The GOP went into this past week’s local and state elections with a little bit of concern, but they came out feeling pretty good about themselves.
In Kentucky, the GOP was not happy to have Matt Bevin as their candidate, and the media seemed to assume that the Democrats would hold on to the Governor’s mansion because Bevin was a Tea Party guy. Wrong. Bevin proved that even with the GOP establishment and the media against him, and even though he had far fewer dollars to spend, the people of Kentucky were tired of Democrat leadership.
Bevin, who had been trailing by about 5 points in much of the latest polling, ended up defeating his Democrat opponent, Jack Conway, by 9 full points – 52.5% to 43.8%! This is what we’d call a BIG win. Bevin is a very conservative and very outspoken candidate, who, much like Ted Cruz (R-TX) and (fellow Bluegrass State politician) Rand Paul (R-KY), has had trouble playing nice with the GOP establishment.
BREAKING: Matt Bevin elected governor of Kentucky, only the 2nd Republican governor in 4 decades.
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 4, 2015
Kentucky had other big news for the nation as well. Lower on the ticket, Democrat Adam Edelen was running for state Auditor, which doesn’t seem like a glamorous job but this was simply supposed to be a trial run for Edelen. The real goal was for Edelen to run in preparation for another run, next year, at unseating Senator Rand Paul! However, the Democrats’ best and brightest hope lost his race for Auditor, seemingly leaving the Democrats without any real contenders to take on Paul in 2016.
Wow, Edelin loses in KY-Auditor race. That was the prime challenger for Rand Paul next year.
— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 4, 2015
In Virginia the Republican received more good news when they were able to hold on to the state Senate majority. In fact, the Senate composition is exactly the same, with 21 Republicans and 19 Democrats. This was unexpected, as Democrats and the media expected the Democrats to win back control of the Senate in this election. Sadly for Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe, it seems as if his hopes for Democrat help in the legislature have been dashed by Virginia’s voters.
Republicans held onto the Virginia Senate in fiercely contested elections Tuesday, leaving Gov. Terry McAuliffe without legislative leverage or political momentum as he works to deliver Virginia for his friend and ally Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.
The outcome was a blunt rebuke to McAuliffe (D), who had barnstormed the state with 24 events over the past four days and who portrayed the elections as a make-or-break moment for his progressive agenda…
“Today, Virginians voted for a fiscally responsible and conservative majority,” Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment (R-James City) said Tuesday. “Our victory is all the more impressive in that it was achieved despite the record-breaking millions of dollars spent by Governor McAuliffe, his allies and out-of-state PACs. This election was decided by Virginians.”
These election results might not seem like a big deal, but it really is.
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) November 4, 2015
Republicans just pulled off major upsets in races that Democrats believed they had in hand. Conservatives were able to pull off victories in races where they were underdogs, heavily outspent, out-marketed and outgunned. If the races in Kentucky and Virginia are precursors of what is coming in 2016, then we conservatives have much reason for hope.
So let’s be hopeful, but let us also continue to work as hard as we can to ensure victory in 2016. Our children deserve our efforts and our nation needs us to win.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.