Election Day 2013 May Signal Referendum on Tea Party

Key races in New Jersey, Virginia and Alabama may showcase voters' displeasure with conservatives.
15:57 | 11/05/13

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Transcript for Election Day 2013 May Signal Referendum on Tea Party
This is a special group. -- -- when I'm Devin Dwyer in New York with the CBC news digital special report it's Election Day many of you may not have noticed. But there are few key races this year with big consequences for President Obama and the Republican Party. For a look at what's on the ballot across the country today here's ABC's -- -- Bradley. Today two governors elections with 2016 presidential implications. In New Jersey Chris Christie a moderate Republican -- Blue state is expected to cruise to victory sending a big message he can win on democratic turf. For now Christie is not ready to talk about a future presidential run. In Virginia -- much closer race Democrat Terry McAuliffe longtime friends with bill and Hillary Clinton is running against Republican -- -- to -- The call it's gotten a lift from prominent Democrats including President Obama and Vice President Biden. McAuliffe is -- -- -- two Republicans in Washington. Well you basically want everyone to forget to shut down. Virginia is memory is better than that. Who can -- the State's attorney general has garner support from rising Republican star Marco Rubio who can -- has -- McAuliffe to President Obama. Of obamacare Obama care. Obama care. From Seattle to Miami hundreds of cities across the country are electing mayors today in New York Democrat -- the Bellagio running on a far more liberal agenda than outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg. Is expected to become the first Democrat. -- the city in two decades. In Boston voters are choosing a replacement for longtime Mayor Tom Menino. And in Colorado something than usual was on the ballot voters in eleven counties are deciding whether they want to continue living in the state or form their own. It's unlikely -- happen because the state legislature and in the US congress would need to approve a new state. -- Bradley ABC news Washington all right for more in this year's important races -- -- -- ABC news political director Rick Klein in Washington. And over at the White House ABC's Mary Bruce it's great to have both of them with that's -- -- -- start with you it's an odd election year very few. Big elections happening but certainly a number of high profile items that we are all following today what's on your short list. To watch tonight. Big -- start with New Jersey Chris Christie set to run -- this war and make an argument in the process. That he is the kind of leader the Republican Party needs for 2016. It is going to be a dramatic display of how leadership can trump ideology is a very democratic state New Jersey and he knows that his blue but he is turning -- red at least for one night and and mark my words -- -- he's gonna -- -- president approximately tomorrow. Meanwhile in Virginia. Terry McAuliffe who is no one's idea of of the future for the Democratic Party is likely to win the governor's race and that is in large part due to the Clinton machine they have been in action. In Virginia on the ground staffing his campaign. Getting the fund raising money flowing toward Terry McAuliffe. And the fact that he is going -- in line ought to be the governor of Virginia says a lot about how the clintons are are thinking about their next moves and those are the two big ones. In addition that you've got mayoral races around the country the first democratic mayor. In New York City in twenty years Boston electing a mayor for the first time in twenty years so little bit of a glimpse of the future. All right let's take a little bit deeper on some of these races you mentioned the two big -- today to go race for governor of Virginia New Jersey. For those of us who don't live in in either of those states they are seen as national bellwethers. Would give us a sense of what that means and -- what the implications could be nationwide. So interest that we have seen the Virginia and New Jersey races in recent years. Tell us a little bit about what's gonna happen in the future just a little slight with Lance in the in the crystal ball in 2005. The Democrats swept both of those offices away from Republicans. And in 2006 Democrats won control of the house. In four years later in 2009 Republican -- quandary do won both of those races and a year later Republicans won control of the House of Representatives. It's even more dramatic in Virginia since 1977. Every single time. That election is on the opposite direction of the party in the white house of -- democratic president they want Republican. That streak though is in line to get broken tonight so I think we're seeing. A larger statement on the state of the Republican Party and we are any kind of a harbinger for the future. And what we have seen that play on both of those campaigns this division identity crisis and the Republican Party. Has this solved anything will kill can we say that that they've they've they've might move on after after these racists. Almost the opposite this is going to exacerbate those tensions in the reason is that. You already have both sides pointing fingers and -- and describe why things are going their way. We have this split decision and Chris Christie with his brand of leadership that is not necessarily the recipe that that -- Republican Party. More generally of the national level feels like is right for their party they've seen moderates fail in the past and they don't. Necessarily think -- Chris Christie's brand is the one that's in a work nationwide of the presidential election. Meanwhile in Virginia you have a strong social conservative with Tea Party ties who's likely to go down. You'd think that -- statements of the party you gotta watch this because you keep doing this and