Following the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg and Chris Christie’s decision to hold a special election, eyes have turned to Cory Booker, his electric personality, and the mad scramble to prepare for the October election ensuing in New Jersey.
This attention is being paid on a state that has not elected a Republican Senator in over forty years and with Booker’s current eighteen point lead in the polls, this seems unlikely to change anytime soon.
The real race to watch this year is the Virginia gubernatorial election between Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe.
1) This race will be the closest in the country. In 2008, a Democrat carried Virginia’s electoral votes for the first time since 1964, and Democrat Mark Warner won the Senate election 65 to 34. A year later, Republican Bob McDonnell won the gubernatorial election 58 to 41. Fast forward to 2012 when President Obama once again carried the Commonwealth, and Democrat Tim Kaine was narrowly elected to the Senate. Virginia is a shifting state and this election, with the absence of an incumbent, looks to be a real barn burner.
2) Social issues will take the spotlight. McDonnell earned the nickname “Governor Ultrasound” for controversial personhood legislation, and Cuccinelli has not backed away from taking conservative positions on social issues, stating, “same-sex acts are against nature” and are “harmful to society” in the first gubernatorial debate.
3) The continuation of incredible campaign spending. The 2012 Senate race in Virginia garnered the second most outside spending, only to the presidential election. The Republican Governors’ Assosiation and the Democratic Governors’ Association have already spent a combined ten million dollars in the election. With large donors such as Tom Steyer, the Koch brothers, Foster Freiss, and Bill Clinton all getting involved, the spending spree in politics persists despite the absence of a national election.
4) It’s the last major election prior to the 2014 elections. Virginia will serve as a preview of Senate contests, and could, perhaps, transfer momentum back to Republicans badly in need of a substantial win.
5) Just plain animosity. Time Magazine headlined their story about the Virginia election, “The Dirtiest, Nastiest, Low-Down Campaign In America: Cuccinelli vs. McAuliffe.” The first debate was filled with personal attacks between the two candidates as Cuccinelli said, “Instead of putting Virginians first, you put Terry first, a common theme for you “ and McAuliffe accused, “You come in pretending to be one thing, and you end up being something else.” Check out the full debate if you want to see.
To view the campaign website for Cuccinelli and his positions click here.
To view the campaign website for McAuliffe and his positions click here.
By Parker Johnson