Democratic Party holds Virginia

Tim Kaine has convincingly won the election for Governor in the Commonwealth of Virginia last night, defeating his Republican opponent by nearly six percentage points. The result will undoubtedly give some cheer to Democrats, who retain both [link to New Jersey results] Governorships up for election in 2005. With nine precincts yet to report in Virginia, the results show [hat-tip to The Green Papers]:

TM Kaine 1,019,206 votes (51.71%)
JW Kilgore 907,039 votes (46.02%)
Others (including write-ins) 44,705 (2.27%)
Voter turnout 1,970,950 (44.27)
Precincts reporting 2417 out of 2426 (99.63% of votes confirmed)

Provisional figures suggest that a swing of about 0.5% to Democrats has occured, although late returns could affect this analysis.

I must admit that this is an impressive result, which should avoid the acrimony of the Washington State poll last year that I have written about ad nauseam here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Mark Warner, the outgoing Democratic holder of the Governorship in Virginia, was thought to be the perfect candidate for the Democrats in that state, with his relatively conservative outlook and running an administration considered to be among the best, if not the best in the United States. His successor has increased the Democrat lead, albeit with a slightly reduced share of the vote.

On the one hand, Mark Warner's position as challenger to Hillary Clinton is enhanced. Virginia along with the recapture of the two states (Iowa and New Mexico)lost by Senator John Kerry in last year's presidential election would be sufficient to win the presidential election for the Democrats. Governor Warner did campaign for his successor Tim Kaine, just as President George W. Bush campaigned (and very successfully fundraised) for Jerry Kilgore.

On the other hand, the more Tim Kaine is perceived to have won the election on his own merits, the less necessary Mark Warner becomes.

Watch out for Hillary Clinton fans talking up the merits of Tim Kaine!

My own view (given that I got this result wrong) is that Mark Warner's status as the conservative Democrat candidate is enhanced, at the expense of Phil Bredesen (Governor of Tennessee) among others.

All of a sudden though, we're looking at a clutch of effective Democratic Party Governors, and for the time being, I don't see the Republican candidate with the same background, unless Jeb Bush (Florida) makes a run, and one has to wonder if being the brother and the son of two presidents isn't too much of a good thing!

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