The snowfall in the Valley today cut my day at Belle Grove short–not short enough for me to catch the RPV Luncheon live, but enough for me to review the tape. Special kudos to the RPV New Media Committee for making this possible. New media has penetrated every aspect of the Advance moreso than any year (although I’ll note that many of the Commonwealth’s finest twitterers and bloggers have been a bit quiet today–though some of them may be fleeing back home to beat the snow). Here’s the feed for your purusal–I’ll note that a good chunk of the video is a a review of some of Tim Murtaugh’s greatest hits and other gootage from the campaign, so you may want to fast forward to catch the speeches from each of our statewide victors.
My thoughts below the fold
From up north, from stunning news from Nassau County, New York (better known to the TV watching populace as Long Island), one of the 10 richest in the country. From the New York Times (free subscription):
Nearly three weeks after Election Day, the recount in the race for Nassau County executive is expected to conclude on Monday. Edward P. Mangano, the Republican challenger, has a slight lead over the Democratic incumbent, Thomas R. Suozzi.
Although Mr. Suozzi held a 237-vote lead on election night, out of about 245,000 ballots cast, he has trailed Mr. Mangano since the recount began on Nov. 9. As of Wednesday, with all but a handful of the ballots counted, Mr. Suozzi trailed by 217 votes. Tallying was halted for Thanksgiving and will resume on Monday morning. But the results may not be conclusive.
Although the race certainly didn’t draw a great deal of national attention, the outcome is one to pay attention to as Republicans consider how they will win back the suburban voters they won in the 80′s and 90′s but dawdled away in the earlier part of this decade. As I mentioned earlier, Nassau is one of the ten richest counties in the country, putting it in that same lofty territory as Loudon, Prince William and Fairfax counties here in our own commonwealth. For the Virginia-centric, it is also analgous to Prince William to Fairfax. Just as with Prince William, Nassau was reliably red until the dawn of the tech age*. Nassau has seen its Republican State Senators erode, and county council control shifted to the Democrats. It went for Barrack Obama with 53%, lower than Prince William’s 57% for Obama but still a solid win.
Yet, this year, like Prince William, Nassau County has gone for a candidate (though by smaller margins) that ran on core Republican principles of cutting government waste, fixing tax problems, and generally efficient government. The same can be said for all of the aforementioned exurban counties, along with the urban county of Fairfax. If Republicans want to win in 2010 and 2012, there’s something to be said for the results in Nassau County and Virginia.
*Nassau went for Clinton in 1992 but just by a slim plurality. 1996 was the first year it went solidly for a Democrat, a trend it has continued since.
Here’s some interesting stories and media about both the aftermath of the 2009 election season. First, the Richmond Times Dispatch on the brilliance of the McDonnell campaign. They note the importance of competence in a campaign. Just how can voters be expected to support someone who can barely manage their own effort to get elected:
The underlying problem for Deeds may have had little to do with strategy and tactics, however; at times the Deeds campaign appeared incompetent. Groups reported great frustration in trying to set up meetings and forums with Deeds. The candidate himself proved inept when working crowds. The Democrats dispatched mediocre surrogates to events where Deeds’ presence was required. Appointments that should have been scheduled in a day or two took several days or more.
The McDonnell effort never faltered. The candidate and his team stayed on message. If someone were to ask aides who would win the Notre Dame game, the snap answer would say, “Bob’s for jobs.” “Honey, what’s for breakfast?” “Bob’s for jobs.” And so on. McDonnell arrived early at breakfasts, lunches, and dinners — and lingered. He did not rehash old stories about setting out for college with $80 in his pocket but would address issues of immediate concern to his audience. He explained the state implications of Obama’s far-out agenda. His staff promptly returned calls and e-mails.
There’s also some commentary on the brilliant handling of the thesis issue, and notes that while Obama may have had some effect, ultimately campaigns matter.
