Corey Stewart can win, as long as he stays away from Northern Virginia. First, let me explain why Ed Gillespie lost the governorship. He lost because Ed was a boring candidate – he was a very carefully scripted candidate and did not energize the Trump base. As such, only 66% of the Trump base showed up for Ed Gillespie. Factor in that he was a Yankee former lobbyist and you’ve got a recipe for defeat.
And yes, while it is true that he had the highest turn-out of any off-year gubernatorial election, that had more to do with the overall number of people in Virginia today versus in 2013 (the state is growing). Noting that Northam only got 70% of the HRC base voter to turnout, a more energetic candidate who pulled out the base could have won the governorship.
That would have been Corey Stewart.
Corey Stewart has a very clear path to victory. He needs to galvanize and energize the Trump base with turnout of Trump voters in excess of 75% (manageable) and suppress Kaine’s base to below 70%. He has two things going for him: (1) the I-64/I-81 Corridors and (2) Kaine’s base will never believe that Corey can win.
If you question me on that, consider how close Gillespie came to losing to Stewart during the primary of last year – a half point. Why? Because Corey Stewart had those two corridors and Gillespie voters believed Corey couldn’t win (hubris can be a powerful ally). Corey was a “social media messaging” hair away from being the nominee.
The sell on Gillespie was that he would do better than Stewart in Northern Virginia. The fact is, Northern Virginia is gone. They did not come out for Gillespie and they will be completely irrelevant to Stewart. The best a Republican can assume is 35/40% of the NoVA vote.
Republicans need to wake up to the fact that NoVA is not where they will win an election. They will win an election if they (A) get the Second District fired up and (B) get the rest of the state to support their candidate. Since NoVA has a dominant, leftist bias, no Republican will win Fairfax County, but they can win other areas like the Roanoke Metro Area and the Richmond suburbs (though not Richmond itself). That will require the Trump base to be fired up and motivated.
And before someone says, “Trump lost Virginia,” it is important to remind them that a sitting US Senator running for Vice President, with a woman, who was assumed to win could not break 50% (49.7%). Trump (44.4%) lost Virginia thanks to Gary Johnson (2.9%) and Evan McMullin (1.3%), not Clinton-Kaine. Senators are expected to bring majority victories from their home state. Rather, the 2016 Virginia election showed just how unpopular Kaine is in Virginia – especially, outside of NoVA.
Corey enjoys the Trump voter base enthusiasm – especially in the I-64 and I-81 corridors where Corey Stewart has been effectively running as a candidate for two years.
At the end of the day, Tim Kaine WILL carry Northern Virginia. Corey can carry the rest of the state (excluding urban centers). This is a very winnable fight for Corey, if he stays out of NoVA and focuses on the base that kept Kaine from getting a majority in 2016 and gave Corey a win earlier this year.
This is possible. Get out and vote.