Thursday, January 21, 2010

Goode vs. Perriello, 2.0

It's been a few days since the bombshell that Virgil Goode may or may not return to politics by running as a Republican or some type of an independent or third party. Or something. He won't confirm or deny practically anything.

But in an interview Monday, Goode would not rule out the possibility of an independent candidacy or that he might later change his mind about the Republican nomination.

“All I’ll say is my statement is the same as it was,” he said.

When asked if he was cracking the door to a possible third-party candidacy, Goode declined to say one way or another.

“My statement is still the same as it was on July 27,” Goode said. “I hope and expect [the GOP will] nominate somebody who has conservative values and beliefs.”
Conservative Tea Party members have asked Goode to consider jumping into the race, believing Goode to be the best candidate to unite the 5th District’s conservative base.

The Danville Register & Bee makes an interesting point that we don't really know why Goode backed out in the first place against Tommy Boy.

Based on rumors I've received from people who were polled during 2009, I feel relatively confident that the NRCC, Goode, or some other Republican affiliate polled the 5th District to look at the baseline numbers for a rematch, and potentially polled other candidates. Yet these numbers have not been released, in stark contrast to internals that were leaked on the Kratovil-Harris rematch in the Maryland 1st. Nor have we seen progressive groups poll the Virginia 5th, unlike their look at the Driehaus-Chabot rematch in the Ohio 1st.

In each of these rematches, which were decided by almost 50-50 votes the first time, the Democrat incumbent is down in the high 30s, a little over a 10 point drop since November of 2008. The Republican candidate is in the low to mid 50s, showing a strong lead early on. That's exactly where you'd want to be in this political climate.

What's fascinating is that these are two totally different districts but show similar splits. The Maryland 1st is very, very, very Republican, which argues that either Kratovil is a very strong Democrat or Harris is a very weak Republican. Or that Driehaus is a really weak Democrat or Chabot is a very strong Republican. Or all four.

So what's this mean for the Fightin' 5th?

I think something came back in that 2009 poll that scared good old Virgil away. The NRCC knows that Tommy Boy's narrow 08 victory will be enough for the pundits and chattering class to keep him at the top of the list of vulnerable Democrats for the entire cycle. They don't need to leak polls to make him look vulnerable.

The truth may be that Tommy Boy is looking stronger than other Democrats like Kratovil and Driehaus. Enough that Virgil was scared away last year.

But now Deeds got his ass kicked around the Old Dominion by Governor McDonnell. The Republicans just Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts. Health care is dead. Democrats are in shambles. I bet everyone is looking a lot weaker than last summer.

So now the race looks easier for Virgil to win.

And Hurt's problems in the Republican primary provide an opening.

If Virgil jumped back in and ran as a Republican Hurt either has to make a case for staying in that's better than his case for the largest tax increase in Virginia's history or bow out. I think Virgil would force out most other candidates in the primary.

But what if Goode ran as a third party?

Then we'd really have a New York 23 on our hands!

Could Goode win?

First, Perriello's probably got a floor around Deeds levels in the district. So let's say around 38%, 39%. Virgil would need to get 40%, 41% to win. Or just under two-thirds of the anti-Perriello vote. A more even split in the anti-Perriello vote would elect Tommy Boy back to Congress.

Could Virgil do it?

If anyone could convince about two-thirds of Republican voters to give up on their own party's nominee and back a third party candidate it would be Virgil.

Stranger things have happened, like a third party candidate finishing second ahead of a Republican in a seat held by the GOP since the Civil War.

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