Can Republicans win in Virginia and New Jersey?

posted at 12:12 pm on February 19, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Not so long ago, Republicans didn’t need to ask that question about either state, mostly because they owned Virginia and Democrats owned New Jersey.  Real Clear Politics detects a shift in both states now that may put the governor’s chair within reach of the GOP.  Could this signal the start of a rebound?

New polling suggests that New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine faces a difficult challenge for re-election this year. A Monmouth University poll released last week shows that just 34% of Garden State voters approve of the job Corzine is doing, compared to 51% who disapprove. Another recent survey shows that Republican Chris Christie, who as the state’s hard-charging U.S. attorney has pursued a number of high-profile corruption cases, is leading the Democrat 44% to 38%.

In Virginia, the only other state holding a gubernatorial election this year, Democrats face an uphill battle against former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell. A Rasmussen survey conducted on Feb. 4 had McDonnell leading each of his three potential rivals, state Sen. Creigh Deeds, former state Delegate Brian Moran and former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe. None is as well known statewide as McDonnell, who will watch from the sidelines until the Democratic primary on June 9.

Circumstances in both states could certainly change by November. But more than the strength of Republican candidates, there’s a unique historical pattern that should have Democrats concerned. Since 1989, the party that has controlled the White House has lost gubernatorial elections in each state.

That makes this both interesting bellwethers.  Will history continue to play itself out by dumping Democrats, and potentially reversing the momentum they have gained in Virginia?  Or will the after-effects of Hope and Change from November hinder Republicans in 2009?

In a way, the history plays against the GOP here.  We’d expect the Republicans to win both races as part of a pattern.  If they lose, Democrats could point to the anomaly and say, perhaps with some truth, that the electoral winds have truly shifted and that 2008 represented a realignment of the American electorate.  If Republicans win these races, they won’t be able to make the case that the elections repudiate Obama’s politics, at least not very substantially — not unless a few more elections go their way between now and 2010.

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New jersey is so full of liberal wakos
that i dont think its possible..

Listen i lived there and i left almost 30 years ago
and only came back for my mothers funeral..
and the same dmv building with the same african american employees when my dad and i stood in line for 4 hours

in 1973 were still there and the line was just as long in 2008..

I swear the same guy in the toll booth outside of newark airport was also the same guy when i left 30 years ago..

heck i dont think they even painted the place..

all run into the ground by democrats..

and the only few republicans were corrupt as well..

I say take all of new jersey and give it to the muslims
then build a wall around it..
and flood it..

jcila on February 19, 2009 at 3:08 PM

I grew up in Jersey (Manville, home of Johns Manville) when it was sane. We left our doors and windows opened at night, leave your car keys in the car over night with the top down, had breakfast in every house on the block, kicked out all the blacks, had a winning football team and ate asbestos for fun. Been in California for twenty-five years and never been back, and never will go back.

MALICIOUS DISORDER on February 19, 2009 at 3:22 PM

New Jersey is planning to raise the taxes of residents, in West New York, NJ another twenty-seven percent (that’s 27%), thanks to democrat mayor Silverio “Sal” Vega.

New Jersey Democrats must be voted out of office. They are destroying the quality of of life for New Jersey residents and they are unfit to govern.

Google: Huge demonstration in West New York tonight as residents protest proposed 27 percent tax hike

Enough-is-enough with these out-of-control tyrant democrats.

sinsing on February 19, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Only 3% of all jobs created in NJ are in the private sector.
This is what Barry wants for America.

ouldbollix on February 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

That can’t be right. Where did you get that stat? NJ is pharma country.

mph on February 19, 2009 at 1:45 PM

Sorry my bad it was actually 7%. look at the WSJ opinion page 12/30/08

ouldbollix on February 19, 2009 at 3:42 PM

You would think after gay Mcgreevey and high taxes that people would have the common sense of voting republican…but no the dems will continue to win…why??? because people here are just stupid…Can’t wait to leave this state..

csmain on February 19, 2009 at 3:52 PM

, for one, am looking forward to 2010 when Peter Schiff unseats that crook Dodd.

