Ken Cuccinelli has a new ad out today attacking Terry McAuliffe as a “deeply unserious” candidate. As a campaigner, though, the roles might be reversed. NBC’s data shows that McAuliffe has outspent Cuccinelli on the broadcast airwaves by more than a two-to-one ratio in October, and still has more cash on hand in the final stretch:
Since the government shutdown, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has outspent Republican Ken Cuccinelli 2-to-1 on the airwaves.
In the last two weeks, pro-McAuliffe groups have doubled Cuccinelli and his allies $2.2 million to $1.1 million, according to an analysis by SMG Delta, which tracks broadcast, cable, and radio advertising for Republican campaigns.
“We have been on the air. We have not run out of money,” said a top Cuccinelli strategist, who acknowledged, “But this much is true – we are getting outspent 2-1.”
That’s not the only problem Cuccinelli faced. The shutdown furloughs impacted Virginia most of all, and that didn’t make Republicans any more popular:
The spending disparity comes as the conservative, Tea Party-aligned attorney general — and the Republican Party, in general — has taken a hit in the polls the last two weeks. Virginia is home to not only nearly 200,000 federal workers but also many federal contractors and military service members and veterans. Because of that, one analysis found Virginia to be the state most affected by the government shutdown.
Jim Geraghty says that the Cuccinelli campaign may not have been prepared for a truly nationalized opponent:
Some of the blame for this is on Cuccinelli, who told me earlier this year he had always been outspent in his previous successful state legislative and state attorney general campaigns, and that he was confident he could overcome the same advantage this year. Clearly, that confidence was misplaced. Some is on his campaign, which needed to realize how McAuliffe was ready to turn the campaign into a spending race as early as May and adjust accordingly. Some of the fault lies with the GOP’s big-time donors. And some of the blame falls on the grassroots, who frequently complain that the Republican Party doesn’t nominate sufficiently conservative nominees, and who have failed to pull out all the stops on an undeniably conservative candidate in a state Republicans swept by large margins four years ago.
General fundraising in the gubernatorial contest has gone McAuliffe’s way too, although not as lopsided as the spending in October. The Cuccinelli campaign raised $17.4 million, but McAuliffe has raised $25.9 million. The Republican Governors Association has kicked in nearly $8 million, but the DGA has also contributed $6 million. Regardless, the timing of the broadcast spending plus the shutdown seems to be contributing to Cuccinelli’s woes in Virginia, and with just a couple of weeks left, there’s not much time to make up the lost ground — and not enough cash to switch the coverage in the air war, at least not by quantity.
Perhaps quality will help, which is coincidentally the theme of the new ad:
This might be a good closing theme for Cuccinelli, especially with the wealth of available material at hand. To get that message across, though, the Cuccinelli campaign will have to get more serious about competing down the stretch.