Winners and Losers | November 3rd, 2010

I will be the first to crow loud over Congressman-elect Morgan Griffith stomping Boucher in VA-09.  I called it, I preached it, and sure enough it came true.  Boucher had neither the ground game nor the demographics to beat back a challenge from Virginia’s House Majority Leader, and redistricting will all but assure Griffith a competitive but safe seat in southwest Virginia.

On the other hand… I was wrong about Bobby Hurt.  I’ll admit — I was not optimistic that Hurt would win.  In fact, I was downright edgy and mean about it.  The fact Tom Perriello came within three points of pulling off yet another come-from-behind victory against an entrenched Republican nominee demonstrates that Perriello’s style of politicking is not disappearing anytime soon.  The Warner/Chap/Perriello model is what wins elections for Dems.  Stray just a little, and Virginia will punish you.

WINNERS:

* Rigell, Hurt, Griffith, and Fimian:  Though the results are yet to come through for Fimian in VA-11, there are numerous ways the absentee ballots could come through.  Should Fimian win once the votes are counted, Virginia’s congressional delegation would stand at 9-2.  That would have to rank as one of the greatest imbalances for the GOP since the days of the Readjusters.

* Republican Party of Virginia:  Two years ago, RPV was little more than a divorce court.  If you need to be reminded of how bad it was…

Yeah… that bad.

Those days are long behind us now.  All three GOP statewide positions secured, a ridiculous majority of the Congressional delegation, a rejuvenated base, a House GOP under Speaker Howell, the Virginia State Senate targeted and on the ropes, and DPVA in catharsis.  My oh my, what a difference two years makes.

* Virginia’s Tea Parties:  Hats off to Jamie Radtke for being the spider amidst the starfish.  Who would have imagined this grassroots rebellion two years ago?  Yet not only did it occur, there was some semblance of organization to it as well.  The convention in Richmond was a rocking success, and Radtke’s continued presence is now a genuine kingmaking force in Virginia.

* Republican bloggers: Between the Jeffersoniad and ODBA, the outstanding coverage over at Bearing Drift, and the eviscerating career-ending hits over at Virginia Virtucon and BVBL, once again the Virginia rightosphere proved they can make and break candidates.  In fact, given the plethora of new bloggers (who doesn’t read Virginia Tomorrow?) and the mix of pundits and politicos, Virginia’s blogosphere is starting to recover it’s footing from the “splash and trash” era.

* Tom Perriello: So what the heck is it with Shaun Kenney and Tom Perriello?  Why do I constantly give this guy a free pass?  Well, he’s smart for one.  Second, he’s a new breed of Democrat, one cut from the same mold as Mark Warner and Chap Petersen.  Pro-life, Democrat, great constituent services, and — most importantly — not an asshole.   Lastly, Perriello knows how to campaign.  You don’t go up against both Goode and Hurt with a given 12 point enthusiasm gap, bump off Goode in ’08, and come 9 points across the divide against Hurt in ’10 without knowing your stuff.

Will Perriello run statewide in Virginia?  I doubt this — certainly not for Attorney General.  DPVA Chairman?  Perhaps.  Now that Catholics for the in Alliance for the Common Good is by-and-large defunct, I don’t see him returning to Washington anytime soon.  But he is wildly popular with younger Democrats.  Perriello isn’t a progressive, but he knows how to bring them along for the ride and reach across the aisle.  His campaign staff was the definition of kindness, even to those they disagreed with politically.  Plus he’s comfortable in his skin as a Catholic (though he and I would more than likely profoundly disagree on how to live that faith in the public square).

Politically, I hope he becomes the most popular history professor at the University of Virginia.  My gut says Perriello will aim a bit higher than this.

* Majority Leader Eric Cantor:  Too soon?  🙂

* Former Governor George Allen:  So the reception he received from the Tea Party was enthusiastic but cool?  But there’s no question Allen lent a hand wherever he could.  Personally, I’ve seen the governor on at least three separate occasions in as many weeks.  That’s not activity from a guy who isn’t running for something, folks.  Should he choose to run against Webb for the 2012 nomination, it will certainly clear out a host of assumed candidates for the GOP primary… though it will not clear them all out.  Still, one can expect Allen to bring much of his old guard, the spirit of ’93 (as opposed to the Allen who ran in ’06), and a boatload of money — not to mention the support of McDonnell, Bolling, Gillespie, and others… financial and otherwise.

LOSERS:

*Krystal Ball: I won’t go into the already widely seen and mocked pictures of her online.  Nor will I delve into the rather offensive idea these pictures have somehow lowered raised the bar for womanhood in America.  I’m quite certain that the PR offensive that denied culpability while defending her actions will prove rather lucrative as the next Eliot Spitzer.  I’m certain Krystal will continue to see and be seen in Virginia politics for some time.  Whether her experience is the least bit instructive for the Facebook era of politics is another question altogether.  Best of luck.

* Nye, Boucher, Connolly: Na na na na.  Na na na na.  Hey hey hey!  Good bye…

* Democratic Party of Virginia:  Those third party mailers?  Yeah — guess who’s taking the fall?  I wouldn’t be surprised if the investigation on the Clark/Golden mailers turns into the Democrats version of the eavesdropping scandal.  Better lawyer up, fellas…

* Democratic bloggers:  Not that they didn’t try… heck, just about every sort of smear was used.  The MSM simply didn’t give a damn.  The welcome has finally worn out (thank God).

Now that’s not to tar everyone with the same brush.  Certainly there are always highlights (Vivian Paige and Waldo Jaquith’s blogs are a constant pleasure to read, for instance), but the self-appointed big dogs?  Nary a peep from the MSM about their antics.  About time…

* Third Party Challengers:  The threat with the third party challengers has always been to rob one of the dominant parties of victory.  Certainly this was the case with Kenny Golden, who did not believe he had a clear or fair shot at the GOP nomination.  As did Jeff Clark, who did not believe Hurt was sufficiently conservative to earn his support or the support of the Tea Party.  Several others affiliated with the Tea Party mounted similar challenges, and all to similar defeats.

Is this really a question of money?  Debates?  Or relevancy?  I don’t have the answer to these.  But the fact that not a single third party candidacy across the nation — with the notable exceptions of Tancredo and Murkowski — met with anything approximating a successful challenge means that change demonstrably comes from within the two major coalition parties.

(crossposted to Bearing Drift)

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