The Fix: Governor

Terry McAuliffe won, but why was the Virginia race so close? Here are 6 reasons.

Terry McAuliffe won, but why was the Virginia race so close? Here are 6 reasons.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s win over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor’s race was predicted by virtually all public polls. But the narrowness of that victory was, largely, missed by polls. So, why was it so close, and what did the polls miss?

The network exit poll depicted how Virginia’s electorate on Tuesday was friendlier to Cuccinelli than most pre-election surveys. Cuccinelli performed better among Republicans and independents than expected, kept the race relatively close among women voters and performed well enough in the central and western parts of the state. (Be sure to check out the Post’s interactive graphic showing how Virginia groups voted)

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How to watch the exit polls in the Virginia governor’s race

How to watch the exit polls in the Virginia governor’s race

Tuesday’s elections bring an early Christmas gift for election watchers: exit polling! The data gathered from people leaving the polls in the Commonwealth should answer a number of key questions at the end of a venomous campaign between Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Vice President Biden speaks at a campaign event for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, right, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Annandale, Va. On Tuesday, Virginia voters go to the polls to choose between McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli for the next governor. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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Is Terry McAuliffe pulling away or losing ground?

Is Terry McAuliffe pulling away or losing ground?

A quartet of independent polls in Virginia find wildly differing results in Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the state’s governor’s race, with one indicating a tight race one week before Election Day and two suggesting we are headed for a landslide.

The smallest lead comes from a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showing McAuliffe up 45 to 41 percent; Hampton University finds McAuliffe up six, the Washington Post and Abt-SRBI show a 12-point lead and Roanoke College finds McAuliffe up 15. Here’s a table showing each of the polls.

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The Virginia ad wars -- in 1 chart

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe is heavily outspending his Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli on television in the Virginia governor's race, according to an analysis of the ad wars by the Smart Media Group.

There has been $16.6 million in advertising -- broadcast and cable TV as well as radio -- purchased in the race. McAuliffe accounts for almost 45 percent of total spending while Cuccinelli is responsible for less than 21 percent, according to SMG's Kyle Roberts.

While the gap in overall spending between McAuliffe/Democratic groups and Cuccinelli/Republican groups is less broad -- $9.1 million to $7.5 million -- that fact that McAuliffe's campaign is outspending Cuccinelli's by a better than two-to-one margin on advertising has to be concerning for Republicans as the race enters its final month.

Thanks to Roberts, here's a handy-dandy chart detailing advertising spending to this point in the race.


Image courtesy of Smart Media Group

The five biggest takeaways from the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe debate

The five biggest takeaways from the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe debate

The second Virginia gubernatorial debate between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli II is in the books.

What did we take away from the hour-long set-to hosted by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce Wednesday night? Here are the five biggest things that stood out:

1. No knockout blow. That’s good for McAuliffe. Both candidates leaned heavily on arguments and criticisms they’ve made before, and neither landed any big-time hits. McAuliffe sought to cast Cuccinelli as a social conservative ideologue who is the wrong choice for women. His repeated use of the word “mainstream” to define himself was a clear play to paint Cuccinelli as the opposite. Cuccinelli argued that McAuliffe was a creature of politics about whom voters can never be sure. “If Terry’s elected governor, we’re gonna have to change the state motto from ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis’ to ‘Quid Pro Quo,’” he said in one of the most memorable lines of the night. But quotables aside, there were no moments that threatened to upend the race. Count it as a slight victory for McAuliffe, who is leading in polls.

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Chris Christie for president? New Jerseyans are convinced he wants to run.

Chris Christie for president? New Jerseyans are convinced he wants to run.

Most New Jersey residents think Gov. Chris Christie (R) wants to run for president in 2016, according to a new Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

Sixty-three percent of New Jerseyans say they think Christie wants to make a White House bid, including 40 percent who say he is already planning to run.

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The Fixs election night viewers guide

Julian Castro’s next step, and why it might have to wait

Julian Castro’s next step, and why it might have to wait

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro was plucked from relative obscurity to deliver the keynote address at this week’s Democratic National Convention.

After his speech Tuesday, though, plenty of people are buzzing about the 37-year old, who was introduced by his also-fast-rising twin brother Joaquin.

Julian Castro is making the rounds Wednesday, with morning appearances on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and CNN. He is also appearing at a Texas delegation event and will participate in panels hosted by Univision/National Journal/ABC News at 12:30 p.m. and Huffington Post/NBC News at 1:30 p.m.

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How John Hickenlooper can help President Obama

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) could be the most important swing-state governor of the 2012 election.

The reason: The first-term governor is popular — extremely popular — and that could bode well for President Obama in what is increasingly looking like a pivotal state in the 2012 election. In addition, Hickenlooper is one of few swing-state governors with legitimate national ambitions right now.

That makes the 2012 election an invaluable time for him to get his name out there and build a base of support for a potential future run for president.

And that could play into Obama’s hands in a tough state — that is, if Hickenlooper embraces the president.
President Obama makes a statement from the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo., on Sunday, July 22, 2012. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is at left. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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Rick Hill wins Montana GOP governor nod

Former congressman Rick Hill won the Montana Republican governor primary on Tuesday and will face state Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) in the race to succeed outgoing Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D).

