Open thread: Moment of truth in the Old Dominion; McAuliffe wins

posted at 6:41 pm on November 5, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Republican Gov. Chris Christie is cruising toward a historical win in uber-blue New Jersey tonight, but in tonight’s other, less certain gubernatorial race down in Virginia, lifelong Democratic fundraiser and “businessman” Terry McAuliffe is well-positioned to make some history of his own in the opposite direction: For three decades, Virginia’s one-term-limited governors have been elected from the party not sitting in the White House, but with an average lead of almost seven points going into this morning, it’s entirely possible that Virginia’s changing demographics and purplish new reality have killed the reliability of that pattern dead.

All of those years of Democratic fundraising weren’t for nothing, of course, and Team Terry has enjoyed a massive cash advantage throughout the race and used it to pummel Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as a crazy-eyed social conservative in ad after ad after ad. Camp Cuccinelli, meanwhile, has lately turned to nurturing a full-force Republicans turnout; Virginia has a typically Republican lean in off-year elections, so that could be another possibly disrupted pattern to look for once all the dust has settled. Looking at the down-ticket races, especially Attorney General, could help to shed some light on whether the results will be all about the characteristics of McAuliffe v. Cuccinelli, or indicative of some deeper demographic shifts.

One of the big takeaways from the Old Dominion tonight will be the effect of the Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis on the race; he’s been polling around a surprisingly solid 9 percent or so, according to the RCP average, and there has been plenty of contention about whether he is pulling away votes from McAuliffe and Cuccinelli equally or primarily harming Cuccinelli’s chances. How many people actually end up voting for Sarvis when push comes to shove is tough to predict, but for any of those potential Sarvis voters that might have been on the fence about it, this may have come as a rather unwelcome nugget of news this morning (or not, as the case may be). Via The Blaze:

A major Democratic Party benefactor and Obama campaign bundler helped pay for professional petition circulators responsible for getting Virginia Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert C. Sarvis on the ballot — a move that could split conservative votes in a tight race.

Campaign finance records show the Libertarian Booster PAC has made the largest independent contribution to Sarvis’ campaign, helping to pay for professional petition circulators who collected signatures necessary to get Sarvis’ name on Tuesday’s statewide ballot.

Austin, Texas, software billionaire Joe Liemandt is the Libertarian Booster PAC’s major benefactor. He’s also a top bundler for President Barack Obama.

Another big factor, as I mentioned above, are Virginia’s shifting demographics. Sean Trende explains:

We’ve talked a lot about demographics this year, but we’re finally going to get some good data. We’re getting exit polls in the races, as we did in 2009, and it couldn’t be more timely. One of the big question marks for Democrats going forward is whether Obama’s turnout among minority voters is transferable, or whether it is an Obama-specific phenomenon.

Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has invested scads of money trying to replicate the Obama turnout patterns. We should probably expect a bounce-back in Democratic groups from 2009, simply because that environment was so overwhelmingly lousy for Democrats (if we don’t, it’s a big problem for the party). But if the breakdowns look like 2012 or 2008, it’s a pretty good sign for Democrats.

Virginia’s polls close at 7 PM Eastern, and Virginia’s official election page as well as HuffPo‘s live results are both good places to watch the precinct reports start to stream in. Rural Virginia counties tend to get their vote counts in sooner, so the early stages of reporting might be a little misleading (you’ll recall that things looked that way in the Romney episode of yesteryear, as David Jarman points out), and I’ll be keeping an eye on things with updates below.

Update: Both Obama and Biden took some time to stump for McAuliffe over the past couple of days, and both largely avoided the subject of ObamaCare while President Obama really hammered the government shutdown as the major issue du jour. Suffice it to say that O probably wouldn’t have won McAuliffe any votes he didn’t already have by mentioning that “glitchy” living nightmare:

Update: And here come more exit polls:

Update: Here’s an exit-poll extravaganza from the Washington Post; it would seem that all of that “war-on-women”-izing in which Team Terry absurdly yet aggressively engaged came in mighty handy:

And again:

Update: Oh?

Update: Sean Trende has been filtering the incoming results through his model and chronicling the evolution thereof on his Twitter feed; things started out looking fairly favorable for Cuccinelli, but sounds like it’s getting tighter:

Update: The Associated Press is calling the lieutenant governor’s race for the Democrat, Ralph Northam:

Democratic state Sen. Ralph Northam defeated Republican E.W. Jackson in a race sharply defined by social issues.

Northam easily beat Jackson on Tuesday following a campaign that centered on Northam’s defense of abortion rights and Jackson’s Christian-based anti-abortion platform. Jackson also opposes gay marriage, while Northam supports it.

The winner succeeds Republican Bill Bolling. A Democrat hasn’t occupied the office since U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine was lieutenant governor in 2006.

Update: I must say, I would have estimated that somebody would have called this thing by now, but the counts are still going, and it’s definitely going to be quite a bit closer than many of the polls were predicting; NBC is still saying the race is “too close to call,” but the latest numbers are still looking like they’re in McAuliffe’s favor:

Update: Fox News is calling it, ya’ll:

Democrat Terry McAuliffe is projected to win the Virginia gubernatorial race, defeating Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli in a surprisingly close victory.

Fox News projected McAuliffe as the winner Tuesday night.

Update: Wow, this race looks like it’s going to be way closer than the polls were generally predicting; with 92 percent of precincts reporting, we’re looking at only a 47 – 46 split between McAuliffe and Cuccinelli, with Sarvis at 7 percent.

Update: I would merely point out that McAuliffe outraised Cuccinelli by something like $16 million, a lot of it from bigger donors. I’m sure we can rely on hearing the Democrats’ usual outraged cries about the lamentable influence of big, outside money in politics any time now. …Yep, any time now.

