It's nearly 11:00 p.m., and the night is basically over. None of the three major races taking place this year was expected to be a long, drawn-out affair, and in fact, two of them were called by networks immediately when the polls closed. But even though we're looking at results most of us expected, liberals are likely to take heart, and conservatives are likely to wonder what's next. Here's why:
- Terry McAuliffe was narrowly elected governor of Virginia in a race that nobody really liked. McAuliffe was able to paint Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli as an extremist on social issues, and despite Cuccinelli's attempt to capitalize on Obamacare troubles over the last few weeks, it was demographics that largely sealed the deal for McAuliffe. Virginia is an increasingly diverse, urbanized, and liberal state, so don't be surprised if it becomes the sort of national bellwether that Ohio was once upon a time.
The upshot? It was a good night for liberals. The most unabashedly conservative candidate of the night lost, an outspoken liberal was elected mayor of the nation's largest city, and Republicans' one winner was a governor who many in the GOP base frankly don't see as a real Republican.
Thanks for following PolicyMic's analysis this evening. We'll have more updates and analysis for you tomorrow.
Larger reasons for de Blasio's win include a post-Great Recession environment, changing demographics in the city, and a third Bloomberg term that saw the mayor overreach on a number of issues. Whatever the reasons, though, and whether you believe his election was more about a change in policy or a change in tone, it's hard to argue the mayor-elect isn't coming in with a massive mandate.
The 2013 VA election results are still being counted but Fox News is projecting that Terry McAuliffe will be Governor of Virginia.
It has been an extremely tight race. The early results had Ken Cuccinelli ahead, but the Democratic strongholds, like around Fairfax, were some of the last precincts to be counted and they appear to have given Terry McAuliffe the votes he needs to become the next governor of Virginia.
In the days that follow, expect the talking heads to read the tea leaves about what this race means for the national parties. But for now, Democrats have eked it out in VA.
It's worth noting, that as of time of writing, CNN is still declaring this race "too close to call."
Surprising pretty much no one, Democrat Bill de Blasio has de facto become the mayor of America's largest city, maintaining an insurmountable lead over Republican opponent Joe Lhota so large that CNN called the race the moment the polls closed.
0% of polls are reporting. However, look at these numbers, courtesy of the New York Times:
Even if these numbers overstate de Blasio's lead by a significant margin, Lhota's still toast.
He's maintaining a gigantic lead in every age group in exit polls, by at least 37%:
And then there's this:
Oh, and then there's this:
Oh, sorry. That's not polling data, that's de Blasio hearing he's now mayor-elect!
Much of the attention in the NJ election 2013 is on Chris Christie and the governor's race but there's a ballot initiative with some serious weight. One of the questions in front of voters is whether to amend the state constitution to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 from $7.25. (The federal minimum wage is $7.25.)
If approved, the change would affect some 49,000 New Jerseyans and the ballot question was the subject of intense lobbying. Millions were spent, by union and business leaders, to try and pass or reject the measure, respectively. The early results (8% of precincts reporting) show the ballot initiative is enjoying steady support.
There are a number of quirky aspects to Virginia's political culture. For one, the governor is only eligible for a single four-year term. Second, every city in the state is incorporated as what's called an "independent city" — that is, it's not under the control of any county government, making for spotty-looking election maps. And third, returns coming in from the state are notoriously unreliable. The state's southern counties tend to be more rural and conservative, while most Democratic votes come from Richmond and the D.C. suburbs in the north. The southern counties are almost always the first to report.
This has led to lots of confusion so far this evening. It began when the Washington Times opinion editor tweeted the following...
And that's when the state's northern counties hadn't even counted the majority of their votes.
This New York Times screenshot taken at 8:54 shows solid red in the south, but at the time of this photo, three northern counties McAuliffe needs to win — Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William — had only reported in from 45%, 57%, and 37% of their precincts, respectively. As these counties continue to report their results, expect to see McAuliffe gain ground quickly. Slate's Dave Weigel, who is in Virginia reporting, has some Real Talk for everyone holding out for a Republican victory:
More than half of Norfolk, Hampton, Prince William, Fairfax still out. That Cuccinelli lead has an expiration date. #VAGov
UPDATE: The resolution has passed with 70% of the vote. Portland is now the first East Coast city to have legalized marijuana.
With all those boring people in suits yelling at each other, you might have forgotten about the rad vote that's happening in Maine today — to legalize weed in Portland.
