Washington Post Metro columnist Bob McCartney
Republicans are celebrating big wins in state legislature deals this week. The GOP now controls both chambers of the assembly, as well as the executive branch in a state that helped elect President Obama in 2008. Meanwhile, a state senator in Maryland is acquitted in a federal corruption trial, but still may face sanctions from his colleagues. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney gives an analysis of the stories.
Republicans win big this week
When the General Assembly reconvenes in January, Republicans will have a strong majority in the House of Delegates, and a working majority in the Virginia Senate.
According to McCartney, McDonnell is going to have a make an important choice over the next six months about what kind of Republican he wants to be.
"He ran for governor in 2009 on what he calls 'common sense kitchen table issues," and even though he was very much described as a social conservative early in his career, his is campaign and as a governor, he has actively played down hot button issues."
McCartney says, his success playing those down issues appealed to moderate Democrats, and that helped him have success. But the challenge now will be how to handle those controversial conservative issues when they land on his desk.
In regards to the D.C. suburbs, McCartney says results from the last couple of elections show that there is still in fact a gap in Northern Virginia and the rest of the state.
"I think it was more pronounced this time than it has been recently. You have to compare the expectations in this election to the results. The GOP was confident of a net pickup of 3 to 5 seats in the Senate, but it got only two. There were at least three Northern Virginia districts that were hotly contested, and the Democrats won all of them."
Ulysses Currie acquitted of bribery and extortion charges
State Sen. Ulysses Currie was acquitted this week of bribery and extortion, among other charges in a federal corruption trial. He could still face sanctions from fellow lawmakers for failing to disclose some consulting work he did for a grocery store chain.
According to McCartney, it's likely the Senate will take action against Currie.
"Even the jurors who acquitted him on the bribery and extortion charges said they thought he committed an ethical violation."