An ef­fec­tive weapon for Repub­li­cans?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

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

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