Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Run Away With Huge Election Wins In Blue States As GOP Solidifies Majority In Governors’ Mansions, Including Liberal Maryland, Illinois And Massachusetts – Daily Mail
Republicans danced Tuesday night to the tune of a new U.S. Senate majority, but governor’s mansions will also be redder in 2015 than they were this year.
Stunning upsets in Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts – three of America’s more liberal-dominated states – left political consultants and commentators shaking their heads.
The strong GOP showing – they won at least six races in states with Democratic governors – will be seen as a repudiation of Barack Obama, who said in October that while he wouldn’t be on the ballot, his policies would be.
It also will cast doubt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ability to galvanize Democratic voters in states she would need to win in order to claim the presidency in 2016.
Clinton stumped for Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in October, carefully controlling events by limiting reporters’ access while playing to half-empty auditoriums.
Brown lost big to political newcomer Larry Hogan, known in real estate but not in Annapolis, in a 6-point upset that also brought first lady Michelle Obama out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to buck up Brown as his campaign flagged.
Maryland’s incumbent governor, Martin O’Malley, is also a potential 2016 presidential candidate. His stock fell Tuesday, too, as Democrats saw him surrendering the keys to the governor’s mansion to a Republican.
That sleeper race was one of Tuesday’s biggest shockers. Brown led in nine of the last 10 opinion polls covering the race, slipping behind just days before the election – and then only in a poll commissioned by Hogan’s campaign.
In June, Hogan faced a seemingly insurmountable 18-point deficit.
Five months later, he thanked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, for helping him seal the deal.
Christie, he told wildly cheering supporters, ‘was so excited that we had the biggest upset in the entire country, that he wanted to fly his helicopter down here to be with us tonight.’
He framed his victory as the ‘largest mandate for change in Maryland in 63 years.’
‘Tonight countless Democrats crossed over,’ he said, ‘and affirmed the wisdom of John F. Kennedy who said, “Sometimes party loyalty demands too much”.’
In Massachusetts, state Attorney General Martha Coakley crashed and burned at the hands of former state cabinet member Charlie Baker, who won in every county except those in the western part of the state plus Boston and the elite playground islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
Coakley earned the sobriquet ‘Martha Croakley’ after losing a special election in 2010 that was called to fill a U.S. Senate seat after the death of Ted Kennedy. That seat had been in Democrats’ hands for ages, but then-unknown Republican Scott Brown trounced her.
Brown appeared to have failed in a bid to return to the Senate in a New Hampshire race on Tuesday, in a race he lost by less than one-half of one percent. He has not, however, conceded the race.
That’s one thing he and Coakley have in common: On Tuesday night, trailing by one and one-half percentage points, she sent her supporters home and said she wouldn’t admit she had lost.
Baker trailed all summer in the polls but held a consistent if narrow lead through October.
Christie, the pugnacious Garden State loudmouth who may fancy himself a presidential contender in just a few short months, also stumped for Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who squeaked by Democratic former Gov. Charlie Crist by about 1 per cent of the votes cast.
President Obama, too, had a hard night at the polls as Americans saw evidence that his 39 per cent approval rating has rendered his coattails too short to grasp.
He personally campaigned for Democratic challenger Mary Burke in Wisconsin, only to see her fall to incumbent Gov. Scott Walker by a 7-point margin – in a state where every Democratic incumbent in the U.S House won another two-year term.
During an October 28 rally, cameras caught people leaving in droves as the president spoke.
In Obama’s adopted home state of Illinois, incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn lost by 5 points to Bruce Rauner. He, too, hadn’t conceded the race by the time Rauner delivered his victory speech.
‘There are a lot of votes still to be counted,’ Quinn said. ‘I don’t believe in throwing in the towel when there are that many votes still to be counted.’
But Rauner was romping, crediting his outreach to black pastors – a constituency that helped Obama launch his political career – with delivering crucial margins in nearly every county statewide.
‘Are you ready for a new direction? Are you ready to bring back Illinois?’ he asked a capacity crowd at his victory party.
‘This election is about bringing back our great state. This is a victory for our taxpayers who need to have a lower tax burden. This is a victory for our workers who deserve to have a booming economy.’
‘This victory is for our students, our children, who deserve the best schools in America. And this is a victory for our citizens who deserve a government without corruption.’
The win changes the political landscape in Illinois with an injection of Republicanism for the first time in a dozen years.
In Connecticut, Vermont and Colorado, incumbent Democratic governors held on in races that were too close to call.
Democrats’ only bight spot all night came in Pennsylvania, as Republican Gov. Tom Corbett lost his job to Democrat Tom Wolf.
