Sunday, February 28, 2010

Explaining VA-05, Part II: The Republicans

What better time to talk about the difference between the Republicans in the race than the day after their debate in Lynchburg?

In my COMPREHENSIVE analysis of the only independent and public poll on the race, I noted that there are three tiers right now: generic no-name Republicans, Ken Boyd, and Robert Hurt.

But it's not because Hurt is better than Boyd, or Boyd better than everyone else. The candidates fall into these tiers because of name recognition in the district. Give anyone, Verga or McPadden for example, the same name ID as Hurt and I will bet you they'll be running the same against Perriello as Hurt. Period.

Boyd runs 6% ahead of the generic Republican average by picking up just less than 1% of total voters from the Democratic column, almost entirely Democrats who had been undecided, 2% of total voters from the Independent column, almost entirely Independents who had been undecided, and 3% of total voters from the Republican column, almost entirely Republicans who had been undecided. As I said before, there's no significant dent to Perriello's base numbers unless you run Goode.

The difference between Hurt and Boyd is entirely among Republicans, with Hurt adding just 2% of total voters to his performance from the ranks of undecided Republicans. Hurt has twice the name ID as Boyd. Some people want to read into that 2% difference, which may not even be statistically significant, and say Hurt is the only candidate who can defeat Perriello. I say that anyone who can keep the Republicans and conservatives together can defeat Perriello.

Some people claim that Hurt is the only candidate who can defeat Perriello because of some non-existence network of support he's built up over the years running in races in one of the most Republican areas of the state. Hurt's never had to campaign a day in his life before going up against Perriello. You want to see what a network of support looks like? Here.

Others bring out the money issue, as if Eric Cantor is going to hold a grudge against someone who defeats Hurt in the primary. We all know where Hurt's big money is coming from. When Hurt is defeated in the Republican primary, Eric Cantor will be on the phone that very night with the new Republican nominee lining up fundraisers for him or her. Why? Because Cantor knows that Perriello is too much of a target to give him a pass.

When casting your vote for the Republican primary, don't make your vote based on a belief that so and so is the only candidate who can win because of some showing in a poll. Don't make your vote based on an idea that someone can raise more money. Or has a history of winning races. Make your vote based on who you think will be the best member of Congress.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why did Perriello run?

I blogged before about Tom Perriello, Manchurian candidate for the radical leftist agenda to bring down this country. Perriello's Ivy-bred background and affiliation with radical advocacy groups allying with America's enemies makes him the perfect politician for George Soros and the Democrat Party. But why did Perriello decide to run against Virgil Goode? Why didn't Perriello just wait to be a member of the Obama Administration, or the Clinton Administration (which was a scary possibility when he first started his campaign!) Why elected office?

Perriello claims to have made the decision to run against Virgil in the fall of 2007. He quickly raised an impressive sum of money for a long shot challenger in what was considered a safely Republican seat. While other Democrats in 2008 like Nye or Connolly had legitimate reasons to be seen as challenging Democrats, Perriello had nothing going for him. Virgil had been around forever. It wasn't an open seat, or a vulnerable Republican like Thelma Drake who narrowly survived in 2006. Yet Perriello made a strong case to his New York donors that they should give him money. How?

Because the liberals wanted to get rid of Virgil Goode.

Ever since switching parties, Virgil had been a sore spot for the liberals around Charlottesville. But his advocacy against illegal immigration and radical Islam, the same radical Islam that Perriello and his allies favor in their efforts to undermine the United States and our allies like Israel, put a big red target on him. It's almost too convenient to think that Perriello decided to run against Virgil and just so happened to know so many wealthy donors who wanted to get rid of Virgil. The question has to be asked, did Perriello decide to run against Virgil or did George Soros tell him to run against Virgil?

Explaining VA-05, Part I: Perriello's Base

My post, the MOST COMPREHENSIVE analysis of PPP's VA-05 poll, seems to have confused people who don't have a reading level higher than a fifth grader's. So I'm going to try to break it up and make it really, really, really simple for everyone.

First, let's talk about Perriello's base.

Perriello is looking at a natural base of 45% against a generic Republican . . .

