Believe us when we tell you this: Even the most pessimistic member of Creigh Deeds’ beleaguered campaign staff didn’t think it was going to be this bad. Sure, they saw the writing on the wall—no candidate facing a double-digit polling deficit a week before election day truly expects to win—but everyone held out hope that the final results would be respectable enough to vindicate Deeds’ strategy of distancing himself from the Washington establishment while simultaneously (if belatedly) embracing President Barack Obama.
Selective law enforcement? There’ll be no SSN for new AG Ken Cuccinelli’s seventh child, “because it is being used to track you,” he has said.
Well, surprise! As it turns out, Virginia voters (at least those who managed to stumble into a voting booth on Election Day) were inclined to vote for the more conservative of the two conservative candidates, and thus delivered a resounding victory to Republican Bob McDonnell.
And while they were at it, the Commonwealth’s off-year electorate not only gave McDonnell the largest margin of victory since 1961 (when Democrat Albertis Harrison gave Clyde Pearson a 28-point spanking), but also swept his fellow Republicans, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli, into the offices of Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General by similarly lopsided margins.
Democrats looking for solace in local races were also largely disappointed, as at least four Democratic incumbents were booted from the Virginia House of Delegates, making it all but certain that 2010’s post-census redistricting will lock in the Republican house majority for the next decade, if not beyond.
The only bright spots for the Old Dominion’s donkeys? Well, they did pick up an open house seat in Woodbridge, and managed to oust Del. Phillip Hamilton, a scandal-plagued Republican from Newport News. They also, for the moment, still control the State Senate, where they’ll be able to challenge Governor McDonnell’s agenda until at least 2011, when the Dems will have to defend their slim majority against a resurgent GOP.
So now, in the grand navel-gazing tradition of opinionated blowhards everywhere, let the post-mortem begin! The first order of business, of course, is to speculate wildly about who benefitted most from McDonnell’s massive win, and who was damaged beyond repair.
The answer to the second question is, without a doubt, current governor (and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee) Timothy M. Kaine, who not only failed miserably in his efforts to keep Virginia blue, but also watched helplessly as New Jersey —one of the most Democrat-friendly states in the union—elected its first Republican governor in 10 years.
And as for the first question? Well, in our humble opinion, the single biggest beneficiary of the Republican’s rising tide was none other than AG-elect Ken Cuccinelli, whose hard-right conservative record and peculiar anti-government paranoia would have probably rendered him unelectable in any stand-alone statewide race. This is, after all, the guy who said he wasn’t getting a Social Security number for his seventh child “because it is being used to track you,” who told a newspaper that homosexual acts are “intrinsically wrong,” and has repeatedly claimed that, as Virginia’s top cop, he will refuse to defend laws he personally considers unconstitutional.
Which is why, as he stood on the winner’s stage—a broom inscribed with the tortured amalgam “McBollinelli” in one hand and a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag flapping above his head—the Cooch was wearing the biggest smile of the night.