Maybe if he runs as a Republican. The only thing Libertarian candidates do is siphon off a few percent of hard-right votes from Republicans and help elect Democrats.

Saxby Chambliss, in normally-conservative Georgia, was forced into a runoff because of a Libertarian who got 3% of the vote. If this can happen in deep-red Georgia, a Libertarian is going nowhere in deep-blue Connecticut.

Dodd might be vulnerable right now because of his involvement in the mortgage mess, but a Republican can only win CT as a competent pragmatist, like Jodi Rell. Probably the best choice against Dodd would be Kevin O’Connor, former U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, and former Assistant Attorney General.

Steve Z on February 19, 2009 at 3:55 PM

The Roanoke Times says that the southwest pretty much loves Kaine, yet I’ve met less than a handful of people who aren’t pissed at him. There’s something going on in this state, but I’m not sure what yet. While I understand the southwest has a Dem congressman, the last election went blood red for McCain/Palin. Save for one county, Montgomery, and one city, Radford (that touches Montgomery).

roopster217 on February 19, 2009 at 2:17 PM

You would be doing your parrot a dis-service by lining its cage with that liberal rag. Their editorial board is so out-of-touch with the people they serve if it weren’t for their excellent coverage of high school sports no one would ever buy the thing.

sdd on February 19, 2009 at 3:58 PM

New York has the advantage of being the financial capitol of the free world, such that there will always be a huge number of bankers, lawyers, accountants, consultants, and corporate guys who will live there and pay their confiscatory taxes out of necessity.
Outlander on February 19, 2009 at 3:04 PM

You can trade stocks and bonds just as easily from a laptop in Wyoming as you can in Manhattan. There is a need to be on-site occasionally. But I think that in the coming years, you’ll see a lot of people break the tie to NY City. Just another form of outsourcing really.

angryed on February 19, 2009 at 4:05 PM

If Republicans in 1993 could win not only the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections, but also the New York City and Los Angeles mayoral elections, there’s no reason eight months out to say anything is hopeless. Reid and Pelosi’s actions right now are making Bill Clinton’s foray into liberalism 16 years ago look like a toe in the water, and if nothing improves by November, it’s going to be hard for Corzine or Terry McAuliffe to run for election on an “I’m with Barack/It’s all Bush’s fault” platform.

jon1979 on February 19, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Republicans used to run NJ until that moderate Whittman took over as governor. She was nothing better than Gov Arnold kennedy. Now the dems took over NJ now your really screwed, and their not hiding it any more.

MALICIOUS DISORDER on February 19, 2009 at 4:53 PM

roopster217 on February 19, 2009 at 2:17 PM

roopster, I agree with your point about NoVA. The big swing in Virginia is not that the state is turning blue, but that Virginia Democrats are turning liberal. In days past, a Virginia Democrat could have run as a conservative Republican in many other states.

As to Roanoke Pravda, they are a liberal stain in our area. I live next door to Montgomery Co., which is the home of Va Tech. Radford has a party university, so that explains their voting Obama. However, here in Floyd Co. we barely carried McCain. I attribute that to the many hippies and retirees that have moved down from NY/NE area.

Our Representative in the 9th District is Rick Boucher. He’s been there since Reagan and has done nothing, chaired no committees, observed the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs, taken federal transportation funds to build bike and horse trails….yet he always wins big. I can’t begin to explain that one.

TugboatPhil on February 19, 2009 at 5:04 PM

Christie Todd Whitman or a clone of her is hardly what I would call “winning”. But I guess anything is better than a Dim.

Speedwagon82 on February 19, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Seems like the trend is becoming one where people want Republicans to govern their state…just not the country.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 19, 2009 at 5:33 PM

After the Torrecelli deal I swore I would never buy another Chevy built in New Jersey (I had run through at least three). That Ford has so far opted out of bailout money makes me think another F150 is in my future.

DanMan on February 19, 2009 at 5:48 PM

“You would be doing your parrot a dis-service by lining its cage with that liberal rag. Their editorial board is so out-of-touch with the people they serve if it weren’t for their excellent coverage of high school sports no one would ever buy the thing.”