The conclusion is that Perriello is in a strong position right now, hovering around 45% of the vote. Within the poll, Republican candidates with name ID are able to bring home higher numbers of the Republican base to pull even with Perriello. Pulling even is mostly a matter of switching Republicans from undecided to voting Republican. By pulling off 3% to 5% of voters, having a known Republican candidate changes the balance of undecided voters. We now have undecided Republicans down to 6% to 4%, about even with undecided Democrats (5%). And about even with undecided Independents (6%).

It is important to note that only one candidate, Virgil Goode, is able to make a significant dent in Perriello's performance. Everyone else, including Robert Hurt, are competitive only because they bring home assorted Republicans and Independents who are undecided in when polled about Republicans with low name ID. Seriously folks, Perriello is almost at victory already despite being a DEMOCRAT that voted for the stimulus, cap and tax, and Pelosi's health care boondoggle. And he's been attacked over and over again. And again. And again.

This guy isn't going to be pushed over. Unless we talk Virgil into returning, Perriello is going to be very competitive against any Republican. And don't try to fool yourself into believing that maybe someone like Hurt can pick off Perriello's supporters once he becomes more well known. We're talking about people who already are favoring Perriello after a year of his radically liberal agenda. People who already believe his liberal lies. And he's got close to a million on hand to spend selling his lies while the Republican candidate tries to define himself. Only Virgil has the existing positive reputation among even misguided Democrats to win some of them over.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The MOST COMPREHENSIVE Analysis of PPP's VA 05 Poll

I promise you that this is the most comprehensive analysis of PPP's VA-05 poll, ever.

You have been warned.

Let's look at where Perriello starts out at.

While PPP polled multiple scenarios, including two with an independent candidate, we can sort the straight match ups of Perriello against a named Republican into three categories: Hurt, Boyd, and everyone else. With very low name ID, the polls of Verga, McKelvey, and McPadden are virtually the same as asking a match up of Perriello versus an unnamed Republican. This is NOT a negative for these candidates, just a fact. These three scenarios give us an insight into the natural lean of the district and just where Perriello starts out.

The average of these three poll is Perriello with 44.67% and the generic Republican with 35.67%. Let's round this off to 45% to 36%, with 19% undecided. The good news is that Perriello is under the 50% he needs to win in this straight match up. The bad news is that he's still performing well overall. That 45% is far better than any other Democrat candidate in the 5th District since Goode switched. That's just behind Obama's performance in the district from 2008. Perriello gives up around 6% of Obama voters, with another 10% still undecided. That 6% is largely white noise in the poll, it also has Perriello picking up around 8% of McCain voters. The 10% could just be people who are playing hard to get this early on in the election cycle. More of the undecideds are McCain voters; 27% of them are undecided in this generic match up.

Perriello is looking at a natural base of 45% against a generic Republican, with a tiny bit of room to grow by bringing home the remaining Obama voters. Let's look at these numbers another way, by party affiliation.

Against a generic Republican, Perriello pulls home 85% of self-identified Democrats with 3% going to the Republican. 12% are undecided. Among Republicans, 70% go to the unnamed generic Republican and 5% to Perriello, again white noise. 25% are undecided. Independents are almost a complete tie, with 37% favoring Perriello, 39% favoring the Republican, and 24% undecided.

With 12% of Democrats undecided and 10% of Obama voters undecided, there's a small but significant group from 4.7% to 4.8% who are undecided in the poll but either an Obama voter or a Democrat (likely both). We don't know how much this overlaps, but I'm going to assume significantly. With Perriello already at 45% against a generic Republican, he's dangerously close to the 50% + 1 mark just by consolidating his base in the district.

Now let's look on the Republican side.

The generic Republican is putting up only 36% against Perriello. Most of this is due to the high number of undecided McCain voters, 27% of them are undecided. Among McCain voters, 65% initially favor the generic Republican, compared to the 84% of Obama voters favoring Perriello. This could just be a story of McCain voters not wanting to commit to an unnamed Republican. But let's take a closer look at the numbers.

Around 8% of McCain voters favor Perriello, for a total of 4% overall as white noise (comparable to the 3% of voters overall who are Obama voters but backing the Republican). In the district, around 33% of the poll are McCain voters favoring the unnamed Republican. So the election starts with just under 14% of voters as undecided McCain voters. Far more than the about 5% of voters who are undecided Obama voters.

