After losing control of the Virginia Senate following two defeats in recent special elections, state Republicans got a major boost Tuesday with a victory for a House of Delegates seat, raising hopes for the 2014 elections.
The win by businessman Robert Bloxom Jr. in the special election for the state's 100th House District was especially impressive in that the conservative Republican won with 60 percent of the vote in a district that had previously been in Democratic hands.
Bloxom defeated liberal Democrat Willie Randall in the Norfolk-Eastern Shore district that President Barack Obama carried with 55 percent of the vote in 2012. Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, won by a margin of 48 percent to 46 percent in the district last fall.
Veteran political pundit John Fund told Newsmax he saw the shape of things to come in 2104 from the special election results.
"Special elections aren't the absolute best predictors of future behavior but they are much better than polls because they actually measure real voters who show up at the polls," Fund said.
"On that basis, it's very troubling for Democrats to go from a 10-point victory for Obama in Tidewater Virginia to only 40 percent in Tuesday's special state legislative action. It looks like Democrats aren't excited about going to the polls," said Fund, a Newsmax contributor and National Review columnist.
Bloxom, an unabashed conservative, campaigned hard as a foe of Obamacare and of implementing Medicaid expansion in Virginia. In sharp contrast, Randall, a former Northampton County supervisor, made it clear he supported Obamacare and the Medicaid expansion.
Cultural issues also played a role in the race. When a federal judge recently ruled against the state's ban on gay marriage, Bloxom hit hard.
"From a religious point of view, I am against gay marriage," Bloxom told Channel 10 in Norfolk. "I'm concerned with the possibility of churches being brought into lawsuits. I'm not a lawyer, but I see that as a possibility that we really need to be careful of when we venture into that area."
Randall told the same news channel he was "happy for the decision the judge made" and that if it ever came to the House of Delegates, "I would more than likely support the decision the judge made."
Former Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore told Newsmax: "It was obvious from the size of Robert Bloxom's win that his opposition to Medicaid expansion was a very important issue to voters in the district."
The seat became vacant when Democrat Lynwood Lewis moved to the state Senate after state Sen. Ralph Northam resigned to become lieutenant governor.
Recalling how Bloxom's father was the district's delegate before Lewis, Gilmore noted that "his father's good record in public service was obviously a big help." Interestingly, the elder Bloxom broke party ranks last year to support Democrat McAuliffe for governor over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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