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Bright Prospects in the Old Dominion [GOP Poised to Make Big Comeback in Virginia]
NRO ^ | 10/26/09 | Jim Geraghty

Posted on 10/25/2009 10:41:16 PM PDT by freespirited

Arlington, Va.Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell faces a challenge pretty unfamiliar to Republicans lately: What do you do when things look good for your campaign?

The polls showing McDonnell up by double digits over Democrat Creigh Deeds are starting to come in bunches — 14 percentage points in the Virginian-Pilot poll, 12 points in the Public Policy Polling survey, a jaw-dropping 19 points in SurveyUSA. Even the closer polls put McDonnell up by a margin wider than those by which the last two
governors (both Democrats) won their races. Polls on the lower-ticket races for lieutenant governor and attorney general are less frequent, but they still show the Republican candidates up by healthy margins, usually just a few points behind McDonnell’s numbers.

The biggest event of last week turned out not to be the final debate — in which Deeds had another incomprehensible failure to explain his position on a key issue — but rather the Obama White House’s strangely early effort to distance itself from a Deeds loss that it clearly expects. The series of dismissive quotes from unnamed White House officials in the Washington Post created a front-page stink bomb, offering a fascinating example of the momentum feedback loop that defines the story of some campaigns. For a campaign that leads, good news begets more good news and a bandwagon effect; for a campaign that trails, bad news generates bad coverage, which often triggers another round of bad news. Good luck persuading young Democrats to knock on doors or work phone banks next weekend, now that the entire political world knows that President Obama is writing off Deeds as a lost cause.

The White House staffers’ don’t-use-my-name trashing of the Deeds campaign is likely to have reverberations well beyond Election Day for both Obama and the
Virginia Democratic party. The Post’s circulation area is a region that any Virginia Democrat must win handily to secure a statewide victory. Beyond that, some of the most competitive and important state legislative races are within the Post’s distribution area (Margi Vanderhye vs. Republican Barbara Comstock, Chuck Caputo vs. Jim LeMunyon, Stevens Miller vs. Tom Rust).
An apathetic or discouraged Democrat who doesn’t show up to vote for Deeds is likely not to show up for those other races.

Any display of arrogance by Washington Democrats, oblivious to how their actions play in rural areas, is a circumstance tailor-made for David “Mudcat” Saunders, Democratic political strategist, human quote machine, and God’s gift to political reporters. Saunders often punctuates his pithy, memorable observations with four-letter words; he concluded that the White House’s criticism was bull-you-know-what, and that the leaks were chicken-you-know-what. Saunders, a John Edwards supporter, was never likely to be on the Obama White House’s Christmas-party list, but it’s rather striking to hear a blistering, profanity-laced denunciation of inexcusable incompetence and dire consequences directed at the side that has Rahm Emanuel.

Republicans in central Virginia chuckle that Deeds’s new campaign ad — in which he doesn’t say a word, while the president sings his praises — now drips with cruel irony, with the president effectively calling on Virginians to vote for the guy who his staff thinks has completely botched his campaign. Obama is scheduled to appear with Deeds in
on Tuesday, but the White House leaks ensure that the coverage will focus on whether Obama’s praise of Deeds is genuine, or whether he’s going through the motions.

Even before the White House’s front-page backstabbing of Deeds, Democrats in lower races were running away from the gubernatorial candidate. In early October, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, Steve Shannon, started
talking about Virginia voters’ history of splitting their tickets, a rather clear signal that he wasn’t counting on Deeds to pull him over the top. Deeds got himself into trouble in the most recent debate by saying, “I would certainly consider opting out [of the public option on health care] if that were available to Virginia.” Afterwards, he insisted that didn’t mean he was opposed to the public option. It didn’t take long before the Democrats’ candidate for lieutenant governor, Jody Wagner, pledged she would fight
any effort to opt out of the public option.

While a lot of the post-election discussion of the race is likely to focus on Obama, it may be that the Democrats were just unlucky enough to get a lousy batch of candidates this year. Deeds began the campaign with the insipid slogan “This is Deeds country”; he repeatedly refused to offer a detailed plan on transportation; and he got visibly flustered when reporters asked him some fairly simple questions about his positions on tax increases and the public option.
Shannon made a painful rookie mistake in his debate with Republican Ken Cuccinelli, when Cuccinelli asked him the basic question: How many divisions are there in the attorney general’s office, and what do they do? Shannon immediately insisted he had more to say about a previous question, and offered an answer longer and more meandering than the Mississippi River, insisting that “arcane questions” about “details about the bureaucracy” weren’t what mattered in the race. The cavalcade of cringe-worthy evasions became a YouTube classic

However, a Virginia Republican familiar with the dynamics of both the statewide and the local races notes that Democrats’ missteps are only half the story, at most: “It’s important to remember we haven't won anything yet,” this Republican cautions. “But when the history of this race is written, it might be tempting for some to conclude that . . . the Democrats were saddled with a poor candidate, a poor campaign and bad political headwinds. While all of that is true and has been a major factor, what should not be overlooked is how excellent Bob McDonnell is as a candidate and what a top-flight team he assembled — Ed Gillespie, Phil Cox, Tucker Martin, and the rest. So far they have displayed a keen ability to know what do to and when to do it — as well as the judgment to know when not to do things.”

