RNC: Hey, don’t blame us for Cuccinelli’s loss

posted at 1:21 pm on November 6, 2013 by Allahpundit

A footnote to Erika’s post about lessons to take from Cuccinelli’s almost-but-not-quite upset. Fun fact: The RNC spent $9 million to help Bob McDonnell win the governor’s seat four years ago. This year, in a much tougher election, they spent $3 million on Ken Cuccinelli, with Cooch so strapped for cash at the end that he had to abandon the D.C. media market the last two weeks. Not all of his money problems were the RNC’s fault — McAuliffe dominated Cuccinelli in fundraising (as expected) and centrist outside groups like the Chamber of Commerce ignored him — but the big drop-off in spending between 2009 and 2013 naturally has people pointing fingers at Reince Priebus and company.

We’re getting a bad rap, says the RNC:

Republican National Committee allies are offering an interesting defense to critics saying the campaign committee could have done more to help the Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli: Blame former RNC chairman Michael Steele.

Steele dropped a staggering $9 million in 2009 into Governor Bob McDonnell’s race despite the fact that McDonnell never trailed in a single poll.

“In my opinion, it was just frivolous spending,” says a Republican source close to the campaign in Virginia. “We were paying off that race in 2011 when we should have been getting ready for the presidential,” the source says. “It handcuffed us.”…

Another data point is the New Jersey gubernatorial race in 2009, when the RNC spent around $3 million to help now-governor Chris Christie – about the same amount it spent on Cuccinelli, but in a more expensive state.

In other words, the reason the drop-off over the past four years is so sharp isn’t because the RNC short-changed Cuccinelli, it’s because Michael Steele stupidly showered cash on a candidate in 2009 who didn’t really need it. Jim Geraghty (who’s compiled a nifty list of reasons to blame, or not blame, the RNC) adds several other exculpating factors. The RNC actually outspent the DNC in Virginia; outside groups and wealthy Republican donors, whose contributions to pro-Cuccinelli Super PACs would have been unlimited, didn’t swoop in to fill the fundraising gap (possibly/probably because they disliked Cooch’s tea-party credentials) and the few who tried like the RGA didn’t do a smart job of spending their money; and nearly every poll had Cuccinelli losing badly, which meant the RNC might reasonably have believed it’d be throwing its money away by spending more in Virginia. There are lots of important races next year that they’ll need to spend on. They don’t have money to burn. Gotta pick and choose.

And yet the fact remains: When it came time to vote, Cuccinelli wasn’t a lost cause. Why didn’t the RNC see that coming? Geraghty notes that they ended up spending $1.5 million in New Jersey to help pad Christie’s landslide while Cooch was all but abandoned down the stretch by national Republicans. Said one Cuccinelli advisor to WaPo, “There are a lot of questions people are going to be asking and that is, was leaving Cuccinelli alone in the first week of October, a smart move? We were on our own. Just look at the volume [of ads].” What makes that inexcusable isn’t that the RNC’s polling didn’t show the race being tight (although that’s … pretty inexcusable), it’s the fact that the ruinous ObamaCare rollout of the past three weeks gave Republicans every reason to believe there might be a pro-GOP bounce near the end. That wasn’t worth an extra million? Jonah Goldberg wonders:

In fairness, the Republican Governor’s Association did help Cuccinelli, but it came too early. The RNC treated him like a write-off. I can understand that temptation when Cuccinelli looked like a sure loser. But I don’t understand why, when ObamaCare became a big issue, the RNC couldn’t have done more. I’m sure it’s hard to ramp up at the last second. But so what? Things are going to be hard in lots of ways for as far as the eye can see. Hard can’t be an excuse anymore. As for the more moderate Republican donors who stayed away from Cuccinelli, I certainly don’t think they’re obliged to give money to anyone or anything they disagree with. So maybe they’re pro-choice. Maybe they call themselves “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” (don’t get me started). Fine. But on the issues that make them Republican, McAuliffe will still be far more of a disaster than Cuccinelli ever would have been. McAuliffe says his first priority for the legislative session is accepting the expanded Medicare option under ObamaCare. That’s bad enough, but does anyone doubt that another, equally important, priority of his will be to prepare the ground for a Clinton candidacy should she run?

Forget about the pros and cons of Cuccinelli the politician for a second. Forget even whether an O-Care backlash really did help Cooch close the gap; that’s debatable. The fact is, Democrats on the Hill would have identified ObamaCare as the culprit if Cuccinelli had eked out a narrow victory over a guy who massively outspent him and maintained a sizable polling lead until the end. If you want red-state Dems to run screaming from the ACA, shocking a Clinton crony who looked poised for an easy win in a bellwether state could have done the trick. Which is not to say all is lost: There are a few dopey liberal pundits on Twitter this morning insisting that Virginia was a “victory for ObamaCare” or something because McAuliffe managed to survive, but rest assured, that’s not the lesson being drawn by Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu given the narrowness of the margin. Even so, an outright win for Cuccinelli would have sent a much more powerful message. So why didn’t the RNC — and outside groups, and Republican millionaires/billionaires — do more to make it happen? They weren’t really more interested in seeing a tea-party star get his “comeuppance” than seizing power in a purple state like Virginia, were they?

