Republicans Pick up Two Gubernatorial Seats
Just one year ago, the political pundits and even some Republicans claimed that conservatism was dead following Barack Obama’s 28 state victory. Those same pundits declared that a major political realignment had taken place, and that the Republican Party was essentially the political party of the southern white men. In their minds the Republican Party was dead. There were no victories in sight for the GOP.
A year is a lifetime in politics. The party that many thought could only win in southern states scored a huge victory in Virginia, a state that President Obama won with 53% of the vote. An ever larger upset was brewing in New Jersey, a democratic stronghold which Obama won with 57% of the vote. New Jersey elected a Republican governor when Chris Christie defeated incumbent Governor Jon Corzine.
Fueling both GOP victories in Virginia and New Jersey was support from independent voters. Chris Christie won the support of independents by a 58 percent to 31 percent margin in New Jersey, while Bob McDonald garnered 65 percent to 34 percent margin among independents in Virginia.
The two gubernatorial victories are huge victories for the Republican Governors Association. The victories also pad the stellar political resume of Governor Haley Barbour, the Chairman of the RGA. It also should allow to the RGA to post good fundraising numbers from now until next November.
A well funded RGA could also have an impact here in Iowa. It is critical for our Republican gubernatorial nominee to have RGA actively involved in the gubernatorial race in 2010. In the last gubernatorial campaign, the RGA contributed $1.4 million to help elect Jim Nussle. Without those types of investments in our gubernatorial candidate, it will be difficult to defeat Culver.
Ron Corbett is the new Mayor of Cedar Rapids
Last night’s big gubernatorial victories over-shadowed the local elections taking place here in Iowa. Most of Iowa’s municipal elections are non-partisan, but Ron Corbett’s victory in Cedar Rapids last night could end up being a significant victory for Republicans.
Corbett, the former Republican Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, won convincingly last night with 62% of the vote. In Cedar Rapids, candidates need to exceed a 50% threshold to avoid a run-off campaign. Corbett is a natural leader who will help get Cedar Rapids moving in the right direction following the devastating floods of 2008.
Corbett’s campaign, which Todd Dorman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette says cost over $100,000 and lasted over eight months, included some new technology that could find its way into other campaigns around the state. Victory Enterprises implemented its Voter Neighbor Program. The program allows supporter to access a list of potential voters in their neighborhood form the campaigns website. The supporter is able to mark the people they know and send then allows them to pick one of four post cards to send to their list. The program is slick and makes it easy for people to get involved in the campaign.
Corbett’s victory in Cedar Rapids means that Governor Chet Culver may have to deal with a much more vocal and critical mayor than he has had to deal with thus far. Corbett has been outspoken about the need to speed up flood recovery following the 2008 floods.
Corbett’s success last night puts a big feather in the cap for Victory Enterprises and Todd Henderson who was also involved in Corbett’s campaign. And yes, there is already talk that Corbett may be a potential Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2014.
The people of Maine Vote to Over-Turn Gay Marriage
Earlier this year, the Maine legislature passed a law legalizing gay marriage in the state. Last night, voters passed a referendum over-turning gay marriage in the state. The referendum that asked voters if they wanted to reject the state’s new same-sex marriage law passed with 53% of the vote.
Voter turnout in Maine was higher than expected, 53% of registered voters turned out to vote on seven different referendums and bond issues. Maine voters have witnessed and intense campaign over the marriage issues since the legislature passed the law this spring. Combined, the two campaigns have spent more than $6.5 million on the marriage campaigns.
What is fascinating about the vote is that while a majority of voters supported the repeal of the state’s gay marriage law, they overwhelmingly voted down a taxpayer’s bill of rights, which over 60% opposed, and a decrease in the automobile excise tax that only mustered the support of 26% of the electorate.
There is no doubt that a marriage amendment would find overwhelming support here in Iowa, yet Governor Culver, Speaker Pat Murphy, and Majority Leader Mike Gronstal are preventing the vote from taking place. While that strategy might help propel their liberal philosophy, it could hurt them at the ballot box next November.
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