Every wave election has a result that, no matter how big the tsunami, catches everyone off guard. Many are saying today will bring one of those tidal waves. Predictions range from a GOP House pickup of anywhere from 60-80 seats. If so, where will the shocker come from? In Virginia, the spotlight has been on the 2nd, 5th, 9th and 11th Congressional districts. But there is some late buzz on a possible upset in the reliably deep blue Alexandria-based 8th district. There, long-time extreme left wing Democrat Jim "We'll Take Everything You Have" Moran, who has a history of fighting with colleagues and constituents alike, taking questionable loans and bashing Israel, is facing Republican Patrick Murray, a retired Army Colonel and aide to former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
The race, closer than most expected, was thrust into the spotlight recently when Moran blurted out another one of his infamous insults. This time the professional politician accused conservative candidates of being nothing more than "strawmen" with no real public service to their country, including his opponent (see Government Executive), in the process insulting every soldier, sailor, Marine, airman and guardsman. Outragously, the man who's drawn a lifetime of checks as an elected official, accused Murray of being on the public dole — for his military service (see Murray's response on Fox News Channel). Immediately, Murray's campaign was flooded with ex-military volunteers.
Further boosting Murray was an impressive debate performance (see YouTube) and a Murray internal poll remarkably had Moran with only a 2.5 point lead. Match that with record turnouts in the 8th and 11th districts (also boosting Keith Fimian) June primaries, where only recently Northern Virginia Republicans caucused in drugstore photo booths, and some special election wins last year, and anything can happen.
In a wave election — and this has all the makings of one — you tend to get a stunning upset or two, with a race no one thought was close, perhaps one no one even bothered to poll. I fully expect the pundits to be scratching their heads at the results in a couple of districts — and why shouldn't they be right here in Virginia?
Why shouldn't it be, say, Chuck Smith in the third district, or Patrick Murray in the eighth?
Finally, here's some up-to-the-hour on-the-ground eyewitness testimony as recorded on Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner at National Review Online.
Kathryn, I voted for Patrick Murray this morning, and I’m feeling bullish about his prospects based on what I saw at the polls. The lines were longer than ‘08 (though I went a bit earlier this year, at 10:00 AM). I heard a couple going over the sample ballot and agreeing to vote “no” on all the bond issues — Arlington hasn’t been denied a bond in 31 years. I heard an elderly woman say very sharply to the Moran volunteer’s offer of literature, “No THANK you!”, and then I heard a man tell the poll worker that he hasn’t voted in forty years because he thinks they’re all bums. And last, on my way out, I heard that same Moran volunteer call after another woman, “Well at least we can agree that it’s cold out!” But the sweetest moment of all was when I sat down to write this: a good friend of mine from Alexandria called to tell me that for the first time in his life, he voted for a Republican. He hadn’t even told his wife yet .... Happy election day
The final straw? Rep. Moran's insult, saying military service wasn't public service, and calling conservative candidates strawmen, may spell his doom in a wave election. It may be what we're talking about tomorrow.