There has also been a thoroughly uncharacteristic level of cooperation among the national, state, and local Republican parties. The Republican National Committee has transferred $300,000 to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, attorney-general candidate Ken Cuccinelli, and House Speaker Bill Howell, bringing total RNC spending in
to nearly $8 million.

Another interesting point to watch is how effective the GOP’s get-out-the-vote efforts will prove to be. Some Virginia Republicans grouse that they heard happy talk in the run-up to the elections in 2005, 2006, and 2008, prior to the defeats of gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore, Sen. George Allen, and presidential candidate John McCain. This year’s turnout operations are off the charts compared to previous years. One Virginia Republican notes, “As of two months ago, Republicans had already knocked on more doors and made more phone calls — in other words, direct voter contacts — than ever before in Virginia in one election cycle, and that includes presidential election years. In the end, we will probably more than double the output of any previous cycle. The level of enthusiasm and volunteers is unprecedented in
gubernatorial elections. No one can recall such excitement behind a candidate for governor since George Allen in 1993. This is certainly on that level, which is really saying something.”

Sixteen years ago, George Allen crushed the heavily favored Democrat Mary Sue Terry, 58 percent to 41 percent. A win on that scale this year would leave heaps of credit to go around to the GOP at each level; while the post-election banquet for Democrats at the local, state, and national levels would entail a veritable slaughter of crows.

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: bobmcdonnell; gopcomeback; mcdonnell; va2009; vagovernor
Nine days till we take back our state!
1 posted on 10/25/2009 10:41:17 PM PDT by freespirited
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To: EDINVA; iceskater; xyz123; Corin Stormhands; jla; Flora McDonald; GeorgeW23225; GottaLuvAkitas1; ...

Looking good ping.

2 posted on 10/25/2009 10:43:10 PM PDT by freespirited (Liberals are only liberal about sex & drugs. Otherwise, they want to control your life. --DHorowitz)
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To: freespirited
the Democrats were just unlucky enough to get a lousy batch of candidates this year. Deeds began the campaign with the insipid slogan “This is Deeds country”; he repeatedly refused to offer a detailed plan on transportation;

Why not? 0bama did exactly the same, and he won big. Why would Deeds think differently?

3 posted on 10/25/2009 10:58:56 PM PDT by paudio (Road to hell is paved by unintended consequences of good intentions)
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To: freespirited

Dont’ count chickens— get out the vote conservatives! No complacency based on polls. Virginia should set the example. Freepers in VA get activated- and keep a sharp eye for ACORN and fraud and if you find them—expose them. Work the polls, watch them. Especially in DC corridor where the “import” factor is quite large. Don’t let that part of the state dictate to the rest of the Old Dominion. Keep hammering, keep after them. The birthplace of democracy and our freedom from English tyranny can show the way.

4 posted on 10/25/2009 11:21:23 PM PDT by John S Mosby (Sic Semper Tyrannis)
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To: freespirited; EDINVA; iceskater; xyz123; Corin Stormhands; jla; Flora McDonald; GeorgeW23225; ...

Chickens. Before they hatch. You know the drill.

While I would never underestimate the ability of Republicans to totally frak things up, barring a major earth shattering event, Republicans WILL sweep the top three offices next week. What remains to be seen is how many House candidates we can bring along.

There are so many factors contributing to this. Buyer’s remorse over Hopey Changleton. Deeds has run a horrible campaign.

But most of all, Bob McDonnell is an excellent candidate and has run a nearly flawless campaign. It shows that Repbulicans can and do win in Virginia when focused on the issues that matter and not on the negatives of the opponent.

5 posted on 10/26/2009 6:22:38 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands ("Failed Obama Administration" (TM))
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To: Corin Stormhands
Exactly! In the immortal words of Bluto Blutarsky,

"Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! "

6 posted on 10/26/2009 6:30:06 AM PDT by P8riot (I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop.)
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To: freespirited
What do you do when things look good for your campaign?

Keep running as hard as you can. I've got no confidence that the WaPo isn't busy manufacturing evidence of a 'macaca moment', or worse, that they'll release the Sunday before the election when there's no time to disprove it.

7 posted on 10/26/2009 6:36:58 AM PDT by nina0113
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To: freespirited

The backlash to the radical liberal incompetence begins in a few days, and will continue on through 2010.

All but dems from the bluest of blue districts are going to face slaughters in the coming midterms. Reid is gone, Spectre is gone, Pelosi will no longer be speaker. So called “moderate” republicans that have sided with these guys are also very likely to not even be on the General Election tickets.

Are you paying attention blue dogs? You keep on doing what your doing and you will be following fauxbama off the cliff that will be ending your political careers.

8 posted on 10/26/2009 6:47:40 AM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: freespirited for Governor for Lieutenant Governor for Attorney General

I’m surprised there haven’t been any current polls published.

9 posted on 10/26/2009 2:21:13 PM PDT by HokieMom (Pacepa : Can the U.S. afford a president who can't recognize anti-Americanism?)
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