Here in Virginia voter turnout has been low on this crisp autumn election day. That bodes well for Republican Bob McDonnell. My prediction is that McDonnell wins by no less than 4 points. Chris Christie in New Jersey wins by plus 2 and in NY Mr. Hoffman probably wins in a nail biter.
So how did this happen?
Well, I have bad news for the Conservatives: Here it is -- moderates (with the exception of Mr. Hoffman) will win the day in this election cycle. Mr. McDonnell did not and I emphasize did not run a pro-life, anti-gay, pro-gun, Pro-Jesus Virginia GOP campaign. Instead he ran a sensible, job creating, transportation fixing, lower taxes campaign that in a bad economy speaks to everyone, regardless of their political leanings. Mr. Christie is a law and order guy who is similar to his predecessors Tom Kean and Christie Whitman -- he is a social moderate and a fiscal conservative. I grew up in New Jersey and those are the only kinds of Republicans that win in that state. As for Mr. Hoffman I am not sure he will win, but if he does -- it will likely speak more to disenchantment with the Democrats in NYC and his keenly focused message on returning less government to the people.
My point is this: I have been listening to the talking heads and others who say that the Conservative Revolution is back. I disagree. Bob McDonnell, who is an otherwise very conservative Republican, ran away from his pro-life record, his controversial thesis on the roles of women (at Pat Robertson's school, mind you), and his strong pro-gun record. McDonnell ran a smart, INCLUSIVE campaign (rare for a Republican) that featured prominent black female billionaire Sheila Johnson (formerly of BET) as supporting him because of his smart business mind and savvy in job creation. This will play well with NOVA suburbanites and it makes people feel more comfortable with McDonnell's otherwise conservative voting record.
As for Mr. Christie, if not for the independent candidate in that race he would be up by likely 7-10 points. Gov. Corizine has been a disaster for New Jersey. Period. My Democrat, union card carrying member father told me this morning that he voted for Christie -- I was speechless.
What does this mean: Well it spells potential trouble for the president heading into the 2010 season, IF the republicans can learn to replicate the playbook that McDonnell has mapped out. Virginia was a key win for President Obama in 2008 -- to lose here badly says more than Mr. Deeds was not a good candidate. It says that the president does not have any coat tails, at least not today.