Meanwhile, McDonnell’s ticket mate Ken Cuccinelli is getting to work. Also from the RTD:
Ken Cuccinelli sits at the head of an empty table in a large conference room at the Virginia attorney general’s office in Richmond — a fast-food cheeseburger in one hand and an open binder, thick with office briefings and organizational charts, in front of the other.
He intends to devour both.
As the attorney general-elect, Cuccinelli — a 41-year-old lawyer, fa ther of seven and Republican state senator from Fairfax County — inherits a statewide office formerly occupied by Bob McDonnell, who leveraged the high-profile post into a successful run for governor this fall.
“The first priority really is to get a team in place here that can continue, and we’re always seeking to improve the professional quality of the work done in the AG’s office,” Cuccinelli said.
The article also features praise from, of all people, Ken Willis, state director of the ACLU. It also features some of Ken’s trademark good humor and humility:
McDonnell, who turned the office over to Bill Mims in February to run for governor, said Cuccinelli has good people to work with in his old office.
Said Cuccinelli: “He emphatically told me I was getting a good office, by which he meant very knowledgeable and professional, very capable, doing a good job, even while struggling with the budget.
“He finished with: ‘Don’t screw it up,’” Cuccinelli added. “So I’ll try not to screw it up.”
Finally, via Bearing Drift, comes a remarkable video showing some of the hard work and dedication of people behind the scenes. It also features some heartwarming scenes of the Governor-elect himself being, well, a real person and the good natured, dedicated man that so many of us on the Victory staff were extremely proud to work for.
The Republican Governor’s Association met this week, and although the caucus may be at its nadir, holding only seats, the mood was rather celebratory, given the amazing wins in New Jersey and Virginia. However, although New Jersey was the tougher contest, it was Bob McDonnell and his blow out win that got the rock star treatment. McDonnell was lauded for both his tone:
“The focus should be on bread-and-butter, kitchen-table, quality-of-life issues,” said Robert F. McDonnell, the Republican who was this month elected governor of Virginia, a seat that had been held by a Democrat, and whose victory is being held up as a formula for Republican reconstruction. “I think that really helped us. We ended up with a two-to-one margin with independent voters because of our focus on the economic problems.”
“Looking at President Obama’s campaign last year, he did a phenomenal job using social media, Twitter, text messaging, any number of other things in order to reach people,” McDonnell said.
More than 30,000 supporters signed on as Facebook friends, and McDonnell aides said they worked to he site fresh and responsive to issues.
The campaign also spent 7.5% of its overall media budget on online advertising – a far higher portion than most political campaigns these days.
That included banner ads on Google, ads overlaying YouTube videos, and even a new tactic of targeting voters throughout the day with ads appearing on their screens at work in Washington, D.C., then later that night on their home computers in the suburbs.
“We bought banner ads on virtually every major site with a demographic that we were trying to reach with the independent voters,” McDonnell said. “You couldn’t go to those sites without having a popup with my name on it.”
A less visible piece of the online strategy came in the behind-the-scenes cultivation of conservative blogs, aides said.
A number of conservative blogs have focused on LL Cool J’s classic line “Don’t call it comeback,” but given this advice to the guvs:
“They are going to face Deeds’s problems, where they really have two options going into their re-election: Do they stand with Reid and Pelosi on issues like national health care and appease their base or do they stand with taxpayers in their states unhappy with this plan,” he said.
I think we should be focusing on the title of the song instead. The Govs races are going to take on a much different hue from the congressional races (with the possible exception of California, where conservatives are rallying around Steve Poizner over the media darling ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman), and the RGA is locked and loaded for action.
Bob McDonnell and the rest of the GOP team, along with Speaker Bill Howell and the newly minted RPV Chairman will be flying around the state on Monday, June 1st to show that Republicans are united and ready to spread their pragmatic, conservative message from Strasburg to Tappahannock and from Gate City to Fairfax.
