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Who is Jamie Radtke?

(temporarily removing the tongue from my cheek, check out Jamie Radtke’s brand new campaign website at www.radtkeforsenate.com [1])

Who is Jamie Radtke?

Accordingly to early polls, somewhere in the ballpark of 75% of people have asked themselves or will be asking themselves that very question over the next year.

Since the announcement of her candidacy, the Radtke campaign has produced a flurry of anti-George Allen press releases, some relevant, some not. The issue here isn’t her campaign challenging George Allen; he’s a primary opponent, essentially running as an incumbent and his record is fair game. There’s plenty not to like in his Senate record and plenty to like in his record as Governor. Those things will have their debate throughout the course of the campaign.

But not now.

For a Senate candidate on a longshot bid, there’s one thing you’re doing right now. Fundraising. When you’re not fundraising, you’re making calls or plans to fundraise. You’re working city and county committee events, women’s clubs, party platforms and the like. You’re working to spread your positive message and get to know the voters but most especially let them get to know you.

While Radtke has been a staple recently at local events, and while she had a eye-opening haul in fundraising for the final quarter last year [2], her campaign continually falls into a pattern of “Can You Believe George Allen Did _______” press releases and statements.

If there’s one thing Virginia voters have consistently rejected, it’s outright attacks (whether valid or invalid) on candidates before they ‘know’ the candidate attacking. Playing the political offensive game in Virginia has backfired on numerous occasions. Put simply:

Virginia voters want a reason to vote for YOU and not why you shouldn’t vote for the other guy.

Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner, Steve Shannon. All launched ‘pro-active’ attacks on their Republican opponents in 2009, Deeds for the thesis, Wagner for no-show meetings and Shannon for Cuccinelli running on an agenda. Voters rarely heard of Creigh Deeds’ record on education or some of his positive virtues, they just saw angry clips of Deeds spitting at Bob McDonnell during debates and in appearances. Jerry Kilgore. Ollie North. (I’m sure those of you more seasoned than I can come up with numerous other references or critique my own)

There’s been very little publicized on Jamie Radtke and why to vote for her. Sure, she’s a got a wonderful family, she’s a powerful activist within the Tea Party grassroots movement. She has people that believe in her candidacy. She wants to shake-up Washington. I get all that, I really do. It’s commendable what she’s done in the last two/three years. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Jamie as an individual. But as a candidate? Not once have I seen, you should vote for me because _______. Or anything resembling ‘I deserve your vote because…’

The early poll (largely only name ID) [3] has her favorables lagging behind her negatives. With Virginians historically rejecting outright negative campaigns from the get-go, Radtke’s campaign’s early focus on George Allen’s Senate record will continue to backfire. Any points gained at this early at Allen’s expense are outweighed heavily by the inevitable increase in her negatives. Rather than continuing to inform political hacks and the media (generally the only people paying attention right now) why they shouldn’t support George Allen, why don’t we hear more about Jamie and her background, her education, why she is qualified to be a United States Senator, her goals for the grassroots and for the Senate.

Because while Radtke’s campaign get flummoxed at weekly George Allen press releases and recaps, George Allen is reassembling the team that won him the Governor’s mansion in 1993 in a landslide and helped him win the Senate seat in 2000. Republicans who have been a part of the party in the Commonwealth for the last two decades frequently comment on the impressiveness of both campaigns and the subsequent irrational deviation in 2006. I can see how it would be easy to jump after George Allen for anything and everything, but Virginia voters have shown time and time again the tried and true path to victory.

They don’t need Jamie Radtke’s campaign to point out every flaw George Allen has or every poor vote he’s ever made. Everyone has mistakes and typically everyone is held accountable for their mistakes. But right now there’s three announced candidates for US Senate, and of the three the only one that even comes to close to knowing what you’re getting is George Allen.

Tell us why to vote for YOU, not why we shouldn’t vote for him.