Portland, Maine, seems to be on track to be the first East Coast city to make marijuana legal. Under the proposed regulations, those 21 and older would be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of the fuzzy stuff as well as paraphernalia. (Sale and production of the drug would remain illegal, but the new ordinances would essentially give the green light to possession and use by the average smoker.)
According to Press Heraldstaff reporter Randy Billings, one of the city's 11 polling locations has already came in with a resounding "yes" to the initiative, leading 55-44.7% 523-323.
Portland police said they would continue to enforce state law, which imposes a civil violation for possessing 1.25 ounces of marijuana of $350-500 and 1.25-2.5 ounces of $700-1,000.
Meanwhile, Portland pot advocates seem to be having a very good time:
On the heels of his decisive win in New Jersey, expect the calls for Chris Christie 2016 to start in earnest. He won big in a blue state and many think his brand and message is a roadmap for Republicans in the 2014 midterms and 2016 presidential election. I'm one of those that agrees. But, there are some detractors.
The knock on Christie is that his I-do-what-it-takes-to-win style isn't the style of politics that the Tea Party base of the Republican party is drawn to, which is more focused on defending its ideas at all costs (even if it means losing elections).
But even as much as many of us politicos would like to draw national implications from this specific race, for New Jerseyans, they just elected a new governor for the next four years and 2016 is still a ways away.
In the meantime, expect increased scrutiny of his every move in the state, as national leaders draw lessons from and further evaluate the big man with the golden touch in the Garden State.
2013 Election Results LIVE: Updates and Polls From NJ, VA, and NYC
Welcome to PolicyMic's live coverage of Election Day 2013! We may not be electing the leader of the free world this year, but political junkies will still want to keep tabs on what happens in three crucial races this year. Throughout the day and into the night, our Politics and Breaking News teams will bring you exit polling, analysis, news updates, and everything else you need to know to stay informed.
This year, there are three major races we'll be paying attention to. Each of the races has a clear favorite at this point, but each one still gives us some crucial insights into where the country is heading politically, and what sorts of candidates could thrive in 2014 midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race.
Cue this song, for all the political nerds out there.
New Jersey is electing a governor. Incumbent Republican Chris Christie is up against Democratic challenger Barbara Buono, a state senator from Edison. This one isn't even close: Christie is up by nearly 30 points according to the latest Quinnipiac poll. If he pulls out the margin of victory he's expected to in this deep-blue state, one of the most ethnically diverse in the country and by far the most densely populated, he's got a good case to make that in 2016, he is the Republican candidate who will best appeal to voters in the middle. Debate rages over whether Christie is really a moderate, but he comes off as an everyman and has been able to stay away from divisive social issues in a way that many other Republicans haven't. Which brings us to...
Virginia, which is also electing a governor. Those of us who have ever lived in the District of Columbia and have had to deal with Virginia drivers see this terrible election as karmic revenge. Current Republican Governor Bob McDonnell is leaving office (the state constitution limits the governor to one four-year term). Vying to replace him are Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the state attorney general, and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic Party. Cuccinelli is a Tea Party hero who sued to replace Obamacare on the day it was signed, but has probably gained the most notoriety for his views on social issues, which could charitably be described as old-fashioned. McAuliffe is a longtime friend of the Clintons and is basically running because, well, he's a longtime friend of the Clintons. This one was close for awhile, but Cuccinelli has alienated many voters in an increasingly diverse, moderate state, and McAuliffe will probably win.
Finally, New York City is electing a mayor. We here at PolicyMic feel especially attached to this race because it's happening in our home city, but this is actually a pretty important election (Hizzoner has more constituents than the governors of 39 states). Bill de Blasio, the Democrat, has a commanding lead over Republican Joe Lhota after surging to the top of the Democratic field on a message that stressed income inequality, an end to controversial NYPD practices, and a break from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's technocratic style. De Blasio, with his explicit focus on socioeconomic class, is being seen as a test case for liberal populism around the nation. If he succeeds in New York, look for more politicians with similar messages to start popping up around the country.
Throughout the day we'll have polls and updates from New Jersey and Virginia, along with links to PolicyMic feature articles on these elections. The New York mayor's race will feature all these, along with man-on-the-street interviews from polling places around the city.
If you need to know where to vote, click here if you live in New Jersey, here if you live in Virginia, and here if you live in NYC.
Finally, a word of advice: If you see campaign staffers canvassing in your neighborhood today, whatever their party, give them some fresh fruit or vegetables. They've probably eaten nothing but pizza and Dunkin Donuts for the last several months.