Winners/Losers: The 2013 Virginia elections
Winner: Terry McAuliffe This one is obvious. The Macker didn’t win by anywhere near the margin the final polls had indicated, but a win is a win is a win.
Loser: Terry McAuliffe Also obvious. He wins by 10 points, he has a mandate. He wins by two, and he’s greeted by House Speaker Bill Howell trash-talking him on how House GOP candidates got more votes than he did. Good luck on that Medicaid expansion …
Winner: Ralph Northam Lieutenant governor is otherwise worth about the same warm pitcher of spit that being vice president is, with less pay. But Northam, at this moment, is the frontrunner to be the 2017 Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee. Not that you’d ever heard of him before today.
Loser: Bill Bolling This is assuming that Mark Obenshain ends up winning the attorney general race. Obenshain loses, and there’s nobody on the bench for Republicans to run for governor in 2017, leaving a wide-open field that would have been perfect for a Bolling comeback. Assuming Obenshain wins, he’s the frontrunner for the 2017 GOP gubernatorial nomination. And Bolling has nowhere to go, unless he wants to be the sacrificial lamb to Mark Warner’s 2014 Senate re-election bid.
Winner: Bill Bolling OK, now let’s assume that Mark Herring ends up winning the attorney general race. What we said above about there being nobody on the GOP bench in 2017? Cue the theme from “Rocky.” Bill Bolling as the comeback kid.
Winner: Bob McDonnell McDonnell, despite the Star Scientific scandal, has approval ratings in the just-below-Warner range, which is to say, he’s tons more popular than the guy about to replace him and they guy that he beat to get the job. And with Cuccinelli vanquished, McDonnell’s signature achievement as governor, the bipartisan transportation-funding compromise that even Warner and Tim Kaine couldn’t make happen, will live on. It’s hard to imagine what McDonnell does next in politics, with Warner’s Senate seat in 2014 safe, and the next Senate election, for Kaine’s seat, way off in the distance, in 2018, but that said, hey, at least the guy goes out on top.
Loser: Ken Cuccinelli It’s over. He could’ve, should’ve, waited his turn, let Bill Bolling run, won re-election as attorney general, played affable sidekick to Bolling, who would have also been victorious, then spent the next four years running for governor when it was his go. Now what does the Cooch do? The speaking circuit will be great for his bottom line, but odds are that he’s as done in Virginia politics as Mark Earley and Jerry Kilgore. (Mark … who? Jerry … who? You’re making these names up, right?) Unless he gets ballsy, believing his own BS about how tonight’s loss was actually a win, and challenges Warner in 2014. (Don’t count on that one, with that big family to take care of, and the free ride on the taxpayers’ dole about to come to an end.)
Push: Robert Sarvis Congrats to the Libertarian Party nominee for polling close to 7 percent, faring better than any third-party statewide candidate since Marshall Coleman’s showing in the 1994 Senate race. That said, what does Sarvis do with this? It’s hard to figure that he does much, but hey, give him credit for making a little bit of something out of nothing.