WASHINGTON – For Republicans, an election win of any size Tuesday would be a blessing. But victories in Virginia, New Jersey or elsewhere won’t erase enormous obstacles the party faces heading into a 2010 midterm election year when control of Congress and statehouses from coast to coast will be up for grabs.
It’s been a tough few years for the GOP. The party lost control of Congress in 2006 and then lost the White House in 2008 with three traditional Republican states — Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia — abandoning the party.
So even if political winds start blowing harder behind them and even if they can capitalize on Democratic missteps, Republicans still will have a long way to go over the next year because of their party’s own fundamental problems — divisions over the path forward, the lack of anational leader and a shrinking base in a changing nation.
The GOP would overcome none of those hurdles should Republican Bob McDonnell win the Virginia governor’s race, Chris Christie emerge victorious in the New Jersey governor’s contest, or conservative Doug Hoffman triumph in a hotly contested special congressional election in upstate New York.