Saturday, May 31, 2008

GOP Nominates a Cracked Egg

Virginia Republicans nominated Jim Gilmore to run against Mark Warner for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring John Warner. Gilmore is widely considered to have failed as governor, failed as party chair, and he nearly failed at winning the nomination most assumed was his for the taking. In the end he barely squeaked past Delegate Bob Marshall, who is farther to the right (but more honorable) than Gilmore, by a vote of 5,222 to 5,156. According to reports, attendance at the convention was down and there were many empty seats.
The Virginia GOP has been struggling in recent years, losing the governor's mansion twice in a row, what was considered a safe U.S. Senate seat, the Virginia Senate and seats in the House of Delegates. Nominating Jim Gilmore, widely considered the worst modern governor, has the GOP digging deeper in the litter pile. What's that they say: When you find yourself in a ditch, quit digging. Guess Virginia Republicans haven't learned that yet. Cluck cluck.
Gilmore may do well among 6th District voters who, although gradually breaking away from the Republican mindset, still tilt right. Some of them far right. And we can expect a nasty campaign from the Gilmoron camp. Ana Gamonal, a spokeswoman, said he will come out swinging: "We are going to continue to hammer Mark Warner and smoke him out . . . ."
The convention also chose Jeff Frederick as party chair. A delegate, Frederick boasts few accomplishments other than being a right wing firebrand. Guess that was his appeal. The Virginia GOP continues to drift farther from the mainstream. Watch out flat earth wingnuts, you might fall off.
Mark Warner responded by releasing a new ad with a bipartisan and positive message:
Featured in the ad is Rockingham County Sheriff, Don Farley, who is an independent and strong supporter of Warner. Several other prominent Virginians speak up for Warner's common sense governance, including former GOP Senator John Chichester. What's the old joke: when Chichester retired, the average I.Q. among Republican Senators fell by half.
Maybe I'll lay an egg . . . squawk! . . . but here are early predictions from the hen house for this race:
  • Jim Gilmore will engage in a nasty Rovian-style campaign. He'll get nastier as the election approaches. And nastier.
  • Republicans will be divided and many understandably unenthusiastic.
  • Mark Warner will run a positive and bipartisan campaign.
  • Gilmore will carry the 6th District, but by a much smaller margin than Republicans have in recent elections.
  • Gilmore will pull down the Goodlatte campaign. Bobby will be cordial, but keep his distance. Sam Rasoul should be very happy today.
  • At the end of the day on November 4 the statewide totals will be: Mark Warner 57% and Jim Gilmore 43%. Maybe I'm being too conservative??
That's all from the grist mill for today. Peck. Peck.


Sam Rasoul said...

I am sorry to say, but you are wrong on one point.

In 2001, Mark Warner lost the Sixth District by 1 point. That means that he will win the SIXTH by no less than 5 points.

unionman said...

Sam, I agree. The 6th is pretty conservative, but as a life long resident I see change almost everyday.

Belle Rose said...

Thanks Sam for pointing out my goose egg. Hum, maybe I need to increase the margin in my statewide prediction?

Belle Rose said...

A little more popcorn for the discussion about the 6th District:

Sam, you are absolutely right about Warner getting nearly 49% of the vote in 2001 against Earley. A tribute to his rural strategy (us chickens like that). Gilmore got about 60% in 1997. Lots has changed (as unionman said): Gilmore had a failed term as governor while Warner had one of the most successful in modern VA government. That's why he's getting bipartisan support. There have also been demographic and other changes in the district, that the grist mill says favor Democrats, esp a mainstream candidate like Warner (and you, Sam).

In my original spreading of the corn, I was mostly referring to the more recent 06 Senate race where Webb got about 40% and the 05 gubernatorial contest when Kaine got 44%. The point being, that statewide Democratic candidates win if they can get to the 40% range in CD6.

Now, because of his successes, Warner's popularity in the district is higher than it was in 2001 (I can't document this, but scratch around a bit and you can see and feel it). So he may well hit 54-55% in CD6. If so, his statewide totals could top 60%.

We all know there is a lot of split ticket voting, but Warner's popularity and will help you, Sam. And the more voters see the team of G&G, the more they'll be turned off. Sometimes there is a perfect storm that upsets the egg basket. The yoke may well be on Goodlatte and Gilmoron.

kestrel9000 said...

With the current state of the GOP, both nationally and the rPV itself, I feel confident that Warner will mop up the floor with either one of those guys.
Hopefully theyll bruise each other up real good in the primaries.
So much the better.

Clifford Garstang said...

And apparently Frederick has tapped Scott Sayre to be his pointman in the West, another indication that the leadership is taking that party in the wrong direction. Which is good for us!

Belle Rose said...

Too Conservative sums up the Jeff Frederick impact on the VRP Apocalypse Now: Redux. Kind of sums up the GOP heart of darkness, too. He's the 5th chair in as many years - a party in turmoil much like their squabbling offspring here in Augusta. Frederick promised to resign his seat in the House of Delegates if he became chair. We'll have to see if he follows through. If so, good chance of a pick-up for the Dems.