(UPDATE: Robert Hurt, pathetic until the end. He can’t be serious – can he?!? – promoted by lowkell)
Obviously, on a national scale it looks pretty grim for Democrats tomorrow. The conventional wisdom is that Democrats will lose the House, but keep the Senate. While I hope for a different result in the House, and think there are a few data points that could be argued to lead one to that result (such as early voting data), the fact is that the overwhelming amount of information at this point clearly supports the conventional wisdom, although people can differ over the magnitude of the coming losses.
So, as I consider the range of possible results tomorrow, I am resigned to Democrats losing the House, possibly by a large margin, and if Democrats by some miracle keep the House, I will be happy indeed.
On the other hand, if Democrats lose the Senate, then the election will go from being a disaster to being an unmitigated disaster.
Closer to home, however, I see the prospects for Tom Perriello as significantly more hopeful than that of Democrats nationally. Given the fifth district’s historical voting record, this seems somewhat backward – one would think in a wave election that a strong +R district like VA-05 would see 60% of the vote going for the GOP candidate, like Virgil Goode would win.
And yet, even as Perriello is facing the same difficult headwinds that other Democrats in swing districts are facing, and even as Perriello has been the focus of a vicious and sustained GOP and Conservative smear campaign almost from the moment he was elected, the fact is that he is still standing with a clear shot at victory.
(more on flip)
The biggest factor in this is the comparison of the two candidates themselves. Perriello has been an effective Congressman for the district. He is hardworking, honest, intelligent, thoughtful, and attentive to constituents. At some level, doing your job well ought to equal reelection.
Hurt, in comparison, has been disingenuous and dishonest throughout this campaign. He has no program or platform. He has refused to respond to reasonable questions. He has not been an appealing candidate. He has a record of raising taxes. While Perriello is the incumbent, Hurt is the lifetime politician, and these have all hurt him.
So, what is the scenario for a Perriello victory? Three things: Turnout, turnout and turnout.
Here are the factors that suggest we could see the turnout Perriello needs for a win tomorrow.
– Perriello has run a great campaign;
– Perriello destroyed Hurt in the debates. I understand that Hurt partisans saw their man as winning, but anyone who was undecided did not;
– Perriello was successfully able to define Hurt as supporting policies that would result in job outsourcing, and that his campaign was financed by interests outside the district;
– Polls show Hurt is up a few points, but they also clearly show that the race is moving Perriello’s was as Democrats are becoming more engaged;
– President Obama’s visit rallied the Democratic base around C’ville;
– Perriello has a great ground game to get out his voters;
I do believe Democrats in this district are highly motivated to come out for Perriello, and we should be. Here is a quick personal story.
My Mother-in-law, who is 83, had to go into the hospital yesterday. She will be okay, but she called me today to say, “I want to vote.”
Now, over 30+ years, I’ve never know my mother-in-law to be at all political. In fact, I don’t think I have ever had a meaningful political discussion with her (though I am sure she is a Democrat). So, I was pretty impressed that voting was important enough to her to ask me to help her out, and to me is evidence that, contrary to what is showing up in the polls, Democrats are highly motivated.
Unfortunately as it turns out, I called the Board of Elections to see what needed to be done for her to vote from the hospital, and as it turns out the hoops one has to jump through and the applicable deadlines to get an absentee ballot under these circumstances so close to Election Day proved too daunting, so it will be one less vote for Perriello.
Well, at least I think it means one less vote for Perriello. In 2000, my mother-in-law lived in Palm Beach County, so it’s even money that even if I did get her the absentee ballot that she would have cast her vote for Pat Buchanan.