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 »
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
3 days ago
THE LATEST
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
3 days ago
BREAKING
MANAFORT AND FLYNN
Russians Discussed Influencing Trump Through Aides
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
BUSINESSES CAN’T PLEAD FIFTH
Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

×
×

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