Looking at the partisan affiliation, the levels of support among Republicans translates to 24.5% of voters being Republicans supporting the Republican candidate, just under 2% being Republicans supporting Perriello, and just under 9% being Republicans who are undecided. Remember that around 5% of voters are Democrats who are undecided.

And Independents?

10% of voters are Independents supporting Perriello. Around 10.5% are Independents supporting the unnamed Republican. And 6% are Independents who are undecided.

Undecided Republicans (9%) outnumber undecided Independents (6%). And undecided Independents (6%) narrow outnumber undecided Democrats (5%).

What happens when we poll a candidate with some higher name ID?

Let's look at Boyd first.

Perriello brings home 46%, a slight increase from the generic Republican. But Boyd polls at 42%, a significant increase of 6% from where the generic Republican ran.

The differences?

First, among Democrats, Perriello wobbles every so slightly from the average of 85% to 84%. Boyd jumps to 7% of Democrats, mostly by reducing the number of undecided Democrats from 12% to 9%. But in the big picture this changes the number of undecided Democrats from 4.7% to 3.5%. This is a relatively minor shift.

Among Independents, Perriello again wobbles from 37% to 39%. This is a minor shift, not even 1% of total voters. Boyd jumps to 45% of Independents, representing a shift of 2% of voters. The number of undecided Independents drops down to 4%.

Finally, Republicans. Boyd climbs to 79% of Republicans, which shifts 3% of total voters from being undecided Republicans to Republicans backing Boyd. But Perriello picks up some Republicans too, enough to climb from 2% of voters as Republicans supporting Perriello to 3% of total voters representing Republicans supporting Perriello. Another minor shift.

Overall, once you start putting a face, or at least a name voters recognize, to Perriello's opponent, he picks up minor support while the Republican begins to gain significant ground.

The story is the same with Hurt. The story is virtually the same among Democrats and Independents when Hurt replaces Boyd. Hurt has slightly higher Republican support than Boyd, shifting around 5% of total voters from being undecided Republicans to Republicans backing Hurt. This 2% difference between Hurt and Boyd is pretty minor when you consider that Hurt has more than twice as much name ID as Boyd. I think this just represents the tendency for Republicans to come home once there's a name they know behind the GOP ticket. Once Boyd or any other Republican gets to Hurt's level of name ID I expect them to be polling about the same.

The conclusion is that Perriello is in a strong position right now, hovering around 45% of the vote. Within the poll, Republican candidates with name ID are able to bring home higher numbers of the Republican base to pull even with Perriello. Pulling even is mostly a matter of switching Republicans from undecided to voting Republican. By pulling off 3% to 5% of voters, having a known Republican candidate changes the balance of undecided voters. We now have undecided Republicans down to 6% to 4%, about even with undecided Democrats (5%). And about even with undecided Independents (6%).

That's a pretty balanced group of undecided voters. At this point we could just conclude that this will be a close election between two evenly matched candidates. But there are some additional observations that need to be pointed out.

First, Perriello has been hammered in his first term in office. Over the stimulus just weeks into Perriello's term in office. Over cap and trade. Over loyalty to Pelosi. Over health care. We've practically ran a campaign against him in 2009 and he's still pretty solid overall.

Second, no one has been hammering Hurt, or Boyd, or anyone on the GOP side to the same degree that we've seen ads against Perriello. I think voters are angry at the Democrat Party and have a natural leaning to vote the bums out. But Perriello's sitting on a huge pile of cash to wage a long and hard fight against the Republican candidate.

Third, we don't have to just stop with the straight up polls of Perriello against a named Republican. We have two more polls to consider.

First, the Tea Party.

Let's break this down again by party.

Among Democrats, Perriello goes from 84% of Democrats with just Hurt in the race to 85% of Democrats when there is also a Tea Party candidate. Hurt goes from 6% of Democrats to 5% of Democrats. These are very, very minor shifts. The Tea Party candidate picks up 4% of Democrats, just at 1.5% of voters overall, reducing the number of undecided Democrats from 4% to just over 2%. There's almost nothing going on among Democrats when there's an additional choice. And I wouldn't expect there to be! But this demonstrates that Perriello has NOTHING to fear from a Tea Party candidate.

