Ethan Vaughan, Mason Votes Writer

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell claimed the Governor’s Mansion by a commanding margin of 59 to 41 percent in Tuesday’s statewide election, and he brought a slew of other Republicans with him.

Following on McDonnell’s coattails were re-elected Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, and Attorney General-Elect Ken Cuccinelli.

As Democrats lost the governorships in Virginia and New Jersey, students reacted to state developments and talked about the implications for the Democratic Party in the 2010 and 2012 presidential elections.
“I went back and forth,” said senior administration of justice major Jason Butler. “I chose Deeds.”

Butler, who made the decision of who to vote for only days before the election, said that the pressing issues facing the country motivated him to vote for the first time in a non-presidential election.

“I figured I might as well exercise my right to vote,” Butler said. “Some people don’t have that right. With the way things are going in the country, every vote counts.”

The most important issues for Butler going into the 2010 midterm elections and 2012 presidential election included withdrawing American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, protecting the right to bear arms, and keeping abortion legal. As for President Obama’s job performance, he was mixed.

“I think he’s doing a good job,” said Butler. “I don’t know much about his health care plan, but from what I’ve heard, it’s great for the unemployed but will screw over people who already have jobs.”

Josh Neff, a senior accounting major, echoed many of Butler’s concerns, though he voted for McDonnell.
“I’m strongly against much of what Obama has proposed,” Neff stated. “I don’t know why he’s taking so long to make decisions about what needs to be done in Afghanistan. If he’s hesitant, he should bring them home. If he’s not 100 percent in he should be 100 percent out.”

Neff said that in 2010 and 2012 he would give his support to those candidates who promised lower taxes, less government and more individual freedoms.

“I want less Big Brother,” Neff said. “Less government intervention into people’s everyday lives, fewer programs like the health care and stimulus plans.”

For Crystal Stapor, a graduate student studying elementary education, education policy is paramount.
“I didn’t vote for McDonnell,” Stapor said. “McDonnell wants to take away funds from education. I expected his victory, but I want to see if he can keep his personal views out of his policy. I worry about deregulation and the pushing of his religious beliefs into laws, like in the context of gay rights.” Stapor said she plans on voting for President Obama in 2012.

“He’s better than Bush,” she said. “It’s only been a year. I wasn’t expecting things to go back to the way they were under Clinton right away.”