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Steve Kornacki. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov)

Kornacki says he’ll look for national implications in N.J. results

By Joey Fox, November 01 2021 9:58 am

NBC News and MSNBC political analyst Steve Kornacki, who began his professional career in New Jersey, said on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour over the weekend that this Tuesday’s elections in New Jersey and Virginia may provide a hint for how next year’s midterms under President Joe Biden are shaping up.

“Is there an indication that a surprising amount of ground is being won back [by Republicans]?” Kornacki said. “If there’s something in the air nationally, where there’s a big Biden-Democratic backlash building for the midterms, I think you’d see surprises in those places.”

He added that both gubernatorial races test the ability of Republicans to regain a moderate image after the campaigns of former President Donald Trump harmed that image in many suburban and urban areas.

New Jersey Republican nominee Jack Ciattarelli and his Virginian counterpart Glenn Youngkin have “tried to present a much more moderate, much less Trumpish image to the public,” Kornacki said. “How much ground can you win back doing that?”

In 2017, Virginia and New Jersey were similarly the first two states to host major statewide elections after Trump was elected; Democrats won both by healthy margins, preceding a midterm election that saw Democrats regain control of the U.S. House.

Kornacki wasn’t the only Power Hour guest with predictions to make for Tuesday. Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said that while he doesn’t see a path to victory for Ciattarelli, his estimate of the final margin was closer than most polls have shown.

“It would be hard to imagine losing when you have a million more registered voters,” Sweeney said. “It’s just numbers. It’s overwhelmingly on our side. I really believe at the end of the day it’s five or six points.” 

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