Will 2009 be another 1993 for the Republicans?
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, thinks so. Sanford argued in a recent interview that there are “lots of parallels” between the GOP victories in New Jersey and Virginia in the early 1990s and governor’s races in those two states this November.
Taxes played a significant role in the Democrats’ defeats. Whitman ran hard against the $2.8 billion income tax increase during the Florio administration, while Terry ran away — unsuccessfully — from the tax increases during the first year of Bill Clinton’s presidency.
Those twin victories were the first stirrings of a Republican revolt against Clinton and the Democratic-controlled Congress that led to the 1994 wave election that saw the GOP claim majorities in the House and Senate.
Sanford — along with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who will head the RGA next year — believe a similar set of circumstances is shaping up this fall, with voters ready to send a signal of their distaste for the rapid government expansion in the early days of Barack Obama’s presidency.
“These races are going to turn on policy,” predicted Barbour, who added that the Republican candidates would be running on lower taxes and less government.