The 2010 5th District Republican primary is just days away. Finally, after the months of drama and sitting on the edge of our seats we'll get the answers we've been looking for. This is going to be the biggest Tuesday night since the end of LOST! Is Robert Hurt the big smoke monster? Are the seven candidates actually living in purgatory or hell? I don't know . . . but I do know a few things . . .
Throughout this primary I've been accused of being a paid shill for Verga AND as a cheerleading blogger for Morton. All along I've just done the best I can to be a principled conservative voice. As we go down the home stretch here are a few things to watch on primary night . . . and a few predictions.
Watch Hurt's old Delegate district and his current State Senate district. We've all been expecting him to do well in Pittsylvania and Danville (Nigel Coleman's endorsement of Morton aside), but it will be interesting to watch how other territory Hurt has represented votes. Parts of Campbell County, where local activists have been particularly heated in opposing Hurt, and Franklin County, where I've heard some complaints that Hurt "neglects" the county, will show just how much anger there is against Hurt among people who know him versus opposition to Hurt among groups that just don't know him (the Northern end of the district).
I don't expect Hurt to do well in the Northern end of the district, but he should be able to grab a respectable portion of the vote. I think there are a lot of folks up there who will be voting for Boyd or even Morton not as an anti-Hurt vote but as a pro-My local politician vote. That's why I'll be looking to Franklin and Campbell to figure out just how strong the opposition to Hurt is among conservative activists. Hurt has a perfectly good chance at winning back conservatives in the northern end who vote for Boyd. I'm not as sure about winning over conservatives in his own backyard who vote for McKelvey or someone else.
The rural parts of the district running from Cumberland to Prince Edward to Halifax will be interesting to watch. Will Hurt's direct mail campaign and under the radar approach pay off? Or will McKelvey's own negative mail strategy and sprinkling of TV ads push voters to him?
Finally, I will watch closely to see what Hurt's first steps are after the primary should he win. The only public poll of a Hurt-Perriello contest put the two tied, but Hurt significantly behind should a third party candidate run. I think that clearly describes the dynamic of the 5th District this year. Perriello has the money, the work ethic, and the drive to fight Hurt to the bitter end. A straight Hurt-Perriello race will be close, very close. Hurt cannot afford defections to a conservative third party. In effect, this makes the independent conservatives in the district the swing voters in the campaign, not the mushy centrists that pundits like to claim. If Hurt runs a convincing conservative campaign he wins. If he tries to run to the center as a moderate he will be defeated. That's the perfect scenario for conservatives in the 5th District. It puts the pressure on Hurt to come out swinging on strong conservative issues, instead of being a cautious centrist. Some ideas-
- Supporting the Fair Tax.
- Promising not to request earmarks.
- Reinforcing his no new taxes pledge and focusing on the taxes Perriello has voted to raise.
- Supporting term limits or making a term limits pledge.
- Supporting Arizona's new anti-illegal law and working to secure our borders and impose a moratorium on immigration, as supported by former Congressman Goode.