you're losing states like Virginia in a governor's race to Terry McAuliffe and you've got a problem here. But he also -- folks who -- pointing out. Flaws in the campaign flaws in the candidate flaws at the top of the ticket with this horrific with the current governor of Virginia. At all kinds of reasons they're pointing to and a lot of the same tensions that led to -- which only win the nomination of Virginia that's still going to be evident. In the Republican Party more probably. Hard to certainly some trends to be watching their for the party meanwhile ABC's -- Allen he spoke with Governor Christie last night in the final stretch of his campaign. On -- play some of that and -- for Iraq. A crowd like this. Superior learning. Hi -- -- with ABC's -- Sony not ruling out -- 2016 race. For the White House certainly I think as you mentioned Rick adding Christie's expected to win today every election but this race has really been about something bigger right. No question he is -- constructing an argument that is going to work over the next couple of years he's gonna have to convince a lot of skeptical folks out there. That he is the type of leadership that works for the national Republican Party but he's got a head start on just about anyone else and the fact that he's gonna -- a sweeping reelection in a blue state. George W. Bush used a reelection two years before the presidential campaign back in 1988. To make the argument Chris Christie will have three years and he's going to be the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association. A platform to start traveling around the country and he will we pointing as point number one for why he thinks he can work at the national level. Is going to be electoral results that are rolling in today. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- over the White House from Republican to winning in a blue state out the New Jersey to. Another interest he race over Virginia and Mary you've been tracking president Obama's involvement. In the campaign of Democrat Terry McAuliffe running for governor over the air. Interesting to see the president getting involved in what's you know historically been a red state. Absolutely -- the president carried Virginia twice but he has -- complex relationship when it comes to Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe is deeply entrenched in camp Clinton Mattel did not exactly back Obama in 2008 and yet the president was out there this weekend. Delivering a closing argument for McAuliffe's campaign asking supporters to come out in both -- is only the second time. That we seen the president get involved this year is such a local level in one of these campaigns. But also keep in mind that Terry McAuliffe the -- can connect -- has tried to make the president's support for McAuliffe into a liability. Linking Terry McAuliffe with some of the Obama administration's failures and particularly this botched rollout of Obama care. But the president yet continue to go out there and asked supporters to get out to vote for McAuliffe and so are the polls show that those times -- can connect Nellie to link Obama and McCullough and negative way. Those are working out so well. That's right that's so interest in that the president there actually beginning McAuliffe something of a booster a -- at least not been. A liability or what's your sense from the White House to mean -- they pretty confident that that the president's involvement over there it turned out to be a positive for for McAuliffe. I think they are you getting on an important point you -- -- is a risk when the president gets involved. At a state level at a local level like this but I think overall they believe that this was an important decision that it helps to boost McAuliffe. And as you mentioned given the larger ramifications here I think they're happy with the way that's turning. And one last thing to marry -- -- president -- not only supporting McAuliffe in Virginia but helping Democrats. Nationwide hosting a number of fundraisers I think some 26 so far this year. What's your sense on the president's feelings about 4014 of course the next big Election Day on the horizon. Is much at this this current cycle is as much about that -- is anything else right. Well this is a president who does very well on the campaign -- as we -- -- he's putting those skills to good use as you mentioned he's been. Campaigning several times a week he's heading down to Dallas tomorrow and he'll be raising some money for -- democratic candidates again. And this is something that that they feel that is very important looking ahead to those key mid term elections and going forward in his second term -- -- where the president can really help out some of these candidates. Rick I wanna go back to you didn't talk a little bit about the Tea Party here king -- -- over Virginia McAuliffe's rival has Tea Party support. It and -- is really campaigning on that movement talk about the broader role of the Tea Party in this campaign season and in -- they stand now heading into between fourteen that terms. -- only loses the Terry McAuliffe again flawed democratic candidate it will be viewed as a major statement against the Tea Party movement they are the ones and -- which now he's very it's very strong ties to them. As a socially conservative turning general. As well and -- that is another race going on today DeVon -- not a lot of people are paying attention to. But they should be this is an Alabama there's a special house election down in the mobile area for -- for the Republican nomination. And there are two Republican candidates both -- strong conservatives wonder though is -- elected official former Democrat actually is a strong conservative don't get him wrong. But he has the establishment backing and he's got a Tea Party challenger running a very strong campaign. The stakes are so high down there that the chamber of commerce the National Rifle