Who were the political winners and losers of 2013

You'll see a lot of lists like this one but National Journal's Josh Kraushaar's take on which politicians won or lost in 2013 is as good as any and better than most:


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Resoundingly winning a second term in a Democratic state, Christie won a majority of Hispanic voters and a notable minority of African-Americans, too. He has emerged as the early establishment favorite for Republicans in 2016, overcoming some establishment angst that he's too hot-tempered and "Jersey" for his appeal to translate nationally. Already, he's leading Hillary Clinton in some (very) early national polls.

Arkansas Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton. At a time when Republicans are fighting each other regularly, Cotton is one of the few candidates to win enthusiastic support from both the party establishment and outside conservative groups. Even before the problems with the health care website, polls already showed him running neck and neck against Democrat Mark Pryor, the most vulnerable senator up for reelection in 2014.

New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. Even for a Democrat running in the liberal confines of New York City, de Blasio's resounding 49-point victory over Republican Joe Lhota was impressive. He'll be the first Democrat inaugurated as mayor of New York City since David Dinkins in 1989. And his campaign message arguing that the city needs to tackle income inequality not only resonated with New Yorkers but also was echoed by President Obama's second-term economic message.

Also thought winners by Kraushaar: lobbyists-turned-candidates like Terry McAuliffe, who won the VA governor's race, and Tea Party candidates challenging incumbent Republican senators.

Some losers:

President Obama. The president starts the new year with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency and with his administration facing deep political challenges over its health care law. His push for gun control and immigration reform went nowhere, and he's stuck trying to protect the viability of his signature domestic legislation. Right now, he's looking a lot more like George W. Bush at this point in his second term than Bill Clinton.

Ken Cuccinelli. There's (usually) no crying in politics, but Cuccinelli didn't get the message, as shown at his tearful, combative concession speech in the Virginia governor's race. Few politicians underachieved as greatly as the outgoing Virginia attorney general. He was running against a flawed challenger, McAuliffe, in an off-year election at a time when Obama's approval ratings were nosediving. Our Cook Political Report colleague David Wasserman crunched the results and found that Cuccinelli badly underperformed even Mitt Romney in traditionally Republican, wealthy suburban enclaves-by double digits in some cases. That's a clear recipe for disaster.

Anthony Weiner. For a politician who already was scandalized over his R-rated tweets, Weiner had a real challenge to fall any further. But his clown show of a New York City mayoral campaign foreclosed any opportunity for a comeback in public service and tarnished the reputation of his Hillary-advising wife, too. And Weiner hasn't even latched onto a TV or radio deal since his ignominious fifth-place finish.

Christine Quinn. Quinn's resounding defeat was even more disappointing than Weiner's fall, given that she was the early favorite to succeed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. A compelling New York Times documentary captured Quinn's free fall in painful real time, illustrating how far her mayoral campaign fell short of expectations.

Other losers: Marco Rubio, PA Governor Tom Corbett, and red state Democratic senators.

That last one is a no brainer, and Corbett is in as much political trouble facing re-election as any statewide candidate in the country.

But Rubio? He has fallen far as a result of his participation in the Senate "Gang of Eight" immigration reform group, angering Tea Party Republicans and immigration activists in the process. But he appears to be making something of a comeback, as his poll numbers are on the rise. He has a long way to go but including him in the "losers" category might be stretching the point a bit.

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