The Freitas Gambit
If speculation is correct, Virginia Republicans just might have an alternative nominee for the 2018 Senate race.
Nick Freitas, a delegate from Culpeper just elected to his second term, is said to be ready to announce his candidacy for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, possibly at the state party’s annual meeting next weekend.
While some (or perhaps most) will marvel at the hubris of a largely unknown legislator with a thin political resume seeking to take on Sen. Tim Kaine (D), there are good reasons for a comparative newcomer to get into the race.
But it won’t be easy. Even should Freitas win the nomination in a fight with Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, and possibly E.W. Jackson, assemble a seasoned team that knows how to run an effective statewide effort, raise the money needed to finance that effort and weather the coming storm facing all Republicans running everywhere in 2018, his odds of defeating Kaine are very slim.
Kaine is 3-0 in Virginia elections — 4-0 if we add the Clinton-Kaine victory in the commonwealth over Trump-Pence in 2016. His victories have always been solid if not overwhelming.
In the Obama reelection year of 2012, Kaine defeated George Allen in the contest to fill former senator Jim Webb’s open Senate seat by nearly 6 percentage points and managed to finish ahead of Obama in the process.
In his bid for governor in 2005 against Jerry Kilgore, Kaine won by nearly 6 percentage points.
His only close contest came in his first bid for statewide office in 2001. Then, running against Jay Katzen, Kaine won by 2 percentage points.
Solid wins, all. But not overwhelming.
To a Republican optimist, these results would indicate an opening for a new face running a strong, well-funded campaign to make 2018 a real contest.
And maybe, if all the stars align, it might even mean a victory.
That won’t happen.