Outlook: Likely Republican (Pickup)
There's hundreds of things that could be second guessed about the Democratic effort this year, but they all miss the big picture. 95% of the Governor's job is non-partisan, and has zero ideology behind it. It involves managing tens of thousands of state employees, setting clear goals and motivating people to work together to achieve them. The best part of these off year campaigns in Virginia is the national attention we get- because the bright lights of DC really separate the pretenders from the contenders. And to put it bluntly- Creigh Deeds is an absolute pretender. He's a super nice guy who can't even manage a campaign that is spending tens of millions of dollars. How would be ever manage a budget of tens of BILLIONS of dollars? He is clearly completely lost with zero vision for what needs to happen to win this election. His campaign will go down in history as the turning point for Republicans in Virginia- after a brutal decade of losses- and he has turned Bob McDonnell from a random state Delegate into an Attorney General, and now into a Governor- who in a few weeks will immediately shoot into the top ten potential Republican Presidential candidates in 2012 or 2016. But I'm not angry with Creigh- anyone can run for office- it is the responsibility of the primary electorate to nominate people who are capable of doing the job they are running for. This years failure to do so will have far-reaching impacts for many years to come.
Even though I disagree with Bob on the 5% of policy that will involve any ideology, I hope he can manage Virginia as well as he managed this campaign.
Outlook: Leans Republican
If the election were held today, Bill Bolling would be the leading Republican vote getter on the ticket this year. However, I think this race provides the most danger for the GOP heading into the final weeks. As McDonnell's victory becomes apparent, many Independents will look for balance in the state government. Every Republican Governor who has ever been elected in Virginia has seen their LG candidate seriously under-perform them as voters look for "balance" late in the campaign. If Jody Wagner can persuade voters that she is that balance over the next three weeks, this will be the closest election this year. Bolling has not used his incumbency very effectively, and seems to be willing to ride the McDonnell wave. But can Jody take advantage?
Outlook: Leans Republican
Much like the Governor, 95% of the Attorney General's job is non-partisan management, just on a much smaller scale with a few hundred state employees to manage. Since neither candidate has any specific experience that speaks to that role, it has been up to the campaign to indicate who is ready for this job. And Ken Cuccinelli has dominated since he was nominated in June in every aspect of this campaign. I know most of the people who were around to help launch Steve Shannon's political career in 2003- and I called seven of them this week from Providence District where Steve lives. None of them have heard a word from Steve in MONTHS- he literally does not even have his own core base of supporters helping to introduce him around the rest of Northern Virginia. Again, this is a core management issue- Steve clearly fails to understand that his campaign has to be bigger than whatever he has personally scheduled that day. The recent debate showed he hadn't even done the basic research into the office of Attorney General. His only remaining hope is that Cooch scares the public on the 5% of the job that requires ideology. Otherwise this election is over- although I am open to giving Steve the next four years to prepare himself better and run again in 2013.
I'll have my House of Delegates analysis up soon.