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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Hindsight

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and I won't pretend that I recognized all these things at the time. But, with it's benefit, we can now see some things that should have been done differently.

There's no need to go into detail as regards what wrong at the legislative level - I think we can all agree that incumbent retention and challenger recruitment was handled badly. Too many seats went unchallenged or were left too late. Ron Saunders did not fundraise or recruit in a sufficiently strategic manner and, towards the end, the state party was stepped in. However, by that time, too much of the campaign season had lapsed. Locally, folks like Charlie Justice should never have been allowed to leave a state senate open and Long and Heller should never have been allowed to leave it late.

The field campaign was too much in the hands of Organizing for America (OFA). Unfortunately, OFA was focused on so-called "surge" voters - the big vault of infrequent voters who came out for Obama, but were not otherwise regular voters. While the theory sounded good and the work done with these voters will bear fruit in 2012, it was never going to do much for Democratic candidates up in the midterms.

Tellingly, the most surprising Democratic victories last night - difficult wins in swing states - were by Harry Reid in Nevada and Michael Bennet in Colorado. In each case, the Senate campaigns took control of the field away from OFA and went after traditional midterm voters, running classic campaigns, with central control at the state level.

Sink spent the spring and summer, keeping a low profile and focusing on stockpiling money for the air war to come.

In retrospect, this was the wrong way to go. It made sense at the time. In fact, it's probably what I would have done.

But it was clearly the wrong thing to do.

She should have been more aggressive during the contentious Scott/McCollum primary. She should have considered launching some real attacks at that time and definitely should have done more to define herself. Undecided voters really didn't know her, which left her vulnerable to Scott's misrepresentations. Though she had plenty of cash, she was never going to be able to match Scott on the air, so shepherding resources in order to try and match him would never work.

You can also say that when the voting public decides to trust a man who robbed billions from the taxpayers over a respect public servant, maybe nothing would have worked.

In any case, time to settle back and enjoy the cuts to education, public transit, healthcare to come.

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