Virginia's Gubernatorial Election versus Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat McAuliffe certainly finished much closer than pre-election polling predicted. The final results had Democrat McAuliffe winning by just 2 percentage points.
Prior polling suggested McAuliffe would have an easy night. Polling firms such as Quinnipiac showed McAuliffe with 7 percent lead just days before the election. Polling the week prior indicated McAuliffe had a 10-12 percent lead versus Cuccinelli.
So what happened to McAuliffe's lead? Obamacare. Media attention to national concern over the "Affordable Care Act" website debacle coupled with thousands of Virginian's receiving insurance cancellation notices - all cut into McAuliffe's lead. Several insiders stated that if the election were held a week later, Cuccinelli could have won.
But, alas, Cuccinelli lost.
Here's a quick analysis of the down fall of the Cuccinelli for Governor campaign...
Four components of Cuccinelli's defeat:
- Cuccinelli's Campaign. Ken's campaign lacked the vigor and message to fight back against the McAuliffe's successful definition of Ken as a right wing 'extremist'. Cuccinelli's communications team was haphazard with coordinating message. They failed to capitalize on two of Ken's strengths: His prosecution of Obamacare and his commitment to his family. Had the campaign led with his strong family life, the left would not have had as much bite on defining him as a 'monster' to women. Obamacare turned out to be a key sway issue for voters. Had Cuccinelli been more outspoken about his documented efforts to protect Virginian's from Obamacare, he would have won.
- The Sarvis Factor. Rob Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for Governor, received 6% of the vote. Most of his percentage were potential Cuccinelli voters. The very presence of Sarvis split voters who did not want to vote for either candidate. A late breaking news story by The Blaze documented how a Obama financier funded a Super Pac that funneled cash to support Sarvis. The left split the vote and used Sarvis as another front versus Cuccinelli.
- Lack of Cash. McAuliffe grossly out fundraised Cuccinelli. With McAuliffe's cash flow of $30 Million, Cuccinelli could not match the commercial ad buys of the McAuliffe campaign. Funds did not flow into the Cuccinelli campaign as had been expected. Ken received establishment money, just not the mega bucks expected with the Virginia election being the only truly contested race. (Christie had a easy. predictable race in Jersey)
- Grassroots Ground Game. The Democrats have an established, primed ground game in the Commonwealth. The Republican Party of Virginia is ineffective at grassroots operations. This has been an ongoing trend since Democrat Mark Warner's victory for U.S. Senate in 2008.
Rumors are already swirling about Ken Cuccinelli's future as a candidate. Only time will tell how this lion of conservatism in the Commonwealth will succeed.