Virginia’s only Republican Governor elected this century was Bob McDonnell.
Let that sink in for a moment.
The only Republican Governor in Virginia elected in the 21st century is known for raising taxes for transportation, transvaginal ultrasounds and being convicted of corruption charges that were overturned by the Supreme Court.
I am one of Bob McDonnell’s biggest supporters. I know him well. I was his Treasurer when he was Delegate. This isn’t about Bob. It’s about everyone else.
Two of the three Democrat winners of our odd-year gubernatorial contests this century sit in the US Senate now. The third, Terry McAuliffe, was a Democratic National chairman before becoming governor.
Many point to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s winning of Virginia in 2008, 2012 and 2016 as when the tide turned the Democrats way, but it seems it was earlier than that.
In the 1990s, Virginia was on a Republican roll. George Allen’s spectacular comeback victory against Mary Sue Terry is the stuff of legend, coming from a 29% polling deficit to win 58%-41%. Then-AG Jim Gilmore followed with a 56-43 win over then LG Don Beyer.
Today, Beyer is in Congress. Gilmore ran for President, and US Senate, losing both.
McDonnell’s 2009 win mirrored Allen’s at 58.6% to Creigh Deeds 41%
Democrat wins have been closer, with Warner and Kaine each winning with 52% and McAuliffe winning with 48%.
Virginia has gone from two US Senate Republicans to two US Senate Democrats, a 1-3 record for Governor since 2000, and having no Republican currently holding at least one of the offices of Governor, Lt. Governor or Attorney General for the first time since 1993. Virginia was reliably Republican for Presidential candidates since Eisenhower, only going Democrat in 1964, until 2008. Three Democrat wins since.
We need to seriously look at 2017 and have a rational discussion about which candidates we send into the general elections this fall, and not many are having this conversation publicly or loudly.
Ed Gillespie, Corey Stewart and Frank Wagner are the Republican candidates for Governor. Glenn Davis, Bryce Reeves and Jill Vogel are the choices for LG. These are the two statewide races being decided on June 13th.
It’s an axiom in politics to never run yesterday’s race, so as tempting as it may be to copy what worked in 2009 and what didn’t in 2013, it still won’t be conclusive. But it is still instructive.
Will our Gov-LG ticket be like a McDonnell-Bolling or a Cuccinelli-Jackson?
AG Mark Herring is in the rare position of running for re-election. Republican John Adams isn’t running against a newcomer. It’s an incumbent with a record and name ID.
None of the three Democrats for LG have ever won an election. All three Republicans for LG have.
Democrats have a tussle between Ralph Northam (as liberal a voting record as you can find) and Tom Perriello (who is channeling Bernie Sanders). Either way, these are no moderate Democrats, despite what the media wants you to believe.
Gillespie, Stewart or Wagner will face no shortage of opposition dollars – the Dems will throw all they have in this race, and you’ll hear the name Trump in Democrat ads more times than anyone will count.
Will we fight harder than they will?
Electoral history over the last few decades has been that we either win big or we lose by a few points. We haven’t been able to win a close one statewide in a long, long while.
Are we ready to win big with big ideas, or campaign around the edges hoping to eek out a stunner?
We better be all in. The Democrats are.