Friday, June 5, 2009

Will McCaulliffe win in Virginia?

The Virginia democratic primary for Governor is next Tuesday, and by any reasonable standard, one candidate should be winning.

That candidate is Terry McCauliffe. If that name is familiar, it should be. He was a chairman of the DNC during the 1990s. Most recently, he was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. He has more money than his two competitors Brian Moran and or Creigh Deeds because of his many connections. He was endorsed by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer.

And yet McCauliffe is not winning. He is currently trailing State Sen. Deeds by 3% and is just ahead of Moran. There are plenty of undecideds, so McCauliffe can still pull this out. But the question remains, why has he failed to pull away given his advantages?

First, McCauliffe doesn’t really have great ties to the state, especially compared to his competitors. He hasn’t been intimately involved in Virginia politics the way the others have, so his name ID advantage is probably not as great as I might have thought originally.

Also, there might be some perception that McCaullife is another rich guy trying to buy an election. Indeed Deeds remarked during a debate that “We will not be the party of the middle class if the nominee of this party is beholden to Donald Trump and Wall Street interests, or the tainted defense contractors who got millions of earmarks from a brother in Congress”

It will be fascinating to watch the results on Tuesday and see if McCaullife can win this.

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