The Fix: Virginia

Can Ed Gillespie win a Senate seat?

Can Ed Gillespie win a Senate seat?

This post originally appeared on The Fix last week. We're bumping it up to the top now that Gillespie is making it official, launching a new campaign Web site today. Enjoy:

As our own Ben Pershing reports, former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie is set to announce that he will challenge Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) in 2014.

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3 reasons to believe Gillespie vs. Warner probably won’t happen in Virginia

3 reasons to believe Gillespie vs. Warner probably won’t happen in Virginia

For most of 2013, there was little intrigue in next year's U.S. Senate race in Virginia. That changed this weekend when former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie floated himself as a potential challenger to Sen. Mark R. Warner (D).

"I’m going to take some time to talk with fellow Virginia Republicans about how we best win this pivotal Senate seat and, of course, with my own family, who come ahead of politics," Gillespie told The Washington Post.

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Why Republicans lost in Virginia — in three great maps

Why Republicans lost in Virginia — in three great maps

It’s now been a week since Democrat Terry McAuliffe was elected governor of Virginia. Since then, the race has been mined for clues about future elections, both nationally and in Virginia. The below take comes from Stephen J. Farnsworth and Stephen P. Hanna of the University of Mary Washington. Farnsworth is a professor of political science and international affairs and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies. Hanna is professor and chair of geography at UMW.

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History suggests Herring would have a shot in Va. recount

The Virginia attorney general’s race appears headed for a recount, with the latest results showing Republican Mark Obenshain leading Democrat Mark Herring by fewer than 800 votes out of about 2.2 million cast.

And according to a study by the group FairVote, Herring is currently well within the margin under which the race could flip in his favor.

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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 the tea party lost on Tuesday night

How the tea party lost on Tuesday night

All in all, Tuesday was a lousy night for the tea party wing of the Republican Party.

Consider all that happened:

* Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, a tea party-aligned Republican and social conservative, lost the Virginia governor’s race to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a flawed candidate against whom some Republicans were giddy about running at the beginning of the campaign.

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The five biggest things to watch this Election Day

The five biggest things to watch this Election Day

Election Day 2013 is here!

From New Jersey to Virginia, Colorado to Alabama, and in between, voters are headed to the polls to make some pivotal decisions. Just because it’s an off-year election doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot at stake across the map.

Below we give you the five biggest things to keep an eye on Tuesday. And stay tuned to The Fix, Post Politics and GovBeat and our Election Day live blog throughout the day and night for the latest updates on these and other contests.

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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.

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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.

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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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Five things to watch in the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe debate

Five things to watch in the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe debate

Ready, set, debate!

With just weeks to go until the Nov. 5 election, Virginia gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli II (R) and former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe will debate for a second time. The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and NBC4 Washington will host the debate from 7-8 p.m.

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Why Terry McAuliffe is winning the Virginia governor's race

Why Terry McAuliffe is winning the Virginia governor's race

Voters in Virginia don't like either of their choices for governor this fall, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. Yet, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAulliffe leads state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli by six points among likely voters.

Why? Mostly because Democrats appear poised to maintain their turnout advantage from 2012, when the exit poll showed 39 percent of voters identified as Democrats but just 32 percent as Republicans. Democrats outnumber Republicans by an identical seven-points among likely voters in the Quinnipiac survey, and both candidates win at least 90 percent of their fellow partisans. With independents splitting 42 percent for McAuliffe and 44 percent for Cuccinelli, the party identification difference is entirely responsible for McAuliffe's current lead.

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Five things to watch in the first debate of Va. governor's race

Five things to watch in the first debate of Va. governor's race

Cross-posted from the Virginia Politics page.

With less than four months remaining before Virginia picks its next governor, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II and businessman Terry McAuliffe are squaring off Saturday for the first formal debate of their contest.

Cuccinelli (R) and McAuliffe (D) will take the stage at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs for a debate sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association, the first of at least a handful of debates — the final number is still subject to negotiation — between the two hopefuls. Judy Woodruff, the PBS NewsHour co-anchor, will moderate.

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Will Bob McDonnell need to resign?

Will Bob McDonnell need to resign?

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has about six months left in office. But amid federal and state investigations into money a political donor gave to assist McDonnell and his family, the question must be raised: Will the governor have to step down before his term expires?

So far, McDonnell hasn't faced intense pressure to resign. Polling has shown encouraging signs for him; Democrats and Republicans have largely refrained from calling for his head, and he just hasn't sounded like a pol ready to call it a day.

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Recent history suggests West Virginia a tough Democratic hold

Recent history suggests West Virginia a tough Democratic hold

If recent history is any guide, Democrats will have a hard time holding onto the seat of retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).

While longtime Democratic incumbents have often been able to hold on to red districts and states in recent years, their retirements have almost always handed their seats to Republicans.

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The GOP's big electoral vote gambit, explained

The GOP's big electoral vote gambit, explained

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus voiced support over the weekend for an effort to reform how some states award their electoral votes.

