The smoke is cleared, and the 2008 rematch of Congressman Frank Wolf and Judy Feder is, as the young ones like to say, ON.
Unfortunately for Ms. Feder, I don’t think the picture is as rosy as her team at “Farewell Frank” would tell you.
I am a movie guy, and yesterday reminded me of two different movies.
Congressman Wolf reminded me of John Wayne in Big Jake. Jake McCandles comes home after years away to lead an effort to find his kidnapped grandson. But Jake has been away so long that many think he is dead. In the course of the film upon finding out who he is folks regularly say “I thought you was dead”. When the bleeding, dying bad guy says it to him, McCandles replies “Not hardly”.
The same can be said of Frank Wolf. At a time when the GOP is taking body shots across the country, with fringe candidates nipping at him, with the Democratic opposition trying to paint him as out of touch with his district. All he did yesterday was rack up 91% of the vote over Vern “Won’t Step Up” McKinley and bring in more votes than any other candidate in yesterday’s primary.
Things are a little different on the other side of the line. Judy Feder defeated Mike Turner for the Demo nomination with just north of 61% of the vote. While the RK dudes call this a strong win, I am reminded of The Princes Bride when Inigo Montoya says to Vizzinni “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Now at first blush 61.79% is nothing to sneeze at. Then consider a few things:
- Despite being an ongoing candidate for the Va-10 seat since June 2006-virtually the incumbent Democratic nominee, Ms. Feder did not blow out her little known opponent, despite having tons more money and name ID. As noted in a similar context and discussion at RK, I would have thought that if she was in control of all things democratic in Va-10 her total should have been in the 80% range.
- There were almost twice as many voters in the GOP primary, and that Congressman Wolf by himself almost doubled the Democratic vote total. The Feder campaign has gone on about how she has ongoing increase in support, name ID, etc. If that is so, where was that support yesterday?
- Although Ms. Feder touted Loudoun County as a battleground county, she lost Loudoun to Mike Turner.
- Ms. Feder ran dead even with Vern McKinley in Winchester. Although I don’t know how to analyze that number, I can only think that if the 61% winner in a primary gets the same amount as the 8.75% loser in a jurisdiction, then that cannot be good.
Where was the support? Are folks responding to Ms. Feder, or is the claim of growing numbers of Federistas ready to come forth with their votes just blue smoke and mirrors? The lack of turnout does not sound like a strong campaign or a strong result to me…
Does this result mean, as the Virginia Insider asserts, that Congressman Wolf is “an easy victor in November?” Not Hardly. Ms. Feder has shown a clear ability to raise money, she has already grossed “one meeeellion dollars”. Of course, it has been shown regularly that she gets almost none of from within Va-10 or even Virginia…but that is a subject for another post.
The bottom line is that all winners can take a brief nap today to recharge their batteries knowing they now hold their respective party nominations. There are a bazillion factors that will come into play between now and election day. But I think it can be said with some certainty that yesterdays turnout and results show that Congressman Frank Wolf enjoys strong support both in the party and throughout Va-10, and that Ms. Feder’s path to November is not as clear as her netroots supporters would tell you.