The Conversation

Former RNC Chair: Party Clearly Favored Christie Over Cuccinelli

Republican Jim Gilmore knows a little something about Virginia politics. He was governor of the Old Dominion from 1998-2002. 

He also is very familiar with the inner-workings of the Republican National Committee having served as the party's chairman from 2001-02. 

Appearing Wednesday on WMAL's "Mornings on the Mall," Gilmore was asked about the level of support the RNC gave the Ken Cuccinelli campaign: 

"It's pretty obvious the party felt like they wanted to be up there with Governor Christie rather than down here with Ken Cuccinelli...

"I remember the night that I was elected Governor of Virginia (in 1997), the national chairman was down here with me."  

This seems to echo reaction by a Cuccinelli strategist who claimed the RNC had left the campaign "on our own" when they needed them most. 

For their part, the RNC is pushing back against any criticism. They've circulated an email detailing their efforts in both New Jersey and Virginia:  

"In Virginia, we focused especially on improving the voter contact model and utilizing new methods and technology. The lessons we learned will be applied in 2014.

Here’s a look at Virginia:

  • The RNC spent $3 million to support Ken Cuccinelli and the Republican ticket, while building the party’s presence in Virginia.
  • In getting out the vote for Cuccinelli and the Republican ticket, we tested our new precinct-based voter contact model.
  • Precinct Teams, led by Precinct Captains, canvassed neighborhoods using RNC data and new technology.
  • This allowed for a more decentralized approach: individuals could focus on neighborhoods with which they were familiar.
  • By October, we already had twice as many data points as we did at the same point in 2012.
  • We had 50 offices, which was more than 2012.
  • We had 60 staff on the ground, on par with 2012.
  • Our Virginia-based staff included four dedicated to Asian-Pacific American engagement, two for African American engagement, and one for Hispanic engagement.
  • On the communications side, the RNC equipped campaigns with comprehensive communications plans for engaging with minority communities.
  • The RNC ran ads on Korean TV, commissioned a poll of Korean residents and tested targeted digital ads—in addition to other efforts to reach new voters."

Listen to the entire interview here:  



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