Leahy: Rob Wittman’s Missing Republican Label

Though campaign ads have blanketed the airwaves in some Virginia congressional districts, the Richmond market, divided among the 1st, 4th and 5th districts, has largely sat this election out.

The reason is simple: Barring an election wave of unimaginable proportions, the incumbents in these districts — Rob Wittman (R) in the 1st, A. Donald McEachin (D) in the 4th and Bob Good (R) in the 5th — all are going to win on Nov. 8. Virginia’s dysfunctional-by-design redistricting process built these districts to favor either a Republican (1st and 5th) or a Democrat (4th).

But redistricting did do one thing marginally well: It forced Rob Wittman to spend a little money on an ad introducing himself to the roughly 261,000 new residents of Virginia’s 1st Congressional District.

And what an ad it is — hitting the main GOP election theme about inflation and the economy and castigating, in passing, those spend-happy Democrats and their “reckless” choices.

Wittman is depicted as the suburban dad wandering the aisles of the supermarket, talking with folks in an easy, familiar way about big issues such as jobs, wages and growth. There are no histrionics, no ridiculous special effects or dark imagery — just Wittman, a guy who wants to fight for the American Dream.

On those counts, it’s rock solid. Who can disagree that inflation is a problem or that the American Dream — left undefined here, but one that we can safely assume doesn’t include high gas prices — is a good thing?

Only cranks, hopeless partisans and those who just don’t like success, macaroni and cheese and hugs, that’s who.

As a gauzy introductory ad — with a couple of subtle dog whistles included just in case — it works. This is exactly the kind of ad an incumbent who is confident of winning but isn’t leaving anything to chance with all those new voters should run.

Now let’s talk about what isn’t in this ad. It’s pretty big. Did you catch it?

Wittman never says he is a Republican.

Continue reading here.

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