Winners and Losers: Virginia 2010 Primary Edition

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    Here are a few “winners” and “losers” from last night. This list is certainly not comprehensive, so feel free to add your own in the comments section!

    Winners

    Gerry Connolly: He gets to face the same opponent – Keith Fimian – he defeated easily (55%-43%) in 2008. That doesn’t guarantee him victory in this wild and crazy election year, but Team Connolly has got to be happy right about now that they don’t have to face Pat Herrity this fall.

    Vincent Harris: The Too Conservative blogger and political consultant took a lot of crap for his (paid) support for Keith Fimian, but in the end Vince laughed last, as Fimian won easily (56%-44%) over Pat Herrity last night for the 11th CD Republican nomination.

    Jim Moran: As The Green Miles wrote last night, “Whenever VA08 Republicans are posed with a choice between a candidate voters might actually like and the candidate who most rabidly espouses radical hard right ideology, they choose Teh Crazy every time.” Last night, “Teh Crazy” was purist conservative Patrick Murray, who defeated “progressive” Republican Matthew Berry 52%-48%. The only question now for November is Jim Moran’s margin of victory.

    UPDATE: Norm Leahy points out that Eric Cantor was a big “winner” last night. Unfortunately.

    Mixed

    Scott Rigell and Glenn Nye: In the 2nd CD, wealthy used-car salesman (and former Barack Obama donor) Scott Rigell won the Republican nomination to face Glenn Nye this fall. However, Rigell only received 39.55% of the vote, not particularly impressive. Also, there’s a third-party, conservative candidate in this race, Kenny Golden.  If Golden can pick 5 or 10 percentage points among all those conservatives who didn’t support Rigell last night, it could boost Nye to victory in November.

    Chris LaCivita: His candidate this cycle, State Senator Robert Hurt, cruised to the Republican nomination in the 5th CD. On the downside, Hurt received under 50% of the vote and will likely face a conservative, third-party challenger (or two) in addition to Rep. Tom Perriello this fall.

    Losers

    2nd CD Tea Party: Their endorsed candidate, Ben Loyola, received just 26.6% of the vote last night, losing handily to establishment candidate (and former Barack Obama donor and “Cash for Clunkers” recipient) Scott Rigell. Then, as Bearing Drift reports, the fun really began, as the Hampton Roads Tea Party Chair called the bottom three candidates – Scott Taylor, Ed Maulbeck and Jessica Sandlin – “selfish” for not dropping out and throwing their support to Loyola. Way to unify the party heading into the General Election!

    5th CD Tea Party: Couldn’t coalesce around a single candidate to challenge Robert Hurt, but instead had 6 – count’em! – candidates to splinter the vote among themselves.  The predictable end result, as most of us have been predicting for months now, was Hurt winning easily over the crowded Tea Party field. Is this disorganization and lack of discipline the Achilles Heel of the Tea Party movement, just as with many other movements?

    “Joe” the “Plumber”: The candidate he endorsed, Laurence Verga, received a grand total of 802 votes (2.27% of the total) in the 5th CD Republican primary. It appears the “plumber” just got flushed (or clogged, I can’t decide on the metaphor here).

    Krystal Ball: Her only real hope of winning this November was to have Catherine “Bullet Box” Crabill as the Republican nominee or at least as a third-party protest candidate. At the minimum, a poor showing last night by Rep. Rob Wittman would have been encouraging news for Ball. Instead, we saw Wittman annihilate Crabill and cruise to an impressive victory.  Bummer for Ball.

    • Tom

      Obviously, he didn’t have the money to compete with Fimian and couldn’t beat back the negative attacks from Fimian’s (largely self-financed) ads so Pat’s loss (about the same % of Fimian’s 2008 loss to Gerry) isn’t so surprising.

      But I think what makes Herrity’s loss more significant is that having (barely) lost to Bulova in the FFX BOCS Supervisor race and now a resounding defeat in the primary brands him as a two-time loser. That is a tough label to overcome for any future ambitions, so I’d say Pat was one of the big losers.

      More broadly, I think the Fairfax County Republican Party comes out of yesterday’s primary as a big loser because they could not bring themselves to support a less extreme right wing candidate. They now have very little appeal for the non-aligned independents or even moderate R-leaning voters in FFX and the 11th CD in general, and the same can be said about PWC.

      As soon as Gerry opens his campaign office in Gainesville (my best guess is probably early July), and with James Walkinshaw taking a leave of absence from his Chief of Staff position to run Gerry’s campaign, I’d say PWC Dems. are big winners also because we have lots of ammo to help us with recruiting volunteers.

                              T.C.

    • Jim Webb Dem

      A little early to tell I think.

      Crabill is an unguided missile and could rabble rouse for an independent ticket.

      Ultimately Krystal …. who is a great advertisement for the Democratic Party in general (think younger Susan Mariner) has to run toward the major demographic that shapes the 1st CD … namely Soccer Moms. A tough, tough Congressional District for sure but women have special cross over appeal if you can get / pay for the advertisement.

      Krystal is a smart, articulate candidate …. and a breath of fresh air. I would have rated the outcome of the primary last night as a neutral for Krystal Ball.

    • scott_r

      So, I’m curious: VA doesn’t require a runoff?  Is this just for primaries?  I’m not up on the election law!

      Also: who is likely to stage a 3rd party run against Hurt & Periello?  Verga & Morton are wacky enough, but insignificant; McPadden, McKelvey and Boyd seem smart enough to not split the right vote.  One GOPer I know suggests that they’d (the Tea Party) rather play spoiler and keep out a mainstream GOPer (who they know they won’t be able to unseat if he wins in Nov) this round and have another shot at Periello with a sufficiently “pure” candidate in ’12.  

      I don’t think Hurt is well-know in the 5th, outside of Pittsylvania and the immediate surrounding counties.  

    • While I agree that the immediate impact is hard for Krystal, her win was always a long shot.  We always knew that.  However, her campaign and energy has been a real bright spot for Democrats in Virginia.  She’s building a voter book, donor list, and helping set the agenda in an area that we have too long overlooked.  That’s all good stuff.

      In a time where many of us have sort of felt that the Democrats in Virginia have been treading water (at best) Krystal’s candidacy has already been a big winner in moving us forward!

    • Colston Newton

      Re: Soccer moms in the district…uh, uh…softball moms.

      Without a third party vote splitter, Wittman’s a lock, mainly because he is a genuinely good man, agree with him or not.