It’s Election Day in the United States for state level offices in the few states that have odd year elections. This is a summary of the major stories emerging from the votes.
The election results across the country were mixed, with the impact on national elections relatively minimal.
Democrats may claim some sense of momentum with democrats winning in New York City and Virginia but much of this will do very little to change the 2014 midterm elections or more importantly 2016 Presidential elections.
Chris Christie’s win will ensure he is still the insiders front runner for the Republican Presidential nominee but exit polling is giving a mixed message with voters saying they would prefer Hillary Clinton in a Presidential matchup.
A major takeaway is the significant mayoral races in New York City and Detroit. Both cities have chosen dynamic candidates that have bold visions to remake their cities. Their actions will be interesting models on revived liberalism in spending (NYC) and fiscal turnaround for bankrupt cities (Detroit).
Virginia: Democrat Terry McAuliffe has narrowly defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli and will be the next governor of the swing state of Virginia.
Cucinelli is a favorite of the conservative Tea Party and the race has been watched closely for its national implications.
While the outcome will obviously have pundits declaring this a positive sign for Democrats hoping to continue their hold on the White House in 2016, the strong performance by Cucinelli will have Tea Party supporters claiming this near victory shows national support for their vision.
It’s rare, but losing by 1 percent could transform Cucinelli into a national power through the Tea Party.
Cucinelli’s future will now largely rest on how the media spins his loss, if its tactical people will look to understand what he did wrong and possibly blame him, if its “ideological” it will do nothing to dissuade passionate Tea Party republicans who don’t seem swayed by practicality arguments.
New Jersey: Republican Governor Chris Christie has won a landslide re-election, a victory that cements his status as the perceived Republican front runner for the 2016 Presidential nomination.
Considering a large percentage of voters couldn’t even name Christie’s democratic opponent the outcome was “as expected.”
While New Jersey is technically considered a swing state in national elections this outcome does not guarantee the state will vote Republican in 2016.
New Jersey has a history of electing Republican Governors and yet they almost always send Democrats to the Senate and more often than not in modern elections vote Democratic for President.
The off national election year nature of their Governors election helps voters “ticket split” for state offices.
That said, if Christie were the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016 his presence would likely guarantee the state goes for him. (Traditionally Presidential nominees win their home states-unless you’re Al Gore)
That will definitely have Christie doubters shouting down his candidacy.
Overall it’s still unclear how Christie would fair in a more contested national election but for the moment this race builds momentum for his expected Presidential run.
New York City: Democrat Bill de Blasio will be the next Mayor of New York City. His election marks the first time a democrat has been mayor in two decades.
De Blasio’s campaign promises were for substantial new spending and for his supporters a “return to democratic values.”
His opponent said de Blasio will lead the city into financial mismanagement and his liberal critiques of police activities like “stop and frisk” would lead to higher crime.
The reality is probably somewhere in the middle.
New York City’s crime rate fell long before “Stop and Frisk” became standard procedure. This should mean getting rid of the controversial program still allows the city to be safe.
After three terms of financially conservative Michael Bloomberg a spending oriented mayor will be a change for the cities finances.
Further, Bloomberg has managed to soften the blow of many of his fiscal cuts by funding cut programs through his own personal wealth and foundations.
It’s unclear how much longer Bloomberg will fund these programs and with de Blasio lacking a massive personal fortune to funnel into the city it is unclear where he will get the money he is promising to spend.
If de Blasio’s liberal rhetoric is for real he will be a fascinating national figure to watch cut against the austere trend of the past few years in American politics.
Duggan would be the first white mayor of the historically black city in decades.
The next mayor of the financially bankrupt city will have limited powers as most of the control still rests with a state appointed emergency manager.
Duggan’s background turning around both the Detroit Medical Center and the SMART suburban bus system raises hopes that he has the skills to turn around the largely defunct city.
Notably, Duggan overcame a last minute hurdle to his candidacy by winning the primary through a write-in campaign.
With race apparently playing a limited role in voters’ minds, Duggan could be the small glimmer of hope that Detroit needs.
Other significant results to watch:
Colorado is voting on a measure that would impose a 25 percent tax on the now legalized consumption of marijuana.
This outcome has still not come in but its implications are widespread.
Proponents of drug legalization have used the argument that a legal drug market could provide substantial tax revenues.
Opponents of the incredibly high tax in Colorado say it will push Marijuana consumption back underground and thus repeat the problems of drug prohibition they were trying to stop through legalization.