I just got home after a very long night celebrating (we stayed at the McLean Hilton). For me the sweetest part of this victory is that, after all the hard work, we carried Virginia for the first time in 44 years in a presidential race. Equally sweet, however, is that we carried Florida, once my home and where I still have many emotional connections. Most amazing in Florida is that the Democrats took 57 percent of the Cuban/Latino vote - a stunning reversal of historic proportions. As far back as the 1980s, when I lived in Fort Lauderdale, Democrats routinely wrote off the Cuban vote as solid Republican. In 2004, that vote went 56 percent for George Bush.
Some more needs to be said about the Hispanic vote. It went 60 percent for the Democrats. In 2000, Bush won 40 percent of the Hispanic vote,and in 2004 he boosted that to 44 percent. Hispanics are the largest growing minority group in the U.S. and Karl Rove worked hard to court their support in his quest to build an enduring Republican majority. But the anti-immigration fervor ginned up by people like Tom Tancredo, and locally by Greg Letieq, probably cost the Republican Party.
Locally, the race between Tom Perriello and Virgil Goode is still too close to call and will probably go into a recount. I'm going to cross my fingers and wish Tom the best with that. But win or lose, at the start of this thing, and even as late as last month, it was an uphill battle for the first time challenger and his results are amazing. Glenn Nye won his race against long time incumbent Thelma Drake. Closer to home for me, Gerry Connolly easily beat Keith Fimian. My congratulations to all of them for hard fought race.
I am sorry that Judy Feder, a brilliant and competent woman, did not succeed in her challenge. She has all my best wishes. Should she run again, I'd support her again. It would be less than gracious, however, not to congratulate Frank Wolf on his victory in the 10th. It will be a very different Congress when it goes back into session in January 2009. But I wish Representative Wolf the best in his work to represent his constituents' interests in the 10th CD.
Once elections are over one side becomes the loyal opposition while the other one takes over the reins. But when all is said and done, we are all Americans. We all love our country. And though we disagree on the best way to achieve our goals, we are united in our commitment to make this great country the best, strongest, most secure, and most prosperous nation it can be.
In that spirit, I'll simply end by saying: Congratulations America! You've chosen and whenever their is a free election and a peaceful change of power, the people have won a great victory.