We’ve heard stories over the past couple months of AG candidates criss-crossing the Commonwealth in support of their campaigns – speaking to delegates and hoping to garner support, which is a very smart move. However, today, because Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell is having his campaign kick-off this morning in Fairfax, followed by appearances in Richmond and Hampton Roads, the AG campaigns have decided to ignore today’s mass meetings.
This is a huge tactical error.
Well, maybe not huge, but at least to folks here in Chesapeake who haven’t made up there minds — and not all of them will be going to the rally this afternoon in Virginia Beach — a golden opportunity for any candidate who wanted to catch fire was wasted.
The three-hundred plus votes from Chesapeake in a close convention contest certainly could be the votes that bring a candidate from a three-way plurality to a majority victory.
However, candidate for lieutenant governor, Patrick Muldoon, was present and warmly received. He spoke on his conservative credentials, including the right to life, his fiscal conservatism, and right to bear arms. He claimed that Bolling “moderates” the message.
Muldoon challenged the delegates present. He stated that the decision for the GOP candidate is not one by party leaders, but that it is the delegates who will decide the future and direction of the party.
“My opponent, Mr. Bolling, has failed to exemplify the conservative leadership we need and Virginia desires,” said Muldoon. He took particular exception to Bolling’s support for the transportation bill and his campaign connections to Barr Laboratories – maker of the “morning after” abortion pill.
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling was represented by Rep. Randy Forbes, who spoke glowingly of Bolling’s conservative credentials and willingness to personally sacrifice on behalf of achieving Republican victories.
“There were few senators I knew that voted more consistently conservative than Bill Bolling,” said Forbes. He also made a point of emphasizing that single issue disagreements are less important than uniting behind a candidate.
All the attorney general candidates were represented by surrogates, and while it was nice to hear from them, it certainly wasn’t the same as having the candidate here.
Speaking with some of the campaign representatives at the meeting, they claimed that being on the stage or with the gubernatorial candidate is the smarter political move.
Perhaps the candidates should be with McDonnell on the rally circuit, but to those in Chesapeake, this was definitely the cold shoulder.
Also of note, Jeff Frederick was apparently supposed to be here but also didn’t attend. Apparently he wanted to, but the rules did not allow for him the opportunity to speak. Interesting.