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W&L Politics Professor Evaluates Gubernatorial Election Results (Audio)

As he examined results from Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, Mark Rush, the Waxburg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University, concluded that both represented a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, “or at least very little.”

In the audio clip above, Rush discusses the elections and what the results mean for the future of the Republican and Democratic parties nationally.

“Virginia and New Jersey were two completely independent events that the pundits will do their best to connect,” said Rush. “If it’s not comparing apples and oranges, maybe it’s comparing apples and cantaloupes.”

The margin of Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s loss in Virginia, which was smaller than the polls had predicted, may lead some to make erroneous conclusions, Rush said.

“Pundits are going to say that it shows the Tea Party wasn’t beaten down to a quick death,” Rush said. “But if you look at the state, while we tend to be regarded in Virginia as conservative, we’re not really. Both of our U.S. senators are Democrats, we know have a Democratic governor, and it’s true that the state legislature is largely Republican. We’re kind of divided. It isn’t clear what Virginia’s political psyche is.”

In terms of signals that the two gubernatorial results send to the 2016 presidential campaign, Rush said that one thing it does show is that the civil war within the Republican party is not over.

“Nationally, the different regional parts of the party are so diverse and so disparate that it’s going to be very difficult, absent some Ronald Reagan figure, to pull the party back together,” he said.

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