What about Republicans? Perriello goes from 4% of Republicans to 5% of Republicans. Undecided Republicans stay at 11%, representing 4% of voters. I'll throw out right here that I'm interesting in knowing what's going on with those 4% of undecided Republicans. They aren't angry Tea Party supporters refusing to back Hurt, since they are there with or without the Tea Party. Are they remaining hold outs who don't know Hurt yet? Or some really liberal Republicans still not willing to admit they'll vote for Perriello?

The big news is that Hurt goes from 85% of Republicans to just 55%. The Tea Party candidate picks up 29% of Republicans. In the big picture, 55% of Republicans translates to just 19% of voters. The Tea Party candidate's support from Republicans translates to 10% of voters. This is big news because we noted before that 24.5% of voters were Republicans willing to back the unnamed, generic Republican candidate. When the Tea Party is put up as a choice, Hurt can't even get that much support. Doing the math, Hurt had picked up from Republicans 5% of voters by being a known Republican, but falls back 10% when the Tea Party candidate is offered as a choice. Hurt's name ID is helping him run closer to Perriello, but given the option of a third party there's a significant chunk who abandon him. My belief is that the number of Republican voters that Hurt picks up would be picked up by any Republican with significant name ID. But only Hurt has the unique problem of creating a third party threat.

Let's look at Independents before we finish. Perriello lingers at 35% when the Tea Party candidate is on the ballot, virtually unchanged from the 36% without. Hurt drops to 21% of Independents, or 6% of voters overall. That's also less than the support an unknown Republican receives from Independents and half of what Hurt gets without a Tea Party candidate on the ballot. And the Tea Party candidate gets 29% of Independents, or 8% of voters overall. Undecided Independents are at 15%, or 4%. That's down slightly from the undecided number when Hurt is just on the ballot alone, but not by much. Hurt ran ahead of the generic Republican among Independents, slightly, but has significant problems when there's a third choice in the ballot for angry Independents.

The story as I see it is that around 45% of the voters will be Perriello voters no matter what (almost!). The Republicans have a floor of 36% of the vote without a Tea Party candidate and can pick up 5%, if not more, once they get a Republican candidate with name ID from their Republican base and pick off minor amounts of Independents, around 2% of voters. But we also have around 19% of voters that split off for the Tea Party and they come from both Republicans and Independents. 10% of voters are Republicans willing to support a Tea Party candidate and 8% are Independents willing to support a Tea Party candidate. It's important to note that just as many, if not more, are self-identified Republicans. The Tea Party movement is both within and outside of the Republican Party. But there are enough Tea Party activists who are already self-identified Republicans for me to laugh at the suggestion that these are outsiders crashing the GOP and taking over. We're reforming the party from within while drawing on strength from without!

So that's all there is, right?


There's one more poll. Tom Perriello versus Robert Hurt . . . versus Virgil Goode.

This one gets good.

Virgil Goode is the ONLY candidate to make a dent on Perriello's Democrat base. Perriello is down to 80% of Democrats, Goode gets 14% of Democrats. This translates to 5% of the voters being "Goode Democrats" on top of the number of voters that are Democrats but supporting Hurt, around 1% of voters (virtually meaningless). The number of undecided Democrats also shrinks dramatically, only 4% are undecided and this is virtually no one (1% of all voters). Note that Perriello drops from 84% of Democrats against Hurt to 80% of Democrats against Hurt and Goode, a shift of between 1% to 2% of voters. Goode doesn't do that much in pulling off Democrats from Perriello, but rather gives undecided Democrats a choice they know and can feel good about. Goode helps crystallize the choice for Democrats. This level of support is pretty close to what he received back in 2008.

Now we turn to the Republicans. Perriello does about the same among Republicans with Goode in the race as without. The story is that Goode wins 64% of Republicans to Hurt's 25%. 8% remain undecided, which is close to the percentage that remain on the fence with just Hurt on the ballot. This tells me that the pool of undecided Republicans when Hurt is on the ballot alone are not hold outs who don't know Hurt, they are still generally there when Goode's on the ballot and they certainly would know him. Instead, I suspect they are more liberal Republicans who may have supported Perriello in 2008 and are now undecided as to what to do in 2010. At 2% to 3% of the vote they are minor but might be important in a close race.

