A further word about the much examined 2005 Virginia and New Jersey off-year elections. Democrats did well, no sense kidding about this. In Virginia, the Republican nominee, former Attorney General Jerry L. Kilgore, refused to take the no-tax pledge, would not clearly state his position on right-to-life and despite four requests would not fill out the questionnaire of Gun Owners of Virginia. He lost to Lieutenant Governor Timothy M. Kaine who said he was pro-life.
Lieutenant Governor-elect William T. Bolling was the most conservative State Senator. He took the no-tax pledge. He campaigned as a right-to-lifer. He was roundly endorsed by the gun folks. His opponent, former Congresswoman Leslie L. Byrne, was a down the line, no-exception liberal. So there was a clear contrast in that election. Bolling did not in any way modify or run from his conservative credentials. He was declared the winner early with a 30,000 vote margin.
The race for Attorney General pitted State Senator Robert F. McDonnell against his colleague, State Senator R. Creigh Deeds. Deeds was the more moderate of those Democrats. While McDonnell was okay on taxes and the right-to-life, he received an F from Gun Owners. The National Rifle Association (NRA) went so far as to endorse Deeds. As of 5:00 PM Monday, November 14, McDonnell was clinging to a 446-vote lead. A candidate may require a recount in Virginia in a race that close.
So the Republican candidate for Governor runs away from conservative issues and loses by a sizeable margin. The Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor sticks to his conservative principles and wins by only one percent less than Kaine won for Governor and the Republican candidate for Attorney General, bad on guns, may or may not end up as Attorney General. Doesn’t that suggest that rather than the Democratic Party triumph, touted in the media, we see a situation in which voters rewarded the one candidate who was a straight-up conservative while punishing those candidates who were partly or completely flakey on key issues? I think so.