(Washington & Lee Students) Today two important gubernatorial races are climaxing, New Jersey and Virginia. Since our small liberal arts college is in Virginia we have been very much in the heat before the election. Houses around our town have had signs up for different candidates for months but specifically in the past two weeks our town has caught “election fever.”
When looking at the specifics of the election, we can see the two candidates. The first, Creigh Deeds, state senator and Democratic candidate, and his opponent Bob McDonnel, former Virginia attorney general and Republican candidate. While the spot for the Democratic nominee was a tight race, Bob McDonnel was the only candidate to file with the election board for the Republican party. These two candidates have had history running against each other as well which makes it an even more contested race. They both ran for attorney general in 2005 with Bob McDonnel coming out on top.
More importantly, while this election is important for the state of Virginia, it seems that it is even more important for the political climate of our nation as a whole. The Republican party has smartly used both of these elections to push and question the steps that President Obama is taking on healthcare, the economy, jobs and politics. This race has been a tool used in order to test the waters for the Republicans ability to gain control in the future. As one of my professors said in class, this election is a “referendum” for people to express their disappointments with Obama’s ability to make at any of the improvements that he stated he would and it puts pressure on the Democrats to reevaluate who they should vote for.
When looking at this race even more broadly, this race can demonstrate exactly how popular or unpopular Obama has been with the people of Virginia. Bob McDonnel has the edge right now in the polls by at least 13 points. If Bob McDonnel wins, it allows the Republicans to get back into state government control, as well as illustrate the people’s dissatisfaction with Obama’s policy.
While McDonnel has been a strong candidate the entire race, the race in New Jersey has been heating up as well. While the incumbent Democratic governor was expected to win, recently the race has tightened demonstrating just how split the American people are after a few months with Obama in the presidency. I personally believe that many of the voters now feel a little bit disalusioned by Obama’s claims and goals and now realize that they might either need equal representation in government or even new leadership to make changes actually happen in government.