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The Year Ahead Politically

Yours truly predicted on the night before election day that the GOP would pick up 4-5 Senate seats. I’m now back with more political predictions for the year ahead.

There are three major prizes up for grabs this year - Governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, as well as the Mayorship of New York City. Of course we have been cheated out of our win in Washington State, but please do not let that loss get you down. There is good news in a new poll.

“The GOP polling firm Strategic Vision, LLC found that 54 percent of voters “do not believe” that the final hand recount that certified Gregoire as the victor “reflects the actual election results,” reports Friday’s Washington Times. Only 37 percent believed the recount was accurate, and that Gregoire truly defeated her GOP opponent, Dino Rossi. Nine percent were undecided. Fifty-three percent of Washington voters say the results in heavily Democratic King County, where hundreds of votes mysteriously appeared on the eve of a final recount, were not legitimate. “

Now if we can just convince Dino Rossi that he should run for the Senate, Maria Cantwell will be retired in 2006 and sent home to enjoy her fortune. Oh wait…

Back to the big three:

Virginia: Attorney General Kilgore will pick up this one for the Republican Party, humiliating current Governor Mark Warner and returning the Old Dominion to the solid GOP fold. It won’t be close. Kilgore is from Southwestern Virginia, and Kaine, the Democratic nominee, is the former Mayor of Richmond. As John Behan explains, this geographical divide is going to result in a disaster for Democrats.

New Jersey: No one knows if Acting Governor, Richard Codey will decide to take on Senator Jon Corzine in the Democratic primary. If Codey announces his candidacy, then we can expect other Democrats, including Congressman Robert Andrews to also run. Corzine, given his financial resources, might have the advantage. However Codey is from Essex County, and Andrews is from South Jersey. Between them they would put Corzine in a bind, forcing him to rely on Hudson County for his victory.

Such a situation would be tailor-made for the Republican Party, if it could ever get its act together. The GOP field is dominated by two men who have already lost statewide bids. The first is former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, who, don’t get me wrong, is brilliant. However he has no self-control and says whatever is on his mind. That’s the wrong candidate in a state that is covered by the Philly and NYC media markets. The other candidate is Doug Forrester who has deep pockets but did not impress many people with his incompetent handling of the 2002 Torricelli/Lautenberg switch.

Everything here depends on what happens in the Democratic primary. If Corzine can avoid a primary fight, he will be the heavy favorite in November. If he must fight for the nomination, then the Republicans will have a chance.

New York City: I’m actually feeling rather bullish about this one. I know that most of our readers are not fans of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I’m certainly not a fan of his. However he is the right kind of Republican for the city. I expect the Democrats to form a circular firing squad and then to select the liberal (read: weakest) nominee. That should give Bloomberg an opening to hold this crucial position for the Republican Party.

And no, I do not want former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to run. His best bet is to seek the Governorship in 2006, crush Eliot Spitzer, and remove the Pataki team that has decimated the once-proud New York Republican Party. If Giuliani is going to run for President in 2008, the path goes through Albany.

So 2005 may be a very good year for us politically, boosting our chances in the 2006 elections that will decide the fate of both political parties in America for a generation.

-- Alexander K. McClure