You have to wonder whether Terry McAuliffe’s campaign is worried that the VA Governor’s polling isn’t reflective of the actual race*: these are not the actions of a confident candidate.
High-powered Terry McAuliffe supporters made a furious attempt over the weekend to reverse a Washington area business group’s endorsement of Republican Ken Cuccinelli II for governor, with state legislators warning that “doors will be closed” to the group if it sticks by its choice.
The pressure exerted on the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s political arm, Tech PAC, by a U.S. senator, a Republican lieutenant governor at odds with Cuccinelli and several others suggests that McAuliffe’s campaign is worried that a Cuccinelli endorsement could undermine the central premise of the Democrat’s campaign…
[snip of various WaPo agitprop]
“I urge you to stop any endorsement of Cuccinelli,” state Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax), told PAC leaders Friday in an e-mail. “The ramifications of his being endorsed will be huge within the Senate Democratic caucus. . . . The response [from legislators] will be frigid and doors will be closed [when the council seeks help with its legislative agenda]. Achieving the goals of NVTC will be difficult to impossible.”
Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) seconded those sentiments in their e-mails.
Apparently Terry McAuliffe utterly shrugged off his presentation to Tech PAC, while Ken Cuccinelli came across as a functional politician and adult. Not particularly surprising: McAuliffe apparently didn’t know that it’s not a smart idea to have your surrogates threaten to attack the business community in the next election cycle…
OK, a quick precis of the state legislature situation. The Virginia General Assembly has all of its members up for re-election this year. There is almost no chance that the Assembly will flip to Democratic. The Senate has none of its members up for re-election until 2015; the current split is 20-20, which means that the Lt. Governor’s election may in fact flip control of the Senate to the Democrats (he breaks all ties). So that threat by state Senate Democrats is real, and independent of the Governor’s election… but a hypothetical Gov. McAuliffe wouldn’t be able to effectively back up those threats to the business community (because we’ll still own the Assembly, and we’d use this issue to take back the state Senate in 2015). And you certainly don’t make threats like that in public.
Again: not the act of a confident campaign.
*Polls are what they are, of course. But here’s a very serious caveat about Virginia polling; the third-party result in a general Virginia governor’s election is apparently capped at 1 to 2%. The voters may have not made up their minds; but Virginia is not a state where third party candidates thrive.