1. Virginia. Yes, Virginia is still very much Republican. The way that election districts for the State House and Senate are drawn favor rural interests and conservativism. The fact that the elections are held outside of the national election cycle makes the Republican advantages more pronounced.
The recriminations about the election being close, that Cuccinelli could have won "but if", are reasonable. The election for Governor was close because the Democratic candidate had plenty of baggage. A better Democratic candidate likely would have won with a better percentage.
But yes, a decent moderate Republican candidate would likely have beat Terry McAuliffe. So it's hard to make broad statements about greater national trends based on this election. See "What Democrats have going for them? Republicans" from Reuters.
I say this because it looks like the hardcore Republican candidate will win the Attorney General position, although by a razor thin margin, and few of the House seats where the Democrats had a "strong chance" of winning were in fact won by the Democrats.
It's hard for Virginia to be a bellweather state on national issues when these structural conditions that favor Republicans are so pronounced.
2. Seattle. SeaTac passed the $15/hour minimum wage. Mike McGinn lost as Mayor to the establishment preferred progressive Ed Murray. The big question is if Mike McGinn had not been so obstreperous would he have been elected. Seattle is doing very well right now.
Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative candidate lost, but she came pretty close. Now that Seattle is moving to a District-based system for electing Councilmembers, she could very well win in the next go around.
3. Minneapolis. The Socialist Alliance candidate in District 9 didn't win, but came in second. It was pretty close. Councilman Betsy Hodges was elected Mayor, and she wasn't considered the front-runner.
4. New York City. Yes, Bill de Blasio trounced Joe Lhota. We'll see how this shakes out in terms of progressive policy changes.
5. I've been meaning to write a piece about women in local politics, because there was a lot of writing about this, about how hard it is for women to win as mayors, because Christine Quinn, endorsed by the New York Times and seen as the heir apparent to Michael Bloomberg, lost in the primary. See "Women still struggling to win big-city mayoral jobs" from USA Today.
Somewhere I saw an article, on a number of successful candidacies for mayor by women, based on Tuesday's results. Minneapolis is a big example.