The most alarming message for Democrats from Tuesday’s election was the near obliteration of Terry McAuliffe’s lead over Ken Cuccinelli. An October poll, conducted a week after the government reopened, had placed him 11 points ahead. On Election Day, Cuccinelli lost by only 2.5 points. McAuliffe’s precipitous tumble was due entirely to Obamacare.
There was bad news for Republicans as well. The government shutdown damaged Cuccinelli, possibly costing him the race. But there were other factors. The money gap (he was outspent three to one), outgoing Republican governor Bob McDonnell’s ethics troubles, and Cuccinelli’s dour mien all made it possible for a gasbag Democratic moneyman, who admitted he didn’t read legislation and would hire someone to handle such trivia, to take Thomas Jefferson’s seat in Richmond.
Yet in the 34th district of Virginia, right outside Washington, D.C., a very conservative delegate was able to run between 8 and 18 points ahead of Cuccinelli and win a district that just a year ago went for Tim Kaine for senator and Barack Obama.
Barbara Comstock is as conservative as any right-winger could desire — pro–free enterprise, pro-life, and pro–second amendment. Her opponent, Kathleen Murphy, a doctrinaire liberal, was supported by the unions, Michael Bloomberg, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood.