Evaluating the Virginia Election: Leave No Stone Unturned
Tuesday’s election results keep pouring in. The candidates have been selected, but the implications are multiplying like rabbits. Some are quick to point out the reforms Republicans need to make in order to be elected, others say candidates need more backing, and yet another group maintain that Virginia has an entirely different meaning than money or selection.
The election in Virginia was between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and the state’s Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Heading into election day, McAuliffe was expected to walk away with a fairly easy victory. Instead, he took 47.74 percent of the vote, and 45.25 percent went to Cuccinelli. The flawed candidate theory is up first. Had Republicans in Virginia had a more moderate choice, pundits say, Cuccinelli would not have stood a chance. The New York Times writes that the Virginia Republican Party’s decision to select its candidates by convention, instead of its usual primary process, resulted in the far-right candidates presented to voters at the ballot box.
Mike Murphy, a Republican media strategist, gave his opinion on the process to the paper. “The convention method is political arsenic, pure and simple. It incentivizes our candidates to appeal to the base voters they already get for free, not the swing voters they need.” Phil Cox is also displeased with the convention method because they “by nature, force candidates and campaigns to focus on a very small group of party activists.” Cox is executive director for the Republican Governors Association.
However, depending on whose opinion has been solicited, the method of selection matters less than the support candidates are granted. Senator Lindsey Graham told Politico when there is “an [uneven] playing field, then you get predictable results. The people who want to support a more traditional, Ronald Reagan-like Republican also need to get in the game.”
Former Ohio Republican Representative, Steve LaTourette gave a parallel sentiment to CNN recently. ”There is no moderate counterbalance on the money side,” LaTourette said, ”We’ve been slow to the dance.” LaTourette plans on raising money for incumbent Republicans to fight ultra-conservative challengers in 2014. On this side of the issue, are those who point out that McAuliffe spent $15 million more than Cuccinelli.
Conservative stalwart Charles Krauthammer sounded off on Fox News’ Special Report. “What Obamacare did was it single- handedly — it’s only a slight exaggeration, turned what should have been a landslide into a cliffhanger. Cuccinelli was behind by double digits after the shutdown that really hurt him in Northern Virginia.” Exit polling data from the race indicates that Obamacare did drive people to vote, especially Republicans. Of those polled, 53 percent opposed the health care law, 47 percent supported it. Eighty-nine percent of self-identified Cuccinelli voters strongly opposed it. In another Politico interview, Graham said that, “The Republican Party needs to try to find out what went wrong in Virginia.”
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