November 7, 2004


Bush's reelection offers a few lessons in governor's race (Michael D. Shear, November 7, 2004, , Washington Post)

President Bush's Election Day romp in Virginia reminds Democrats of a political reality as they seek to retain control of the governor's mansion: Winning suburban northern Virginia is simply not enough.

Senator John F. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, racked up huge vote totals in Fairfax County, Arlington, and Alexandria, besting Bush by more than 75,000 votes in those jurisdictions. The vote is the latest indication that the suburbs nearest Washington are becoming more reliably Democratic as they become more urban and more ethnically diverse.

But even if Lieutenant Governor Timothy Kaine, the Democratic Party's likely nominee for governor, can duplicate Kerry's feat, his lead could be whittled away by Republican strongholds in Loudoun and Prince William counties, and across the state's rural heartland.

Governor Mark Warner, a Democrat elected a year after Bush's first victory in Virginia, said Tuesday he was surprised that Kerry did not do better statewide. But he rejected Republican statements that the election was a disaster for Virginia Democrats. "We always knew it would be a tall order" for Kerry to win Virginia, he said.

Republicans said Bush's victory over Kerry statewide by nine percentage points provides a practical and psychological boost to Kaine's likely challenger, Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, Bush's campaign chairman in Virginia.

"How on earth do they have the spirit and the heart to move forward? This was such a crushing defeat," Ken Hutcheson, Kilgore's campaign manager, said of the Democrats. "We've got the momentum. We've got the unity. We've got the enthusiasm."

Hutcheson said Bush received record support in the rock-solid GOP area of Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Augusta counties. If Kilgore matches that performance and does equally well in southwest and Southside Virginia, he easily could be elected governor next year.

"The math," Hutcheson said. "Tim Kaine can't go head-to-head with Jerry Kilgore."

Talk of Mr. Warner as a presidential candidate in '08 gives the GOP added incentive to carry VA.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 7, 2004 1:34 PM

NB: Virginia has a law that governors cannot serve consecutive terms. Therefore, like any VA governor, Mark Warner cannot run for re-election. His term expires in 2005; that's a long time out of public office. One has to think that he must knock off one of the senators in order to stay presidential material, and that's a tall order.

Posted by: John Thacker at November 7, 2004 2:49 PM

A timely reminder that the federal government is not our friend.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 7, 2004 3:16 PM

I live in Virginia and if Mark Warner decides to run for the Senate he'll have to go up against George Allen, who is up for reelection in 2006. He's quite popular - among other things, he's the namesake son of legendary Redskins football coach George Allen - and is solidly conservative. Warner is going to carry the baggage of having had to deal with a Republican-controlled legislature throughout his entire term and the black eye of losing a major road-tax initiative in 2002.

Posted by: Joe at November 7, 2004 8:01 PM

Warner is an example of the wrong kind of mega-rich person. He made his money not through his ability to actually do or create anything but because he helped draft the FCC regs concerning cable TV and the like, and then sold his abilities in negotiating his way through the morass of regs that he helped create in exchange for equity interests all across the spectrum. He is a true parasite.

Even George Soros, whose wealth derives from currency speculation, has a more honorable history.

Posted by: Bart at November 8, 2004 6:57 AM

And let's not forget his proposal for a major tax increase in Virginia last year. A scaled down version passed, largely over the objections of the conservative VA House of Delegates representatives, and then after passage, we just "happened" to get the revised state revenue numbers indicating that a large tax hike wasn't so necessary after all. Big surprise.

Posted by: Harry at November 9, 2004 11:59 AM