Elections in Virginia on Tuesday yielded huge gains for the Democratic Party in the state. Despite having wildly popular Governors (Kaine and formerly Mark Warner), Republicans had controlled the House of Delegates and the Senate.
That all changed on Tuesday when Democrats picked up four seats in the Senate to take a majority of seats. How did this happen? What were the issues?
According to the Washington Post, the Republicans’ loss was based on their almost single issue focus on illegal immigration while the Democrats talked about growth and traffic, especially in Northern Virginia.
Voters across Virginia chose candidates in state and local elections
yesterday not out of anger over illegal immigration but based on party
affiliation, a preference for moderation and strong views on such key
issues as residential growth and traffic congestion.
With a few notable exceptions, the trend benefited Democrats and not
those who campaigned the loudest for tough sanctions against illegal
Is this just an affirmation of Former US House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s adage that "all politics is local" or is it something larger? Are the issues in our neighbor to the north the same as the ones here?
I would say so and the message to Republicans here is pretty clear. Yes, you can talk about immigration and the need for reform or any other red-meat typical Republican base issue, but you better have a clear message and a plan for the other things — the backyard or pocketbook issues. Immigration is a concern for voters, rightly so, but issues like growth, transportation and education seem to be what they are voting on.
Continue to demagogue illegal immigration and retain your minority status or present voters with a plan and a vision for the future of North Carolina and have a chance to win some races.