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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What Will the Message of Today's Election Be Tomorrow?

Polls opened in Virginia at 6:00 AM and will remain open until 7:00 PM. If the supporters of Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli turn out in the numbers that the pre-election polls have indicated, it should be an early night in Virginia with all three winning clear victories. But, we must turn out as the only poll that really counts is the one taken today.

There has been much talk about what the elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and New York's 23rd Congressional District will mean for the Obama agenda which up to now has pretty much been about seizing as much power for the federal government as quickly as possible. Congressional Quarterly reported this morning that more times than not, off year elections are more about local concerns than sending any message to Washington. There have however been exceptions - 1993 being one.

Sometimes, these odd-year elections can look oddly predictive, as in 2003, when Republican pickups for governor in Mississippi and Kentucky preceded the re-election of Republican George W. Bush as president in 2004, and in 2005, when the Democratic candidates scored hard-won holds for governor in New Jersey and Virginia on the eve of their party’s takeover of Congress in the 2006 elections.

But the big off-year races in 2007 ended up a wash, with a Republican takeover for governor of Louisiana, a Democratic take-back in Kentucky and a GOP hold in Mississippi. And the next year, the Democrats nonetheless celebrated Barack Obama ’s victory for president and big seat gains in Congress, governors’ offices and state legislative races.
One thing seems to be clear from this election cycle - more people are aware of what is going on around us - and what is being done to us by those in Washington. Jim Shepherd of the Shooting Wire writing yesterday about his travels around the country the last eight weeks where he evaluated new firearms and accessories that will be introduced next year, shared this observation:

In Virginia this weekend, I spent time with a group of professionals of varying ages. There were the usual conversations about golf handicaps, sports teams and the kids' sports, but once small-talk was out of the way, the tone changed. It is safe to say that many Virginians are looking to tomorrow's gubernatorial election as an opportunity to be one of the first states to deliver the message that the electorate is beyond disgusted with the status quo in government. They were also extremely aware of important races in other states. One that got special attention was New Jersey, a state described by them as "full of great people who are also fed-up with the current state of affairs."

So, whatever the outcome tonight, both sides will be spinning the results to fit their narrative. But one thing is sure, the citizens of this country have been awakened and the 2010 elections will be very interesting and will get underway tomorrow.

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