Association are getting involved in a Republican primary that is unusual. They see this though is a chance to flex some muscle and make a statement against the tea parties so. At the same time the Tea Party taking a hit in Virginia. If they're able to wind down in Alabama it'll be -- sign that even the accumulated resources of the chamber of commerce and the NRA can't stop the Tea Party at least in pockets of the country. Let's talk a little bit about some mayoral -- -- eight big cities today are choosing new mayors. Including here in New York City in the for the first time in I think twenty years we could see a democratic mayor. Of the city is give us a sense of what what you expect to play out here in new York and also as you mentioned a little bit earlier which are watching in Boston. Is that the right build a lot CEO who is the the TV by far away the front runner and he went back forty or fifty points today against the Republican -- load -- It would be a major left -- -- for the city of New York the city is a democratic stronghold they have not elected. It Democrat since David Dinkins back in the late 1980s so. To move in that direction is one thing. But also remember what the -- -- did he was a surprise winner that very colorful primary that included Anthony -- -- he won in the first round of balloting when an outright majority in the first round. And he did it by promising a much more liberal social agenda. Income this redistribution essentially higher taxes on the wealthy. And if it's a reaction to the Bloomberg years Mayor Bloomberg has been a very popular mayor -- of course -- a national profile. But at the same time that that has been going on you have a growing sense of -- -- coming equality among New Yorkers. And an idea that that mayor can move this state -- our city back left for I think that's significant. In Boston as I mentioned Mayor Tom Menino is in the mayor there since the early days of the Clinton administration 1993. He's retiring and that's left an opening here to. There -- two lawmakers city councilor any -- state. Representatives of kind of represented the the more blue collar and the more white collar different branches of the Democratic Party. And that's of course a big perch as well my favorite race they'll definitely be in your home state of Minnesota in Minneapolis there are 35. Candidates -- 35 candidates -- running for governor they -- all on the ballot simultaneously. And it is going to be an interesting way of one of the one of the candidates is actually named captain Jack Sparrow though I don't think he's actually going to be the faith. That's right -- Minnesota certainly it's had its fair share colorful candidates over the years but. Let's talk a little bit about some of the big ballot items today there are a handful of those across the country to -- -- caught -- -- out in Washington. Voters gonna decide whether -- have food producers have to to label genetically modified foods of course marijuana is back on the ballot in Colorado and Maine. And then there's this interest in question in Colorado eleven counties want to secede and create a new state. That's right it's a reaction to the new gun laws in Colorado and they're not gonna go anywhere but there are secession movements and a number of states and now on the ballot in Colorado. Maryland -- well it's very hard to to secede it hasn't happened since the civil war it hasn't happened -- it's it's hard for a reason. But these are always interesting because it as a gauge of -- sent -- to have that kind of reaction. Would these would be astounding really to have counties go on the record as saying they want to be part of part of a different state entirely and won their part of right now. And it issues like like that the taxation on marijuana we've heard people that pro marijuana advocates for years say that the tax revenue from sales should be. Going to schools and the roads and bridges -- Colorado voters have a chance to. Act on a 25%. Tax on marijuana sales -- of course are legal in Colorado right now. That would go into effect if that passes and it Washington State as you mentioned there's been so much talk about genetically modified food genetically modified organisms is to be the first state -- require -- special label. Food producers are worried about the impact of that what it would mean for sales what it would mean for production that to have especially interest of the state of Washington. But there's a movement like -- going on a number of other states as well. All right I wanted to back to marry one last time before we letter -- I'm very gives us -- what the president's doing today as president is focused on his priorities here is meeting with some top business leaders on immigration reform and it's also. The first day that the White House tours of reopened you'll remember seven months ago the White House closed down those tours. Because of the sequester spending cuts today the president and the First Lady and their two dogs -- and sunny. We're out there welcoming tourists back to the White House so. It's business as usual on some -- here for the president but as we -- we don't know yet whether he's cast his -- -- we're look at some pictures there of the First Lady greeting some of those -- lucky tour goers today Mary Bruce. At the White House it's always great to have you think so much Marion ABC political director Rick Klein and Washington. We think you as well you can follow. All of today's election results at abcnews.com. We'll have full team coverage there into the night with results and on the ballot measures in governors' races and you can also follow. Our live streaming coverage from each of the election headquarters tonight. As those results come in for now thank you so much for watching this has been an ABC news digital special report. And Devin -- a New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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