And by the way: No, the fake libertarian didn’t cost Cuccinelli the election.


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The RNC is full of crap!

MCGIRV on November 6, 2013 at 7:09 PM

when you lose by 2.4 points and the Libertarian takes 7 points how do you figure he didn’t cause the Republican to lose?? I think the Republican would of loved to have had 7 points more winnin
g the election.

Bullhead on November 6, 2013 at 7:15 PM

when you lose by 2.4 points and the Libertarian takes 7 points how do you figure he didn’t cause the Republican to lose?? I think the Republican would of loved to have had 7 points more winnin
g the election.

Bullhead on November 6, 2013 at 7:15 PM

According to exit polls, Sarvis voters would have voted for McAuliffe two-to-one in a two-man race.

Resist We Much on November 6, 2013 at 7:17 PM

bluefox

:)

Before long someone will come along and label us purists, right after admitting they didn’t support Cuccinelli or some other conservative because they disagreed with them on one issue, lol.

xblade on November 6, 2013 at 6:19 PM

That wouldn’t surprise me. We better put shields up:-)

bluefox on November 6, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Killing babies is not an “antiquated social issue” nor is being for the traditional marriage. I am sick of Republicans spouting we should just “moderate” our values and become like the Dems Geez just go away.

Bullhead on November 6, 2013 at 7:23 PM

They weren’t really more interested in seeing a tea-party star get his “comeuppance” than seizing power in a purple state like Virginia, were they?

Of course they were. The Democrat/GOP coalition is trying to eliminate the Tea Party. That is their highest priority.

David Blue on November 6, 2013 at 7:37 PM

alchemist19 on November 6, 2013 at 6:23 PM

I viewed the youtube ad. Glad it had subtitles in English. It was run on 10/29/13 which was a little late, but better than nothing.

I hope that wasn’t the only “support” the RNC gave Cuccinelli.
If you find any money funds from the RNC, which Mark Levin was speaking of, by all means post that.

Thanks.

bluefox on November 6, 2013 at 7:39 PM

The Democrat/GOP coalition David Blue on November 6, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Good description of them since they are working together.

bluefox on November 6, 2013 at 7:41 PM

I don’t want to the excuses. If the RNC doesn’t have enough on the ball to have figured out the landscape was changing in Virginia, what the hell are they good for?

Murf76 on November 6, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Santorum brought a lot of this opinion of him on himself. That’s all he talked about was religious issues, abortion, birth control etc.
I voted against Santorum in 2012, by voting for Gingrich. Everyone owns their own vote and reasons and you shouldn’t call someone names for that.
bluefox on November 6, 2013 at 6:00 PM

No, Santorum talked about repealing Obamacare, about our unsustainable debt, about the war on terror and laid out a plan to put people back to work. The liberal media, democrats and RINOs talked about religious issues, abortion, birth control, etc. Sad that you are so easily duped.

fight like a girl on November 6, 2013 at 7:56 PM

The RINOs cost the republicans the governorship in Virginia. Own it RINOs.

fight like a girl on November 6, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Dire Straits on November 6, 2013 at 6:51 PM

If you check back in, I get a page not found. Then the next time I got a Washington Post site; is that the one?

Thanks.

bluefox on November 6, 2013 at 8:02 PM

They threw Cucchinelli to the wolves. Screw ‘em into the wall. I’m voting grass roots conservative, not crony republican hack.

Conservchik on November 6, 2013 at 8:02 PM

bluefox on November 6, 2013 at 6:00 PM

No, Santorum talked about repealing Obamacare, about our unsustainable debt, about the war on terror and laid out a plan to put people back to work. The liberal media, democrats and RINOs talked about religious issues, abortion, birth control, etc. Sad that you are so easily duped.

fight like a girl on November 6, 2013 at 7:56 PM

First of all, I’m not duped, easily or otherwise. If I wanted to take the time, I’d post a lot of Santorum’s statements and his answers to the media. He allowed the media to draw him in to those discussions.

bluefox on November 6, 2013 at 8:06 PM

What did the Tea Party do for Cooch? Practically nothing. The RNC gave him $3 million, the RGA gave him $8.5 million and that was about $11 million more than he got from the Tea Party.

Why didn’t Rush and Hannity and the rest of the talk radio conservative media money making machine get out there and raise some money for the guy? No…they will use this loss to play the victim and blame everyone else for the defeat and try to raise their ratings, but actually do something constructive to help Cooch win?

Hell no…just like the Defund/Shutdown brigade that helped piss off thousands of voters in northern VA…where were they?

No, instead we have the Defund the GOP folks demanding more money from the GOP. The lack of self awareness is just amazing.

I wish the man had won. I think Terry McAulliff is a crook. But you know what? Tru cons wanted a convention so that they could get the most conservative candidate and then they failed to back up their guy or do anything to make it any easier for him to win…and now they are pointing fingers at everyone else. It looks desperate.

