GOP ascendant?

As we noted Tuesday, it would be wrong to read too much into the outcomes of several big races Tuesday.

It’s true that Republicans won the governor’s jobs in two key states, an indication that the overwhelming Democratic victories of just a year ago didn’t translate into permanent Democratic majorities in most of the nation.

Of the two ballyhooed gubernatorial races, the victory for Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey is by far the biggest upset. Christie took on incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, who outspent Christie by nearly three to one. Christie won in a state where no Republican has won statewide office in more than a decade.

But the economy, Corzine’s failure to deliver on a promise to cut property taxes and his attacks on Christie for being overweight all worked to doom Corzine’s campaign.

In Virginia, a state that regularly vacillates between Republicans and Democrats, it was no great surprise that GOP candidate Bob McDonnell defeated Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in a race with no incumbent. The fact that Deeds regularly shot himself in the foot with his attacks on McDonnell, while McDonnell focused his campaign more on policy issues, may mean that this race was more about two men than two political parties.

Republicans are understandably pleased about their victories in New Jersey and Virginia. But all they really indicate is that voters in many states are eager to vote for candidates they find most in tune to their views rather than adhering to strict party loyalty.


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