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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Tale of Two Gubernatorial Races

At The Daily Beast, Lloyd Green contrasts Chris Christie's cruise to reelection in New Jersey with Ken Cuccinelli's troubled race for governor of Virginia:
Christie is of the modern world; Cuccinelli less so. For Republicans in Virginia and nationally, that is a problem. As one Republican White House veteran and Virginian put it, “the race is between a crook and a kook, and I expect the crook to win.”

Fittingly, McAuliffe and his former company, Green Tech Automotive, are infused with all the elements of Clintonian modernity, globalization, and crony capitalism that one could imagine. McAuliffe is embroiled in allegations over a possible visa-for-sale scheme, involving Chinese financing for Green Tech.

The swirling scandal now includes an S.E.C. investigation, charges surrounding a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, and accusations of improperly applied pressure targeting the Department of Homeland Security. McAuliffe’s tale also has its very own Clinton family connection—Tony Rodham, Hillary’s brother, who was a Green Tech money guy.

Sadly for Cuccinelli, while voters may say “ugh” about “the Macker,” they have yet to walk away from him. Much as Cuccinelli may try to talk about taxes and roads, not enough voters are buying. A well-funded McAuliffe ad blitz is cementing an image of Virginia’s attorney general as fixated on social issues.

Cuccinelli’s struggle is compounded by the fact that Virginia’s demographics dramatically shifted, making it emblematic of the New South. Indeed, nothing tells the story better than a recent Quinnipiac Poll showing Hillary with comfortable leads over Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in a hypothetical 2016 presidential matchup. She polls ahead of Christie by nine, and crushes Cruz by almost 20 points.

Actually, this is huge. No Republican since Warren G. Harding in 1920 has won the White House without also winning Virginia. More recently, Barack Obama’s margins of victory in Virginia were in sync with his numbers nationally. Virginia has graduated to bellwether status.

Likewise, a Cuccinelli loss would also be laden with historic significance. It would be the first time since 1965 that Virginians voted for a governor who was a member of the same party as the sitting president.
[emphasis added]