Terrye on November 6, 2013 at 8:25 PM

My favorite moment yesterday was when I told Terry to “bite me” to his face and refused to shake hand @ the Vienna Metro…Then being chased downed by a NYT reporter (Jason?) asking me if I would like to talk to him.

I was not able to talk to the NYT reporter (I really was running late). For a day of volunteering in my area.

So yesterday I told the Gov-elect of VA to “bite me” on my way to a volunteer event, which was an excused absence from my regular job.

Something tells me I did more for the homeless yesterday then Terry will ever do in his next 4 years as gov of VA.

F15Mech on November 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM

The RNC and GOP establishment lost the VA race. Simple as that. It was winnable and would have sent a huge message. But they didn’t give a crap.

Jack_Burton on November 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM

F15Mech on November 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Back on topic I will never donate any money to the Republican party again because you abandoned the entire Commonwealth of VA.

F15Mech on November 6, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Why should conservatives vote for establishment idiots when establishment idiots will willfully throw a conservative under the bus and gladly give a governorship to a Dimmocrit just so the conservative can’t have it?

This is why I voted for Obama instead of RomneyCare. Unlike many – I GOT ANGRY LONG AGO when Cornyn endorsed Crist over Rubio … And Specter over Toomey. I got fu*king angry when the NRSC tried to rig the Alaska senate seat for Murkowski. I got mad when the NRSC told Christine McDonald – WHILE SHE WAS ON THE PODIUM GIVING HER PRIMARY VICTORY SPEECH – that they wouldn’t support her with a dime of money in the general.


I HATE – WITH A WHITE HOT PASSION – HE GOP AYATOLLAHS. I HATE THEM WORSE THAN THE DIMMCRITS AND I WILL ALWAYS VOTE FOR A DIM OVER AN ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICAN.

HondaV65 on November 6, 2013 at 8:39 PM

The RNC and GOP establishment lost the VA race. Simple as that. It was winnable and would have sent a huge message. But they didn’t give a crap.

Jack_Burton on November 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Exactly… I had the “gum”balls to tell Terry to “bite me” to his face and refuse to touch his hand.

The RNC and GOP is lacking that and therefore lost it for VA.

F15Mech on November 6, 2013 at 8:42 PM

AND I WILL ALWAYS VOTE FOR A DIM OVER AN ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICAN.

HondaV65

Just curious is there a single issue you tend to look for? I am not opposed to sending a message to the RNC/GOP that they have lost there way. But the “I will always vote for” screams to me that you are a single issue voter and nothing besides you issues matters.

F15Mech on November 6, 2013 at 8:47 PM

The biggest lesson for the RNC, and for Republicans in general should be not to start believing the liberal news narratives, such as the false notion that most “Tea Party sympathizers” are rabid Nazi child-beaters or whatever drivel they are selling on a given day.

Damn.

hillbillyjim on November 6, 2013 at 8:53 PM

bluefox on November 6, 2013 at 8:02 PM

It is the Wash post link..:)

Dire Straits on November 6, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Okay RNC ….. how about if we blame you for McAuliffe’s win ? !

listens2glenn on November 6, 2013 at 11:09 PM

We’ve GOT to give the GOP credit. Thanks to their sticking it to the TEA Party, Virgina will definitely go for Hillary in 2016 and Obamacare is supported by another Democrat governor, but what difference does it make, right?

Yep! The complacent GOP voters can remain firmly stuck in their lazy boy recliners while the GOPe continues to shove Obamacare down our throats and we all can plan the parties when Clinton takes the White House.

I’m proud of my efforts of making phone calls for Ken in the TEA Party GOTV effort no matter how much that raises my phone bill. I wonder what the lethargic GOP voters are proud of now…

DannoJyd on November 7, 2013 at 12:27 AM

DemoRats are taking us down to the pits of hell fast enough but the restarted GOP McRino Urkells want to jump in line & help. These old statists have done zero for their constituents. Support your man, zero dollars for the RNC. These old scum ponds die or retire comfortably while we the voters worry about budgeting, sacrificing to manage while taking the hit from the decisions they pass unto us.

RdLake on November 7, 2013 at 1:54 AM

The Republican Party is going to have to work real hard to convince me to ever vote for one of them again. Those of us who feel like this need to start letting our elected representatives know this. I am holding my local and state people know I am not voting for any of them until the entire party pulls its head out of it’s collective backside.

kmarie on November 7, 2013 at 5:34 AM

All of you Rhino’s just remember: It’s like the scum of the earth lowlife Obama said about a month ago: Elections have consequences. I’m a GA resident and I have already written my Senator to tell him he will never get my vote again. One of the lowlifes is retiring and I will fight for a Tea Party Member to be elected.

tmgrant on November 7, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Thoughtful summation on Cuccinelli’s loss:
http://spectator.org/archives/2013/11/07/the-anti-cuccinelli-axis

onlineanalyst on November 7, 2013 at 8:56 AM

How did Cuccinelli lose?

I heard Megyn Kelly say he got +8 of the Independent vote

How’d he lose with a +8?

Damn, we’re never gonna win the Presidency again, even with +8 Independents and we still lose

LurkerDood on November 8, 2013 at 12:34 PM

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