McAuliffe votes at a McLean elementary school
Terry McAuliffe, accompanied by his family, headed to Spring Hill Elementary School in his McLean neighborhood to cast his vote at 6:30 a.m. this morning.
Voters headed to the polls Tuesday for an off-year election day and elected Terry McAuliffe (D) over Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) in the Virginia gubernatorial race. There was also a mayoral race in New York City and a governor’s race in New Jersey, among others, and an attorney general’s race in Virginia that looks to be headed towards a recount. Find all the news here.
Fairfax voters elected the first female sheriff in the county’s history Tuesday, as Stacey Kincaid, a 26-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, cruised to a double-digit lead over her closest oppon...
Democrat Mark Herring, who trails a very close attorney general’s race in Virginia, said late Tuesday that he’s not conceding the race and suggested he might request a recount.
“The race for attorney general is razor-close, and the commonwealth has a process to make sure all the votes are counted, and we are going to make sure we go through that process,” Herring told reporters. “Right now it’s basically 50-50, and the numbers have been moving in our direction all night. The race is far from over. And we are going to make sure we follow the process and make sure every single vote is counted … and we will have more tomorrow.”
Herring didn’t say specifically whether he would ask for a recount, which he can ask for if the margin is less than 1 percent.
The latest results show both Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain at 50.0 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Obenshain led by less than 800 votes.
Democrats won the other two big-ticket statewide races in Virginia on Tuesday, in the governor’s race and the lieutenant governor’s race.
In Play takes a closer look at the big themes of the night from Virginia and New Jersey.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who refused to endorse Ken Cuccinelli, used his fellow Republican’s loss as a chance to call for some Republican reevaluation.
Bolling was the establishment favorite in the gubernatorial primary, but Cuccinelli’s supporters forced a convention that led the lieutenant governor to drop out of the race.
“As a Republican, I am deeply disappointed that our party has lost control of our state’s top two elected offices,” Bolling said in a statement. “There are clear lessons in these losses for the Republican Party. Going forward, we need to have an open and honest conversation about the future of our party and determine what we must do to reconnect with a more diverse voter base whose support is critical to political success in Virginia.”
He congratulated Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam on their victories and pledged “to help them in any way I can.” He said he would not comment on the tight race for attorney general, which has not yet been called.
The last major race of the night — the Virginia attorney general’s race — could be headed for a recount.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Mark Obenshain leads Democrat Mark Herring by just more than 1,000 votes. But the race is so close that each candidate’s vote total rounds to 50.0 percent.
There is no automatic recount in Virginia, but the losing candidate may request one if the difference is less than 1 percent.
Minutes after Obenshain’s staff said he would appear in the ballroom at the Richmond Marriott to address what’s left of the crowd, Republican Party of Virginia chairman Pat Mullins announced that the candidate will not make a speech because the party is preparing for a recount. (However, Mullins also put out a statement congratulating Obenshain “on his win tonight.”) Herring will not speak either.
Obenshain’s fate looms large for the GOP, which lost the other two statewide offices on the ballot — governor and lieutenant governor.
Obenshain would also be positioned to be the GOP’s 2017 gubernatorial candidate were he to win.
Edison, which conducted the exit polls in Virginia on Tuesday, has said it will not declare a winner tonight.
Ken Cuccinelli campaign strategist Chris La Civita said that among the what if’s in the wake of the Republican’s loss were whether Cuccinelli would have been able to pull out a win if he had received more financial support from national GOP sources – which dried up as of Oct. 1, he said — and if the federal government shutdown had been avoided or brought to a rapid close.
“There are a lot of questions people are going to be asking and that is, was leaving Cuccinelli alone in the first week of October, a smart move?” La Civita said in an interview following his candidate’s concession speech. “We were on our own. Just look at the volume [of ads].”
And yet, he said, the campaign closed to within a point and a half as Cuccinelli picked up momentum after the shutdown and the nation’s attention turned to the bungled implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
“There was definitely a national mood that was moving, that is moving, that is continuing to move against the White House and the Affordable Care Act. And I can’t help but ask myself, what would have been the result had he had five weeks of this discussion instead of just 2 ½?”
Update 12:03 a.m.: Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski responds:
“The RNC spent millions of dollars to fund the ground game efforts in both New Jersey and Virginia, working in coordination with both campaigns to identify and turnout voters.”
