You may have heard we are having a Virginia State Senate election in Senate district 37. However, the odds are just as good that even if you know there will be an election, you might think it is uncontested. You see, some of us are being ignored by some of the candidates.
Two recent events-one that did happen, and one that did not-confirms what I have long suspected about this election…that this will be a GOTV election determined by who is best able to get out their base.
Part and parcel of what I am about to describe is the fact that I voted in the 2002 special election Republican primary between Ken Cuccinelli and Michael Thompson.
The event was a mailer from The Cooch. This mailer detailed SenKen’s efforts to protect private property rights in the face of recent activities by local governments where private property was (and this is short handing the matter) moved to developers. As I read this, I thought, “Good general thing to know, but how does this impact me?” After all, Burke is hardly the place where a developer is going to want to suddenly drop a mall or large business center. Then it hit me-not only is this a key libertarian issue for the GOP base, it might also ring a bell in the west part of Fairfax (see map below):
Not a lot of room in my end of the district (my precinct circled) but there is still development room in the western end of the district, so this might be an issue of concern. This is also the place where The Cooch is hoping to get the bulk of his votes…so this piece makes sense as a GOTV effort.
Meanwhile, the other was a non-event. I have not received anything from The Hoot. I have watched my mail carefully, and nothing. I would think that if she wanted my vote, she would have asked for it.
As a side story on politics-we all know former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (D-MA) said “All politics is local”. What O’Neill is less famous for is his belief that you have to ask voters to vote for you. In his autobiography O’Neill talked of a conversation with a neighbor shortly after Tip lost his first campaign, a run for the Boston City Council. The neighbor, an elderly woman, was commiserating with him about the election results. O’Neill said it was a source of comfort that his friends and neighbors had voted for him. The neighbor corrected him, saying she had not voted for him. Shocked, O’Neill detailed the many connections they had and asked why she had not voted for him. The reply-“Tom, you never asked me to”.
After that, O’Neill never forgot to ask for people’s support. He even made sure every day on Election Day to ask his wife to vote for him.
Knowing me, knowing that I have voted for Democrats in the past, I thought-why would a candidate for office in an election I can vote in pay no attention to me at all? I mean, you would think there would by now been a general mailing to all registered voters in her district. Right?
Then it hit me…that 2002 primary. The Oleszek campaign has decided to only mail to supporters, or at least to not mail to folks they consider diehard GOP voters, and the 2002 primary is their litmus test! Doesn’t really matter if I am a registered voter in Fairfax County, voting in her district, she has written me off. Why? Because this is going to be GOTV effort, and the side that mobilizes their voters best will win.
Of course, not everyone who voted in that 2002 primary voted for Cuccinelli…
So there it is…I am getting mail from The Cooch on issue not of immediate concern to me, and I am pigeonholed by The Hoot, who apparently does not want my vote…because one assumes I am part of his base, and the other assumes I am not part of hers.
This is an indicator of why I think those that foresee a big Democratic wave based on a widespread disappointment with the General Assembly are walking down the wrong trail. Neither side has been able, or will be able, to turn this into a legitimate statewide focused campaign because neither side has created a issue they can successfully go wide with. Instead, this race will be about mobilizing the base and turning out your vote.
If ever there was a Lincoln Four Step election, this is it.
FOLLOW UP: Ben suggests I am wondering why Hoot hates me. That is not quite the case…I am far too loveable to be hated. However, in a GOTV dominated election, why are the democrats not reaching out to GOP folks who have voted democrat? I mean, guys like Marsden must have a list of people who they identified as being favorable.
Marsden? Just go back to 2005 and see my blog pieces then…