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Wednesday, November 09, 2005 

Elections and Votes Show Dems Sweep Around Nation (Political Winds Shifting?)

(AP) NEW JERSEY: Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine easily beat Republican businessman Doug Forrester after a sharply negative campaign to succeed acting Democratic Gov. Richard J. Codey. The multimillionaires spent $70 million, more than double the previous record for a New Jersey governor's race.

VIRGINIA: Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine soundly defeated Republican Jerry Kilgore, a former attorney general, in a closely watched contest to succeed popular Democratic Gov. Mark Warner.

NEW YORK: Billionaire Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg routed former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer in a heavily Democratic city and was on pace to surpass his 2001 spending record of $74 million.

CALIFORNIA: All four of Schwarzenegger's ballot measures flopped: capping spending, removing legislators' redistricting powers, making teachers work five years instead of two to pass probation, and restricting political spending by public employee unions.

TEXAS: Voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

MAINE: Voted to preserve the state's new gay-rights law.

SAN FRANCISCO: Voters approved ballot measures to ban handguns and urge the city's public high schools and college campuses to keep out military recruiters.

The Spin:
"I believe national Republican politics ... really had an effect in Virginia and California," said Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean. Voters "don't like the abuse of power, they don't like the culture of corruption. They want the nation to go in a different way."

Republicans warned against reading too much into two governorships […] "It's not some type of trend," said GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, noting that both seats were won by Democrats in 2001 when Bush's popularity was high. Still, he acknowledged the defeats - and said they could help rally the GOP base next year. "I don't think anybody will be complacent now."

The Truth (As I see it):
President Bush’s approval ratings, the fall of Iraq war support, criticism over Hurrican Katrina, and most recently Libby’s indictment have taken a toll on Republican’s public image. But have Democrats peaked too early? Have they rode the “Bash Bush” gravy train to the top of the hill BEFORE the majority of elections start?

With the defeat of Schwarzenegger’s initiatives, and the victories by Democrats in Governorships and Mayoral races, people may start expecting them to “put up, or shut up.”

How long will the Democratic party be able to lean on the attacks towards Republicans before voters will expect to hear something like new ideas?