You may have noticed recently noticed that Ken Cuccinelli’s going around claiming to be a great “closer” in elections (also note that Tom Davis really tarnished himself as a political analyst by repeating this nonsense). As is often the case with Republican myths, the reality tells a completely different story. In fact, in Cuccinelli’s last real race (not counting 2009, when he was swept in at the bottom of a ticket with Bob McDonnell, in the Tea Party “wave” election tsunami over Creigh Deeds), he started off with as the incumbent with a lead (UPDATE – of 4 points in July 2007) over Janet Oleszek (both in the polls and in terms of $$$), then saw that lead shrink to 3 points (in Oleszek’s internal poll in late September, so it’s possible Cuccinelli’s lead was, if anything, bigger than that) with just a few weeks to go until Election Day (see image #1 below):
As if that’s not bad enough, Cuccinelli then blew even his 3-point lead, almost COMPLETELY collapsing and ending up in a RECOUNT with Oleszek, barely eking out the race in the end by just 92 votes (0.25 percentage points; see image #2 below). That’s right, not only was Cuccinelli NOT the great “closer” he fancies himself to be, he was the exact opposite – an incumbent politician who came very, very close to blowing a race that he led the entire way.
I chatted with Del. Scott Surovell, who is very well aware of what went on in the Cuccinelli-Oleszek 2007 race, as he was a top leader in the Fairfax County Democratic Committee at that time; and also litigated the recount in that election. According to Surovell, Cuccinelli absolutely was not – repeat, NOT! – a great “closer” in that race. Surovell adds:
Ken has been a one trick pony his entire political career. He focuses on the anti-tax, anti-abortion, anti-immigrant wing of the party. You might be able to get away with that in an off-off year state senate election, but you can’t win a statewide election that way.
I chatted with another leading Virginia Democratic politico this morning. His take was that the Cuccinelli folks are simply saying whatever they think people want to hear, such as that Cooch is a great “closer,” ergo that there’s still hope so get out and vote! LaCivita and Company apparently believe that their best (only) shot is to drive up their base numbers and win over the Sarvis voters. But that is almost certainly not going to happen. Their base is motivated, but isn’t big enough as long as Democrats get the turnout we should get. Of course, it could just be that the GOP game plan at this point is to simply try and save Obenshain, as the last hope of avoiding a Democratic sweep on Tuesday. Let’s make damn sure THAT strategy doesn’t work either.
Bottom line: when Ken Cuccinelli or his surrogates talk about what a great “closer” he is, reporters should ask them what they’re basing that on, rather than mindlessly repeat the self-serving falsehood. In fact, as the numbers show, the 2007 election proves the exact opposite, and 2009 proves absolutely nothing except that Cooch is capable of being swept along with a gazillion other Republicans in a Tea Party tsunami. Other than that, the legend of Cooch as a great “closer” is all in his “reality is whatever I make it” mind.