And the effect of the movement should not be underestimated.

Below, we take you through the particulars of the effort, what it would mean, and why it will or won't happen.

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The end of the Rockefeller political dynasty?

The end of the Rockefeller political dynasty?

The decision by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) to retire in 2014 means the nation will likely be without a Rockefeller in high office for the first time in four decades and just the second time since the 1950s.

The Rockefeller political dynasty is surely one of the greatest in American history, including a vice president and multiple senators and governors representing much of the eastern half of the country. Several big-name politicians have married into the family, which became influential in the late 1800s and early 1900s thanks to patriarch, oil baron and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jay's great-grandfather.

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Rep. Shelley Moore Capito will run for Senate

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito will run for Senate

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) will announce Monday that she will run for Senate in 2014, according to someone familiar with Capito's thinking.

The news was first reported by West Virginia political expert Hoppy Kercheval.

Capito would become the first major challenger to announce a Senate campaign and should put the seat of Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) into play immediately. A recent poll showed Capito at 48 percent and Rockefeller at 44 percent in the prospective match-up.

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Waiting for Cory Booker

Waiting for Cory Booker

The off-year governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia are always seen as a measure of the political environment a year after a presidential election.

But at least one and possibly both of the 2013 governor's races could be less-than-marquee contests. And whether they will or won't be very much depends on two men: Cory Booker and (to a lesser extent) Mark Warner.

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The 7 most important counties in Election 2012

The 7 most important counties in Election 2012

Election junkies are about to get bombarded with data, starting at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, when the first polls close in Kentucky and Indiana.

But how to follow it all?

Below, The Fix highlights seven bellwether counties in critical swing states that will give us a good idea who is about to become the next president.

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Swing state polls show Obama up five in Ohio, four in Pennsylvania

Swing state polls show Obama up five in Ohio, four in Pennsylvania

President Obama continues to hold slight leads in the crucial battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, while the equally critical races in Florida and Virginia are too close to call, according to a new crop of swing state polls.

CBS News/New York Times:

Florida: Obama 48, Romney 47

Ohio: Obama 50, Romney 45

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Polls show little change in swing states, despite Romney’s momentum

The first batch of swing state polls since Mitt Romney won last week’s debate show him in slightly better position in a few swing states, though the progress is not statistically significant or universal.

Here are the three new polls from NBC News and Marist College:

Virginia: Romney 48, Obama 47

Florida: Obama 48, Romney 47

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8 Senate candidates whose third quarter reports matter

All eyes in the political world are fixed on tonight’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. But elsewhere, House and Senate candidates are feverishly tallying their fundraising numbers.

The third quarter — the last full quarter before the November election — came to a close at midnight Monday, which means we’ll soon know who raised how much for the stretch run of the 2012 campaign.

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Obama makes more swing state gains

Obama makes more swing state gains

President Obama has a small edge in two of three key swing states and has gained ground in two of them over the past month, according to new polling from CBS News, the New York Times and Quinnipiac University.

Meanwhile, a separate poll from Gallup and USA Today shows the picture in the swing states remaining largely static, with Obama holding a 48 percent to 46 percent edge over Mitt Romney across all of them.

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Obama grows leads in top three swing states

Obama grows leads in top three swing states

President Obama’s bump has made its way into three key swing states, according to new polling from Marist College, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

The new Marist polls show Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points each in Florida and Virginia and by seven points in Ohio.

Obama’s margin in all three states is larger than it has been in other recent polling and suggests the Democratic National Convention paid dividends for the president in the states where it matters most. National polling has suggested a small but significant Obama bounce, but there has been limited polling in swing states since the convention ended a week ago.

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Cynthia Dill and Charlie Summers to face Angus King in Maine Senate race

Updated at 11:49 p.m.

The two major parties chose their candidates for Maine’s open Senate seat, but in this unusual race, both will face an uphill battle against popular former governor Angus King, an independent.

State Sen. Cynthia Dill beat former Maine secretary of state Matthew Dunlap and two other candidates in the Democratic primary. She ran as a progressive Democrat fighting Gov. Paul LePage (R).

On the GOP side, current Secretary of State Charles Summers beat out state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and four others. Poliquin ran to the right of Summers and lost despite outraising his rival and getting help from the outside group FreedomWorks.

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Obama holds slight lead in three key swing states: Florida, Ohio, Virginia

More and more, the 2012 presidential election is looking like it will be very, very close.

While national polling has borne this out for weeks now, perhaps more telling are new polls in a trio of major swing states that could well decide the election — Florida, Ohio and Virginia.


(AP)

President Obama holds a narrow lead in all three, according to new polling from NBC News and Marist College. But the polls also indicate Mitt Romney is well within striking distance in each state.

The Marist polls show Obama at 48 percent in all three, while Romney trails by just a few points in each.

Here’s the rundown:

Florida: Obama 48, Romney 44

Ohio: Obama 48, Romney 42

Virginia: Obama 48 , Romney 44

While Obama leads in all three states, there are some good signs for Romney.

