How sweet it is:
NEW YORK (AP) — Republicans have scored an upset victory in a House race that started as a contest to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner after he resigned in a sexting scandal but became a referendum on President Barack Obama’s economic policies.
Retired media executive and political novice Bob Turner defeated Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin on Tuesday in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Weiner, a seven-term Democrat who resigned in June.
With more than 80 percent of precincts reporting, Turner had 54 percent of the vote to Weprin’s 46 percent in unofficial results.
Weprin did not immediately concede.
The heavily Democratic district, which spans parts of Queens and Brooklyn, had never sent a Republican to the House. But frustration with the continued weak national economy gave Republicans the edge.
The race was supposed to be an easy win for Democrats, who have a 3-1 ratio registration advantage in the district.
Wow. Just … wow.
Even better news: There was a special election for Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District seat last night, and I’m happy to say it’s still red today – in fact, it was not even a close election. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
RENO — Fed-up Republican voters fueled Mark Amodei’s special election blowout victory Tuesday over Democrat Kate Marshall, keeping the 2nd Congressional District in GOP hands while shaking up President Barack Obama’s supporters.
“The voters of Nevada have sent a message. The message is, it is time to start a change,” Amodei told 200 supporters at the Eldorado Hotel.
Republicans spent heavily to ensure a big Amodei win — up to $1 million from the national party and GOP groups — as national Democrats all but abandoned state Treasurer Marshall in a district that has voted Republican since the House seat was created in 1982.
On the same night Amodei stomped Marshall by a whopping 22-point margin, 58 percent to 36 percent, Republicans won a special election shocker across the country in New York, taking what until recently was thought to be a safe Democratic House seat, too.
Democrats, The Politico reports, are rattled (hat tip):
HOWARD BEACH, N.Y. — The Democratic Party’s rare loss of a congressional seat in its urban heartland Tuesday, accompanied by a blowout defeat in a Nevada special election, marked the latest in a string of demoralizing setbacks that threatened to deepen the party’s crisis of confidence and raise concerns about President Barack Obama’s political fortunes.
In New York, Republican Bob Turner soundly defeated Democrat David Weprin in a House contest that – in the view of party leaders, at least — featured an anemic urban machine, distracted labor unions, and disloyal voters. In Nevada, a consequential state for the president’s re-election strategy, Democrats suffered a runaway loss rooted in a weak showing in Reno’s Washoe County, a key bellwether.
Even before the polls closed, the recriminations – something short of panic, and considerably more than mere grumbling – had begun. On a high-level campaign conference call Tuesday afternoon, Democratic donors and strategists commiserated over their disappointment in Obama. A source on the call described the mood as “awful.”
“People feel betrayed, disappointed, furious, disgusted, hopeless,” said the source.
Less expansive but equally telling were the remarks of House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, who in a conversation with reporters Tuesday morning said bluntly that Obama would take some blame for the two special election losses.
“I think every election reflects on the person in charge, but do I think it is an overall statement on the president alone? No,” said Hoyer. “Do I think it will be interpreted as being a statement on Obama? That’s probably correct.”
A senior Hill Democratic aide was more direct in attempting to explain the New York loss: “The approval ratings for the guy at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue cratered.”
A Turner consultant, Steve Goldberg, validated that assessment: “It was all Obama — not even a thought of anything else.”
For Democrats, it’s 2010 all over again, says polling guru Nate Silver – who notes that even though local issues likely played a significant role in the loss of NY-9, the national mood against our Celebrity President in Chief and his Congressional “leaders” was the final nail in the coffin:
Still, even if those issues played a role, even if they swung the result, the Democrat David Weprin would likely have performed better had the national environment been stronger for his party.
And when paired with the results in Nevada’s Second Congressional District, where the Democrat Kate Marshall was blown out on Tuesday, the special election scorecard is starting to look pretty ominous for Democrats.
One crude way to forecast the results you might expect to see out of a House race is through its Partisan Voting Index, or P.V.I., a measure of how the district voted relative to others in the past two presidential elections.
The Nevada Second, for instance, has a P.V.I. of Republican plus-5, meaning that the Republican candidate would be expected to perform 5 points better there than a Republican might nationally. Since a vote for the Republican is (usually) a vote against the Democrat, you need to double that number to project the margin of victory. In this case, that would imply a Republican win by 10 points given average candidates and a neutral overall political environment.
The Republican Mark Amodei, however, leads by 22 points as of this writing, an easy victory, meaning that he overperformed the P.V.I. by 12 points.
Meanwhile, Mr. Turner’s winning margin in the New York district, 8 percentage points as of this writing, represents a 18-point G.O.P. swing from the P.V.I.-projected results.
These numbers contrast with a May special election in New York’s upstate 26th Congressional District, a Republican-leaning seat where the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, won. Her 5-point victory margin represented a 17-point Democratic swing from what would be expected from the district under average circumstances.
Ms. Hochul’s victory should not be forgotten about, as it’s a sign of how volatile the results in individual elections can be, and how rapidly the political climate can shift. That election was held at a time when Mr. Obama’s standing was relatively strong in national polls, following the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed.
Even if you include it, however — as well as a July special election in California, where Democrats won but by an underwhelming margin — Republicans have overperformed the P.V.I. baseline by an average of 7 percentage points across the four races. That squares with what we saw in 2010, when Republicans won the popular vote for the House by an aggregate of 7 percentage points.
Let’s hope – not assume – that this is a sign of things to come, because anything can happen in the year+ before a national election. Celebrate today, but don’t forget that we still have a lot of work ahead of us with having to combat the huge political machine that is “Obama for America” and all their various allies, including the mainstream media, and bought and paid for union thugs and trial lawyers, etc.
As they say, it ain’t over until it’s over.