Goode's Republican support represents 22% of all voters in the district. Hurt's 25% of Republicans is far less than his support when facing off against the Tea Party. It represents just 9% of voters overall. Are these die hard partisans who will vote for any Republican on the ballot, no matter what, or a pool of Republicans that don't like Goode for some reason? If it becomes a straight Goode vs. Perriello race I'd want to watch these voters carefully.

Among Independents, Perriello clings to 30% support for 8% of voters overall. Just down from his 10% on the generic ballot. 15% remain undecided, 4% of all voters. That's close to the number with just Hurt running. But Goode gets 51% of Independents and Hurt is at only 11%. That translates to 14% of voters and 3%, respectively. Again, the Hurt supporting Independents with Goode on the ballot are minor but could be significant given that they aren't supporting Goode even in this scenario.

Goode holds Perriello to 41%. Goode shows small, but significant, appeal to some parts of Perriello's base of support. Goode also shows an ability to rally the opposition to Perriello by cutting the number of undecideds in half (specifically undecided Democrats and undecided Independents, NOT undecided Republicans). Hurt's level of support should raise some questions about if they are Republicans and Independents who would prefer Perriello over Goode or if they just instinctively favor the named Republican against a third party.

Having looked at the race with both a Tea Party candidate and Virgil Goode in the race, I make these additional conclusions.

A significant number of Republicans and Independents are open to support a Tea Party candidate. Robert Hurt is the only Republican running who would almost certainly trigger a significant candidacy by a candidate favorable to the Tea Party. Hurt's strength against Perriello is entirely due to his higher name ID.

Virgil Goode is able to make a minor dent on Perriello's numbers and draw a significant number of voters from the ranks of undecided Democrats and Independents. But by including Hurt in the poll we can't tell what his supporters would do in a straight Perriello vs. Goode scenario, with or without the GOP party label.

Until we can determine if Goode really wants to run, either as a Republican or Independent, the best way to defeat Perriello is to unite the opposition to him. Hurt cannot do this, only another Republican can.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Independent Poll Confirms GOP Primary Toss-Up

Back in January, Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd released a poll of the Republican primary showing surprising strength in the multi-candidate field.

-If the primary were held today and the turnout was low, I would win with 21% to only 10% for Senator Robert Hurt and 4% or less for Feda Morton and the other candidates.

-If the primary were held today and the turnout was very high, Senator Hurt would win with 23% of the vote with me coming in second place at 10%.

After the initial release I became critical of Boyd's campaign for not releasing more information on the poll. Now we have a new poll from Public Policy Polling that confirms much of Boyd's poll:

Hurt's polling at 22% to 12% for Ken Boyd. The rest of the candidates are getting 2-4% and you could probably argue that the real leader right now is undecided at 51%.

PPP's poll of "likely" Republican primary votes probably falls within the high turnout scenario. It's notoriously hard to predict turnout in Virginia primaries because of historically low turnout. I think PPP is overestimating turnout, but we'll see. While Hurt and Boyd are in the top tier of the primary with double digit support, the real winner remains undecided.

We now have two independent snapshots of the Republican primary and they are both telling the same story. State Senator Robert Hurt remains the front runner from higher name ID, but Boyd is close behind. This snapshot is the start of the race, before any major expenditures related to mail, television, or radio. Hurt has the cash to run a strong campaign, as do Verga and McKelvey. Boyd continues to build a professional team that will aid him in the primary. As I've noted before, money is a lot but it isn't everything.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Perriello's Anti-Israel Ties

I am officially holding off on blogging about PPP's new poll on the race in the 5th District until Republican Primary numbers are released tomorrow. For now, I will continue to look at the concerning and radical foreign policy agenda that Tom Perriello is pushing.

Yesterday I blogged about how Perriello, a virtual unknown back in 2007 when he started his campaign to bring down Virgil Goode, remains a blank slate for many voters in the district. What did Perriello do abroad? Who funded his work? What is his ultimate agenda? These are questions that need answers.

