Friday, November 2, 2012

Which Election are Virginia Republican 2013 Candidates Focused on?

Virginia is the rare state that has important elections every year, and one only two states to elect it's governor the year after the presidential election.  This creates an interesting balancing act for those running for statewide office following the presidential election.  As the 2012 election winds down, it is worth looking at who has focused their attention on which race over the previous year.

The Governor's race features a heavyweight match up between Ken Cuccinelli and Bill Bolling.  The issue of focus has been a minor issue in this election.  Prior to the VA State Convetion, Bill Bolling accused Cuccinelli of being focused on 2013 instead of 2012.  Ironically those of us at the convention couldn't mention the numerous Bolling staff wearing blue Bolling 2013 shirts.  Walking billboards for a man focused on 2012. While both men have been active on the campaign trail for this year's candidates, Cuccinelli has been clearly outworking Bolling.  The way he has gone all in for Romney has been crucial in bringing the far right on board in support of Romney in the state, and he has been a powerful voice for the Property Rights Amendment.  Their FB cover pictures also tell an interesting story.  One person is entirely focused on 2012.  The other wants to make sure the limelight is focused on himself as he supports Romney and Allen.

In the Lieutenant Governor's race, we have five announced candidates, and potentially others on the sidelines.  I'm going to mention those who stand out for various reasons.

Steve Martin wins the award for the most creative way to build name ID for his race while helping elect the Republican ticket in 2012.  Shortly after the Chick-fil-a protest occurred this summer, Steve Martin's campaign came up with a novel idea.  Steve Martin was going to host call parties at VA Victory Centers around the state and serve those who came to volunteer Chick-fil-a dinners.  It simultaneously attracted those who had recently fallen in love with Chick-fil-a, helped the VA Victory effort, and built his named ID around the state.  Steve Martin regularly reports that these call parties exceed the call goals for the victory centers.  Combined with rallies for campaigns and organizations, Steve Martin is easily the most aggressive campaigner this year of all the announced Republican Lieutenant Governor candidates.

Susan Stimpson on the other hand stands out as a pundit and an observer focused on her own race, instead of someone who is working hard to campaign for the Republican ticket.  If you've been on facebook, you've probably seen ads for her fb page.  She's had both the traditional ads, and the new sponsored ads all encouraging people to like her page.  When you view her page, it is full of commentary on the presidential debates, and the latest polling data, as well as her record in Stafford.  What it does not show is her campaigning for the Republican ticket.  Look for the pictures of her at Republican rallies and Victory Centers around the state.  They as well as a steady stream of statuses urging people to get involved in this election do not appear anywhere on her very active fb page.  That is for one reason, she has been the candidate for 2013 state office most absent from the 2012 elections.

One can not talk about Lieutenant Governor candidates working hard in the 2012 cycle without mentioning Pete Snyder.  Rumors abound that the position of VA Victory Director was created to catapult Pete Snyder into the Lieutenant Governor's race.  Only time will tell whether those rumors are true, but if so it will be undeniable which LG candidate worked hardest to elect the Republican ticket in 2012.

The Attorney General's race is quite unique.  Rob Bell and Mark Obenshain sponsored the VA Property Rights Amendment in the House and Senate respectively.  They are both using this opportunity to build their profile around the state by campaigning aggressively for the amendment.  Whichever one wins the nomination, this state will have helped this state because their 2013 race motivated them to campaign extra hard for this important issue.

What are your thoughts?  What did I miss?  Will the way candidates focused on 2012 impact who you vote for in 2013?

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