Tuesday, June 13, 2006

AP: Webb wins

The Associated Press has declared Jim Webb the winner in the Virginia senatorial primary.

"...Webb defeated lobbyist and longtime Democratic Party activist Harris Miller after a bruising primary in which voters decided between a traditional and unabashed liberal (Miller) and a former Republican (Webb) whose populist campaign was aimed at so-called Reagan Democrats — namely, rural, white moderates."

SLANTblog sez:
  • Harris Miller had the money, the TV ads, the slick organization. Yet, he was such a weak candidate it didn’t matter.
  • Jim Webb had a poorly run campaign and his fundraising apparatus was a joke. Still, his persona as a straight-shooting author/military expert, a blue-collar Reagan Democrat come home, carried the day.
  • The war in Iraq is an issue in Virginia and Webb's stance sharpens that issue. That may be bad news to George Allen
  • The Netroots phenomenon is a significant development. It has a ways to go before it’s ready to sway an important general election. Nonetheless, it will claim Webb’s victory as its own, and it surely deserves some part of it. I don't know how much.
  • The kahuna of the Netroots movement, Kos, has his own style, and it’s been effective in building a following. Thus, his disciples should think -- we must copycat his style as best we can, to magnify the effect. Or, perhaps they should think -- we should also develop our own style, to be as authentic.
This post is being updated on the fly. More analysis from SLANTblog, as well as links to other takes will follow.
Illustration: F.T. Rea


Vivian J. Paige said...

Take a look at the numbers outside of NoVA and you see a slightly different picture than the one you have portrayed here. The hi-tech world of NoVA was successful in two things: painting Miller as an outsourcer, and turning out the vote. In Hampton Roads, Webb lost pretty badly.

SWlady said...

My prediction going in was 51/49 Webb.

Vivian, if Webb had run half the amount of Tv and radio ads as Miller did, not forgetting Millers 6:1 advantage in mailings, Webb would've done even much better.

I'm impressed still with today's victory. But there's still a lot of work to do.

Vivian J. Paige said...

In some ways, we are saying the same thing. Miller ran a traditional campaign, relying on mail, radio & TV to deliver his message. Webb didn't do that, which is why the internet made such a difference. NoVA is hi-tech, while my part of the state is not. The people here voted on the information that was presented. If they didn't get any of Miller's mailings, they stayed at home, because the newspaper coverage was lacking.

I talked to too many people here who truly had no sense of either candidate.

SWlady said...

You are right. Without the internet and the tech-savy NoVA voters, Webb would have lost.

Virginia Centrist said...

I think the outsourcing thing was overblown.

Personally, I could care less about it. I'd go even further and say that I agree with Harris Miller.

The fact is that NOVA was the only place in teh state where people were paying attention to this race. In other areas, people relied on mail and tv.

F.T. Rea said...

Virginia Centrist,

Yesterday I had two conversations with men who are Democrats. One is from Martinsville, the other grew up in Fairfax. We discussed how much the center of Virginia’s politics seems to have shifted to Northern Virginia. For instance, there was a time when a candidate for statewide office was obliged to put his main campaign office within a stone’s throw of the Capitol in Downtown Richmond.

Well, that time is apparently long gone. Both Webb and Miller ran their operations from Northern Virginia and they seemed to dwell on that portion of Virginia, almost to the exclusion of other regions. While accepting that politicians naturally focus on where the people/voters are -- dense populations -- I pointed out to them that as a lifelong Richmonder, it still seems rather strange.

They agreed and laughed when I pointed out that now candidates run against Richmond, and it works! The guy from Martinsville said out there they’ve been running against Northern Virginia and Tidewater, as well, for a long time. We all laughed.

Virginia Centrist said...

Ha ha...yeah, very true.

I think it's just like you said - and it's not just greater density, it's also greater prevalence of Democrats. If you're running a campaign on the cheap (which Webb was) then you pretty much have to do that.