Another closely watched race turned into a Republican landslide as Greg Abbott, the paraplegic state Attorney General, trounced state Sen. Wendy Davis by 20 points.
Davis is a freshly minted feminist icon known for filibustering an anti-abortion bill in pink sneakers.
Abbott had pulled away in recent days, enlarging a 6-point lead to an 18-point spread in the last two weeks – since Davis ran a controversial TV ad making a wheelchair the center of attention.
He won big on Tuesday, despite reports that his name never appeared on touch-screen voting machines in at least one polling place.
In her concession speech, Davis told her supporters to be disappointed, but not discouraged.
Accusations surfaced Tuesday afternoon that in the Lone Star State’s third-most populous county, Abbott’s name isn’t on at least one touch-screen ballot machine. Instead, an Instagram photo of a Bexar County machine shows, the Republican slot is taken by David Dewhurst, the 2012 failed GOP candidate for lieutenant governor.
Logan Churchwell, communications director at the conservative True the Vote organization, told MailOnline that his group had confirmed Bexar County has received ‘additional complaints’ and that ‘they are currently investigating how widespread the matter is.’
‘I think it’s a photoshopped deal but we are checking,’ Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen told the San Antonio Express-News.
The image, which shows clunky block-like sections of the video template out of place, could reflect a ham-fisted Photoshop attempt, a Republican campaign consultant in Washington told MailOnline.
‘Or,’ he said, ‘it could be that the voting machine’s software is messed up. If it’s pulling in candidates from two years ago, who knows what else is wrong in those computers?’
The campaign operative insisted, though, that Abbott would win Tuesday.
‘Not even the Democratic Party could buy enough votes or stuff enough ballot boxes to save Wendy Davis at this point,’ he said.
WOAI reporter Jocelyn Tovar posted the Instagram photo after she interviewed the woman who snapped it. It’s unclear how that voter could have edited the image so fast, and without leaving the polling place.
‘I don’t have time for that,’ the woman told her. Tovar posted a second photo on Twitter, showing the same kind of digital goof.
Riding a powerful wave of voter discontent, resurgent Republicans captured control of the Senate and tightened their grip on the House Tuesday night in elections certain to complicate President Barack Obama’s final two years in office.
The Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, dispatched Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky after a $78 million campaign of unrelieved negativity. Voters are “hungry for new leadership. They want a reason to be hopeful,” said the man now in line to become majority leader and set the Senate agenda.
Two-term incumbent Mark Pryor of Arkansas was the first Democrat to fall, defeated by freshman Rep. Tom Cotton. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado was next, defeated by Rep. Cory Gardner. Sen. Kay Hagan also lost, in North Carolina, to Thom Tilllis, the speaker of the state House.
Republicans also picked up seats in West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana, where Democrats retired. They needed a net gain of six seats in all to end a Democratic majority in place since 2006.
With dozens of House races uncalled, Republicans had picked up nine seats in Democratic hands, and given up only one.
Obama was at the White House as voters remade Congress for the final two years of his tenure. With lawmakers set to convene next week for a postelection session, he invited the leadership to a meeting on Friday.
A shift in control of the Senate would likely result in a strong GOP assault on budget deficits, additional pressure on Democrats to accept sweeping changes to the health care law that stands as Obama’s signal domestic accomplishment and a bid to reduce federal regulations.
There were 36 gubernatorial elections on the ballot, and several incumbents struggled against challengers. Tom Wolf captured the Pennsylvania statehouse for the Democrats, defeating Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.
In a footnote to one of the year’s biggest political surprises, college professor Dave Brat was elected to the House from Virginia, several months after he defeated Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Republican primary.
House Republicans defeated 19-term Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall in West Virginia, beat Rep. John Barrow in Georgia and picked up a seat vacated by a lawmaker in North Carolina.
Speaker John Boehner of Ohio had little opposition in coasting to a 13th term and is likely to retain his top leadership post.
After years of a sluggish economic recovery and foreign crises aplenty, the voters’ mood was sour.
Nearly two-thirds of voters interviewed after casting ballots said the country was seriously on the wrong track. Only about 30 percent said it was generally going in the right direction.
More than four in ten voters disapproved of both Obama and Congress, according to the exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks.
Still, a majority of those polled supported several positions associated with Democrats or Obama rather than Republicans – saying immigrants in the country illegally should be able to work, backing U.S. military involvement against Islamic State fighters, and agreeing that climate change is a serious problem.
No matter which party emerged with control of the Senate, a new chapter in divided government was inevitable in a nation marked by profound unease over the future and dissatisfaction with its political leaders.
Several Senate races were close, a list that – surprisingly – included Virginia.
There, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner held a narrow lead over former Republican Party chairman and Bush administration official Ed Gillespie.
