Mason Conservative has gotten ahold of some information that smells suspiciously of “inside baseball” that lays out an uncannily accurate picture of the critical State Senate races this election that will decide the majority. Providing a good rundown on the seven top competitive races this cycle, he adds in his “honorable mentions” for what is precisely the list of the most watched (by political insiders) state-wide races this election cycle, with one new addition.
So instead of 10-11 competitive races, we’re now at 12. At this point it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Democrat’s attempts to gerrymander their way into holding on to control of the senate is going to miserably fail, with a strong possibility that the largest swing in party control of the Senate of Virginia is about to happen. Republicans need to hold the 13th and 22nd Districts to stay even at -2, and pick up three for a +1 majority. With this many seats in play, the current political environment, and the rather unusual condition where Republicans have a strong financial edge this cycle, it’s easily possible that Republicans could end up with at least a +4 majority, swinging six seats.
In 2007 Democrats took control of the Senate flipping it from 23 Republicans and 17 Democrats to make it 21 Democrats facing off against 19 Republicans, reversing Republican a majority that was established in 1999 that ended almost 100 years of Democrat control of both houses of the Virginia legislature. Four seats shifting in the Senate is the biggest shift to change a majority we’ve seen since reconstruction ended in Virginia, and with now twelve seats in play and a strong tailwind behind Republicans that has prompted many Democrats to start cutting ties to the increasingly unpopular Barack Obama and his disastrous fiscal and economic policy there’s a strong reason to believe we’re going to break that record.
Significant here is the utterly stark difference between the approval ratings differential between Barack Obama, who is underwater with a temporary -7.5% approval rating gap that will soon head back down towards -13% once the Libya story ages out of the headlines, and Bob McDonnell, who has an approval rating differential of +40%. Obama has been a disaster, while McDonnell is the hero. Democrats can’t allow themselves to be seen with Obama and are openly disavowing themselves of him, while Republican candidates are eager to have the Governor headline their events. There’s no star power behind Democrats, they don’t have a popular headliner, and that leaves them looking empty and alone.
Also significant here is the vast fundraising gap that has suddenly engulfed Democrats, who historically have been ahead in the money game. With almost a 2:1 campaign finance advantage – something almost unheard of in recent history — Republicans have the opportunity to push their message well past the limits Democrats are faced with. Years of austerity campaigns have taught Republicans how to make each dollar count, where Democrats used to lavish funding have habitually blown unbelievable sums on consultants that delivered little benefit, field directors that accomplished little, and bloated staffs. When Republicans were winning despite a 2:3 funding disadvantage earlier, they did it by being very smart about how they spent money. That same austerity spending where bang-for-the-buck was paramount is going to match up very well against the way Democrats typically waste campaign funds in unconscionable ways.
Perhaps the clincher here is the age gap. Democrats outside of a few of their liberal strongholds have done an utterly horrid job of building a competent bench that could last. They beg Chuck Colgan, who is now 84 years old, to continue to run because they have no one who could possibly run in his district and win, and they’re doing nothing to groom a replacement for him. Toddy Puller is so frail and infirm she can’t possibly knock doors. Roscoe Reynolds is at retirement age, and Democrats have no one who they could run for that district after he’s done. At the same time Colgan’s opponent Tom Gordy, Puller’s opponent Jeff Frederick, and Reynold’s opponent Bill Stanley are all young, energetic, and have political futures that could easily last a few decades into the future. The implosion of Democrat Senators in some of these swing districts is inevitable, and they have scarcely anyone ready to pick up the baton once the incumbents fall. Democrats built their future in the Senate solely on establishing and maintaining seniority, and without balancing that with a steady supply of new blood ready to take charge, it’s a very short-term way to build power.
What is the Senate going to look like when the Dick Saslaw is kicked out of the majority leader’s spot? First, Chuck Colgan is going to retire if he survives this election. Being in the minority isn’t going to be any fun. PWC Democrats are in the midst of an ill-timed internal power struggle as their actual leadership is starting to step back (actually a sad story, as they really are nice people despite disagreements I might have with them and I wish things were easier for them) leaving incredible uncertainty about candidate recruitment and selection in the coming years. He may well not be the only one, as there are a number of Democrats who if their seat isn’t critical to maintaining a partisan majority are going to find it personally more rewarding to leave the political class rather than get railroaded in Richmond by Republicans in the same way Democrats have done to Republicans since 2007. Payback is going to not be fun for them.
A solid Republican (and more importantly, a conservative) majority will have unprecedented opportunities to address illegal immigration, eminent domain reform, restructuring entitlement spending and finally allowing reforms such as better charter school laws, castle doctrine, and putting an end to the foolish idea that the solution to every problem is to grow government and seize more wealth from taxpayers.
Nothing would have more impact on Virginia at any level than changing the majority in the Senate, and as the election approaches it seems more and more that Republicans will not only take control, but do so in a historically decisive wave. Every tidbit of information coming out during these last few weeks confirms it.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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