cooch and macBy Peter Galuszka

The awful Virginia gubernatorial contest is over. Utter disaster has been averted with the defeat of strident rightwinger Kenneth Cuccinelli. Here are seven takeaways from Election Day:

1. Winner Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, now gets to deal with a contentious General Assembly where the GOP maintains firm control on the House of Delegates. The state may be stubbornly gridlock prone come January.

2. Amid all the confusion over implementing the Affordable Car Act, McAuliffe must do something for the 400,000 or so needy Virginians who can’t get federal health insurance subsidies. One reason is that Virginia’s conservatives have rejected expanding Medicaid. Good luck to McAuliffe on his coming effort to reverse this.

3. It should be crystal clear from Tuesday’s voting patterns that the Old Dominion has moved beyond the Tea Party craze and their various machinations. Moderate Republicans need to find some backbone and clean out the Tea Party types who manipulated the party convention that got rid of a winnable Bill Bolling and replaced him with losers like Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson, who got creamed in the lieutenant governor’s race.

4. Once again, suburban and urban Virginians have shown that they hold the keys to power. The Walton family types from the rural hills may be perennially “red,” but they are fading into history much like that television show’s reruns.

5. Soon, we should learn whether Gov. Robert F. McDonnell will be indicted on corruption charges. Richmond’s focus needs to turn to ethics reform and the work of creating real institutions for dealing with these kinds of issues, such as a State Ethics Commission, although I realize this is unlikely.

6. Virginia has a ton of real problems such as the need to create sustainable jobs to wean the state away from an increasingly unreliable federal government sector. Roads remain a huge issue, as does maintaining and improving education, and pushing smarter growth planning policies.

That’s enough for the moment, but there is some good news I need to throw in:

7. Now that Cuccinelli is out of the way, the state won’t have to be sidetracked by the infuriating fringe issues that come along with him, such his climate change denial, assaults on women’s rights, bashing gays and immigrants and tendency to blame the government for everything wrong with the state.

The jury’s still out on a flawed McAuliffe, but let the healing and rebuilding begin.

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11 responses to “Thank God It’s Over: Seven Election Takeaways”

  1. well here’s a question.

    who is now the leader of the Republican Party in Virginia?

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      The Republicans have no leader. I guess you could argue Bill Howell. Pat Mullins will step down as RPV chief as soon as the body of the Cuccinelli campaign cools.

      RIP RPV.
      Cause of death: Suicide.

  2. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    By the sewer
    she lived
    by the sewer
    she died
    They said it was murder
    But it was sewercide

  3. I’m not sure Cooch was really interested in governing. He seemed to relish the role of bomb-throwing culture warrior too much. The trouble for him was that Virginia is not Alabama.

    Bringing in the Cruz missile to campaign for him was a incredibly dumb idea. Exit polls showed that 42% of VA voters opposed the Tea Party. It might be “nail meet coffin” time for the T.P’ers in VA, at least at the state level.

    I like how the WaPo called McAuffile a “democratic cheerleader”. That’s really all he is, only a corrupt one.

  4. I could be wrong and may get jumped on but my perception is that RoVa IS Alabama!

    1. I don’t know about that, but I’m sure the Walton clan was solidly anti-sodomy.

    2. DJRippert Avatar

      There is no RoVa. There is “the urban crescent” vs “elsewhere”. Within each there are exceptions. Charlottesville is at odds with most of
      elsewhere”. Parts of Prince William county and Loudoun County are at odds with “the urban crescent”.

      The final nail in “elsewhere’s” coffin came when the state tried to pin sky-high tolls on Tidewater. At that point Tidewater began to realize that they had a lot more in common with NoVa than “elsewhere”. The Republican mayor of Virginia Beach endorsed McAuliffe and Cuccinelli barely held a majority in that once reliable Republican bastion.

      The future of Virginia seems pretty clear – more and more Democratic, more and more liberal. The incompetence of the Republican Party of Virginia is catalyzing that change but is not causing the change.

      It was not long ago that six of Maryland’s eight member Congressional delegation was Republican. Today, it is 7-1 Democratic.

      Owning a second home in rural Maryland has convinced me of one thing – Virginia’s conservatives had better get on the stick. The conservative folks in the area of Maryland where I live (the are represented by the lone Maryland Republican Congressman) hate the liberal state government. They wish they could break away. Hell, if given the choice they’d probably vote to join Virginia if succession was impossible.

      And that’s in a state that isn’t hard core Dillon’s Rule.

      If the conservatives in Virginia want to live their lives with some freedom from an unending series of liberal laws and taxes they need to act now. they need to push for more and more local autonomy. They need to push for less and less Dillon’s Rule. They need to do this while they still have a vestige of political power in the House of Delegates.

      1. I humbly submit this map for your inspection DJ:

        let me guess… you are color blind , right?


        If you actually look at the individual counties – the margin of victory is pretty monotonous – it hovers around 65% varying to 70 for some and 60 for others.

        Those counties represent a lot of delegates in the HOD and so far – they’ve managed to keep enough Senators to render the Dems largely impotent except when needed by the establishment GOP when the tea pots rebel.

        Where I live – in a county with about half the workers largely commuters to govt or contractors to govt jobs in NoVa – voted 65% for Romney and 65% for Cucinelli and our BOS is now 6-1 GOP. The last Dem State Senator that represented a Dem edge was tossed out last election for a Conservative GOP.

        the one thing I would say – is that in the GOP-leaning counties there are two primary Dem constituencies – teachers and blacks.

        If the blacks, in the future – turn out in numbers like the did for Obama – they could tilt some counties purple.

        There are about 5 like that right now where Cucinelli and McAuliffe split the vote.

        The GOP in Va does a whale of a lot better job of incubating recruits starting at the BOS level whereas the Dems are a disorganized mess.

        Our GOP Senators and HOD – almost all – start out as BOS.

        The Dems who run often have not held any elective office… literally
        grassroots types.

        My view is that any county that has a predominantly GOP BOS is probably going to send GOP Senators and Delegates to Richmond also.

  5. well.. come to think of it … Didn’t the Waltons LIKE Roosevelt and his WPA programs?

  6. Oh.. and here is another HUGE irony.

    ” McAuliffe signaled his bipartisan message Wednesday by naming a former Republican state senator, John Chichester of Stafford, to his transition team along with Democratic appointees.”

    This is a guy who used to be a GOP leader in Va before he was “outed” as a RINO and consigned to the gates of political hell.

    but what I’m waiting for is the announcement that Connaughton has been asked to stay on!

    Next, as the ultimate bipartisan gesture, I expect McAuliffe to pull a “Barak” Hillary move by appointing Cucinelli to a newly-created “director of science ethics” position at UVA which would also include purview over dietary supplement products.


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