The RNC is also out with a memo playing up its ground game in the two governor’s races this year.
Ken Cuccinelli carried married men and married women by single digits, according to preliminary exit polls. He lost women overall by 9 points. Where he fell behind by massive margins was among unmarried people, in particular unmarried women.
Unmarried men favored McAuliffe over Cuccinelli by almost two dozen points and unmarried women by more than 40. The only solace Republicans can take — and it’s not much of one — is that Cuccinelli’s dreadful performance among unmarried voters was significantly worse than that of Mitt Romney in Virginia in the 2012 presidential election; Romney lost single men by 16 points and single women by 29. The lesson for Republicans is that while they don’t need to win unmarried voters, who are still heavily outnumbered by married ones, they can’t lose anywhere close to as badly as Cuccinelli did and hope to win a statewide election in Virginia.
Edison Media estimates that 2,180,000 people voted in today’s gubernatorial election in Virginia, about 37 percent of the eligible population. That’s slightly higher than in 2009, when 36.1 percent of eligible voters went to the polls. But it pales in comparison to 2012, when 66.4 percent of eligible voters turned out.
In a 15-minute speech to a crowd of Democrats who had been waiting months for this moment, McAuliffe thanked his family, staff and the voters for giving him the office he had been running for essentially nonstop for roughly five years.
McAuliffe repeatedly pledged to work in bipartisan, pragmatic fashion, praising the examples set by the last two Democratic governors – current Sens. Mark Warner and Timothy M. Kaine – as well as Gov. Robert McDonnell (R), whose sweeping transportation package McAuliffe backed.
“To the hundreds of thousands of supporters of Ken Cuccinelli and Mr. Sarvis,” he said, “I understand that emotions are raw. I have been there, I get it. So while I promise you tonight that I will be a governor for all Virginians … I expect you to hold me to my pledge.”
McAuliffe praised Cuccinelli for his public service and for the sacrifice he made to run for office.
Stressing the need for Virginians to come together, McAuliffe quoted Virginia hero Thomas Jefferson – who won the presidency after a contentious 1800 election – for saying “every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.”
Though he acknowledged he and Cuccinelli had “some very big differences on some very big issues,” McAuliffe said: “I bet every single person in Virginia is glad the TV ads are now over.”
McAuliffe said he hoped “to make Virginia a model for pragmatic leadership … and job creation.” He added that he hoped to boost the commonwealth’s schools and attract “the best and brightest scientists and innovators regardless of race, gender, religion or who you love.”
And McAuliffe said he would “work hard to reach out to every single Republican in the General Assembly.”
Moments after NBC and several networks called the race for Terry McAuliffe, a young immigrant activist walked up on the stage in the Marriott Ballroom and declared that Ken Cuccinelli had lost because he and fellow Republicans failed to work toward immigration reform.
“So I ask – what do we want?” he demanded, as a small knot of Republican supporters gathered around booing and shouting for him to leave.
“Get off the stage!” a woman yelled.
Eventually, hotel security and city police escorted him from the room as he continued to shout.
Renato Mendoza, 27, of Norfolk, who was another immigrant activist in the group, identified the man on stage as Gustavo Andrade, director of Maryland-based Casa in Action.
“We wanted to let the GOP know that if they don’t accept citizenship, or a way to citizenship, for 11 million people, then as a party, they’re dead,” Mendoza said.
Former gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne has beat out tea party favorite Dean Young in the special election primary for Alabama’s 1st congressional district, according to the AP.
Polls suggested the race could go either way. Young, who in an interview with the Guardian last week claimed that President Obama was born in Kenya, was backed by a grassroots coalition of evangelical Christians. Byrne had the support of the business community.
Conceding the race for governor, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli argued that the race was narrow because of dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act, but that he was unable to overcome Terry McAuliffe’s financial advantage.
“At last count I was aware of — despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million, this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare. Let me say that again: despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million, this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare. That message will go out across America tonight,” he said. ”We said this race was a referendum on Obamacare, and although I lost tonight, you sent a message to the president of the United States that you believe that Obamacare is a failure and that you want to be in charge of your health care, not the government.”
He thanked his supporters and his family for their support.
“I am immensely proud of the campaign we ran,” he said. “We were very heavily outspent, but I’m proud that we ran on first principles and serious ideas based on those principles. … though we didn’t come out on top, you have made a difference and tonight you have sent a message. You have sent a message tonight.”
