As I kill time waiting to head off to the dentist for round #2 of a quasi-botched crown job, the beneficial coincidence of quiet time in my asylum (all the WMD are still asleep) and a large jolt of COSTCO java has led me to some new views on the current mud bath that is the US Senate election in Virginia 2006.
1. The election is over
I don’t know who is going to win. The Webb campaign has been able to use macaca to avoid an issues campaign. Between questions about Allen’s reactions to revelations about his jewish heritage and hints and allegations of questionable to unusual behavior (which the Webb campaign still uses its bloggers to keep up, while Webb refuses to comment) means that voters have likely either decided that Allen is a racist OR Allen is a man unjustly accused by a desperate opponent. I think the latest allegations of the use of the “N” word by unnamed teammates will a polarizing effect, driving folks to one end of the Allen spectrum or the other. When the campaign is over, this announcement will be seen as the final turning point of the campaign.
2. Allen will not be withdrawing
Our friends over at NLS are speculating that Allen will withdraw from this race. Such speculation is silly.
Elected officials are human, all doubts to the contrary notwithstanding. Losing an election allows one to claim the electorate was duped by a calculating opponent using deceit and lies. Withdrawing effectively admits the charges are true. No withdrawal.
Also, with whom who would the GOP replace Allen? Move in Tom Davis and the Democrats likely pick up the 11th district. I think you could pull off a late move to Eric Cantor, given how strongly GOP the 7th is, but would Cantor give up a ranking position in the House for a frosh spot in the Senate? Doubtful. Moving past them, who do you take?
Kilgore? double Feh
Bolling or McDonnell? After what happened to Dick Davis in 1982, doubtful.
Harry Byrd, Jr? Too late for a comeback
John Chichester? Oy
Besides, with only 40 days left it is near impossible to get someone out there and competitive with a major party candidate who has been in the field for almost a year.
3. Allen loss will help GOP House candidates
I may be way off base here, but hear me out.
There is a reason why Congress as a whole keeps getting low marks in public polling but the membership doesn’t turn over. While there are the benefits of incumbency and partisan redistricting, I bet there are a lot of folks who like their congressman while being unhappy with the instution. I also suspect that there are folks out there who want a way to register their disapproval of the Bush administration while supporting their congressman (who they like, respect, etc.) A split ticket-vote Democrat in the Senate election, GOP in the House election-would allow them to do that…and the bad press for Allen will continue to make that option very palatable to a lot of folks.
We shall see!