DGA lessons from West Virginia special election
BY ALEXANDER BURNS | POLITICO | LINK TO ARTICLE
Democrats dodged a potentially embarrassing defeat last night when West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin prevailed in a special election over Republican challenger Bill Maloney. The Republican Governors Association spent a big sum on ads tying Tomblin to President Obama, but the Democrat managed to eke out a 3-point victory.
In a memo released overnight, the Democratic Governors Association argues that the special election campaign has some positive lessons for Democrats up and down the ticket in 2012. Among them:
Republican Bill Maloney tried to capitalize on the challenging national atmosphere by positioning himself as an outsider, non-career politician who would bring change to West Virginia. But Maloney’s momentum didn’t translate into victory because the DGA and Tomblin successfully communicated to voters that he was an outsider, millionaire businessman who used West Virginia to get rich and whose risky, radical positions would have taken West Virginia off-course. …
Bottom Line: Last night’s result was a clear blow to national Republicans. Despite huge expenditures by the RGA, West Virginia voters were not swayed by attempts to nationalize the race. Instead, they went with a proven West Virginia tax-cutter and job-creator in Earl Ray Tomblin. Nationally, Democrats have seen setbacks in recent special elections. Tonight, Earl Ray Tomblin and the DGA beat the trend and showed the limitations of the Republicans’ money and attempts to tear down the President.