Tuesday's Elections Show Cautious Move to the Left

Tuesday's elections brought in unsurprising results, with victories for Virginia's Terry McAuliffe, New York's Bill de Blasio, and New Jersey's Chris Christie. But the election also marked a blow to conservative Republicans and causes they champion, with some defeats for Tea Party-affiliated candidates and a victory for marriage equality in Illinois. Culture war issues that were assets even a few years ago now seem to be liabilities to Republican candidates, with voters preferring a moderate approach.

In the Virginia gubernatorial race, Democrat Terry McAuliffe eked out a narrow victory over conservative Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli's campaign had been mocked nationally after the candidate said he wanted ban oral and anal sex, make no-fault divorce more difficult, and use taxpayer money to fund religious schools.

And progressive candidate Bill de Blasio, surrounded by his adorable family, dealt a crushing defeat to opponent Joe Lhota in New York's mayoral race. He's the first Democrat in two decades to be elected mayor of the Big Apple, and won by a margin of almost 50 percent. Talk about a mandate!

New Jersey's moderate Republican governor Chris Christie won an expected victory over unpopular — and unknown — Democrat Barbara Buono. Christie, a rumored 2016 presidential candidate, had a margin of victory of just over 20 percent.

In Seattle, progressive mayor Mike McGinn, who drew national attention in recent weeks because of Comcast's active moves to unseat him for his promotion of gigabit fiber, lost to Democrat Ed Murray. Murray becomes Seattle's first openly gay mayor.

Even in Alabama, the Tea Party was dealt a blow when Bradley Byrne, a mainline Republican, defeated Tea Party candidate Dean Young in a runoff. (Now, Byrne must face a Democratic opponent in December.)

And in smaller races, referendums on fracking (extracting natural gas from shales by drilling or injecting liquid) drew mixed results in Ohio and Colorado. Opponents of the practice say it causes irreparable harm to the environment, while proponents argue that it is safe. Meanwhile, New York voted to bring as many as seven Casinos to upstate New York in an effort to revitalize the area, and New Jersey voted to raise its minimum wage. And, the latest in a national trend, Maine's largest city voted to allow recreational marijuana use.

Plus, with the marriage equality victory in Illinois on Tuesday, soon almost 35 percent of Americans will live in a state with equal marriage. The legislature passed the bill Tuesday, and it's now just awaiting the governor's signature.

Good job voting, ya'll.

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