Cuccinelli came much closer than the polls predicted, losing by only about 60,000 votes to an opponent, Terry McAuliffe, who was considered weak for good reasons. What does it mean? No one really knows but the early analysis will have Republicans jamming the New Jersey Turnpike to pay homage to Christie as establishment Republicans implore him to run for president. Tea Partyers will point to Cuccinell doing well among moderate Republicans (then again, given the choice in Virginia, which I’m told Jon Stewart described as choosing between cancer and a heart attack, not sure what that really means). If I still voted in Virginia, I’m not sure how I would have voted. McAuliffe has never been elected to anything except chairman of the Democratic National Committee and is untested in the ways of government. Cuccinelli holds beliefs that are counter to many of mine. If I flipped a coin, it likely would have landed on its edge.
Does Tuesday mean Republicans will trend back to more moderate candidates? I don’t think so. The Tea Party isn’t done yet. And while the Big Tent of the party is big enough to include Tea Partyers, Tea Party Tent does not seem big enough
to include moderates. Tuesday was one battle in a longer struggle for control of the GOP.
There still is the health care debate in trying to decide if Obamacare will work or not. There still is the budget to work out in the next weeks. So Tuesday is a marker in the road, but doesn’t mark the final destination yet for 2016.