I also mentioned Charles Krauthammer's article "Decline is a Choice." Part of the problem with Obama's foreign policy agenda is that it is turning up-side-down our list of friends and enemies. From the start, he has been applying pressure on Israel to back down on issues of security and survival. Liberals don't like Israel and don't support the policies needed to defend our strongest ally, and most thriving democracy, in the Middle East. And Tom Perriello is just another pea in the anti-Israel pod. I have to give props to the Reasonable Response blog for already bringing attention to this issue.

J-Street is funded by George Soros, the backer of a number of radical left organizations. And while it bills itself as pro-Israel and pro-peace, it actually is neither. It is so anti-Israel that Israel’s Ambassador to the US refused to attend a J-Street conference because the policies advocated by the organization would seriously harm Israel. In fact, J-Street displays a consistent track record of hostility towards Israel. Yet the group likes Perriello. And when an interest group likes a candidate enough to endorse him before an opponent has even been selected, you can be pretty sure it believes the candidate supports the policies it is promoting.

Israel, a democracy and our strongest ally in the Middle East, deserves better from Perriello. He should publicly repudiate the J-Street endorsement and refuse any campaign contributions the organization might make.

I bring this issue up because it's one thing to be worried about Tom Perriello's ties to J Street and George Soros. But it is even more worrying when placed within the context of Perriello's radical foreign policy agenda and his work abroad. I am sure that many liberal Democrats backed by J Street have no real interest in bringing down America's hegemony. They just do what the liberal power brokers tell them to. But Perriello is at the vanguard of a radical revolution trying to tear down America's hegemony and put our national security in the hands of the UN and other international bodies. He is not a pawn in this game. He's one of the leading fighters.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tom Perriello, Manchurian Candidate

The Danville Register & Bee recently published an editorial about Tom Perriello's first year in office that seems like it was written by one of the liberal bloggers with a mancrush on the 5th District Congressman. The narrative is that Tom may be liberal, on the big issues, but he's still conservative on guns and abortion. And he works really, really hard. Really. He'll even talk to you!

Besides the obvious question of who did the fact checking for the story (the 21st town halls were BEFORE the health care vote, not after), I want to focus on how little this and other articles focus on the real Tom Perriello. Even his opponents like to act that he is little more than a Dudley Do-Right, a hard working and well meaning politician who just happens to be liberal. The reality is consistently ignored by both the press and the blogosphere. He is a Manchurian Candidate, a saboteur within the American political system.

Now I could focus on how this is the fault of the 2008 campaign against Perriello, run by Tucker Watkins, that focused more on the "New York lawyer" claim than actually talking about Perriello's past. But, for once, I'll try to focus on something new. The story behind the real Tom Perriello.

I've mentioned before that every single conservative, all of you, need to read Charles Krauthammer's article "Decline is a Choice." Right now. I'm serious. I'll be here when you get back. Yes, I know it's long. Go!

. . . .

OK? Good.

Here is the key passage:

Facing the choice of whether to maintain our dominance or to gradually, deliberately, willingly, and indeed relievedly give it up, we are currently on a course towards the latter. The current liberal ascendancy in the United States--controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture--has set us on a course for decline. And this is true for both foreign and domestic policies. Indeed, they work synergistically to ensure that outcome.

The current foreign policy of the United States is an exercise in contraction. It begins with the demolition of the moral foundation of American dominance. In Strasbourg, President Obama was asked about American exceptionalism. His answer? "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Interesting response. Because if everyone is exceptional, no one is.

Note also the emphasis on the liberal notion of the "international community" as if the UN and other organizations actually meant something more than a collection of countries that included some of the most brutal dictatorships in history. As a "national security consultant" of the left, Perriello is not just a passive consumer of this rhetoric, he's a primary producer of the propaganda pushing America's decline. For too long, the focus on Perriello's time abroad has been this vision of a young college graduate hopping on a plane to fly to parts unknown and save the world. The real story is that he has been an active agent in pushing the liberal internationalist agenda that is weakening America both at home and abroad.

Why else was Tom Perriello, a virtual unknown, able to match Virgil Goode, a long time incumbent on the powerful Appropriations Committee, dollar for dollar in the 2008 race? Powerful liberal interests, including George Soros, knew him and want him in power. It's the same story behind liberals clearing the field for carpetbagger Hillary Clinton in New York. The liberal powers that be wanted Perriello in office, somewhere. He just was honest enough to do it from his actual hometown and not some random place he moved to.

