I wasn’t sure if I was going to attend the traditional election night party, which I usually go to. Based on the polls I knew it would probably be a pretty depressing party. I don’t know maybe a morbid curiosity compelled me to show up.
When I walked into the Fairfax Marriott I could see the defeat in the faces of all my Republican friends, it felt like a funeral, and in some ways it was. I have attended dozens of election night parties and this was the first one I have been to where the concessions speeches started at 8:30 in the evening!
Our party lost control of the State Senate. Assuming Cuccinelli holds on, the Democratic majority will be 21-19.
In Fairfax County Jeannemarie and Jay O’Brien lost, leaving Cuccinelli as the only Fairfax Republican in the State Senate.
The race for O’Brien’s seat was fairly close; however, the Devolites Davis defeat was of Landslide proportions. She ran a very negative campaign which may have hurt her, and she tried to run to the left of Democrat Chap Petersen. Basically claiming he was too conservative!
We did hold the house, winning 56 seats. The Dems hold 42, and there are 2 Independents. Still losing the Senate to the Dems will cause us some problems. Also it gives the Dems a roll in redistricting.
On the plus side, liberal Republicans John Chichester, and Russell “Crack” Potts are gone. They didn’t run for re election, but they did all they could to help the Dems take their seats. Without Chichester and Potts the Senate may be a more conservative place.
There are many reasons for our poor performance last Tuesday. Part of it is the national mood, which is decidedly anti-Republican, and with an unpopular war and an unpopular President our candidates are being hurt at every level.
Ironically, the House, which we held, is known for being conservative, while the Senate has been more liberal. One possible lesson here is that acting like Democrats hurt our Senate candidates. After having raised taxes, increased state spending, and in short governing like Democrats, our base was in no mood to re-elect the Republican Senate.
It may be for the best that we lost the Senate. First, based on the way we have governed since 1997 it is hard to say we deserved re-election. Second, with Dems in control of the Senate they will have to take responsibility. At least now it won’t be our side raising taxes.
Look for a leadership fight in the Republican caucus. Senator Walter Stosch has expressed the desire to be minority leader, but Senator Cuccinelli and Senator Steve Martin are considered possible opponents.
Senate Republicans will meet later this month to pick its leaders.