November 17, 2006

Oh, My God! I Killed Allen!

Jonathan Martin fingers my own county as one of the two prime suspects in the loss of GOP control of the Senate:

When he ran and won against incumbent Sen. Chuck Robb (D.), a Fairfax resident, in 2000, Allen lost the county by a bit over 16,000 votes or about 4 percent. Six years later he lost it by some 65,000 votes and a margin of nearly 60-40 en route to a statewide loss of just over 7,000 votes. Why?

Certainly, Allen’s well-chronicled campaign bumbling had something to do with it. But macaca alone didn’t lose this race for Allen. Fairfax, long a GOP-leaning, upper-middle class hub, is politically and demographically becoming more like its more liberal neighbors, Arlington and Alexandria, as new voters move into the county Since Allen unseated Robb in 2000, GOP deficits in the county have gotten progressively worse. It was about a 26,000-vote difference in the 2001 gubernatorial race, followed by about 34,000 in 2004 between Kerry and President Bush. Then, in last year’s gubernatorial race, over 60,000 voters preferred now-Gov. Tim Kaine (D.) to his Republican opponent.

The Talk, the Walk

“They’re not liberals and they’re not all Democrats,” Virginia Rep. Tom Davis (R.) says of the transplanted voters moving into his Fairfax-based district. In some ways, Davis observes, Republicans had become victims of their own success. “Economic development works,” and these new jobs outside the city have brought a different kind of constituent with them.

They key, Davis says, is “to know how to talk to” what he called this “creative class.” To this end, it was Allen’s good-ole-boy persona that turned off many, Davis argues, not necessarily the senator’s party brand or conservative stands on issues. Davis, himself a moderate, pointed out that his wife, a Fairfax state senator, and neighboring Rep. Frank Wolf (R.), both pro-life, get elected thanks to thousands of moderate suburbanite votes.

I don't understand...I personally went up and down my street on November 7 slashing the tires of anybody who had a Webb sign in their yard!

My personal observation was that Allen's bumbling campaign had everything to do with the loss - what I saw, heard and read simply did not connect with the folks around me. And that connection with the mass of middle-of-the-road voters is what swings the county these days.

Posted by Robert at November 17, 2006 11:29 PM | TrackBack