There was a little good news for Democrats in New Hampshire, where Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was re-elected after a difficult race against former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.
But in Georgia, Michelle Nunn lost to businessman David Perdue, depriving the Democrats of their last best chance to take away a Republican seat. In Kansas, 78-year-old Sen. Pat Roberts fended off a challenge from independent Greg Orman, shutting off another avenue for the Democrats – their last.
Competitive races were yet uncalled in Iowa and Alaska.
There were 36 Senate races on the ballot, although most of the attention went to fewer than a dozen. They drew hundreds of millions of dollars in attack ads in a campaign season estimated to cost more than $4 billion – just for the races for Congress.
In statehouse races, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York won a second term.
Former Republican Rep. Asa Hutchinson was elected governor of Arkansas more than a decade after playing a prominent role in President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and trial, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott won a tough race for a new term.
Also winning new terms were Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican and potential presidential candidates in 2016.
Another possible White House hopeful, Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, led his rival, Mary Burke.
Not even Democrats claimed a chance to topple the Republican House majority. They spent the campaign’s final days dispatching money to districts where incumbents suddenly found themselves in danger.
Republicans sought to downplay any expectation of large gains. A pickup of 13 would give them more seats in the House than at any time since 1946.
The elections’ $4 billion price tag spending was unprecedented for a non-presidential year
Police in Middletown, Delaware, issued an arrest warrant for the husband of state Sen. Bethany Hall-Long on Wednesday after he was caught on video allegedly stealing campaign signs put up by Republicans.
The suspect, identified as Dana Armon Long, has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor for theft under $1,500. He faces up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,300.
On Wednesday, Republican campaign volunteers reportedly set up a camera at the location in Middletown where dozens of their political signs kept disappearing. Some of the signs apparently read, “Fix the Economy! Vote Republican.”
“We got you, brother! We got the license plate, your face, and everything,” one of the volunteers says in the video.
Watch the footage below:
Hall-Long confirmed that the man caught on video stealing the signs is her husband. She released the following statement on Wednesdsay:
“My husband is the man depicted in the video. The video shows him removing a handful of signs this morning. He turned them over to the Democratic Party and asked that they be returned to the Republican Party about six hours after they were taken up,” she said. “Sadly, this race has become tough and personal. My husband is my high school sweetheart and he loves me very much. I was not aware that he had allowed his frustration over the campaign attacks to get the better of him. Of course I’m disappointed and wish that it had not happened.”
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell is escorted from the Senate Chamber by Sens. Catherine Clutier, left, and Bethany Hall-Long, right, after delivering his state of the state speech Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 in Dover, Del. (AP Photo/The News Journal, Gary Emeigh)
Republicans in the state also seized on the incident to criticize Democrats.
John Fluharty, executive director of the Deleware GOP, said in a statement: “When you only have a track record of high taxes, unemployment and lower wages for private sector employees to stand on, the Democrats must resort to breaking the law to win elections because they are scared of being held accountable for their dismal performance.”
Long refused to make any comments on the case against him “at the advice of counsel,” according to Delware Online.
I should note that I think the GOP will reclaim a majority in the Senate, albeit a small one. But the GOP “leaders” have not helped their cause by declaring war on the Tea Party and their Conservative base. It is not a wise strategy to kick your fellow Republicans in the groin, then ask for their votes. Stacy McCain explains how Mitch McConnell should be running away in his race, but….
McConnell is consistently polling below 50 percent, an indicator of trouble for any incumbent. His Democrat challenger, however, has been unable to take advantage of McConnell’s weakness because Democrat Party policies are so far to the left — not just culturally out of touch with Kentucky voters’ values, but directly opposed to their economic interests.
So a weird sort of stalemate grips the campaign, and we await the turning point that will decide the election. The lamentable part of this situation, from the GOP perspective, is that McConnell and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have spent the past 18 months crushing the enthusiasm of grassroots conservatives, waging a campaign to exterminate the Tea Party. The arguably criminal — certainly dishonest and unethical — conduct of the Mississippi primary campaign to re-elect Thad Cochran was witnessed by every Tea Party activist in the country, Kentucky included. Every deceitful smear against Chris McDaniel in Mississippi was a deliberate “f–k you” to grassroots conservatives, courtesy of the D.C.-based Republican political establishment of which Mitch McConnell is the official leader. If it weren’t for this factor — the transparent selfishness and corruption of McConnell and his GOP Senate cronies — the Senate race in Kentucky would not even be close. The major obstacle to McConnell’s re-election is not the usual problem of wooing undecided “swing” voters; his problem is that many thousands of Kentucky conservatives have little motive to vote for him in November.