In an article for The Hill Political Analyst, Geoffrey Skelley gave some thought-provoking insight on the Virgina Governor’s race.
His first quote:
“The concern for Democrats has to be that Republicans are pretty united on some of the issues that have taken center stage in this race,” Geoffrey Skelley, a political analyst at the University of Virginia, said, citing issues like immigration and the controversial debate over protecting Confederate statues.
“If you are looking for a way to make sure more Republicans turn up than expected, these kinds of issues might be the ticket.”
This is good news for Republicans hoping for a win in a state that Hillary won. If the Democrats aren’t standing behind their candidate it can lead to two things that could crush Northam in the election. The first is fence sitters swinging to the Republican candidate. If Democrats who see themselves as moderates feel that Democratic candidate Ralph Northam is worse than Republican Ed Gillespie then they will lose key votes that they need to win the election. The second thing is that voters on their side just might not come out. If they feel both candidates stink they must just decide to not show up at the voting booths. Republicans have done a great job of making this the case for the Democratic party. They decided to stand up for common sense policies and didn’t actually have Trump endorse them so that even Trump skeptics can look at Ed on his own merit.
“If this is a 50-48 Northam win here, this is going to be a strategy that the GOP candidates in 2018 are going to turn to, because it clearly has engaged Trump voters,” Skelley said.
“If Gillespie wins, in particular, this is going to be the new playbook: law and order, sanctuary cities, sanctuary cities, sanctuary cities.”
There is no doubt this election is huge for trying to predict what will happen in 2018. If the Republicans are able to flip this seat they will be able to copy this strategy moving forward. If they lose it will simply send them back to the drawing board and force them to come up with a new strategy.