Hill emerged from a crowded field with 34 percent of the vote. His nearest competition was at 18 percent.
Republican governor candidate Rick Hill smiles as he walks through a crowd of his supporters Tuesday night in the Red Lion Hotel in Helena. (AP Photo/Dylan Brown, Independent Record)

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Wisconsin recall: Union voters ≠ union households

Voters from union households turned out in droves for Tuesday’s recall election in Wisconsin in an unsuccessful attempt to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker (R).

But the strength of the union vote was limited, perhaps decisively, by a divide between union members and those who simply live in union households.


Many of the protesters were members of unions whose power to negotiate contract benefits would be affected.

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Despite Scott Walker’s win, Obama outpolls Romney in Wisconsin

Updated at 11:35 a.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is on his way to victory in the state’s recall election tonight, but looking forward to the fall, the Obama campaign may have something positive to glean from the results.

While the totals have Walker ahead significantly, exit polls suggest he did it with a healthy dose of support from voters who are leaning toward President Obama in the fall.

In fact, exit polls show Walker winning 18 percent of Obama supporters — much higher than Democrat Tom Barrett’s 6 percent of Mitt Romney supporters. Overall, the electorate that turned out Tuesday backed Obama by a 51 percent-to-44-percent margin.

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Wisconsin recall and primary day: Five things to watch

Wisconsin is just one of six states holding elections Tuesday, as voters in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota also head to the polls.

Nothing in those other states will approach the importance of what’s happening with the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) — or even come close, really — but there are some interesting subplots to keep an eye on.

Below, we explore five of them.

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Wisconsin recall election: Barrett poll shows Walker up two

Wisconsin recall election: Barrett poll shows Walker up two

Democrats continue to fight back against the notion that they are losing control of the recall election in Wisconsin, with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s (D) campaign releasing another poll showing a tight race.

The Barrett poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, shows Gov. Scott Walker (R) at 50 percent and Barrett at 48 percent.

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Wisconsin recall slipping away from Democrats

Just two and a half weeks remain in the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), and momentum seems to be firmly on the GOP’s side.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce in this April 17, 2012 file photo taken in Springfield, Ill. (Seth Perlman — Associated Press)

All three polls out this week show Walker leading Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) by between 5 percent and 9 percent. Perhaps more illustrative, though, are the candidate’s personal favorability and approval numbers.

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Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia primaries: What to watch for

Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar’s likely demise and the gubernatorial recall primary in Wisconsin aren’t the only two races worth watching tonight. There are also some key House, Senate and governor primaries in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Two of those states — Indiana and North Carolina — represent relatively rare opportunities for the House Republicans to play some offense this year.

In addition, North Carolina Democrats will pick their gubernatorial nominee in the marquee governor’s race of 2012 (after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election, that is), and West Virginia will hold its governor, Senate and congressional primaries.

There are lots of moving parts; that’s where we come in. Here’s a cheat sheet of what you need to know, state by state and race by race. Impress your friends! Vanquish your enemies!

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Cory Booker’s next move, and why it might take a while

We here at The Fix are — admittedly — a fan of the political parlor game. We’re always looking for the next big thing in politics, the next potential president, senator or governor.

So when Newark Mayor Cory Booker saves his neighbor from a burning house, needless to say, we take notice.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker talks during a news conference outside of the Prudential Center, Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The episode was simply the latest in a long line in a storybook-like political rise, and Booker has long been the subject of speculation about his future. As a young, telegenic, social media-savvy (more than one million Twitter followers) and popular mayor just across the river from New York City, he’s hard to ignore.

The question for a long time, then, has been is what is next for Booker.

The problem, though, is that his state isn’t great for a rising star.

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Wisconsin recall elections: Scott Walker launches ads against two top opponents

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is up with his first two ads of the state’s June recall election, with one ad hitting each of his top potential opponents.

The ads both feature black and white footage and suggest Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) and former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk (D) want to take the state backward, focusing on their records in local government.

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Rep. Jay Inslee to resign to focus on run for governor

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) announced Saturday that he is resigning from Congress to focus on his gubernatorial campaign.

The Democrat announced his decision at a news conference in Seattle, the Associated Press reported. Inslee is in his eighth term representing a Seattle-area district in the House.

Washington’s Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, is retiring at the end of her term, and Inslee is running against Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna to replace her.

Inslee’s decision has been rumored for weeks. Some polling has shown him facing an early deficit against state Attorney General Rob McKenna, and the commute between Washington, D.C., and Washington state is an arduous one — not to mention the fact that McKenna has his day job when he’s in the District.

Democrats point to some more encouraging polling in recent days and suggest that once Inslee boosts his name recognition, he will gain in the polls.

By waiting until now to resign, Inslee allows the state to keep the seat vacant until November. Had he resigned earlier, Gregoire would have had to call a special election.

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Kinder to seek reelection rather than run for Missouri governor

Updated at 3:38 p.m.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) will announce Friday afternoon that he will not run for governor in 2012, but will instead seek re-election to his current post, according to sources familiar with his plans.

The announcement is set for 4 p.m. Eastern time. At that time, Kinder will throw his support in the governor’s race to businessman Dave Spence.

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Issue 2 falls, Ohio collective bargaining law repealed

Issue 2 falls, Ohio collective bargaining law repealed

Ohioans voted Tuesday night to repeal a Republican-backed law that restricted collective bargaining for public workers, a victory for Democrats and labor organizers both nationally and in the state.

AP has declared Issue 2 (as the law was called on the ballot) dead. As of this writing, with about 75 percent of precincts in, repeal led by a whopping 62 to 38 percent margin.

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