All Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) needed was one. If just one measly state Senate seat flipped from GOP to Democratic control in Tuesday’s elections, McAuliffe would have a badly needed foothold in the legislature.
He didn’t get it; Republicans held every seat they controlled going into Election Day.
For McAuliffe, the defeat was particularly bitter. He had done two dozen events for Democratic candidates in the last four days before the elections and cast taking control of the state Senate — which stood at 21 Republicans and 19 Democrats going into the vote — as critical to his governing hopes over his next (and final) two years in office.
With the state House firmly in Republican control, McAuliffe saw a Democratic takeover of the Senate as perhaps his only chance to craft any sort of legacy — a la the budget deal then-Gov. Mark Warner (D) cut in 2004.
“It makes a lot of difference,” McAuliffe told a local TV station in the run-up to the vote. “If I have one chamber that will work with me, then it puts a lot of pressure on the other chamber if one chamber passes safe gun restrictions, investments in K through 12, investments in pre-K.”
It was not to be. McAuliffe is now left to labor under a legislature entirely controlled by the opposition party even as he battles the lame-duck status that the commonwealth’s ridiculous and outdated one-term limit on governors confers on him.
Terry McAuliffe, for watching your legacy get lost by a single Senate seat, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Each week, Chris Cillizza awards the worst week in Washington to an inhabitant of Planet Beltway who stands out for all the wrong reasons. You can check out previous winners or e-mail Cillizza with candidates. You can also read more from Outlook and follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter.