WASHINGTON, November 6, 2013 — Ken Cuccinelli will not be Virginia’s next governor. The Republican ticket failed after being sabotaged by the establishment.
But his race sends a powerful message and it is a message conservatives should pay attention to.
Cuccinelli should have won this race. He should be the governor-elect today.
Why isn’t he?
First, the Republican establishment sent a message to Virginia. The establishment said that if conservatives are not going to pick the establishment’s preordained candidate, in this case it was Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, the establishment is not going to contribute any cash.
Conservatives are always being told that we must support a moderate nominee for party unity. Apparently those rules do not apply to moderates and the establishment. The Republican National Committee spent six million dollars less this year than it did in 2009. Cuccinelli was outspent three to one during most of the campaign and as much as ten to one in the closing days. Contributions by big Republican donors, those who gave more than $1000 in past gubernatorial elections, dropped by two-thirds this year over 2009 and 2005.
The other thing that did Ken Cuccinelli in was the liberal sponsored, “faux” Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. Sarvis pulled away a lot of votes from Cuccinelli. Only in literally the last day of the campaign did the story come out that Joe Liemandt, a Texas billionaire and a top fundraising bundler for Obama, had bankrolled the so-called Libertarian PAC that funded Robert Sarvis. Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s victory looks like it will be by about fifty thousand votes. Sarvis drew one hundred and fifty thousand votes.
It is hard to believe that at least half of those votes would not have gone to Ken Cuccinelli if Sarvis were not in the race.
Despite everything, Cuccinelli ran a campaign that he was supposed to lose badly. Yet he came very close to winning and perhaps but for the presence of Robert Sarvis in the race, would have.
Conservatives need to learn from what happened in Virginia. If it isn’t plainly obvious already, conservatives need to understand that the Republican establishment would rather lose an election to a Democrat than see a conservative triumph over an establishment candidate. Conservative candidates must plan a barebones campaign, and plan on not having the financial support of the Republican Party.
Wealthy conservatives need to start doing what Democrats are doing. Wealthy conservatives need to start funding PACs that will bring out the Green Party or some other far left wing party to siphon votes away from the liberal candidate. Had a Green Party candidate been funded the way Sarvis was funded; odds are Ken Cuccinelli would be waking up this morning as the governor-elect, and not Terry McAuliffe.
Conservatives in Virginia can now expect the Republican establishment to demand that their candidates be selected by primary instead of by convention. In other words, they want the Democrat crossover votes. The establishment will point to the failure of the Republican ticket this year.
If the national Republican Party and the Republican establishment in Virginia had supported Cuccinelli the way they supported Bob McDonnell four years ago, it is hard to see how Cuccinelli did not win.
Ken Cuccinelli did not win his battle to become the next governor of Virginia. He did teach conservatives a lesson though. And that is a lesson conservatives can use to win in 2014.
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