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Posts tagged “Election 2009

UH OH! No funds in budget for Christie transition


In a radio interview this morning, New Jersey Governor-Elect Chris Christie said there are no transition funds for his incoming administration.

No money for hiring of new staffers. No money to update signs, publications and stationary. No money to do the things that have to be done when one administration leaves and another enters.

 “Interestingly, the state didn’t fund the transition,” Christie said in the interview. “They didn’t put any money in the budget for a transition so we need to talk about making sure that we get that squared away.”

Christie defeated incumbent Jon Corzine 49.1% to 44.6%  in the November 3 general election, becoming the first Republican to win a statewide election in New Jersey since 1997. He takes office in mid-January.


Maine voters reject Gay Marriage

In a bit of a surprise, given the state’s political tendencies and a pretty good turnout for an off-year election, Maine voters have apparently voted YES on Question 1, to repeal the law the state’s legislature passed this year to allow gay marriage, by a 52-48 margin.

According to’s Nate Silver, there was a rural-urban divide in the vote, with Portland and the southern part of the state voting overwhelmingly NO (ie, in favor of gay marriage) and the northern, more rural part voting overwhelmingly YES. Gay Marriage obviously remains a very divisive issue in this country and will continue to be.

Democrat Bill Owens wins NY-23

The Democrats finally got some good news tonight when Bill Owens won the special House election for New York District 23, in the North Country along the Canadian Border. With 88% reporting, Owens led Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman 49% to 45%, with Republican Dede Scozzafava, who dropped out of the race over the weekend, garnering 5%. Hoffman had the backing of many establishment Republicans over the more moderate Scozzafava, who endorsed Owens after dropping out of the race.

While Obama did win this district by 5 points last year, this is the first time that the district has been represented by a Democrat in over 140 years, and it leaves New York with only two Republicans in its 29-member Congressional delegation.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the Republican party now as it gears up for next year’s Congressional midterms. Did the national party cut off its nose to spite its face by backing Hoffman in the name of ideological purity? Will the party split in two and give us a viable third party? Will moderate Republicans align with the Democrats now?

The lesson from Election 2009

Despite what the Republicans will no doubt be crowing, tonight’s results are not a referendum on President Obama. But they do provide an important lesson that Obama and his advisers would be well advised to heed.

It’s time for Obama to shut up, lead and actually get things done.

The story of tonight was simple – conservatives were galvanized, out of disgust with Obama’s policies and sensing vulnerability. Liberals were disenchanted by Obama’s failure to back up his campaign talk and stayed home. And independents see an economy that is still broken and broke heavily for challengers over incumbents. If Obama and the Dems want to do well in next year’s Congressional midterms (when 37 other governorships will also be up for grabs), they better lay off the glitzy speeches and actually get things done.

Create jobs. Pass real healthcare reform. Just get things done that are actually going to improve things for people outside of Washington. Things that you pledged to do as a candidate. Actually do those things, and your base will be energized again, independents will appreciate you accomplishing something and the rest will take care of itself.

That’s it. Enough talking. Time to show some guts, lead and git r done. The incumbents (or their parties) weren’t perceived to have gotten it done and paid the price. Obama better get things done or he’ll be joining them in the unemployment line.


I thought it would be much closer than this. And the polling over the last few months suggested it would be. But barely 2 hours after the polls closed, Republican Chris Christie has been projected to become the next Governor of New Jersey, defeating incumbent Jon Corzine.

With 74% of the precincts reporting as of 10:20 p.m. ET, Christie leads 50% to 44%, with independent Chris Daggett getting only 6% after polling in double-digits for months. Christie is the first Republican to win a statewide election in New Jersey since Christine Todd Whitman won her second term as governor in 1997.

Corzine used his Goldman Sachs millions to run negative ads and attack Christie’s character and political positions (which admittedly are quite conservative for NJ). But Christie stayed on his message of attacking the high unemployment and taxes in the state and promoting his record as a corruption-fighting U.S. Attorney who will clean up the mess in Trenton. I hope he does just that, because heaven knows Trenton needs cleaning.

“The people of New Jersey said, ‘No more negative personal campaigns,'” Christie said in his victory speech. “In the face of a $30 million onslaught that consisted almost exclusively of negative personal campaigns against me, my family and my friends, the people of New Jersey decided enough is enough.

“Tomorrow we’re gonna take back New Jersey for our families. Tomorrow we’re gonna take back New Jersey for our neighbors. Tomorrow we’re gonna take back New Jersey for the least fortunate among us who do not want the government to fix every problem.”

This one is far worse for the Democrats than Virginia. Obama made several trips to campaign for Corzine, and New Jersey is a very blue state where Democrats have won statewide elections by sizeable margins for most of the last 20 years.

