Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gubernatorial Race Wrap Up

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Republicans Rejoiced Over Turning Virginia Red, Democrats Were Blue

Last night (November 3rd), republican candidate, Bob McDonnell, became the Gov.-elect despite Virginians voting democratic for the first time in 40 years during the 2008 presidential election. McDonnell, in addition to republican gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli and Bill Bolling, held his election results party at the Marriot Hotel in downtown Richmond, Va. Supporters at the event were seen holding brooms to represent the republican sweep of the election in all three positions: attorney general, lt. governor and governor. Creigh Deeds, the democratic candidate, watched the results with volunteers and supporters in the reception area of the Richmond Westin Hotel.

According to AP exit polls, McDonnell started off yesterday morning with a 13% advantage and ended the day with 59% of the vote and a message. He said, “Leading Virginia will require innovation and cooperation. My promise to you as governor is the same as my promise to you as candidate. That is, to strengthen the free enterprise system, to create more jobs and opportunity, so that every Virginian can use their God-given talents to pursue the American Dream, and liberty here in this great Commonwealth.”

Intern for the Democratic Party of Virginia, Clay McDonald, was a part of the final push for Deeds’ governorship. In high spirits a day before the election, Clay and other volunteers and interns set up signs for Deeds until 5am. He said there was a lot of waiting around yesterday. All the calls were made, signs put up, and there wasn’t much left to do but wait for the results.

The gubernatorial election yielded an almost 30% drop in voter turnout from the presidential election last year. According to McDonnell’s campaign manager, Phil Cox, spoke at the Marriot Tues. night exclaiming 25,000 volunteers logged 150,000 hours for McDonnell’s campaign. Volunteers made 200,000 phone calls and knocked on 750,000 doors, more than three times the amount in 2008 said Cox. Throughout the event at the Marriot, guest speakers including the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, and Gov. of Miss. and chairman of the Republican Governors Assoc., Haley Barbour, predicted McDonnell’s victory.

McDonnell campaigned for limited government, lower taxes and energy and employment solutions. Supporters at the Marriot cheered for this message to be sent to Washington.

Deeds’ childhood friend and Smithfield, Va. resident, John Payne, was among the speakers at the Westin last night. He reminisced about summer camp and life in Bathe Co., Va. Payne, whose daughter is graduating from high school next year, said he wanted to see a better future with Deeds in regards to transportation and education. Contributions from Gov. Tim Kaine, Sen. Mark Warner, and the democratic gubernatorial candidates Steve Shannon and Jody Wagner were also heard.

Deeds’ speech capped the night at the Richmond Westin. He said, “we lose an election and we don’t give up…this chapter is closed, but the next chapter was [is] yet to be written.”

New Jersey held the only other bellwether election–a gubernatorial election a year after the presidential election–where republican, Chris Christie, defeated democrat, Jon Corzine, for governor. Pres. Barack Obama campaigned for both Corzine and Deeds, and the loss may hurt his political credibility. Since 1977, the Gov.-elect is consistently of the opposing party to the president elected a year before.

-Caroline Jackson, Mark Craig and Laura Peters

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