A week after Election Day 2014, GMU held its usual “After Virginia Votes” event, at which top representatives from the Republican and Democratic U.S. Senate campaigns analyze what happened. In this case, the Mark Warner campaign was represented by senior advisor David Hallock, while the Ed Gillespie campaign was represented by Paul Logan. In general, I found the event to be a snoozefest, almost totally uninformative and lacking in insight. There was, however, an audacious comment by Warner’s rep David Hallock, that had us scratching our heads and wondering if it could possibly be true.
You look at the kind of Republican areas, the rural areas, Senator Warner ran 8-10 points ahead of a traditional Democrat — ahead of Senator Kaine, ahead of Governor McAuliffe in those areas — which is more than the margin of victory at the end of the day.
Of course, this comment is consistent with the Warner campaign’s whole schtick, that he’s a different, speeeecial kind of Democrat, the kind who does much better than a “traditional” kind of Democrat (whatever that means) in rural, “red” areas of Virginia. In the past, specifically 2008, that appears to have been true (although 2008 was a huge Democratic year and Warner was running against a pathetically weak Republican candidate, Jim Gilmore, so take that one with a grain of salt). The question is whether it was STILL true in 2014 for the “radical centrist.”
The day of “After Virginia Votes,” FreeDem addressed that very question here at Blue Virginia. In short, FreeDem found David Hallock’s claim about Warner supposedly running “8-10 points ahead of a traditional Democrat — ahead of Senator Kaine, ahead of Governor McAuliffe in those [rural] areas” to be false. As FreeDem wrote in his analysis, in Southwest Virginia, Warner was “at most running 4.5 percentage points ahead in one county; for the most part Warner was right around the same range as Kaine.” As for Southside Virginia, “Warner didn’t just fail to run eight to ten points ahead of Democrats in Southside Virginia, you can’t even see a trend of him doing better at all than Barack Obama and Tim Kaine.” Bottom line: “once the dust settles, the Warner campaign’s claims of running significantly ahead of Democrats in rural Virginia will come under question and be found lacking in support.”
Which is exactly what happened — nice job by FreeDem! Now, almost two weeks later PolitiFact Virginia has decided to weigh in as well (what took you guys so long?). According to PolitiFact, Hallock – and the Warner camp more broadly – is “flat out wrong” in its 8-10 point claim. To the contrary:
…McAuliffe’s portion of the rural vote, in his 2013 gubernatorial victory, was 3.6 percentage points below Warner’s. Kaine’s slice of the rural vote, in his 2012 Senate win, was 2.4 percentage points above Warner’s.
We rate Hallock’s statement False.
In other words, hate to say “we told you so,” but…we told you so. 🙂
Which kicks the ball back into the Warner camp for: a) an admission that they were wrong; b) maybe even a response to inquiries from the media on this question, which they refused to do for PolitiFact; and/or c) a change in the ridiculous “radical centrist” strategy/schtick, perhaps Mark Warner acting like the “traditional Democrat” (Kaine, McAuliffe, etc.) he appears to hold in such contempt?
On that last point, Warner appears to have gained nothing in the 2014 election by acting like a Republican and by constantly dissing the Democratic “base.” He also appeared to gain nothing politically in rural, “red” parts of Virginia by his pandering to the NRA, the fossil fuel industry, etc. Nor did he appear to gain anything from his obnoxious “both sides,” false equivalence bull****. Despite all that, I’m certainly not holding my breath waiting for Mark Warner to start acting like a proud Democrat, let alone a progressive, anytime soon. How about you?
P.S. Not that he cares about my advice, but for his own good, I’d recommend that Warner get better advisors, people who actually know the numbers and can provide him with accurate information.