New Norms for the Republican Party


AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- A moderate Republican won in New Jersey and a conservative Republican lost in Virginia.

Analysts are now discussing whether last night's governor's races mark a shift in the Republican party.

One political scientist believes it's all about the voters knowing that a candidate is willing to work with the other side.

Tony Wilt, a Republican delegate from the Valley, said he'd like to think that this is why he was able to run unopposed, "Life is compromise. Whether it's in our homes, in our marriage, in our workplace or in politics."

Wilt was re-elected to serve Virginia's 26th district, running unopposed, "I've pretty much attributed it to the fact that they had bigger fish to fry than me," said Wilt.

The Democratic Party of Virginia believes this could be the last time Wilt's seat goes unopposed because Republicans are "pulling away" from mainstream Virginia values.

The legislative scorecard of the Virginia Tea Party Federation shows that Wilt has the lowest rating of delegates in our area, thanks, in part, to votes on health insurance and environmental conservation.

Political science professor Dr. Jim Josefson said this brings up an important question for Republicans, "Should they moderate their positions on issues and go to the center? But, if they do that, they risk alienating the more conservative tea party base of the party."

Josefson said Chris Christie's win in New Jersey could be a new model for Republicans.

In the governor's race, Terry McAuliffe's campaign tried, over the last few months, to boil down the race to a matter of mainstream versus extreme.

Josefson said when it comes to Republicans moderating their message, it's a catch-22.

He said that if Republicans risk alienating their base by moderating their positions, then they should moderate their rhetoric to appeal to voters in the political center.


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