Republican leaders said this morning that their party's victories in two special congressional elections last night were a rebuke to President Obama and his party. In at least one case, they're right.
Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said the GOP wins in New York's 9th District and Nevada's 2nd were "a referendum on the failed policies of President Obama and congressional Democrats. Less than a week after the president outlined his 'jobs plan,' voters went to the polls and sent two new Republicans to Washington—overwhelmingly rejecting Obama's Stimulus II."
The new House members are Bob Turner from New York and Mark Amodei from Nevada.
The New York outcome was an upset and a coup for the GOP because the congressional seat is in a liberal area. Democrat Anthony Weiner had won overwhelmingly in the last election with 61 percent of the vote. But Weiner resigned in June after admitting that he sent sexually oriented photos to women over the Internet.
While special elections don't necessarily predict the outcome of future balloting, the New York victory boosted GOP morale and unsettled Democrats. Turner made the race a referendum on Obama's economic policies and also criticized Obama for not being strong and reliable enough in supporting Israel. The district contains a strong Jewish constituency. The Nevada seat is traditionally Republican.
At a minimum, the Republican wins will probably encourage Democrats facing tough races in swing districts to shy away from supporting some of Obama's initiatives. This includes his new job-creation bill, which Republicans say is a waste of money and would hurt the economic recovery.