An effective weapon for Republicans?
by $15 million.
“If we had had five more days, or 5 million more dollars, we would have won,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican strategist in Virginia who predicted that candidates in the next two national elections will study the results closely. “Obamacare is toxic. Democratic senators up in either 2014 or 2016 are probably terrified at what happened in Virginia.”
Former Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican, agreed that Mr. Cuccinelli’s late focus on Obamacare tightened the race.
“It certainly helped at the end to narrow the margin,” Mr. Davis said. “The rollout of Obamacare certainly brought people back to Cuccinelli.”
Democrats, however, gleefully predicted that an Obamacare focus would backfire by worsening the Republican rift with the tea party movement.
“Ken Cuccinelli made this race in Virginia a referendum on Obamacare,” said Mo Elleithee, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. “Democrats made it a referendum on the tea party’s extremism and the government shutdown. We won.”
As the focus shifted from the off-year governors’ races in Virginia and New Jersey to the battle for control of Congress in 2014, President Obama flew to Dallas late Wednesday to attend two big-ticket fundraisers for Democratic Senate candidates. His special guest on Air Force One was Sen. Michael F. Bennet of Colorado, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Republicans need to pick up a net of six seats next year to retake control of the Senate. In the House, Democrats would need to gain 17 seats to achieve Mr. Obama’s goal of putting California’s Nancy Pelosi back in the speaker’s chair.
Democrats on Wednesday pointed to another House Republican’s retirement, that of two-term Rep. Jon Runyan of New Jersey, as evidence that the GOP is in disarray. Mr. Runyan said he wanted to spend more time with his children, but he also expressed unhappiness with conservatives’ delay of aid to his district after Superstorm Sandy and with Republicans’ support of the partial federal government shutdown last month.
He is the 14th House Republican to decide against a re-election bid next year. No House Democrat has announced a