When the facts are considered in the slim victory that terribly flawed Democrat Terry McAuliffe had against Ken Cuccinelli, it’s hard to deny the conclusion that the Republican party decided it was better to abandon Virginia to the Democrat party than to allow the Tea Party and social conservatives to win.
- The Republican National Committee spent three times as much in 2009 on the same race as they did this year.
- The Chamber of Commerce spent one million dollars in the last Governor’s race, and not one dime on Cuccinelli.
- While it’s often claimed that Tea Party candidates do poorly among independents, Cuccinelli actually won independents by 9 points, 47 percent to 38 percent.
- “McAuliffe outraised Cuccinelli by almost $15 million,” and in the last weeks of the campaign, this left Cuccinelli with nearly no media exposure.
- Even Politico wonders if Cuccinelli was beginning to turn the tide against the “War on Women” narrative, as he drove down McAuliffe’s lead among women from 24% in polling to 9%.
In the last month, Cuccinelli’s claim that the election was a referendum on Obamacare started closing the gap for him – the continuing debacle of Obama’s signature legislation was taking its toll on his opponent. But ultimately, he couldn’t close the gap without help.
Help that disappeared in the last weeks of the campaign, and could have pushed him over the top.
Finally, a libertarian third party candidate served as a spoiler, stealing a fair percentage of votes away from Cuccinelli, and diluting the conservative message.
To be sure, there were some missteps in the Cuccinelli camp, but the final results show that this could have been a win for Republicans, and the loss was due in no small part to the reticence of the national Republican party to support a social conservative.
If the Republican establishment had thought it important enough to carry Virginia into the “R” column instead of using the loss as a cudgel to beat the grassroots Tea Party insurgent movement, perhaps it would have devoted more resources towards winning this crucial election.
Instead, we’ll continue to hear how “extremist” conservatives can’t win elections, while they praise the Obama-hugging moderates like Chris Christie.