As mentioned in the previous post, there was a shocking result Tuesday night in Alexandria: A Republican, Frank Fannon IV, and a GOP-endorsed independent, Alicia Hughes (a former Miss Black USA), won seats on the city council by defeating Democrat incumbents (see Washington Post). Hughes, a federal government patent attorney, could not run as a partisan because of the Hatch Act. It was the first Republican election victory to the Alexandria City Council since 2000 (Alexandria Times, here). That's right — Democrats had whitewashed Republicans ever since. If this was Little League, they would have invoked the "mercy rule" long ago.
Of course, many, including GOP establishment types, are tripping all over themselves to talk about a nascent Republican ripple in Northern Virginia, after this and a Fairfax special election win in March, as well as two nail-bitingly close special election losses early this year. Meanwhile, Fox News and Weekly Standard pundit Mary Katherine Ham had her own, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, take (here).
But what caught our eye is not what the Republicans have learned since November or what new campaign techniques they're using to counter the much advanced Democrats, as fascinating as that is (see Alexandria Gazette here), it's what Democrat gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran must learn before the June primary.
"There are also some interesting signals about the upcoming gubernatorial primary and general election. Ginsberg worked a polling place yesterday, and said he saw a supporter of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe handing out literature — but not one for the candidate with the local roots, Moran. 'I don't know to what extent the Moran people were working the polls for this election, but this result, coupled with the race for his state House seat, should be reason for some concern on his part.'"
The seeming paradox here is that as Moran as moved further and further to the left (see here), perhaps the most liberal locality in the Commonwealth is edging —granted, at an Eastern Box Turtle's pace — to the middle. Beside last night, his Democrat successor retained his House seat by a mere 16 votes in a January special election. So, if his liberal message isn't resonating there, where will it? Furthermore, whether he wins the Democrat nomination or not, will his campaign have pulled the Dems too far left, even for certain portions of blue Virginia? It all remains to be seen, of course, but the interim trends are fascinating.