In what the Democrats will see as an early Christmas present, Democrat Tim Kaine, protege of term-limited governor Mark Warner (D) beat Republican Jerry Kilgore who is a protege of former Governor and current Republican Senator from Virginia George Allen. Wags have been calling this a proxy showdown between two potential 2008 Presidential candidates. Consensus here is that Kilgore ran a weak campaign that focused, oddly, on Kaine's opposition to the death penalty. The White House under a bit of siege was unable to help Kilgore make up what turned out to be six points. In a thin silver lining, the Republican Bolling won a tight race for Lieutenant Governor and the Republican McConnell leads by a slender margin of 2,000 votes out of two million cast for Attorney General.
Senator Jon Corzine, as expected, beat Republican Doug Forrester for the governorship in New Jersey. NJ is a rather blue state and Forrester was unable to pull a Tom Kean or a Christie Whitman.
In California all four propositions championed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger went down to defeat handing the Governator a setback in his laudable effort to reform horrifically dysfunctional governance in California. Two propositions that were defeated by the might of organized labor (over 50 percent of all union members in Calif are public servants) to the detriment of California were 74 and 75.
Proposition 74 which would have increased the probationary period for teachers before they could become tenured from two to five years was defeated 55-45%. As any of us who have any experience with public education realize, once a teacher achieves tenure, they are more or less untouchable unless they are caught, proverbially, with a dead girl or a live boy (well the last is not true in California) but the point is asking for an acceptable five year record before tenure seems quite reasonable.
Proposition 75 was an assault on the old union way of operation. It would have required unions to get prior written consent from members before using their dues for political contributions. What's wrong with that? That failed 53.5%-46.5%. Looks like organized labor is hanging on on the Left Coast.
On the other hand, Mike Bloomberg, who is a RINO but competent, crushed Fernando Ferrer in his re-election bid for mayor of New York City. It's the biggest re-election margin in history. While this election was more about competency than party as NY is so left-leaning its sickening, it does as Jonah Goldberg notes, dealt a significant blow to the Democratic machine in NYC which is a damned good thing and long overdue. Just as an example this 'machine' has trotted out David Dinkins, Ruth Messinger, Mark Green and Ferrer in the last four mayoral elections. All old re-treads who haven't had a fresh thought in decades.
Finally, as Stanley Kurtz notes in NRO, San Francisco has sunk to a new low. They passed, 58%-42%, a sweeping handgun ban in SF which will only deter law-abiding citizens. This is the same idiocy that Brazilians dumped 2 to 1 as we noted yesterday. Expect crime in SF to go up next year.
And as if that wasn't enough the voters passed 60-40
"...Measure I, dubbed "College Not Combat," opposes the presence of military recruiters at public high schools and colleges. However, it would not ban the armed forces from seeking enlistees at city campuses, since that would put schools at risk of losing federal funding. Instead, Proposition I encourages city officials and university administrators to exclude recruiters and create scholarships and training programs that would reduce the military's appeal to young adults."
A disgrace. So we want the US military (presumably) to defend the country but we don't want to allow them access to our institutions. This is a repudiation of the country.
I think President Bush and the RNC should realize that yesterday was a tough day but not the disaster that the MSM is making it to be. Basically two Democratic governorships remained so and a Bush supporter won in New York City. They should realize though that strong Bush coattails could have dragged Kilgore across the finish in Virginia and maybe helped one or two of Arnold's propositions. What they need to do now is regroup for the second quarter - renew their message and hammer it home - look to maintain their margins in the 2006 electoral cycle.