Virginia Gubernatorial Race Results Should Bolster the Grassroots

Tuesday night was pretty bleak for those of us that value freedom and liberty in state governance.  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli mounted a valiant effort against a very well funded Democrat, Terry McAuliffe but fell just short of victory. The final tally shows that Cuccinelli lost by a mere 3 percentage points

Today I’m reading all over that Ken Cuccinelli lost because he was a Tea Party extremist. Really?  While GOP elites and consultants might find that reasoning acceptable, it simply doesn’t check out. CNN exit polling showed Cuccinelli beating McAuliffe 50% to 44% among married men, and 51% to 42% among married women. He also won the coveted 18-24 demographic, by nearly 6 percentage points. 

Cuccinelli was consistently outspent by huge margins, and the DNC ran ads telling every lie in the book on him. Even with those factors against him, not to mention a third party candidate, he still came in a mere 3 points shy of victory.  What does this tell us?  That the voters didn’t find Cuccinelli fringe or extreme at all. 

Via The Federalist:  Yet for all the talk of Tea Party intransigence, the reality is that once the primaries and conventions are over, the sore losers in the bunch tend to all be on the money side, not the grassroots. The conservative base will swallow hard, grit their teeth, and back a moderate against a liberal time and again, just as Tea Party groups backed Mitt Romney and conservatives backed John McCain. But the donors typically find it a lot easier to take their ball and go home.

This wasn’t what the story was supposed to be in Virginia. Today, the Republican donor community is flailing desperately for a narrative to defend their decision to leave Cuccinelli high and dry as something other than a temper tantrum. The story was supposed to be that Terry McAuliffe and Bill Bolling were right: Cuccinelli was too extreme for Virginia, and it was time to get back to nominating the types of candidates they wanted. But Cuccinelli – even without the money, without the support, without the infrastructure – made it a race in the closing days, and now the donor class which said “screw it, I’m out” after the nomination fight played out are straining for excuses.

Cuccinelli lost big in the Northern Virginia precints, losing the DC lobbyists and the consultant class.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing to keep in mind when we’re talking about liberty and candidates who represent real Americans. 

The real story here is of a campaign that was run the old school way: knocking on doors and making phone calls. There was a huge influx of young, energetic activists working for Cuccinelli on the ground. The grassroots is still great at running the groundgame that can close donation gaps and contribute to winning elections.  When Cuccinelli coupled this activism and energy with voter anger over cancelled healthcare insurance, he was able to close a 10 point deficit in the polls.

Via IBD: In the final lap, as more Virginians received cancellation letters from insurers thanks to ObamaCare, Cuccinelli aggressively focused on health care. He pounded McAuliffe for supporting a Democrat law that’s become an unmitigated disaster.

The strategy tightened the race. Exit polls show 53% of Virginia voters opposed ObamaCare, and four in five of them voted for Cuccinelli.

If he took that message to TV, he could have pulled off an upset. But he lacked the money. McAuliffe outspent him 10-to-1 on TV ads. Cuccinelli ran out of funds because the RNC pulled the plug on his campaign on Oct. 1, ironically the day of ObamaCare’s botched launch.

Running against Obamacare is a winning strategy, which is good news for the GOP in 2014.  Many Democrats are up for reelection and Obamacare stinks. It will continue to do so as Americans find out just “what is in the bill”.  More lies will be exposed leaving many Democrats vulnerable in the 2014 midterms.