After a long night of following returns, I am off to DC for the annual Red Hat GUC, and then to Manassas, so I thought I would offer a few random thoughts on the events of the past week and on last night’s results.
Two tough years: The Democrats have taken both houses of Congress. I forsee gridlock. This is the natural result of winning elections through wedge issues and appealing to the base without trying to gain wider support.
I was right, Part 1: My predictions rang true on the elections yesterday, and I suggest that the boys over at Richmond War Room owe Dan Scandling and the Frank Wolf a huge “OOOOOOOPS” for their repeated suggestions the Wolf effort was a stealth campaign, that they were overconfident, etc. Congressman Wolf exceeded my predicted 56%, Feder barely broke 40%, and that despite likely outspending Wolf. The Wolf campaign ran smart, they ran silent, they ran deep, and like the deadly subs in that referenced movie they put numerous torpedos in the good ship Feder with devestating results.
I was right, Part 2: I predicted in September that a losing Allen campaign might help GOP incumbents in Virginia:
There is a reason why Congress as a whole keeps getting low marks in public polling but the membership doesn’t turn over. While there are the benefits of incumbency and partisan redistricting, I bet there are a lot of folks who like their congressman while being unhappy with the instution. I also suspect that there are folks out there who want a way to register their disapproval of the Bush administration while supporting their congressman (who they like, respect, etc.) A split ticket-vote Democrat in the Senate election, GOP in the House election-would allow them to do that…and the bad press for Allen will continue to make that option very palatable to a lot of folks.
Looks like I got that one right.
Congrats to: Jackson Miller and Corey Stewart, who won their races for Delegate and Board Chair in Prince William County, and can now prepare to run for reelection in 11/2007.
Kudos to: Jeanette Rishell and Andrew Hurst, who fought strong campaigns and finished much better than I expected.
Big winner Yesterday: Hillary Clinton. She wins reelection as US Senator, while the Dems take both houses of congress. After two years of gridlock, where Bush veto’s numerous democratic legislative initiatives, she can run for President in 2008 as a uniter who can move us beyond partisan gridlock.
Big Loser: George Allen and Ned LaMont
Big Winners, VA: All those who won, but especially Jim Webb and Thelma Drake. Also Lowell Feld and Ben Tribbet who played huge roles (respectively) in (a) getting Webb into the field an (b) spreading the word of Allen’s various missteps, and in doing so took George Allen from presidential hopeful to private citizen.
Be Careful what you write: I noted earlier this week how several PWCo Democratic bloggers took flight on an anonymous report that GOP Internals showed Corey Stewart losing to Sharon Pandak by 7 points…which somehow turned into an 8 point Stewart win by election night. Doesn’t matter whether you are MSM or a blogger, anonymous sources-especially ones with partisan motives-will burn you!
Well Intentioned advice for George Allen: You are down by 8000 votes, and that gap is likely to get larger. Creigh Deeds only made up about two dozen votes in his recount against Bob McDonnell. If the margin does not narrow significantly when all the precincts come in, you should consider declining a recount unless you have significant evidence of voting irregularities that would change the result.
More later, after I have the chance to absorb the results.