The Virginia governor’s race ended up being a photo finish, even though Ken Cuccinelli was largely left to fend for himself by the elitists in the Republican establishment in battleground Virginia.
Where were American Crossroads and the other well-funded outside groups? Where was the Republican National Committee? Where were all the wealthy donors who supported Mitt Romney and Bob McDonnell? Where was the all hands on deck approach for an election as critical as this one?
In the month of October, it was nowhere to be found, and the sitting Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia was left to twist in the wind against a torrent of negative attacks from a united Democrat Party and a long list of liberal outside groups, led by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer.
Conservatives will use what happened to Ken Cuccinelli this week as our “Remember the Alamo” moment. The Republican establishment, fresh off a victory in New Jersey, was ready to dance on Ken Cuccinelli’s political grave. Little did they know that Terry McAuliffe would barely squeak out victory: 47.97 percent to 45.48 percent. Some conservative leaders believe it looks as though they wanted Cuccinelli to lose big.
Just three weeks ago, Terry McAuliffe was leading in the Virginia Governor’s race (supposedly) by 17 points. On average, polls showed a lead of 8 points. Polling firms were unable to capture just how damaging Obamacare would be to Terry McAuliffe over the past two weeks. Make no mistake about it – Obamacare is toxic. So now those in the media and in the political class need to ask some hard questions.
What if Terry McAuliffe didn’t outspend Ken Cuccinelli on television 25 to 1 in one week and 4 to 1 for the entire month of October? Those of you unlucky enough to own a television in Northern Virginia watched the Terry McAuliffe Show, complete with attacks on Ken Cuccinelli’s values. Those attacks were left unanswered, especially in voter-rich Northern Virginia.
What if the RNC spent the same $9 million it spent in electing Bob McDonnell, instead of the $3 million they spent on Cuccinelli? According to the Washington Post, financial support from national Republican sources stopped around October 1. The Republican Governors Association also had the opportunity to redirect funds from New Jersey but declined. These moves were more about supporting the failed status quo than electing a real change agent.
What if House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s former Chief of Staff Boyd Marcus did not join the McAuliffe campaign after Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling bowed out and never endorsed Ken Cuccinelli? In addition to sore-losers like Bolling, other GOP establishment members who joined McAuliffe were former RNC finance chairman Dwight Schar, GOP “strategist” Judy Ford Wason, and former Virginia Sen. John Chichester. For all of their previous good work, now their legacy is electing Terry McAuliffe and what will be put in place in Richmond for 2016. It will not be forgotten.
Last year, Mitt Romney was not my first choice for President in the Republican primary. His nomination took away our ability to have a national referendum on Obamacare. But when it became apparent he would be the nominee, I supported him with all of my might and helped rally conservatives to the cause of defeating President Barack Obama. I fielded countless calls from Republican establishment types asking to help the campaign. I obliged. However, when I tried to talk to them about Ken Cuccinelli, my pleas fell on deaf ears. Let’s call it the establishment double standard.
The 2013 governor’s race in Virginia will have lasting effects in the years ahead, especially when it comes to 2016. By not playing for keeps in Virginia for Cuccinelli, the Republican Party forfeited a significant beachhead to Hillary Clinton. When Governor McAuliffe hands Hillary Clinton Virginia’s 13 electoral votes three years from now, my friends in the establishment need not ask why.