November 7th, 2007
05:30 PM ET
15 years ago

A look back at Election '07 as a look ahead to Election '08

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Election 2007 is in the record books. But did the election that was overshadowed by the early start to next year’s presidential contest tell us anything about the 2008 contests?

The answer is yes and no.

It was a split decision when it comes to the two gubernatorial contests decided Tuesday. Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher was voted out of office. He acknowledged his defeat, saying “the voters have made up their minds and I accept their decision.”

The incumbent Republican was ousted by Democrat and former Lt. Governor Steve Beshear. Fletcher was dogged by an investigation into political interference in state hirings that led to his indictment. The charges were dropped after Fletcher admitted to wrongdoing in his administration, but the damage was done and Fletcher was damaged goods.

It was a different story for another Republican Governor - Mississippi's Haley Barbour. He easily won a second term - thanks in part to praise of his handling of recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Barbour beat Democrat John Arthur Eaves Jr. by nearly 20 percentage points. Eaves, an attorney, ran as a conservative evangelical Democrat.

While both races were interesting, neither should have any national impact. “The Kentucky and Mississippi contests were so state specific that I don’t think that there were any national lessons,” says non-partisan Political Analyst Stuart Rothenberg, who’s editor-in-chief of the Rothenberg Political Report.

Virginia could be a different story. Democrats there made major gains, winning control of the state senate for the first time in twelve years. And while Republicans retained control of Virginia’s state house, Democrats won back a couple of seats.

If you couple yesterday’s results with victories by Virginia Democrats in the 2001 and 2005 gubernatorial elections and last year’s U.S. senate battle, where Democrat James Webb ousted incumbent Senator George Allen, it’s another sign that the once reliably red state is now up for grabs.

Democratic voters are pouring into suburban Northern Virginia, and Democratic candidates there made the elections a referendum on President Bush and Republicans in Washington.

"It's just not a good year for republicans…and we're seeing that all over the state,” said Republican Jean Marie Devolites Davis, who failed in her bid for a state senate seat.

Virginia will be in the spotlight next year - as democrats try to win the seat of retiring U.S. Senator and Republican John Warner. Democrats will also try to win the state in the presidential election, something they haven’t been able to do in over 40 years.

“Republicans now have to start worrying about Virginia. They can't take it for granted anymore,” says Rothenberg.

After the failure of immigration reform in Washington this summer, many of the Republican candidates in Virginia made battling illegal immigration one of their top issue. But the jury's still out on whether that strategy succeeded or backfired.

“I still think Republicans will continue to use illegal immigration as an issue in 2008,” adds Rothenberg.

Several big cities held mayoral contests. A bit of history was made in Baltimore, which elected a black woman mayor for the first time. Sheila Dixon was appointed to the job after Martin O’Malley left office after winning Maryland’s governorship. She was elected yesterday. And Michael Nutter won the mayoral election in Philadelphia.

Voters in Houston, Pittsburgh and San Francisco re-elected their mayors.

Related video: Watch Brian Todd's report about Tuesday's election results

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: Race to '08
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Terri Tacoma, Wa

    State issues often disconnect at National levels (Republican Gov in California, Republican Gov Romney of Mass, etc).

    This next election will be HEAVILY driven by Presidential Candidates and national politics.

    My humble prediction: Hillary gets democrat nomination – loses to republican (likely Guiliani). Congress stays in slight control by democrats.

    November 7, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    November 2008 can't come soon enough!

    Edwards in 2008!

    November 7, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. katy ,tx

    until our leaders face the fact you have to fix our immigration department before you can have any real reform on illigal immigration. talk to anyone who wants to immigrate to the US it takes forever , the republican party has demonized govenment jobs as big govenment but you can not expect people to try to come here legally when it takes 10 years just for the INS to look at your application. we also need people who will be able to contact those whos visa run out .. immigration is more then the cliche' "They're takin our jobs man" !!!

    November 7, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    If anyone doubted that US. news coverage is corrupt, misleading, and infiltrated by the Republicans, then witness the fact that the vote to refer the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney to teh House Judiciary Committee is not even mentioned as a small side-story by CNN!

    I am done with this outfit. It is not reliable or honest.

    November 7, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. John, New York, New York

    Wow! The Democrats are on a roll! They have moved Virginia from red, to purple, to blue in just 5 years!

    November 7, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  6. Ace, Grand Rapids, MI

    I think that Virginia is starting to wake up and notice the wack jobs that have taken over the GOP over the past few decades!

    November 7, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  7. anyoneagree Va.

    Wow! The Democrats are on a roll! They have moved Virginia from red, to purple, to blue in just 5 years!

    Fabulous News,If Hillary gets the nod will she pick Jim Webb as vp I like him; hes awesome and young, smart,and he really cares for Vetrans.and most of all the People who he represents.He needs that expierence to get him in in 2012.

    November 7, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. Rick Sloan, Louisville Ky

    The only reason it got so little mention is because it didn't go to debate. It was killed, by the Democrats. However, the Republicans wanted to drag it out. Why would they want impeach Cheney? You may ask... Well they didn't they just wanted to play politics with the debate.

    November 7, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  9. PJ, Lawrence, KS

    Who cares about the vice president's impeachment hearings? His term is scheduled to end in a few months. Besides, the Democrats have nothing to gain from this. It would make them look like they were playing political games. There is no reason to drive voters away by pulling a risky political stunt one year before the presidential election. They are in the driver's seat right now.

    November 8, 2007 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  10. John Miller, Springfield, MO

    Apparently "Anonymous" hasn't hasnt been paying attention. May I redirect you to..

    As you can see, this was posted just two days ago. I'm a faithful Democrat, AND a faithful CNN follower.

    I'm also confident enough in my post, I place my name to it, not just an "Anonymous" posting.

    November 8, 2007 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  11. Sherry in Kentucky

    I agree with Anonymous. Why was this not a major story? From what I understand, the Republicans decided to change their votes and didn't table it. . . they sent it up for further investigation instead. The switchboard was flooded with calls calling for impeachment from all over the country . . .

    November 8, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  12. Daniel E, Baltimore, MD

    Cheney has a 9% approval rating and many House Republicans voted to move forward with the bill to impeach him. And no one has covered this, not even PBS.

    Yes these elections are important and I am a Baltimorean who has high hopes for Ms. Dixon. But come on, isn't the impeachment of a warmonger a bigger story?

    November 8, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  13. Drew, MN

    I love the use of the term "infiltrated" though a small platoon of Republican ninjas snuck into CNN via the ventilation.

    What does it say about the supposed biases of CNN if a Republican has to "infiltrate" the network in order for their opinion to be heard?

    November 8, 2007 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  14. Anonymous


    1. CNN swings liberal.
    2. If the Democrats didn't want it to go to committee, then they shouldn't have put the bill on the floor.

    November 8, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. Matt, Everett WA

    The impeachment vote was a small story on CNN, you just missed it.

    November 8, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |