As the election campaign kicks into gear, the conventional wisdom has Virginia turning into a shining example of Republican disharmony, strife, and “extremism,” while Chris Christie in New Jersey is the great moderate hope. Leaving aside the strained illogic behind the notion that the Virginia nominee who backed two tax hikes in less than five months is more conservative than the Jersey Governor who enacted no tax hikes in four years, the entire theme of Republican weakness might be swept aside by the third high-profile race: Mayor of New York City.
Conventional wisdom has taken a beating in the Big Apple. This was supposed to be the year of the Democrats’ restoration. None other than Mayor Bloomberg himself, three-time winner on the Republican ballot, was supposedly rooting for front-runner and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation: Quinn has been waylayed by Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, who has surged into the lead for the primary based on a hard-left campaign and a pledge to make a major departure from the Giuliani-Bloomberg years.
As it happens, though, the Republican nomination is also being contested, and the likely favorite is former Deputy Mayor Joe Lhota. Lhota is endorsed by his former boss (Giuliani). If Bloomberg joins him – something much more likely with Quinn out of the picture according to Michael Goodwin (NY Post) – the GOP just might be able to pull off its sixth straight term at Gracie Mansion, which would happen to be a record, by the way.
Can the Republican Party pull off the upset in New York? That the question is even being asked is a sign that it could happen, and if it does, then Virginia becomes the exception, rather than the rule.