( – promoted by lowkell)
by Paul Goldman
If you back out the results from Loudoun County, the primary contest between Senator Mark Herring and former prosecutor Justin Fairfax was essentially a dead heat. In the view of 200-proof politics, strong support from the progressive blogs made the difference for Herring. As a purely technical matter, Fairfax had the better general election “message.” Thus, it wasn’t quite as attractive to the progressive blogs as Herring’s candidacy, whose pitch seemed designed to get their support.
The blogs did for Herring what his campaign did not: provide a certain energy, a certain edge, a certain image of the guy which is not his normal MO. Of the two candidates, Herring comes across as the more laid back. This can be a problem in a low-vote situation against a young, aggressive challenger.
Fairfax did an amazing job of coming from nowhere to near victory in a very short span of political time. Moreover he did it in the face of a solid Herring campaign with a very good direct mail effort. But the Fairfax support demonstrates a certain hunger on the part of Democratic primary voters for a more youthful, forceful style, more in the “prosecutorial” mode which fit Fairfax.
Bottom line here at 200-proof politics: Had the blogs gone for Fairfax, he wins. As 200-proof wrote at the time, Herring’s smartest technical play was getting out front on the so-called “gay rights” issues. He also ran more against Cuccinelli than anyone else in the primaries this year. Again, a smart technical play.
In my view, given their resources, I don’t think the blogs made much difference in the LG’s race when all is said and done. Both candidates had the money to make their case. This was not true in the AG’s race in my view. Herring overcame the Post endorsement. But had he lost the blogs, I think he would have lost.
In the general election, the blogs’ influence will likely be far, far less, as they will tend to “preach” to the choir on each side of the aisle. But in a low-vote primary dominated by high-information political voters, the blogs must be seen as important players.