(CNN) – Top White House aide David Axelrod brushed off Democratic electoral losses in Virginia and New Jersey Wednesday, calling the congressional race in New York's 23rd district the "only national race of consequence."
Axelrod told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey were "impacted by state issues" and that they were not national races. He said the results of those races should not intimidate moderate Democrats, who he said should focus instead on the election in upstate New York, where a Democrat won the seat for the first time in over 100 years.
"That's the race that most members of Congress are going to look at with interest, and that's the race they should," Axelrod said. "Because the message was, if you embrace the president's agenda… then you will do well and you'll energize voters and you'll get the kind of turnout you need to win your race."
Many Republicans have called the race in NY-23 a unique situation - since the local GOP appointed the nominee instead of conducting a primary, which they say Hoffman would have won - Axelrod called the chaotic contest evidence of an intra-party split.
"What you saw there was I think the future, or the near-term future of the Republican Party, civil war in which the right wing ran the moderates out of the party," Axelrod said. "And they ran right to the Democratic candidate. And I think that has some harbingers for what's to come."
Tune into The Situation Room beginning at 4 pm ET for the rest of Wolf Blitzer's interview with Axelrod.