Historic Elections: But Why?Nov. 03, 2010
The results of yesterday's elections are historic in many obvious ways. Unlike 1994, Virginians participated in making that history by turning over three liberal incumbent members of the House of Representatives (see Washington Post), including a 28-year veteran previoulsy thought unbeatable, someone who hadn't had a competitive race in years. So we congratulate three friends of The Family Foundation who won their races yesterday and are on their way to Congress:
» Congressman-elect Morgan Griffith (Newsweek's The Gaggle blog), a 100 percent TFF voter as a member of the House of Delegates;
» Congressman-elect Robert Hurt (Danville Register & Bee), a 91 percent TFF voter as a member of the Virginia Senate; and
» Congressman-elect Scott Rigell (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), a donor to our organization.
In the 11th district, liberal incumbent Gerry Connolly has a narrow lead over conservative challenger Keith Fimian, a vote likely to be recounted (Wall Street Journal Washington Wire blog). Pending that outcome, eight of Virginia's 11 Representatives are Republican. We were pleased to participate in the voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts in these districts. Some of you may have received our GOTV phone calls over the weekend.
In some ways, though, the elections went beyond politics. While the national and state media focus on Congressional outcomes, something happened a bit below the surface that is even more historic — and perhaps longer term.
For example, at least 19 state legislative bodies, including those in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio flipped partisan control to Republicans (John Hood at National Review's The Corner blog and Ryan Beckwith at CQ Politics' The Eye blog). In fact, the North Carolina Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1870. The Alabama legislature is Republican for the first time since 1876.
I don't tell you that to trumpet Republicans, but because our sister family policy council organizations inform us that many of those elected yesterday support pro-family policies. These organizations ran campaigns similar to our Winning Matters 2009 program and saw pro-life, pro-family candidates win across the board. More important than simply electing people of one particular party, citizens in these states elected pro-family conservatives.
Possibly more telling, voters in Iowa defeated three Supreme Court judges instrumental in imposing homosexual marriage on that state against the will of the people via judicial fiat (New York Times). It is the first time since judges have been on the ballot in Iowa (1962) that they have been defeated on Election Day. Once again, when the issue of marriage is put to the people, traditional marriage wins.
Now, the question is, will the message sent by the voters yesterday carry over into next year's crucial Virginia Senate elections? Will party leaders get the message that motivates voters and give us candidates that are unapologetically pro-life and pro-family? Will Virginia follow the lead of other states that brought wholesale change to their legislatures? Will party leaders endorse incumbents for the sake of "party unity" or listen to the voters? Time will tell if they truly got the message.
Update: Winning Matters In The 37th Senate District Special ElectionJan. 04, 2010
During the recent statewide campaign, we and our sister organization, TFF Action, ran an unprecedented — and massively successful — voter education campaign, Winning Matters. Although we anticipated a wind down after the election in November, Winning Matters remains in high gear for the crucial special election for the 37th district Virginia Senate seat (in Fairfax, January 12) vacated by Republican Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Winning Matters retained a staff of three (two field reps in Fairfax and a project manager) which has produced, and is distributing, thousands of paper and online voter guides in English, Spanish and Korean to churches, civic groups and area businesses. It also is providing absentee ballot applications for people not be able to vote in person on the 12th. Winning Matters also is working with churches to announce the election and/or put it in their bulletins as a reminder to their members to go out and vote.
If you are interested in helping Winning Matters with this crucial special election, between Republican Stephen Hunt and Democrat Dave Marsden, especially within your church, please contact Roger Pogge at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the campaign is a short one, it has been hot for a while, probably because it is so crucial to the makeup of the Virginia Senate, which the Democrats currently control by one seat. Among the issues: Marsden now claims to be for lower taxes, despite his history of votes to raise them; the fact that he moved into a friend's house to be eligible to run for the seat; and, of course, it wouldn't be a campaign in Virginia if life and abortion weren't part of the (misleading) discussion. If Hunt wins for the GOP, it will remain within striking distance of winning crucial votes, with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling breaking ties. If Marsden pulls it out for the Dems, the left will have a little leeway with a second vote to spare. One seat might not sound like much, but whoever wins the election can change the dynamics of the entire Virginia Senate. Which is why winning matters.