The gubernatorial race here in Virginia is becoming a microcosm of the 2008 presidential election; in one respect, at least.
I give most of the credit for this post to a well-researched article by Patrick Callahan in the James Madison University publication The Breeze. The full article may be read here.
Essentially, Mr. Callahan points out that Terry McAuliffe, one of the contenders for the Democratic nomination for governor, brings a certain amount of star power and superb fundraising ability to his bid for the candidacy and the governorship ... but not much else. As former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former manager for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Mr. McAuliffe certainly is a highly recognized and respected member of the Democratic Party, and possesses incredible potential to raise funds not just for his own campaign but for delegate races across the Commonwealth.
Beyond that, though, he doesn't have much to offer Virginians. Representative Creigh Deeds and former state Delegate Brian Moran, the other Democratic contenders, both have been active and influential figures in Virginia politics for years, now. Bob McDonnell, the sole Republican in the race, was the Attorney General until very recently. While Mr. McAuliffe busied himself with getting Democrats into offices and, by nature of his job, beating Republicans, the other candidates were solely serving the Commonwealth.
It reminded me of the 2008 presidential election season, when star power and fundraising totals were seen as positive indicators of ability to govern. Terry McAuliffe may be a competent executive, but so far all he has brought to the table is millions upon millions of dollars. As Mr. Callahan points out in his article, this election's projected cost was between 25 and 35 million dollars, but when Mr. McAuliffe announced his bid, the projections tripled.
The other candidates are doing their best to fight fire with fire, sending out mailers and anything else they can think of to raise enough money to present a serious challenge. Personally, I would much rather this election be about who can best govern the Commonwealth, especially with the economy in its current state. Everyone knows I despise popularity contests. However, in the world of politics, popularity is king, and elections are about who can afford to convince the voters that they deserve the crown.
Will this be the year that I finally contribute money to a political campaign? Time will tell. For now, I'll continue simply contributing my words.
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