“Hey, wait a minute! Ken wasn’t on the ballot in the 10th. He wasn’t even a write-in!”
Yes, I know that. But he still won. And not only won, he absolutely crushed, and not only in the 10th District.
This year’s party elections were sort of like one of those reward challenges in the television show “Survivor” where players get to eliminate each other if they win a round in a contest, and where at the end everyone gets to see who is at the top of the game, and who’s going home next. If we disregard what Ron Paul supporters are doing in congressional district conventions this year for a moment, what we’re seeing is a matchup between Bill Bolling (and Mitt Romney) and Ken Cuccinelli. Both sides have endorsed slates of candidates and in the 10th the battle wasn’t even close. The Mitt Romney/Bill Bolling slate got absolutely thumped. Ken now owns the 10th Congressional District.
John Whitbeck utterly trounced Anna Lee 81-19%. Anna Lee and the rest of her group of former Jim Rich acolytes are firmly in the Bill Bolling camp and while the Romney/Bolling team didn’t publicly get involved in this particular race, behind the scenes they were working pretty hard for Anna Lee. What an unfortunate choice of a standard-bearer, as Lee’s abysmal performance here makes the Bolling/Romney team look utterly impotent. That’s not only good for Ken, but it suggests that the level of drama emanating from this camp is going to abate significantly. No matter what they do, they lose.
Oh, and by the way, ding-dong. The witch is gone. At least for a while.
State Central was next on the ballot, with the Cuccinelli ticket trouncing again with Eve Gleason (KC’s former legislative aide) getting 789 weighted votes, Mark Berg getting 785 and Kay Gunter getting 676. The next highest vote getter pulled in only 277 delegate votes, less than half of the haul of the lowest Cuccinelli slate candidate. National convention delegates shook out pretty close to the same way, with Jo Thornburn, Erin Smith and Howie Lind (delegates) and Jim Huber, Phil Griffin and John Stirrup (alternates) cruising to easy victories over Bolling/Rmoney (oops, did I spell that wrong?) candidates such as JoAnn Chase. Despite being endorsed by both Cuccinelli and Bolling camps, John Stirrup ended up at near the bottom of the list which suggests that the Bolling/Romney endorsement was more of a hindrance to his chances than a help. Griffin was also a Romney endorsee and was at the bottom. Here the Romney team made some inroads, but national convention delegates don’t have any impact on statewide races.
For elector, Cuccinelli candidate Mark Sell got 71% of the vote in a four-way race over Bobbie Kilberg, a Romney slate candidate. This isn’t just victory for Cuccinelli, this is an utter disaster for Bill Bolling and raises some serious questions about whether it even makes sense for him to continue his run for Governor at this point. Not only are these landslide sweeps indications for the awesome power of his campaign among activist Republicans, but they will deliver the State Central Committee and like a strong portion of RPV’s executive committee into Ken’s hands. Although RPV can’t do all that much to ensure you win as a candidate, they sure can make it a lot easier for you to lose.
Elsewhere, Ken won big in the 1st District, took the chairmanship of the 11th District this weekend in an upset, and spent today personally down in the 5th District making sure things went his way there. I hear plenty of indications that Ken has either won in other district races this year or will be able to forge coalitions with Ron Paul supporters to control most of the others. RPV previously became an appendage of Bob McDonnell after McDonnell became the clear frontrunner in the Governor’s race. Now, it has become a Cuccinelli army not because Ken has won, but as the leading wave of the grassroots effort that will make him win.
Howie Lind deserves a big shout-out here for not only doing a great job building the 10th District as a powerhouse (attendance at the 10th Convention was at least twice as big as the turnout in the 1st District where there was a motivating throw-the-bums-out dynamic driving attendance) but ensuring his ideological successor took the reins after he stepped down. In the 1st District they threw out the incumbent Chairman. Same in the 11th. When what you build survives after you’ve stepped aside as chairman, that’s a huge and rather rare victory. Congrats on a very successful tenure Chairman Lind, and I look forward to seeing your talents applied in a role with greater responsibility and impact as soon as there’s an opening.
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