It is time to focus.
It is time to campaign on ideas and policies that Virginians want to vote for in November.
Victory for Republicans requires that about 10% of the electorate swing its support to Bob McDonnell, Republican candidate for governor, to be assured a win.
McDonnell currently lags his Democratic opponent by 6% (Rasmussen, June 2009) — and curiously one in four Virginian Republicans remain undecided as to whom they will vote for.
McDonnell has five major challenges to address in order to win in November 2009.
McDonnell has five major challenges to address in order to win :
Jobs & Unemployment – Virginia has been spared much of the pain that unemployment has brought to the rest of America. Current Virginia unemployment is at 7.1% and expected to continue to rise through the end of the year. An 8% rate could be reached by September or October – 8% represents significant economic pain. McDonnell should expect and be preemptive in addressing the Democratic pummeling that he will take for his stance that Virginia should turn down $125 million in unemployment aid assistance from the federal government.
Transportation - This is an issue near and dear to both the Tidewater and northern Virginia areas. Virginians lean heavily towards the Democrats (43% to 29%) as having answers on this topic. McDonnell needs to get out front and be very specific about how he would handle transportation issues. His best defense would be a strong offense.
Taxes - McDonnell has voter confidence on this issue (44% v 36%), but this needs to translate into votes. Virginia’s infrastructure needs to move forward and this will cost. “Cutting taxes” is probably not a winning mantra when compared to the rhetoric of a balanced budget, pay-as-you-go spending and fiscal responsibility.
Demographics - There needs to be a special effort to reach the young and to attract the diversity of Virginia’s people. One of the bellweather locales to watch is Prince William County, Virginia. Prince William still strongly supports Republicans locally but has increasingly leaned Democratic in state and national elections. If you can win in Prince William then chances are strong for a win in Virginia as a whole.
Focus on Issues/Talk to Virginia – Tell Virginia voters why they should vote Republican. An example of McDonnell’s challenge was a July 5th two-page article and interview in the Washington (DC) Examiner – a paper very friendly to both conservatives and to Republicans, and widely read in northern Virginia.
The Examiner article, entitled ‘Bob McDonnell reaches out – Virginia’s poised and polished GOP nominee tries to connect with voters‘, spent much of its print space deflecting criticism that he is too conservative.
This article turned out to be a missed opportunity. The closest that the Examiner and McDonnell came to outlining why Virginians should vote for him in November, “I am the same person I’ve been for 18 years in elected office. I’m a happy, positive, friendly conservative, but I’m also a pro-free enterprise, pro-life, pro-economic development conservative. These are all consistent.”
Virginia needs to hear much more from Bob McDonnell, and much more soon so Republicans can win in November.