While the 2nd Congressional District establishment candidate sits back and anticpates victory Tuesday, his opponents make every effort to attract voters at the margin. This Republican primary features two retired military flag grade officers, each trying to out Curtis LeMay each other. Only one of the six candidates hasn’t “served.”
Yesterday was a bit telling outside the weekly Virginia Beach Republican breakfast meeting. Apparently only one candidate’s campaign considers the battle within the party still joined. The local committee chose a subject less controversial by featuring Philip Shucet (President/CEO of Hampton Roads Transit) inside. Good there is so much military experience among the aspiring nominees because this group crossed the Rubicon long ago in this campaign. Most of the others are focusing on supporters variously aligned with the local taxpayer alliance, libertarians, and/or tea partiers. And all of them, bar one, have spent much of the campaign trying to close with and destroy Scott Rigell, the McDonnell candidate. Meanwhile the committee’s last chair, Kenny Golden has parted their company to run as an independent.
Bert Mizusawa has released a bevy of negative ads focusing on Rigell, prominently featuring the metamorphisis of rationalization offered for his donation to President Obama’s campaign; from inspired by the campaign to trying to defeat Hillary. Ben Loyola has claimed the mantle of fiscal conservative, signing a no tax pledge and receiving the endorsement of the local tea party. The others are curious in their own right. It should be interesting to review the campaign finance reports on each and every one. Ed Maulbeck told Tony Macrini last week that the contributions have been flowing in of late; that to now there had been people “stuffing money in his pockets,” but he had not made a concerted effort to raise funds. The one candidate that hasn’t connected with the outliers is Jessica Sandlin whose resume actually seems to embody the much vaunted Republican “family values.”
What is certain is that come Tuesday night, the Republican nominee will be damaged goods. Scott Rigell’s campaign has been smart to avoid joining the fray. It has focused on his professional and personal accomplishments and the support of Bob McDonnell. But for most, bridges have been burned come a Rigell victory. And fuel will be added to the fire over the next two days. Tuesday night, the strident and motivated “conservatives” will not have a champion; or, Congressman Nye will face an opponent who stands at the fringe of electability.