The team will be stopping at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport just a little bit before noon. Make sure to be in the Airport Lobby by 11:45 A.M. so that we call all gather to greet our winning team. To RSVP either click here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in covering this event for a media outlet, please let me know.
Bob McDonnell is up on the air across the state, from Roanoke to Norfolk and from Charlottesville to the tri-cities.
Meanwhile, I’m spending this week getting to know my territory and my unit chairs and settling in to my new digs in Harrisonburg. We’ll have more information on the HQ soon, so be sure to check back soon.
Bob McDonnell stopped by Winchester’s 82nd edition of its Annual Apple Blossom Festival, one of the Commonwealth’s oldest and largest civic festivals. Over a quarter of a million people flock to the city of 30,000 each year for a wide variety of food, tons of events throughout the weekend, and a grand feature parade with over 150 units that is second to none. The festival originated as a celebration of the arrival of blossoms on the thousands of trees that used to cover the area. Although the orchard industry isn’t what it used to be, the city remains proud of what remains its primary agricultural export.
Although Bob was not part of the parade as he no longer holds office, he couldn’t miss a chance to be part of the festivities. This was not his first stop of the day, however, and would not be his last–he left around 3:30, with a fundraiser in Richmond and plans to campaign at the race in Richmond.
I would say that Bob is bar none the hardest working man in this race (Terry McAuliffe may come close, but he seems to work hardest when he’s outside of Virginia). When it comes to spreading his message of prosperity and free enterprise to the people he’s actually running to serve, nobody can outwork Bob McDonnell, who’s already working 18 hours a day.
UPDATE: Krystle has a report from where Bob was earlier yesterday: Delegate Tim Hugo’s kick-off. Goes to show you that Bob is working for Republican victory across the board. He even walked part of the Apple Blossom route with Ann Burkholder, candidate for Commissioner of Revenue in the city.
Despite weathering disingenuous attacks from the Democrats and suffering from a stab in the back from former/soon-to-be-again “Republican” Mike Bloomberg (hey, when you’re Bloomberg rich, you can call yourself whatever you want), Bob McDonnell continues to maintain the momentum in this race. First off, there was last week’s Rasmussen poll, which shows Bob McDonnell leading all three candidates for Governor by double digit margins. What’s more, McDonnell has huge favorable numbers–58% of Virginians have a favorable view of Bob versus just 16% unfavorable. Meanwhile, all of his Democratic opponents have net unfavorables. Indeed, none of the candidates can even crack 40% (mostly due to overall low name ID). Clearly, Bob’s kickoff tour reached out to a wide swath of Virginians.
Last week also saw the release the financial reports from all four campaigns for Governor. VPAP has posted (as always) some really great maps and charts for all the candidates. Bearing Drift has made some interesting notes abot just where the money is coming from:
Looking at the top donors by zip code, Brian Moran’s top ten are all Virginia, while Creigh Deeds is all Virginia but Washington DC in 7th and Bob McDonnell has DC first but all Virginia for the rest of the top ten.
Terry McAuliffe, on the other hand, has only FOUR Virginia zip codes not just in his top ten (three of which are McLean) but these same four are the ONLY four in his top TWENTY FIVE localities.
Long term, Bob McDonnell is not asleep at the wheel and certainly not content to just let the Democrats beat each other up while developing their own statewide operations. His fundraising from throughout the state shows the statewide support and operations he’s pulling and should enable him to set up early and campaign well, even in Northern Virginia.
Something that Bearing Drift did not point is that while 14 of Bob McDonnell’s top 25 zip codes for donors are outside of northern Virginia, just 7 of Brian Moran’s are (no need to even discuss McAuliffe here–most of his aren’t even in Virginia–and Deeds was always going to be the candidate of rural Virginia). McDonnell is showing that he has a strong base all across Virginia, from Shenandoah to the Eastern Shore. It’s a long way to November–but right now, McDonnell has the momentum, and RPV would be foolish to squander it on internecine battles between now and then.