What Two Bellwether Counties Tell Us About the Republican Party’s Future

National Journal
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Nov. 6, 2013, 1:06 a.m.

What do Tues­day’s elec­tions for gov­ernor say about the fu­ture of the Re­pub­lic­an Party? The path to vic­tory leads through the na­tion’s melt­ing pot sub­urbs.

Look no fur­ther than Ber­gen County, N.J., and Fair­fax County, Va., for the evid­ence. Both are the most pop­u­lous in their state. Like the na­tion as a whole, both counties were once al­most uni­formly white and leaned Re­pub­lic­an, but are now in­creas­ingly mul­tiracial and vote Demo­crat­ic in pres­id­en­tial elec­tions.

Gov. Chris Christie won Ber­gen County by 46,000 votes, im­prov­ing on his 2009 per­form­ance, when he nar­rowly lost the county to Demo­crat Jon Corz­ine. In con­trast, Vir­gin­ia At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Cuc­cinelli, best known for his so­cial con­ser­vat­ism, lost Fair­fax County by 60,000 votes. That’s a ma­jor step back­ward, giv­en that cur­rent Re­pub­lic­an Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell nar­rowly won Fair­fax in 2009.  “Our guys don’t un­der­stand [sub­urb­an] areas like North­ern Vir­gin­ia, sub­urb­an Phil­adelphia, areas that used to be our base.  We’re get­ting smoked in these areas,” said former Re­pub­lic­an con­gress­man Tom Dav­is, who rep­res­en­ted a Fair­fax County-based House seat from 1992 to 2008.  “North­ern Vir­gin­ia is a dis­aster for Re­pub­lic­ans, these [statewide can­did­ates] do not know how to run up here.  They fo­cus so hard on the so­cial is­sues, cul­tur­al stuff.” No won­der then, that Re­pub­lic­an strategists have poin­ted to Christie’s re­sound­ing vic­tory ““ rack­ing up siz­able leads in di­verse, sub­urb­an parts of the Garden State via his mod­er­ate ap­peal ““ as a mod­el for the party’s can­did­ates to emu­late. It works.

On his way to a statewide vic­tory, Gov. Chris Christie won Ber­gen County by 46,000 votes, im­prov­ing on his 2009 per­form­ance, when he nar­rowly lost the county to Demo­crat Jon Corz­ine. In con­trast, Vir­gin­ia At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Cuc­cinelli, best known for his so­cial con­ser­vat­ism, lost Fair­fax County by 66,000 votes, along with Tues­day’s elec­tion. That’s a ma­jor step back­ward, giv­en that cur­rent Re­pub­lic­an Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell nar­rowly won Fair­fax in 2009. McAul­iffe also car­ried Prince Wil­li­am County, 52-44%, and Loudoun County, 50-45%.

“Our guys don’t un­der­stand [sub­urb­an] areas like North­ern Vir­gin­ia, sub­urb­an Phil­adelphia, areas that used to be our base. We’re get­ting smoked in these areas,” said former Re­pub­lic­an con­gress­man Tom Dav­is, who rep­res­en­ted a Fair­fax County-based House seat from 1992 to 2008. “North­ern Vir­gin­ia is a dis­aster for Re­pub­lic­ans, these [statewide can­did­ates] do not know how to run up here. They fo­cus so hard on the so­cial is­sues, cul­tur­al stuff.”

No won­der then, that Re­pub­lic­an strategists have poin­ted to Christie’s re­sound­ing vic­tory—rack­ing up siz­able leads in di­verse, sub­urb­an parts of the Garden State via his mod­er­ate ap­peal—as a mod­el for the party’s can­did­ates to emu­late. It works.

What We're Following See More »
CARSON UP NEXT
Zinke Confirmed As Interior Secretary
1 hours ago
BREAKING
GOODLATTE SENDING LETTER TO SESSIONS THIS WEEK
House GOP Blocks Dems on Trump Ethics
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

On a party-line vote, "the House Judiciary Committee defeated a Democratic effort Tuesday to obtain any information the Justice Department has on possible conflicts, ethical violations or improper connections to Russia by President Donald Trump and his associates. The committee’s Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte, opposed the resolution, even as he acknowledged the Justice Department hasn’t acted on his own request for a briefing on alleged Russian interference with the U.S. election and potential ties to the Trump campaign." He said he'll be sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting him to pursue "all legitimate investigative leads" into those matters.

Source:
WAITING FOR NEWS CYCLE TO REFRESH
Trump Holds Off on New Travel Ban
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump won’t sign a revised travel ban on Wednesday as had been anticipated, two senior administration officials confirmed. One of the officials indicated that the delay was due to the busy news cycle, and that when Trump does sign the revised order, he wanted it to get plenty of attention."

Source:
BUT THEY MUST PAY
Donald Trump Affirms Support For NATO
14 hours ago
UPDATE

Near the end of his speech Tuesday, Donald Trump made a firm proclamation affirming his support for NATO. "We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism," Trump said. However, he continued on, "our partners must meet their financial obligations."

UNITES GOP
Obamacare Repeal Portion Lacks Specifics
15 hours ago
UPDATE

In his address to a joint session of Congress, Donald Trump called on the two chambers "to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare." The entire section of Republican members of Congress united in a standing ovation, while Democrats sat silently, with some even giving a thumbs down to the cameras. At one point, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was shown shaking her head in disapproval. While Trump called for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, he failed to give any specifics, though he did say those with preexisting conditions should have access to care and give flexibility back to the states.

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login