Larry Sabato adds to Warner’s Wall of Worry

UVA’s Larry Sabato, while still having the Virginia Senate race as “Likely D,” agrees that the Puckett mess lapping at Mark Warner’s shoes is not a good development for the incumbent, and comes at a very opportune time for the challenger:

Coming from the Professor, who has been a staunch Warner backer for years, this amounts to a red flag. And my sources tell me that anxious Democrats are burning up the phone lines to find out just what in the world Warner did, why he did it and whether it’s a problem. The explanations take a lot longer than can fit in a 30 second ad.

Heading into the final weeks, Warner has a big cash advantage over Gillespie (who is going back on the air Saturday with a $300,000 buy). Mark Warner has already sent out a fundraising email trying to gin-up donations to counter what his copywriters dub a “new wave of disgusting attack ads against Senator Warner on TV all across Virginia.”

Points for cheek, guys. But reality says your employer has a 4-1 cash advantage. This is about waking the base up, not getting their $5.

None of this is insurmountable for a challenger who knows that free media goes farther and lasts longer than paid ads.

In other words, running a campaign, not managing it, and creating media opportunities rather than paying for them.

It’s old-fashioned. And it scares some people to death to think they may have to rely on shoe leather and street smarts to win instead of ad points and retweets.

But it can and has been done. If Gillespie is ready to step up and apply the pressure.

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