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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Election Post Mortem

In what turned out to be a much closer election at the top of the ticket than anyone expected, Terry McAuliffe ended up with a 2.46 1.94% margin of victory.  Clearly, McAuliffe's victory was won in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia, where he won by more votes (66,507) than the final margin of victory (54,823 54,704).  McAuliffe's and Bloomberg's strategy of running up a large margin in this region to make the rest of the state irrelevant worked.

In the other competitive race, State Senator Mark Obenshain, currently leads State Senator Mark Herring by .01.03% or 319 476 votes, according the the State Board of Elections web site.  There will likely be a recount and we could see the same drawn out process that we witnessed in 2005 when Bob McDonnell bested Creigh Deeds by a little over 300 votes.

Most pundits expected Obenshain to win unless Cuccinelli was blown out.  He ran a better campaign than Herring, running mostly positive television ads featuring his 20 something daughter to get out in front of the expected "War On Women" attack.  Herring was considered to have run an inept campaign by some observers.  Then, Mike Bloomberg came in and dropped $1 million in ads on Herring's behalf.  Those adds did not just focus on gun control but also on other social issues in an attempt to motivate voters who may not be motivated by gun control.

Did Bloomberg's ads make a difference?  Well, in the House races, it appears to have been a wash.  According to VPAP, Bloomberg's PAC invested in two House races, and split, winning in the 93rd District where he contributed to Monty Mason, the winner, but lost in the 87th District where he contributed to the opponent of Delegate David Ramadan.  Ramadan Won.  It had also been reported that Bloomberg contributed $100,000 to the race of Kathleen Murphy in the 34th District but VPAP does not show any donations either from his PAC or from Bloomberg directly.  Murphy lost.  Over all, the GOP won 67 of the 100 House races, a very hefty pro-rights majority to block any gun control McAuliffe may push. The Democrats picked up two seats currently held by the GOP, both in Northern Virginia.  The GOP picked up a seat currently held by a retiring Democrat.

And, some Dems apparently think Bloomberg contributed to the closeness of the race.

Something else, the CNN Exit Poll asked those interviewed if there were any gun owners in the home and 47% responded yes. This indicates to me that a high number of gun owners voted yesterday. What should concern us however is that of those interviewed who indicated there was a gun owner in the home, 33% voted for Terry McAuliffe. We don't know if the person interviewed was the gun owner or the spouse/significant other of the gun owner.

So, what impact will yesterday's results have on the rights of gun owners in Virginia for the next four years?  Clearly, getting pro-rights legislation signed into law is going to be more difficult.  Getting it out of the Senate will depend on what happens with the special election to fill Northam's seat.  Should Obenshain end-up being declared the winner in the AG's race, there will also be a special election to fill that vacancy.  If the Democrats end up with the majority in the Senate, we may have to dedicate a significant amount of resources to defeat bad legislation in that house of the legislature.  We do still have a firewall with the House of Delegates but we don't want to see bad bills passed in the Senate.

This is not completely over yet, but we do have a sense of what we are facing in the next couple of years, and it's not going to be fun.

Hat tip to Sebastian for the Chuck Todd comment.

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