The Washington Post kicked off the fall statewide elections by finding any number of Bolling supporters unnamed Republican sources criticizing E.W. Jackson's campaign. While I certainly will agree that Jackson is not without his flaws, he has thus far campaigned better than most expected. But the crux of the criticism seems twofold. The first is that he was a kooky candidate who won the nomination because it was a convention. The second is that he should be ashamed of himself for not working with the state party for his information and/or lists. Oh and also, that he is the person forcing the GOP ticket to splinter. So let's deal with this.
First, the convention. Let's be clear, there was no consensus candidate that was considered a general election shoe-in. The establishment favorite, Pete Snyder, had paraded the floor of the convention with a sign that said "BBQ ..." basically saying, hey I'll feed you food and now you will vote for me. Corey Stewart would be getting even worse a beating from the mainstream media. Susan Stimpson, my candidate, would have been a stronger nominee but was virtually unknown across the state. Scott Lingamfelter was trying to fight Iran. Jeannemarie Davis, who campaigned with Mike Bloomberg, handed out fans with a Don't Tread on Me logo. Steve Martin, well ... E.W. Jackson was the only candidate who didn't treat the voters at the convention like complete idiots. People liked that. He out-worked and out-organized everyone else. It is what it is. But you would think that Thomas Jefferson was in Richmond and we voted against him.
Second, the state party. Remember, this is the state party in the last few years that has lost two Senate races and two presidential elections. Bob McDonnell created his own campaign infrastructure, as did Ken Cuccinelli. Of course, Bill Bolling, Virginia's newest Monday morning quarterback, was along for the ride. "Working" with state parties often come with more strings attached than just updated lists. It often comes with certain consultants and other such leeches that help bleed campaigns dry. Jackson isn't making it easy on himself, but its proven if you have the means and organization to build something from the ground up, you can be very successful. I don't know if Jackson has those people around him, but I do know that more often than not, the juice is worth the squeeze.
Now, onto Jackson being a "splinter" on the party. Historically, candidates have almost always run separate campaigns. I mean, how often do you see Herring and Northam with Candidate Green Tech? The McDonnell/Bolling affair was the exception to the rule. I mean, do you even remember who the Dem LG candidate was last time around?
Could Jackson still lose? Sure. But he can still win, that I have no doubt. As long as Republicans don't buy into the FUD being thrown out there by the media and Democrats that Virginia's only minority statewide candidate is unfit for office and hated by his own party.