Communications teams are still spinning results from last night’s elections, in which Republicans won governor’s races in New Jersey and Virgina. Republican Michael Bloomberg was re-elected as New York’s mayor, in a race that was much closer than expected. In a highly publicized special House election in upsate New York, Bill Owens defeated Doug Hoffman, who had drawn support from Sarah Palin and other conservative leaders.
Some media reports say the losses in New Jersey and Virgina are a “setback” for President Barack Obama, especially in New Jersey where Obama campaigned up until the last minute with incumbent Jon Corzine. “Neither race should be viewed as strictly a referendum on Obama. But if there is a danger in overinterpreting off-year elections, it is also a mistake to underinterpret,” wrote Politico’s John F. Harris & Jonathan Martin.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the administration this morning, saying that the losses in VA and NJ, “didn’t involve the President,” and that results showed it was “pretty clear people went to the polls and voted for local issues.” The Washington Post‘s Howard Kurtz thinks we’re all overreacting. “…let’s face it, there’s a huge hype machine out that’s been pumping up the national significance of these off-year results,” he wrote today.[Image: New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie]