With an epic wind at Republican’s backs and more than $100 million poured into the governors’ races, Steve Benen and Dave Weigel explain why Tuesday night’s results produced “underwhelming gains” for the Republican Governors Association – an outcome Haley Barbour himself called disappointing.
RGA’S UNDERWHELMING GAINS….
In U.S. House races, Republicans not only reclaimed the House majority, but they exceeded most expectations with a net gain of 60 (and counting). Senate wins weren’t quite as impressive — the GOP gained six seats, which was below expectations, not especially historic, and far short of what was needed for a majority.
But what about the governors’ races? Going into Tuesday, this was supposed to be a breakout year for Republican gubernatorial candidates — the RGA had effectively replaced the RNC as a fundraising powerhouse, and chairman Haley Barbour of Mississippi intended to dazzle the political world with huge wins. Larry Sabato projected net gains as many as nine.
Like the Senate contests, the party seems to have under-performed in the gubernatorial races, too. Dave Weigel notes that the victory in Florida was “huge” — I still can’t wrap my head around the notion of electing a criminal to run a large state — but the rest of the cycle proved underwhelming for the Republican Governors Association.
Haley Barbour’s Okay Night
As Haley Barbour basks in the glow of the Republicans’ best round of gubernatorial elections in 16 years, is it fair to point out that his Republican Governors Association’s wins were actually on the low end of expectations? Yes, the RGA won 9 governor’s mansions, and that’s huge. Florida, in particular, was an important, tricky won. But look at the expectations at the start of the night…