Update: With 97 percent of precincts reporting, the split is still 47 – 46. (Emerson College kinda’ called that one, eh?)

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It would have made a huge difference. Here’s how Cucinelli could have won big. He lost by about 55k votes (2.5%), and the so-called Libertarian candidate got 145k votes.

1) Use Palin to get out the military vote in Tidewater. +10k
2) Use Palin to get out vote in conservative areas of state. +10K
3) Use Palin to switch Libertarian protest voters to Cucinelli. +20k
4) Use Tea Party to get out conservative vote in liberal areas. +20k
5) Embrace Gov McDonald +5k
6) Positive conservative agenda in urban areas. 10k

Total +75,000. Cucinelli wins

huckleberryfriend on November 6, 2013 at 7:23 AM


renalin on November 6, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Funny thing how atheists like me are unmoved by biblical passages.

MJBrutus on November 6, 2013 at 9:49 AM


Funny thing how Truth doesn’t change just because someone refuses to acknowledge it.

pannw on November 6, 2013 at 10:14 AM

I don’t think the Vagina-bandwagon will take VA. By that time, the full effects of Obamacare will be hitting most Virginians. Yes, there will be the reliable vagina-voters, but I think most sensible women see through Killery.

RandallinHerndon on November 6, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I’m talking about the primaries not the general. I think Hillary will take Virginia in the primaries against just about any other viable democrat. Probably take it in the general too. Especially if she distances herself from The Won.

Oldnuke on November 6, 2013 at 10:43 AM

I’d be embarrassed if I ‘won’ with less than 50.000% of the vote, and ashamed to stand up on a dais with my arms raised in ‘victory.’
Clearly, 52% don’t like McAwful.

Any election where there is no clear winner – a winner with more than 50.000% of the vote – there should be a run-off between the two top vote getters. This would prevent any alternate party candidate(s) from thwarting a candidate who best reflects the majority of the people. 48% doesn’t cut it. McAwful with his 48%does no more reflect the majority of the people in Virginia than does Cuccinelli with his 45%. Only a run-off between the two will reflect the true majority.

It should work the same way in national elections as well.


woodcdi on November 6, 2013 at 10:47 AM

So, (D) McAweful – 48%, (R) Cuccinelli – 45%, (L) Sarvis – 7%.
Which means if the 3rd party L wasn’t there, most likely Cuccinelli would gotten most of that 7%, and therefore would have won with about 52% of the vote.

As Mike Rosen, Denver radio talk show guy says – “party trumps person”.
As long as conservatives and libertarians keep splitting the anti-Dem/socialist/commie vote because they don’t like the R candidate, the Dems will continue to win the elections and continue to destroy this country unimpeded.

I’m not thrilled about the RINOs, but we need to solve that problem in the primaries.

dentarthurdent on November 6, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Why he wanted to make his campaign about sodomy! Brilliant! Because with Obamacare sitting there like a big, fat, hanging curve ball and with employment STILL sucking hind teet after 5 years of Obamanomics and with the NSA reading and listening to every bit and byte on the intertubes, with Iran days away from publically announcing nuke capability (odds are heavily in favor of them already having it), our guy thinks that people care mots about what others are doing with their man parts.

The party of stupid rides again.

MJBrutus on November 6, 2013 at 7:30 AM

In the end, he became known as the puritanical, social issues dude. Whether “he started it” or allowed himself to be branded that way is irrelevant.

MJBrutus on November 6, 2013 at 7:44 AM

You’re a lefty, establishment dirtbag. Nice way to move the goalposts.

You can suck the Christie teat. I didn’t vote for him yesterday and I’ll never vote for him or McCain or any other leftist wearing the Republican banner ever again.

njrob on November 6, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Please stop calling them Libertarians. They care nothing for Liberty, only license, or they wouldn’t vote for the left. Call them what they are, libertines, and greedy ones at that. They are the worst of the worst. I’d take a pro-life Dem over them any day of the week. At least they are merely deluded and not wicked. Of course, they are few and far between, obviously.

pannw on November 6, 2013 at 8:00 AM

I agree with every word except for what I’ve struck. There’s no such thing as a pro-life Dem anymore. They are all pro-Moloch.

njrob on November 6, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Virginia State Legislature:
House of Delegates: R-67 D-33
State Senate: R-20 D-20 (ties broken by Lt. Gov, so effective D control).

mel23059 on November 6, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Another example of dems running on corruption instead of thier record. Fraud, lies and straw men candidates.

also the RNC rino’s backstabbing a conservative, these rino’s are obviously willing to sit in the second row of the luxury seats just behind the dems to stay in the emerald city of DC.

So its vote out RINO’s in primary’s and demorats in the general election.

sniffles1999 on November 6, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Funny thing how atheists like me are unmoved by biblical passages.

MJBrutus on November 6, 2013 at 9:49 AM

It’s called “being dead in your trespasses” and thee is nothing funny about it.

Murphy9 on November 6, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Please stop calling them Libertarians. They care nothing for Liberty, only license, or they wouldn’t vote for the left.

Like it or not, you can’t really have liberty without license now. What good is the freedom to choose your destiny if all the bad choices are banned by law? The vast majority of us get along fine using moderation on whatever vices we have. And if we want to have a wild weekend and let loose after months or years of being well-disciplined contributors to society, we should be able to do so (keeping in mind our personal limits and the rights of others) without fear of getting arrested or fined. That sounds like the modern definition of liberty to me.

TMOverbeck on November 6, 2013 at 2:54 PM

And if people like us REALLY care about being free to do whatever, they WOULDN’T vote lefty, because they’re proving to be statist on everything aside from the sexual issues.

TMOverbeck on November 6, 2013 at 3:24 PM

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