The results of this week’s elections in various states produced interesting indicators, both of voters’ political opinions and of the direction in which they may be heading as the 2014 congressional races and 2016 presidential election approach. Four contests drew the most attention.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a political professional who was strongly supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton, was elected governor of Virginia over Tea Party-backed Republican Ken Cuccinelli — but by a narrower margin than anticipated, perhaps because of the bungled Obamacare startup.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a relative moderate, won a second term by a wider margin than expected. That outcome tees him up for his anticipated quest for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
Bill de Blasio, a liberal Democrat, swept to a big victory to become mayor of New York Tuesday, putting his party in the mayor’s office for the first time in 20 years. Mr. de Blasio pledges to tackle inequality among New York’s rich and poor.
The fourth key race was in Alabama, where a conservative GOP member of the U.S. House, Bradley Byrne, defeated a Tea Party challenger in a congressional primary. Many GOP lawmakers who are under pressure to compromise on the budget, the debt limit, and other issues watched the race closely.
The day’s winners, with respect to the future, were probably Hillary Clinton, Governor Christie and traditional Republicans in general, and liberal Democrats in New York.
Among the losers were President Obama, at least until Obamacare is fixed, and most of all the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party.