Monday, March 8, 2010

Special Election Results Raises Questions About the Strength of Herrity's Political Operation

There’s no doubt that the special elections that have been held so far in Fairfax County will be studied and used to help illustrate certain points as we head into the 2010 Congressional elections. What can’t be ignored about the results is the plain and simple fact that the Republicans lost two special elections in swing districts right in the heart of Pat Herrity’s base of support. Especially after Dave Marsden’s victory in January put a damper on Herrity launching his Congressional campaign, Eileen Filler-Corn’s victory on Tuesday was another severe blow to his campaign. What makes matters even worse is the Republicans appear to be trying to spin the results in a way that really doesn’t help Herrity’s credibility as a leader with a grassroots following. The Washington Post, for instance, reported that the Chairman of the Fairfax Republican Committee was specifically disappointed with Springfield District portion of the 41st.
Republican Party officials, however, said they weren't optimistic about the chances that a recount would garner enough votes to give him the victory. "We were competitive, but the fact that we didn't get some of our base out, in places like Springfield, is disappointing," said Anthony Bedell, chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee. "We did well, but we didn't do enough."
Of course, this is the portion of the district that Herrity currently represents on the Board of Supervisors and if he truly was the best organized candidate he would have been able to call upon his political operation to help with Bolognese’s GOTV efforts. It’s clear that he also didn’t simply blow off this race as he tried activating people on his email list, attended a GOTV event, and was there at Bolognese’s election night party just in case he won (kind of like how he tried to inspire voters with a conference call for Steve Hunt right before he lost to Marsden in the 37th). In other words, even local Republicans are admitting that despite Herrity’s efforts the GOP wasn’t able to activate voters in the heart of Herrity’s district.

As attention begins to shift towards the 2010 elections, this cuts right into one of the key arguments Herrity’s supporters are constantly making. His supporters like to claim his political operation is one of the reasons that he would fair better than Keith Fimian in November. The plain and simple fact that he couldn’t activate his base in a special election that should have favored the Republicans, however, raises some serious questions about the strength of Herrity’s political operation.

His inability to get out the Republican votes in Springfield also can’t have Herrity’s supporters very happy because Herrity’s not going to be able to out raise Fimian, who is extremely wealthy and has already proven he’s willing to self-fund his campaign, and his campaign operations were supposed to compensate for the lack of money. When this really comes down to is that Herrity is on the wrong side of the issues but also can’t live up to some of the other aspects of the campaign that supposedly made him an attractive candidate.


  1. You seem to be very, very invested in attempting to push this line about Pat Herrity's campaign, despite exceedingly tepid and specious evidence.

    The only conclusion anyone can reach about someone as grotesquely partisan as you so avidly concern-trolling the Republican nomination is that you are incredibly afraid of the prospect of Herrity's nomination.

  2. I'm afraid you shouldn't get your hopes up, VA Blogger. I'm merely pointing out how one Herrity's supporters claim this is one of his strengths, but that the evidence suggests otherwise. My interest in doing so is to simply clarify the facts and make sure that the public knows Herrity's supporters have a rather weak argument when they claim he has the best political operation in place.

  3. I am sure dems would would much rather face Herrity than Fimian. Herrity is just a run-of-the-mill Republican party guy who feels like he has been a card-carrying member for long enough and now it is his turn, whereas Fimian is an outsider who brings some passion and life to the party.


  4. Let's create a slightly different scenario. Let's say that things are reversed. Dems have just narrowly lost a special election and had less than hoped for turn out in districts represented by a Dem supervisor running for Congressman this fall. And what had that Dem congressman done? He'd sent some e-mails, doing a GOTV event, and shown up at a party.

    As an activist, I'd be pretty angry. I'd wonder just how much this Dem running for Congress actually wanted the job and was willing to fight for it, vote by vote, door by door, voter by voter. Even if he wasn't excited to be campaigning for the Dem Delegate candidate, you would think that he would at least take the opportunity to start preparing the political groundwork for his own political future!

    And yes, I know, he's a very important person with very important things to do. But there are an awful lot of volunteers out there who are pretty important people with pretty important things to do. Most of us have full time jobs, families, religious and social commitments that create pretty full calendars. But we can manage to send out some e-mails, do a GOTV campaign and attend a party or two. That's not leadership.

    Or, at least, it would be to someone like me. Maybe Republicans feel differently.

  5. Gretchen, you raise some very good points. When you combine that with the fact that Herrity asked not to be reappointed to some very important transportation boards and is now runing for his third different office in just a few years, people absolutely should question his leadership.