Consider Perriello's role in removing Liberian President Charles Taylor from power. Perriello would have us believe that this was a simple case of good versus evil. In reality, Taylor was a Christian politician trying to crack down on Muslim rebels who were just as brutal in their tactics as the accusations thrown at Taylor. Since his removal, Liberia's policies have tilted toward placating and pandering to Muslims within the country. This is just one example of Perriello backing weak liberal responses to the threat of Islamic extremists, including his ads on Al Jazeera. More sunlight is needed on Perriello's work abroad and how it undermined American security. Because he's still doing the same as a member of Congress.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hurt Bailout Watch

Now that the first round of fundraising numbers are in, the entire 5th District field is watching and waiting to see what Robert Hurt will do next. When he first declared, the conventional wisdom was that this race would be a cake walk for him. Get the nomination, defeat Perriello, and just kick back and relax up in DC voting the way his donors tell him to. Just like his career in the General Assembly.

This plan started to fall apart when the primary field didn't clear for his easy nomination. The fight over a convention versus a primary was just the start. The lingering doubts about his votes to raise taxes have hindered his campaign and continue to be a distraction from his anointment as savior of the party. But the fundraising numbers are another hit to his campaign, showing that he's not the only one with the cash on hand to compete in a primary.

Now what?

We're on the Robert Hurt bailout watch.

Hurt needs a bailout. He needs to be saved from his own failures. He's made mistakes, but rather than be responsible for them he's going to turn to the Republican Party establishment (the same folks who brought us the first Bush bailout) to save him.

I see two options.

First, he'll get the establishment to fold and find a graceful way for him to step out of the race. A defeat in the primary, which is a very real possibility, would doom all of Hurt's future ambitions. He'd almost certainly never be able to come back for a run for Congress. Other statewide offices will be ruled out. He'll be stuck in the State Senate forever.

The best way to fold is for the establishment to go to Virgil Goode, apologize for their attempts to push Goode out in favor of Hurt last year, and get Goode to run. Hurt would bow out in support of Goode and spend more time with his family. Goode would unite the party and go on to clobber Perriello. Game, set, match.

Unless they can get Goode to jump in, I don't see a way for Hurt to fold.

If they can't fold, they'll have to double down their bets on Hurt. Go all in.

This will mean more funneling of corporate and lobbyist money into Hurt's campaign. He needs a major cash infusion and it doesn't matter where it is from. With the cap on maximum contributions, look for Hurt's campaign to try new and desperate tactics. Perhaps LaCivita will pioneer the use of "independent" corporate ads in the post-Citizens United era. Let's not forget his reaction to the case.

Another observer of those adventurous companies will be Chris LaCivita, the conservative consultant who produced the Swift Boat Veterans ads that damaged Democrat John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid.

LaCivita said the 2008 campaign was bad for independent groups. The FEC had penalized Swift Boat Veterans, the Sierra Club and some other big players from the 2004 race. It got the attention of potential donors — corporations and wealthy individuals. So when LaCivita's group, the American Issues Project, went looking for money in 2008, many donors were reluctant to write checks.

"There were some committed Americans who wanted to communicate a message — you know, threats from the government be damned, they were still going to be involved," LaCivita said. "But at the end of the day, we were only able to accomplish a tiny portion, budget-wise, of what we originally set out to do."

He said he expects the court decision to ease donors' minds.

And as he spoke, he sounded like a kid who'd opened his Christmas presents and gotten just what he wanted.

How long until some of Hurt's big donors are running ads in the Republican primary defending him? I have nothing wrong with corporations expressing free speech, just like George Soros is free to give money to Tommy Boy. But when Soros does it we know who really owns Tommy's vote. So let's not pretend that Hurt is anything but a tool of the big corporations that depend on Washington for bailout money when the corporations pick up the slack to give him the nomination.

Monday, February 1, 2010

State of the Race: February 2010

Now that all of the numbers are in from the end of 2009, or should be win, we can take a step back and analyze the state of the race in the Virginia 5th. The "Real" Fifth District blog has already put together their own well done ranking of the candidates on some key metrics. I also want to give a shout out to Southside Central for another well done rankings of the candidates.

