This was an election night that should have been sponsored by the Acela, Amtrak’s premium train running from Boston to Washington. This was politics Thirteen Original Colonies-style where most of the voters in key races live within an easy drive of the Atlantic Ocean. The obsession to find national meaning in the results is like betting the rent money on a crooked roulette wheel because it’s the only game in town.
The two governor’s races on the docket (New Jersey and Virginia) came out as expected, but less definitively than the pre-election buzz suggested. In Virginia, former national Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe eked out a narrow win over state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli in a vitriolic race that made many voters wish for a none-of-the-above line on the ballot. As a measure of disaffection, libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis picked up 7 percent of the vote and, according to exit polls, garnered 16 percent support among voters under 30.
Despite some polls showing that Chris Christie would be reelected as New Jersey by a two-to-one margin, he came nowhere near equaling the 70-percent share of the vote rung up by moderate Republican incumbent Tom Kean in 1985. In her concession speech, Christie’s ignored and under-funded Democratic challenger Barbara Buono, a state senator, rightfully complained about her “onslaught of betrayal from our own party.”