You’re right. I don’t get it, my grandfather gets it for VT sports.

roopster217 on February 19, 2009 at 6:18 PM

TugboatPhil, I don’t get the Boucher thing either. My only hope is that Ed Creed can oust him this time but I doubt it will happen. I didn’t know that about Floyd Co. but I have heard that there has been a growing hispanic population there, is that true? If so I doubt that we will ever have another congressman until the bozo retires. It is nice to hear a ground swell of frustration and anger toward the other party here, but I wonder if will be forgotten by 2012 or even 2010.

roopster217 on February 19, 2009 at 6:25 PM

I received a mailing asking me to donate to the Republican NJ Governor race. I threw it away. I figure it was a waste of money. If the peeps in NJ are dumb enough to keep a one party state, they deserve what they get.

karenhasfreedom on February 19, 2009 at 6:57 PM

it doesn’t matter who votes…what matters is who counts the votes—-joe stalin.

right4life on February 19, 2009 at 7:30 PM

I’ve lived in NJ all my life and I can’t understand how people continue to be so stoopid…yes, I said stoopid. What in the name of all that is holy, do they think these Dimwits are doing for us? My property taxes have more than doubled. This state is so crooked, I can’t believe it, wait…I do believe it, too bad others just won’t wake up and smell the coffee..sheep..all of them. I’m hoping to get out of here, while I still have life in me.

shoregulls on February 19, 2009 at 8:15 PM

More on Steve Lonegan for Gov. NJ “)…….

The REAL Conservative.

lostinjrz on February 19, 2009 at 8:16 PM

I think there is reason to hope in NJ.

We have a reputation as a solid blue state but two of our last four elected governors have been Republicans. And of the two elected Democrats, one resigned in disgrace and the other (the current) has been a disappointment to both sides of the aisle. And let’s not forget that our most popular politician is a Republican, Thomas Kean.

I like Chris Christie but like most of the Conservatives here I’ll be supporting Steve Lonegan in the primaries.

NY by the way has an excellent chance of having a Republican senator (Peter King, Pataki) and a Republican governor soon (Guiliani).

DarkKnight3565 on February 19, 2009 at 8:17 PM

You would think after gay Mcgreevey and high taxes that people would have the common sense of voting republican…but no the dems will continue to win…why??? because people here are just stupid…Can’t wait to leave this state..

csmain on February 19, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Definately agree with you, plus too many people depend on Trenton for their monthly checks, besides the many corrupt politicans digging deeper into our pockets for more – when is it going to end? We’ve been a blue state for years and in the red for so long, that it will have to break first before things get better. We’re right behind California. I’ve lived here all my 52 years and leaving for good in 2010 to head up to New Hampshire – I can’t wait!! I’m so tired of all the high taxes, police state, anti-gun laws, nanny state, etc., etc.

corvettelady on February 19, 2009 at 9:11 PM

Only a card carrying RINO stands a chance of being nominated in NJ. The litmus test will be determining that the victorious RINO candidate is indistinguishable from a Democrat in at least 80% of the criteria normally defining a Republican. If the RINO does win, the GOP gets bragging rights, another PITA RINO and yet another chance to ‘check six’ on a daily basis.

Dilbertnomore on February 19, 2009 at 9:34 PM

I live in NJ and I think there is a chance to turn it red again. Corzine is not well liked. I see the comments in the local papers. He’s a rich former Goldman Sachs guy who is running this state into the ground. I think we are 2.1 billion in debt. He’s been having a battle with the unions trying to hold back their raises and they aren’t happy. That is his biggest support base. I noticed he has been playing the BO card and spending a lot of time at Rutgers Univ. trying to get “in” with the students. I think he’s nervous…as he should be. He though he was going to DC.

njpat on February 19, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Gee, have the democrats over reached a little (note sarcasm) or what?

This corrupt and incompetent band of dems may be the best thing that’s happened to the republicans resolve.

BobUSMC on February 20, 2009 at 4:59 AM

Just breaking this morning. Get the Star Ledger, Corzine, is stopping all homestead rebated. We pay 7500 here in Belmar and the check was never that big, but at least, it was something! Also, 101.5 is talking about it this morning.


shoregulls on February 20, 2009 at 9:29 AM

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