First, let's look on the cash on hand. Currently, with a 500k loan, Jim McKelvey comes in on top. Robert Hurt is second, then Verga, Boyd, McPadden, and Morton. And Ferrin is . . . somewhere else?

McKelvey, Hurt, and Verga are clearly in the top tier in terms of cash on hand in this race. Boyd and McPadden are probably well positioned to pick up the pace as the race continues. Morton's lackluster quarter really hurts her, but as I've said before you can't rule anyone out . . . yet.

There is, of course, another candidate with a large cash on hand advantage. Perriello has $873,878 sitting in the bank just waiting for the Republican nominee. For comparison, he had $243,559 cash on hand at this point in 2008. Virgil Goode, with campaign manager Tucker Watkins asleep at the wheel thinking he had this in the bag, had only $384,161 cash on hand at this point in 2008. We all know this is going to be a difficult race, but it's worth noting that Perriello now has almost $500k more than Goode did at this point in the race in 2008.

So the real food chain for money goes:

Perriello > McKelvey > Hurt > Verga > Boyd > McPadden > Morton

Now onto donors. There's something fishy with Hurt's claim of over 450 donors. First, this obviously counts unreported donors. I count 213 reported individual donors, including several who donated to his campaign twice. This is far short of Hurt's claim of over 450 donors. He'd have to make up the remaining 237 among his unreported donors, who have to be under $200. With $20,708 unreported this averages out to just at $87 per donor. Is this plausible? Maybe, but we'll have to trust Hurt's word for it.

I think that closes the appearance of a gap between Hurt and Boyd by a significant amount. So we have the following ranking in donors:

Hurt > Boyd > Morton > Verga > McPadden > McKelvey

But, in reality, it's more like this:

Perriello > Hurt > Boyd > Morton > Verga > McPadden > McKelvey

And Facebook? Here:

Perriello (2,107) > Hurt (802) > McPadden (188) > Ferrin (174) > Morton (173) > Boyd (107) > Verga (105) > McKelvey (104)

In a convention I'd be optimistic that the conservative opponents of Hurt would fall in line against him as they are eliminated one by one. But in a primary, I'm worried that the field will remain too large and give Hurt the chance to face off against Perriello. Is Hurt tough enough to take Perriello on? We'll see.

Tucker Watkins: GO AWAY!

Doesn't that sorry sack of shit otherwise known as Tucker Watkins have anything better to do with his time than trolling the Danville Register & Bee website spreading rumors about the guy who is a Congressman now because of his complete and total bungling of Congressman Goode's reelection campaign?

Maybe exile himself from Virginia, or at least the Virginia 5th? He's done enough already to elect Tom Perriello. His behind the scenes manipulation of the county chairs to favor a primary to boost Robert Hurt's chances may end up guaranteeing Perriello another term. The least Tucker can do for us now is hide under a rock for a long, long time.

Mark my words, the longer Hurt depends on scum of the earth like Tucker Watkins (of Purple Heart fame) and Chris LaCivita (of Switch Boat fame) the more likely the campaign against Perriello will be based not on politics but the dirty personal attacks that Tucker favors. The "brilliant" idea of trying to attack a guy born in the district as a "New York lawyer" failed in 2008 and I'm sure Tucker's next strategy will end the same way. Bradley Rees is spot on:

Bradley Rees, a Bedford County conservative blogger, radio host and former congressional candidate, disagrees with Perriello’s beliefs — but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect him.

“Tom Perriello is a man of principle,” Rees said. “He will come out and state his principles on any given agenda item and you can expect him to vote that way … I admire his principles. I admire his stance on what he believes. I just happen to not believe the same thing.

“He is vulnerable because he has a ‘D’ after his name, frankly. There’s a lot of anti-Democrat sentiment. The letters after the name shouldn’t be the important thing. We should focus on their principles.”

People are angry at Perriello for how he votes and being a Democrat. If the campaign is about the candidates as persons, guess what, Tommy Boy is a likable guy! Certainly more than Robert Hurt, who can't be bothered with silly things like debates and talking to the voters.