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Kentucky, Arkansas primaries: Is it racism?

Kentucky, Arkansas primaries: Is it racism?

That President Obama lost roughly 40 percent of the vote in Democratic primaries in Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia over the last two weeks has drawn massive national headlines.

Those headlines have drawn a collective eyeroll from Democrats — and many others who closely follow national politics — who ascribe the underperformance by the incumbent to a very simple thing: racism.

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Trio of wins inch Romney toward officially securing nomination

Mitt Romney won all three primaries on Tuesday and is closing in on the number of delegates he needs to officially secure the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

108 delegates were available Tuesday, and Romney is likely to win all 27 up for grabs in Indiana, the vast majority of the 52 available in North Carolina and most or all of the 28 in West Virginia.

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Familiar trio of states could decide the Senate again

Missouri, Montana and Virginia were the three states that gave Democrats the Senate in 2006 — the three seats that were genuinely in doubt on Election Day and went Democratic.

Now, six years later, those same three states could be the ones that determine whether they can hold that majority.

Or maybe not.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) speaks to constituents during his first campaign in 2006. That year, Tester’s race was one of three that handed the majority to Democrats. This year, a Tester loss could hand the majority back to Republicans. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

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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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For Virginians, Barack Obama fits just right (for now)

For Virginians, Barack Obama fits just right (for now)

President Obama’s current lead over Mitt Romney in a new Washington Post poll in Virginia is due in large part to a belief that the incumbent’s ideology is a better fit for the state than that of the former Massachusetts governor.

A majority of Virginians — 52 percent — say that “Barack Obama’s views on most issues are just about right” as compared to 37 percent who say the same of Romney’s views. Among electorally critical independents, 52 percent say Obama’s views were about right as opposed to just 34 percent who say the same of Romney. Just look at this chart.

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Tim Kaine gets a super PAC, too

Tim Kaine gets a super PAC, too

Former Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine’s Senate campaign is getting its very own super PAC.

The New Virginia PAC is being launched by two former aides to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — Steve Bouchard and Harmony Knutson — and media consultant Mark Longabaugh, for the sole purpose of electing Kaine to the state’s other Senate seat.

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Virginia attorney general changes mind, won’t intervene in primary ballot case

Virginia attorney general changes mind, won’t intervene in primary ballot case

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) announced Sunday that he has reconsidered his decision from Saturday and will not seek to get several GOP presidential candidates added to the state’s primary ballot.

Every candidate except Mitt Romney and Ron Paul failed to meet the stringent requirements to get on the ballot for the state’s March 6 primary, and Cuccinelli said Saturday that he would seek to get them added to the ballot.

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The 2011 election: What it meant (and what it didn’t)

The 2011 election: What it meant (and what it didn’t)

There is a tendency among the political press corps — and the political world more generally — to search for the common string that ties together a national election.

At times — the elections of 2006, 2008 and 2010 come to mind — this is not only easy but right. Each of those elections were decided by a set of national issues that drove voters to choose Democrats overwhelmingly in 2006 and 2008 and Republicans equally overwhelmingly in 2010.

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Democrats face uphill climb in 2012 governors races

Democrats face uphill climb in 2012 governors races

Democrats’ victory in the West Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday effectively brings to an end the 2011 gubernatorial season — or at least the competitive races.

But, never fear because the big governors races of 2012 are beginning to take shape. And it’s already clear that Democrats have their work cut out for them.

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Democrats hold on in West Virginia governor’s race

Democrats hold on in West Virginia governor’s race

Acting West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) won the state’s special election for governor Tuesday, avoiding what could have been an embarrassing loss for President Obama and his party.

The Associated Press affirmed Tomblin’s victory over Republican businessman Bill Maloney shortly after 9 p.m. eastern time.

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Fix prediction contest: West Virginia governor’s race!

Voters are voting in West Virginia!

And that, of course, means a Fix prediction contest. The rules are pretty easy. Tell us the percentage of the vote (no decimals, math nerds) that Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) and Republican challenger Bill Maloney will get when all the results are tabulated.

Need a primer? Check out our posts on the race.

(HINT: There are three third-party candidates who are likely to take some of the vote, so the total of Tomblin and Maloney may not — and likely won’t — equal 100.)

Polls close in West Virginia at 7:30 p.m. — blessedly early! — so any predictions made after that time will be disqualified. And you must make your prediction in the comments section to be eligible for the much-coveted official Fix t-shirt.

The West Virginia governor’s race and the enthusiasm gap

The West Virginia governor’s race and the enthusiasm gap

For the second time in less than one month, voters in an unusual but heavily Democratic area are heading to the polls with the possibility of electing a Republican.

Operatives on both sides say Tuesday’s special election for governor of West Virginia will be close, and Republicans are ready to pounce on the results as proof that President Obama is dragging down Democrats across the country — just as he did three weeks ago in the special congressional election Democrats lost in New York’s 9th district.

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