N.J.’s Christie easily re-elected governor
Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie cruised to re-election last night – and pushed for a large margin of victory – amid talk of a 2016 presidential run.
Christie scored a resounding victory intended to send a message to the GOP that a Republican with an inclusive pitch could win in Democratic territory.
In that sense, his win had implications for the 2016 presidential race.
His victory showed his ability to draw support from Democrats, independents and minorities. Much like George W. Bush did in his re-election race as governor in Texas in 1998, Christie now may have fodder to argue that he is the most electable in what might well be a crowded presidential primary field.
Terry McAuliffe, a businessman and former head of the Democratic National Committee, captured the Virginia governor’s seat last night, defeating Republican Ken Cuccinelli II, the state attorney general whose conservative crusades made him an icon of the Tea Party movement.
With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, McAuliffe led Cuccinelli by more than 30,000 votes, or less than 2 percent.
Despite his defeat, Cuccinelli called the election a referendum on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, saying that the campaign was close even though McAuliffe had a massive fundraising advantage.
Democratic NYC mayor
Bill de Blasio was elected New York City’s first Democratic mayor in two decades yesterday, running on an unabashedly liberal, tax-the-rich platform that contrasted sharply with billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s record during 12 years in office.
With 10 percent of precincts reporting, De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, had 71 percent of the vote compared with 26 percent for Republican Joe Lhota, former chief of the metropolitan area’s transit agency.
De Blasio’s campaign tweeted out a simple message soon after polls closed: “Thank you, New York City.”
De Blasio, 52, will take office Jan. 1 as the 109th mayor of the nation’s largest city. He had been heavily favored, holding an overwhelming lead in the polls for weeks.
Boston mayor and a casino
At press time, an aide said John Connolly was conceding to fellow Democrat Martin Walsh in a hard-fought race to succeed longtime Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
Turnout was brisk yesterday as voters cast ballots in an election that for the first time in two decades didn’t include Menino’s name in the top spot.
The 46-year-old Walsh relied on support from labor organizations to help his get-out-the-vote drive. He was a union official before being elected to the Massachusetts House in 1997 and has remained active in union affairs as a lawmaker.
Connolly made education his core issue and was hoping an “army of moms” that appeared with him at campaign events would help propel him to the mayorship. The 40-year-old father of three was the only candidate to enter the race before Menino announced he wouldn’t run again.
Also in Massachusetts, casino supporters were dealt twin setbacks with voters in East Boston rejecting proposals by the Suffolk Downs race track and voters in Palmer narrowly defeating a bid by Mohegan Sun to build a resort casino in the western Massachusetts town.
Voters in Revere approved the casino, but favorable votes were needed in both East Boston and Revere before the track could formally apply to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for a license.
Maine pot and tar sands oil
Supporters of a measure to legalize recreational pot possession in Maine’s largest city were claiming victory last night.
The referendum in Portland makes it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to 2½ ounces of pot in the city. Buying or selling marijuana, or using it in public places, would remain illegal.
It was leading 70 percent to 30 percent with partial results from eight of 12 precincts by press time.
The vote came a year after Washington and Colorado voters passed statewide referendums legalizing possession of up to an ounce of pot by adults 21 and over.
In South Portland, residents voted down an initiative aimed at blocking the flow of tar sands oil to the city.
The referendum, which voters defeated by a margin of 4,453 to 4,261 votes, would have banned the expansion and enlargement of any existing petroleum storage tanks or distribution facilities in some districts along South Portland’s waterfront.
Supporters were concerned that a pipeline that sends crude oil north from South Portland could be reversed to bring tar sands oil from Canada.
Opponents said the broadly written ordinance would have prevented petroleum-related and other waterfront businesses from completing such tasks as regular maintenance and upgrades.