conservatives can take comfort in having driven a liberal Republican out of the race. But everyone on our side has to be troubled that a Republican seat went to a Democrat and Speaker Pelosi is one vote stronger because of our division.
The National Conservative Movement Has to Be Recognized and Respected
In retrospect it is clear Dede Scozzafava should never have been nominated because she was far too liberal to be acceptable.
Republican leaders in New York must recognize that Mike Long and the Conservative Party in that state have to be consulted before decisions are made. The national conservative movement is a force that has to be recognized and respected.
I certainly heard from enough friends to know that my decision to support the unanimous vote of the 11 New York county chairs was very unpopular with conservative activists.
In New York, after two failed special elections, it is clear the state party has to fight to change the election law so there are primaries in special elections. The insider nominating process is simply unacceptable to grassroots populists and guarantees a sense of illegitimacy.
“When the GOP is United, There Is No State In America We Cannot Win”
However, all of us who oppose the Left need to realize that civil war within the GOP will reelect Barack Obama and make Nancy Pelosi speaker for life.
As pollster Frank Luntz said, "When the GOP is united, there is no state in America that we cannot win — even the most Democratic states like New Jersey. But when the GOP is divided, even the most Republican districts are in jeopardy."
Building a unified, center-right coalition on a nationwide basis will be the greatest challenge Republicans face in the next three years. But we did it in 1980. We did it again in 1994.
We can do it in 2010 and 2012.
Troubling Big Money Facts
It is an inescapable conclusion that Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) would not have been reelected without having spent $90 million of his own money buying New York City Hall from the voters.
It is also obvious that Governor Corzine of New Jersey would not have been competitive without having spent $30 million (bringing his total purchase of elected offices to $120 million for one Senate and two gubernatorial races).
The current campaign finance rules create the real danger of an oligopoly of rich people buying office.
We need to replace current campaign laws with a simple system that allows everyone to raise unlimited money from individuals as long as it is reported on the internet every night.
This simple system will allow middle-class candidates to raise the money to match rich candidates and level the playing field.
The American People Still Support Marriage
In Maine voters rejected by 53 percent an effort to redefine marriage.
Once again the people rejected the elites in this fight over the nature of marriage.
Good Local Results for the GOP
Generally it was a good night for Republicans in local races as well.
In my favorite race, good friend Barbara Comstock won her state legislative race in Virginia, beating an incumbent Democrat by 192 votes to become the only Republican legislator inside the beltway in Northern Virginia.
As the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund noted, Republicans also won control of New York’s Nassau County legislature, and the race for county executive will go to recount.
Also in New York, the longtime Democratic County Executive of Westchester County, Andy Spano, lost to Republican Rob Astorino by 58 percent to 42 percent.
(Ed Cox, the new and brilliant New York state Republican chair is off to a good start).
In New Jersey, Republicans won control of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders with John Curley beating Sean Byrnes by a 58-38 margin. Republicans in New Jersey also held their majority on the Burlington County Board of Freeholders, winning two open GOP seats.
And in Michigan, state Senate District 19 was called with 65 percent of the vote reporting. Republican Mike Nofs bested Democrat Marty Griffin by 64-39. This had been a Democratic state senate seat.
Also Winners: Barbour, Ayers and Steele
Two other big winners last night deserve our congratulations and thanks: The Republican Governors Association (RGA) and the Republican National Committee (RNC).
At the RGA, Chairman Haley Barbour and Executive Director Nick Ayers did a superb job.
At the RNC, Chairman Michael Steele provided terrific support to candidates and campaigns everywhere.
All in all, a good night for the American people.
Newt’s Quick Links
• A Best-Seller — Bill Forstchen and I were excited to learn that our new novel on the American Revolution, To Try Men’s Souls, will debut on the NY Times Bestseller list this weekend. Visit www.totrymenssouls.com for video and more info about the book.
• Cap and Trade = Balloon Boy? — As Senators Boxer and Kerry try to convince the country that cap and trade will create millions of new jobs, we couldn’t help but think of something else: Balloon Boy. Their premise, just like that of the parents in Colorado, is a complete hoax. In reality, a massive energy tax at a time of 10% unemployment will lead to fewer jobs. To make that point, we put together this spoof video.
• Americano Update — An interesting OpEd in The Americano by Adolfo Franco on whether big labor unions are pushing President Obama into another Mexican-American War.
• Rally Thursday Against Obama/Pelosi-care – If you haven’t heard, Speaker Pelosi will try to ram through the House a $1.3 trillion, 1990-page government-run health care bill this week. Some members of Congress opposed to this big government takeover are holding a rally in Washington, D.C., and across the country Thursday at noon. Learn more here.