November 08, 2005

Virginia Governor's Race Update

It's Kaine, the Democrat, with a nice 50K vote cushion. Ross Potts, the Ross Perot of the race, will cost Kilgore @1.5%, but not enough to make the overall difference.

What does this mean?

1. This is big time news for Mark Warner's presidential ambitions. This is Warner's reelection, in a state where the governor cannot serve consecutive terms. Warner's popularity is up around 80% for a variety of reasons (including but not limited to getting Virginia Tech into the ACC).

Here's why Warner is bad nooz for Republicans in 2008: he's rich, so can self finance, but made his money the old fashioned way (telecom auctions), so can't be tagged with the silver spoon. He's telegenic in a very dorky sort of way, but after the last two presidential elections America just might be ready for a Dork as president.

Most of all, he can win--big time--in a very Red State, by appealing across party lines focusing on issues of governance: The Dork who can Govern isn't exactly "Tippacanoe and Tyler Too" but it just might be the magic necessary to win.

Last, and most important, he's not tagged by the stench of the Clinton's, and their ability to get Republicans absolutely apoplectic. He's not tied at all into the Deaniac over the cliff crowd, and most of all, he's not part of the Vietnam generation. There's a reason the Democrats have only cracked 50% of the total vote once since the 1968 Riot Convention in Chicago (and that once was the abberation of 1976, where Carter barely won.) And that reason is Vietnam.

The question is whether the Democratic Party is smart and shrewd enough to grasp that opportunity.


What does this mean for Republicans nationally and in the commonwealth? Not much. Kilgore ran a crappy, negative campaign where he never really defined himself with the voters. The Republicans are the majority party in the state, and they need to grow into that in terms of understanding how to govern.

Nationally, it just really doesn't mean that much: since 1989, the Virginians have elected a governor of the opposite party of the president elected the year before. 1988-Bush (R) 41, 1989-Wilder (D); 1992 Clinton (D), 1993-Allen (R); 1996 Clinton (D), 1997 Gilmore (R); 2000 Bush (R) 43, 2001 Warner (D); 2004 Bush (R), 2005 apparently Kaine (D).

Not much of a trend that fits with any of the MSM's "Bush is toast" mantra.

Yips! from Robbo: Ladies and Gentlemen, I have absolutely, positively nothing to add to this. But one thought occurs to me - what are the odds of an all-Virginia race in '08, Warner vs. Allen?

Posted by Steve at November 8, 2005 08:48 PM | TrackBack

Hey Buddy:
Saw you in the Channel 13 spotlight last night. Kept waiting for the magic words "mac & cheese" and then realized you were blinking the LB URL in Morse code. Nice work!

Posted by: Chai-rista at November 9, 2005 09:11 AM

Well, we had our natural experiment in Virginia: conservative Reep versus moderate Dem, the Dem wins (Kaine). Conservative Reep versus left Dem, the Reep wins (Bolling). Moderate Reep versus moderate Dem, too close to call Wednesday morning. Kilgore ran a nasty joyless campaign, too, not much to be excited about there.

I think Poisson's win, and Roemmelt coming close, is important for thinking about how to do well in the exurbs - they are not a Reep guarantee. The primary electorate in each party has picked candidates to its liking, and the general electorate has tended to choose the one closest to the center.

Posted by: dave s at November 9, 2005 09:52 AM

Feh. He's 08's Joe Lieberman. He'll be crushed between the Kossacks and Hillary.

Posted by: The Colossus at November 9, 2005 10:09 AM

What, you don't think he's got "Joe-mentum!"???

Seriously, underestimate or discount this guy at our own risk.

Posted by: Steve the LLamabutcher at November 9, 2005 10:20 AM

Warner v Allen in '08 = very interesting campaign. Two successful and popular former governors from a southern state. Makes you wonder if Allen's Senator status might hurt his chances.

Posted by: jen at November 9, 2005 10:38 AM

Yes, but here's the question: We know that the Senate makes a bad incubator for presidential hopefuls, but is that phenom reduced in the case of senators who have also served as governors? I honestly don't know.

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