He thanked his wife in particular, saying “she carries her load and half of mine.”
Former hospital executive Mike Duggan won the Detroit mayor’s race on Tuesday, becoming the heavily African-American city’s first white mayor in nearly 40 years.
Duggan defeated Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in a runoff. He faces the challenge of a city that has filed for bankruptcy and seen an exodus of much of its population in recent years.
Detroit political analyst said Duggan’s message of his turnaround skills, including rescuing the Detroit Medical Center from near-bankruptcy a decade ago, caught on in a city that’s facing a financial disaster of its own, fighting for survival in bankruptcy court, with residents exasperated by high taxes, poor public services, blight, unemployment and crime.
“His message of change resonated across racial lines, much the same as President Barack Obama did,“ Hood said.
He cautioned that, while voters in Detroit, which is 82% black, were willing to elect the city’s first white mayor in nearly 40 years, racial polarization remains.
Tuesday’s win “means he connected in African Americans in a huge way, but he’s got to go from message to reality,” Hood said. Duggan also will have to “figure out how to deal with Kevyn Orr, because if he’s not careful, he, too, could get a gas allowance and a corner office,” a reference to how Mayor Dave Bing was largely shunted aside after Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Orr the city’s emergency manager.
In his victory speech, State Sen. Ralph Northam (D) thanked “the women of Virginia” for helping him win his race for lieutenant governor. The election has shown that “no group of legislators, most of whom are men, should be telling women what they should or shouldn’t be doing with their body,” he said.
He also thanked his supporters, and promised to use his time in office to focus on transportation, health care, the environment and education.
Preliminary exit polls in the gubernatorial race have Democrat Terry McAuliffe beating Republican Ken Cuccinelli with female voters, though not by the double-digits some predicted. However, McAuliffe leads among unmarried women by a whopping 42 percent.
From the Berkeley Hotel in Richmond, Republican lieutenant gubernatorial candidate E.W. Jackson gave his concession speech.
“I am not about to lay down on you,” he told his supporters. ”I promise you I will never do that.” He vowed to continue to work through his conservative non-profit, Staying True to America’s National Destiny (STAND).
“I am the only one standing up for our freedom, the only one standing up for our constitution, the only one standing up for our flag and what it represents, the only one standing up for the Judeo-Christian values on which this country was built,” he declared to cheers. ”I will never back down. I will never back up.”
Ken Cuccinelli is expected to speak shortly from his own party, at the Marriott a few blocks away.
A triumphant Chris Christie emerged t0 savor his victory on-stage just a moment ago.
“I want to say thank you to New Jersey for making me the luckiest guy in the world,” Christie said.
Christie also suggested — in what could be seen as a reference to a possible 2016 presidential campaign — that if he could conquer problems in Trenton, N.J., the state capital, his leadership could be a model for Washington.
“Maybe the folks in Washington D.C. should tune in their TV right now to see how it’s done,” Christie said.
He added: “I sought a second term to finish the job; now watch me do it.”
Christie added that he thanked state Sen. Barbara Buono (D) for a “spirited” campaign. He said Buono has called him.
Christie also alluded to a turning point in his first term — Superstorm Sandy — saying he will continue to make the state’s recover a theme for his governorship.
“My pledge to you tonight is that I will govern with the spirit of Sandy,” Christie said.
Updated at 10:22 p.m.
Now that the big three — Virginia governor, New Jersey governor and New York mayor — are in the books, we’re left with two races that are worth your attention.
The first is the Virginia attorney general’s race, where Republican Mark Obenshain is trying to salvage the night for his state GOP. Obenshain is ahead of Democrat Mark Herring by 1.6 points with 94 percent of precincts reporting, but his margin is likely to shrink.
If Obenshain holds on, it would not only give the GOP a win, it would also give it a likely 2017 gubernatorial candidate.
The other race is in Alabama, where the tea party faces the Chamber of Commerce in a key GOP primary runoff for a congressional seat. As of now, the Chamber of Commerce candidate — Bradley Byrne — leads the tea party candidate — Dean Young — 51.3 to 48.7 with 55 percent of precincts reporting.
Business groups came in heavily for Byrne at the end of the campaign, hoping to send a message after the tea party wing spurred the government shutdown.
The winner will succeed retired Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), who left for a job in the University of Alabama system.