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Beltway Confidential

Democrats grasping at straws to energize base on 2013 results

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Beltway Confidential,Democratic Party,Terry McAuliffe,Ken Cuccinelli,Ashe Schow,2013 Virginia Governor Race,Michael Bloomberg

Democrats lost big in the New Jersey governor's race and barely won the Virginia gubernatorial contest, but that hasn't stopped them from claiming the 2013 election was a major victory for them.

And they’re taking some very big leaps to do so.

In an e-mail sent to subscribers this weekend, Democratic National Committee Communications Director Mo Elleithee wrote that “we defied some pretty big trends in this past election.”

Elleithee then lists four “big” trends that were broken; let’s take a look at each one separately.

1. “For the first time in almost four decades, the winning candidate in Virginia's governor's race is from the same party as the president.”

And? How is that a victory for the Democratic party?

Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the state has elected a governor of the opposite party. With the host of issues that Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli was faced with (the government shutdown, current Gov. Bob McDonnell and weak fundraising), the fact that Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe won is not surprising.

And the fact there's a Democrat in the White House has nothing to do with that.

2. “For the first time in more than 20 years, we elected a Democratic mayor of New York City.”

It’s actually been exactly 20 years; the last Democratic mayor, David Dinkins, left office in 1993.

But this is another “so what?” moment. Out of the past 20 mayors of New York City, only six have been Republican, and two of them switched party affiliations while in office and another became an “independent.”

And by “independent,” of course that means Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose anti-gun and nanny-state policies leave many to wonder whether he has actually switched to the Democratic party as well.

3. “In St. Petersburg, Florida, we defeated an incumbent Republican mayor, the first time that's happened in two decades.”

Two decades may seem like a long time, but that just goes back to the Clinton administration.

And good job that Democrats upset a mayor in Florida, a purple state. Republicans upset the incumbent Democratic mayor of Atlantic City, N.J., and picked up legislative seats in Democratic towns in Connecticut.

One mayor’s race is not a pattern of triumph.

4. “In Pasco County, Florida, we won a special election for a legislative seat that had been held by Republicans for nearly 20 years.”

Pasco County is a victory? Really?

If the seat had always held by Republicans, maybe that would be a feat. But no, it had been held by Republicans since the Clinton administration.

And the seat is in a county that has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in five of the past 14 presidential elections, including voting for Al Gore in 2000, Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996 and Jimmy Carter in 1976. Not the reddest county in Florida.

Great victories in 2013.

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