Virginia’s Winners and Losers

VV lists Virginia’s Winners and losers from Election Night. Did we miss someone? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below:

Winners:

1) Dave Brat – Out performed Eric Cantor last time out (percentage wise) and had more votes than any other Republican congressional candidate in the Commonwealth thanks in part to district but also not messing up a sure thing once he had the nomination.

2) Barbara Comstock – Turned a “competitive race” into a blowout. Ran a flawless campaign (good work, Susan Falconer!), weathered the Clintonites coming to town, handled national attention, focused on the issues, stayed positive. Is she the new leading light among Virginia Republicans?

3) Tim Kaine – Mark Warner’s wounded, Terry McAuliffe is Terry McAuliffe, Herring and Northam are runner ups right now, leaving Tim Kaine as the champion of Democratic statewide office. As Warner struggles, Kaine gains.

4) Virginia’s Republican Delegation – Part of this is the national wave, but Democrats were hoping to challenge Rigell and even Hurt yet neither of those opposition campaigns were able to get off the ground. Hopefully the Republican Reps took the opportunity to work on their networks and ground games for future runs because this was live exercise and 2016 will be different.

5) Ed Gillespie – Mark Warner spent millions trying to define him on an issue that most people don’t even remember. Ed’s within a point and well positioned to have run for another statewide office should he want it, even if he would face a challenge from his right.

6) Republican Party of Virginia – It’s been a rough couple of years for RPV. But a solid operation this year helped assist where it could and was absolutely mistake free. Candidates were helped, volunteers were utilized, operations were perfect.

Push:

1) Mark Warner – For the most popular and highest approval rated elected official to be this close to losing what should have been a safe seat (and without a macaca moment) is something Warner and his entire campaign should be ashamed of. It smacks of arrogance and a complete disregard for the people Warner supposedly represents. But he still won, so he stays out of the loser category.

2) GOP Grassroots vs. Establishment – Both sides came together for the most part to try and beat Mark Warner and help Brat win the 7th and Comstock with 10th. While the battle isn’t over, see what we can do when we work together?

3) Terry McAuliffe – Barely won last year, did nothing too audacious this year to rock the cart one way or another, he’s just there.

4) Ken Cuccinelli – Absent in Virginia. And after a string of primary losses for Senate Conservative Fund, absent across the nation. But lives to fight another day.

5) Bill Bolling – Also absent on the trail, but rooted for the right guys. Overall electorate showing was less than far right which may give Bill hope for a return, but tread carefully…

Losers:

1) John Foust – Turned a “competitive race” into a blowout. One of the worst run campaigns this cycle, wasted millions (including half a million of his own money), and set Democrats in the 10th District back quite a bit. And he lost his own Supervisor district by 6 points, meaning he has to watch his tail next year.

2) Democratic Party of Virginia – These guys were riding pretty high after last year’s sweep. But now? Yikes. Talk about asleep at the wheel. These guys were floundering out the gate, showed no messaging, no real effort, really gave up before the gates opened.

3) 7th District Democratic Committee – Is there one? Yes, this is a red district, but Bob McDonnell owned the headlines most of the summer, Dave Brat was an untested general election candidate, and the best they could do was Jack Trammell and not even a lackluster effort even then. Not that this was winnable, but they could have made Brat (and Gillespie) sweat. And they didn’t.

4) Bob McDonnell – Looking at the Gillespie/Warner numbers, one was to wonder how many points McDonnell’s trial took out of the Republican brand. Even if it was 1%, that’s the difference right now.

5) Arlington County Democrats – A jurisdiction that gave over 70% of its vote to Mark Warner chose a Republican endorsee for County Board of Supervisors. That’s an epic fail. When Ben Tribbett can call you a bunch of out-of-touch elitists, and be right about it, you have a serious problem.

6) “War On Women” – Foust tried it against Comstock, Connolly against Scholte, Democrats across the nation. It didn’t move the needle one bit – actually, it may have pushed it to Republicans.

7) Polls – From Cantor’s primary loss to Gillespie’s close race to Comstock’s blowout of Foust, no polling saw any of that coming. Turnout models were junk, methodology was questionable, and the public is quickly seeing polls as what they are: not true measures of public sentiment but as tools to create said sentiment.


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