Even before all the votes were cast on Tuesday, media magnate Matt Drudge asked his Twitter followers to “hug a conservative today.”
Hours later, former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe barely squeaked out a win over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor’s race.
Bill de Blasio won his race to become the first Democratic mayor of New York City in decades.
And Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — decried as a moderate by some conservatives — walloped his Democratic opponent, unofficially kicking off his campaign as the GOP establishment favorite for president in 2016.
Drudge’s take: “McAuliffe, De Blasio and Christie: Triple feature in a Republican’s nightmare.”
Christie — who has angered conservatives ever since he profusely praised President Obama after Hurricane Sandy in the days before the 2012 election — explained his recipe for success on Tuesday.
“I think that the party’s got to focus on winning again,” Christie told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “You know, sometimes I feel like our party cares more about winning the argument than they care about winning elections. And if you don’t win elections, you can’t govern. And if you can’t govern, you can’t change the direction of a state, like we’ve done in New Jersey.”
His victory over state Sen. Barbara Buono in the race was immediately called at 8 p.m. eastern, when the polls closed.
Expect allies of Christie to use these election numbers to argue that it will take a Republican like him — who can win blue states — to run for president in 2016. Until Tuesday night, no Republican candidate had earned more than 50 percent of the vote in 28 years.
Meanwhile, in the Virginia gubernatorial race, McAuliffe — a scandal-ridden candidate whose deep and chronic corruption was on display throughout the campaign — rode to victory after raising $34 million to Cuccinelli’s $20 million.
For months, McAuliffe flooded the airwaves with ads attacking Cuccinelli on abortion and birth control in an attempt to win women voters.
Earlier Tuesday, while visiting one precinct, Cuccinelli was talking about Obamacare, the unpopular health care law he has used to attack McAuliffe in recent days.
“I know tens of thousands of Virginians have been getting those cancellation notices,” Cuccinelli said, referring to Obamacare. “And then they get notes saying, ‘Oh, but you can sign up for a new insurance policy, and it’s 50 percent more expensive.’”
“Over the course of the next year, as several million people get those notices in Virginia, which we now know about, it’s going to be an earthquake,” he added.