Good luck to Christie. Between the mess in Trenton and the hostile legislature he is sure to face, he’ll need it.

Bloomberg re-elected Mayor of New York City

The networks have projected Michael Bloomberg to be re-elected Mayor of New York City. Like in Virginia, this was not expected to be very competitive.

With 4% of the vote in as of 9:48 p.m., Bloomberg had a 54%-43% lead over Democrat Bill Thompson, the city comptroller.

McDonnell elected VA Governor


As expected, Republican Bob McDonnell has easily been elected Governor of Virginia, defeating Democrat Creigh Deeds. The win, part of a Republican sweep of VA’s three highest offices (Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General), continues Virginia’s trend of voting for a governor from the opposite party of the sitting President that goes back to 1977.

The networks called the race for McDonnell shortly before 8 p.m. ET – an hour after the polls closed.

In my opinion, Deeds ran a lame, horrible campaign that didn’t galvanize the state’s more pro-Democratic areas – namely the Washington DC suburbs in Northern Virginia and the urban areas in the Norfolk area – the way Obama did last year and Jim Webb did against George Allen in the 2006 U.S. Senate race. It wasn’t clear for much of the campaign what Deeds stood for, but he certainly didn’t energize the people who voted for Obama last year. And using McDonnell’s thesis from 20 years ago to scare voters on social issues only goes so far given the struggling economy.

Happy Election Day!

Happy Election Day! May the elections going on across the country today not be marred by voting machine malfunctions, hanging chads, vote fraud or any other shenanigans. May whoever wins today win fair and square.

The five “big” elections in this off year are for the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia, the special House election in NY District 23, the Mayor of New York City and Prop 1, to overturn the Maine government’s approval of gay marriage. With Michael Bloomberg expected to be re-elected easily in NYC and Bob McDonnell leading all the polls by double digits for the last week-plus, the eyes of the nation will be on The Garden State and Northwest New York state.

Anything could happen in those two races. Both will come down to who gets their base to the polls in larger numbers. Since turnout in off-year elections is usually low, the usual theory about needing to play for the independents and undecideds doesn’t necessarily apply. As a Republican (and a fairly conservative one at that) in deep blue New Jersey, turnout will be extremely important for Chris Christie if he hopes to oust incumbent Jon Corzine.

Whatever happens tonight, pundits are going to spin it as a referendum on President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. And they’ll be wrong. These are all local elections on local issues. If Christie somehow wins tonight, it will be because enough NJ voters were disenchanted with the state of affairs under Corzine and considered Christie to be better, not because they want to send a message to Obama. The result in the NY-23 special election could be a statement of whether or not moderates are welcome in the Republican Party, but it also won’t be a referendum on Obama.

Polls close at 7 p.m. ET in Virginia, 8 p.m. in NJ and ME and 9 p.m. in New York. And there are municipal elections across the country as well. So make sure you vote.

Schism in the Republican Party?

With Republican Bob McDonnell on his way to a landslide victory in Virginia’s gubernatorial election and Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine having battled back into a statistical tie with Republican challenger Chris Christie in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race, many pundits are looking at the special election for New York District 23’s Congressional seat on Tuesday as a sort of tie-breaker in Tuesday’s off-year elections. This seat was vacated this summer when Republican John McHugh resigned to become President Obama’s Secretary of the Army. This race took on added intrigue when Doug Hoffman entered the race on the Conservative Party’s ticket…and won the endorsement of many nationally prominent Republicans over the local party’s choice, moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava.

Today came news that Scozzafava, trailing both Hoffman and Democratic nominee Bill Owens in polls, is suspending her campaign. She’ll still be on the ballot on Tuesday, and likely has already gotten some votes through absentee voting, but this makes the race between a hardcore conservative and a Democrat.

People who follow politics have certainly noticed that there are increasingly fewer moderates in the Republican party, especially in Congress. They have either been ousted by Democrats, retired or, in the famous case of Senator Arlen Specter (PA) this past spring, switched parties.

While pundits will use Tuesday’s elections as a referendum on President Obama, this special election may be more of a referendum on whether or not there is still a place for moderates (such as Senator Olympia Snowe) in the Republican party. If Hoffman wins, national Republicans will crow that Americans want hardcore conservatives in Republicans. If Owens wins, it could create a split within the party. While Obama did win NY-23 by 5 points last November, the district has long been solidly Republican; parts of it have been represented by a Republican since before the Civil War. If Owens wins, moderate Republicans will blame the party’s conservative wing for costing them a seemingly safe seat in the House just so they could maintain ideological purity, while conservatives will blame the district’s GOP establishment for not nominating a conservative.

Could the Republican party split into two?