The question on everyone’s mind seems to be not whether Jeanette Rishell stands a chance to unseat Delegate Jackson Miller (she doesn’t), but why in the world she would try. Two years ago she got thumped by over twenty points in a campaign that was a complete embarassment to her and other Democrats in the area. Then came Obama and his whirlwind of “hope and change”, which apparently blew just enough hopey-changey air up Rishell’s skirts to make her think that if she could just bring those Obama voters to the polls a year later, she could win. Well, that hasn’t quite worked out.
While Obama’s policies haven’t quite appealed to the electorate the way his candidacy for president did a year ago, the new voters Obama brought to the polls look like a one-time event generated by Obama’s personal charisma and the historic nature of his candidacy. Polls indicate that about ninety-five percent of those voters that gave Obama the edge in Northern Virginia aren’t going to the polls this election. They understandably aren’t excited about this election or anyone running in it, the Obama dynamic has evaporated, and Rishell’s faint hope of capitalizing on those voters has withered.
Rishell’s targeted efforts aim at this demographic — ALL of her mail is going to either voters identified by the Obama campaign, or predictable Democrat voters. That has limited her election efforts to a demographic that simply isn’t going to vote on November 3rd. She threw away the persuadable independents and all potential Republican voters, focusing on the Obama list, and as a result when you drive around the district there are virtually no yard signs for the Rishell campaign. It appears that the Deeds campaign and the rest of the state-wide Democrats are doing the same as well, leaving Republicans to actually mount a campaign while Democrats plead with infrequent voters that Rishell and Deeds are as equally engaging as Barack Obama. Obama’s coat-tails evaporated long ago, but Democrats are dedicated to chasing them, and dedicated to that alone. It’s a strategy utterly doomed to fail.
Meanwhile a very different dynamic is working to the benefit of Delegate Jackson Miller. The Obama-Pelosi-Reid policies have enraged a substantial segment of the electorate and even gotten voters who typically might not participate in a non-federal election pretty strongly engaged. While some of conservatives who didn’t particularly care for John McCain last year sat out that election or dedicated a lot less energy to it than they otherwise might have, they’re pretty dedicated this time to get to the polls, particularly because of the dynamics at the top of the ticket. When they do, their utter contempt of Jeneatte Rishell will show through. Independents like Jackson Miller as well and have been getting mail from him, whereas a lot of them haven’t heard a peep from Rishell. Only one political party is actually mounting a campaign here.
Rishell’s typical campaign blunders don’t help her much. This year we’ve seen her make some pretty poor staffing decisions, hand out flyers claiming endorsements she doesn’t have, and make some pretty nonsensical statements about being both pro-business and pro-union. Her campaign gaffes haven’t risen to the level of absolute insanity that characterized the 2007 election, but they do reinforce people’s memories about that race and the conclusion of many voters came to two years ago, that Rishell is simply untrustworthy and unqualified.
This should be another walk for Delegate Jackson Miller, although the margin of victory might not reach the same twenty points from the last time this kabuki dance was performed. Look for Jackson to take Rishell by about fifteen points, and let’s all hope we won’t have to deal with this utterly out-of-touch far-left fringe ideologue as a candidate again.
That’s change we can hope for.
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