If Republicans were ever going to take out Rep. Jim Moran, this should’ve been their year. A fired-up Republican base. Independents leaning GOP. A Congressman who’s been in office for 20 years facing an ethics issue. In a year when longtime Democrats like Rick Boucher & Jim Oberstar went down, Moran’s seat would seem tailor-made for a takeover attempt.
And it’s not all that hard to envision a path to a win. Nominate a candidate who’s fiscally conservative but moderate on social issues & calls Teddy Roosevelt their favorite Republican. Maybe someone from the western part of the district who could use geographic differences (i.e. I66 widening) as a wedge. Make the campaign an explicit referendum on the ethics issue & drop lots of soft references to Moran’s tenure & age.
So what do 8th district Republicans do? Nominate an extremely socially conservative candidate with no ties to any part of the district. His big attack? That Jim Moran hates the military.
Wait … I thought the ethics issue was about how Moran was too closely tied to military contractors? Now you’re not just distracting from your best avenue of attack — you’re actively contradicting it. And you’re creating an open microphone to let
Bartlet be Bartlet Moran be Moran — going on every news outlet who’ll have him to vigorously refute the attacks, proving he’s got no shortage of energy to fight for the 8th district. Brilliant.