Quite a few surprises happened last night, and I’m still going through the mounds of results, but here are some of the things I think are worth noting early.
1. Loudoun County sweeps: for all the infighting in the LCRC, what they pulled off last night was monumental. They flipped a Democrat controlled Board of Supervisors into a unanimous Republican board (despite having only two incumbents running for re-election), knocked off an incumbent Sheriff, and held every incumbent seat in the county. The only thing the didn’t do well on was in the 87th District, but Prince William County rode into the rescue and provided David Ramadan the margin of victory to win there. Despite what we see on the internet about the LCRC, that committee WORKS. They have a few things to share with the rest of Virginia about how to get members off the couch and out working for candidates, as no other unit came close to performing like these guys. Mark Sell is utterly vindicated by these results, which should calm the flow of electrons substantially if sanity can finally prevail.
2. Incumbency is just as powerful as ever: for all the races that were in play, once again it’s amazing to see how few seats changed hands. In order to knock off an incumbent it takes a flawless campaign started as early as possible, that makes a solid and memorable case explaining why the incumbent needs to be replaced, and where the challenger can make strong inroads into all parts of the district with hard work and a solid army of volunteers. Having a short campaign season due to redistricting only makes it tougher.
3. RPV needs to fire some pollsters: you can’t win a battle with bad intelligence, and it seems the intelligence coming out of Richmond on Senate races was just plain awful. As a result it seems resources were spread out too widely and RPV failed to focus on ensuring the minimum three seats for an absolute majority were set before it widened the net to pick up targets of opportunity. Four years from now the electoral environment will be much more difficult than it was this year and the chances of picking up additional Senate seats then are far lower than it was this cycle. We’re likely to have a four year window with power-sharing in the Senate before Democrats re-take majority control when the wind will most likely be at their backs next time around. More than anyone else, the pollsters are responsible for this.
4. Prince William Board hearts Principi: The next time anyone on the Prince William Board complains about having to deal with the awful Frank Principi, just tell them they’re partly responsible for him still being there. Final campaign finance reports aren’t available yet, but a $500 donation and little if any personal support to help unseat Principi is a testament to non-teamwork when you end a campaign cycle with $20k or more in the bank. Peter Candland won despite this non-support partly because John Stirrup made it his second job to support him, an example current electeds ought to take to heart because without that level of teamwork at some point in the future some Democrat is going to come and eat their lunch and they’ll be all alone to deal with the challenge themselves.
5. Let the Colgan rumors commence: Dems are likely thinking, now that we’ve seen how the newly redrawn 29th District performs, that if they recruit a strong candidate and Colgan works hard to get him or her elected they can survive a special election if Colgan retires and not have the balance of power change in the Senate. 2012 may not the best time for them to try to pull this off, but if Republicans nominate a weak Presidential candidate it seems that the backlash against Obama isn’t something that Democrats can’t overcome even if he’s at the top of the ticket.
6. The Obummer anchor: This was the election cycle to capitalize on anti-Obama sentiment, and the results were very mixed. Either candidates didn’t tap into that sentiment effectively, or that sentiment wasn’t enough to drive voters disgusted with what’s going on in Washington to the polls for state and local candidates. If 2012 candidates for Congress, US Senate and whatever local elections may be happening are going to leverage this, there aren’t many examples from this cycle of how to do this in a general election that they can draw on.
To wrap up, as usual there were some funny things I noticed this cycle readers might appreciate.
If you can imagine R. Lee Ermey recording a get out the vote robo-call, that’s about what PWCRC Vice-Chairman Tom Whitmore’s effort sounded like, just without the threat that if you didn’t vote Whitmore was going to come to your house, tear off your arm, and beat you over the head with it. I wish I had recorded it, as it’s just classic.
Watching Ann Wheeler show up at Sudley precinct to talk with voters was a hoot, as she managed to get collared by one rather long-winded guy and ended up wasting 45 minutes there before giving up on the precinct and moving on. I love it when a Democrat campaign wastes their time.
Advocates for the Rural Crescent continued their perfect losing streak by having their last remaining endorsed candidate lose on Tuesday. With a record like this I can’t see any future candidates being dumb enough to waste their time with this bunch. They’re the kiss of death.
Chuck Colgan actually flew some people in from Canada to work the polls for him yesterday. Kudos for pulling out all the stops on this Chuck, but Canadians working our polls?
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