Republican Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall has decided to throw his hat into the US Senate primary race to see which Republican will face off against Obama’s favorite son Tim Kaine in November.
If you don’t know the name Bob Marshall, you probably don’t live in Virginia. Delegate Marshall has been fighting the good fight for decades and introduced legislation that has caused much gnashing of teeth among those on the left. Taking on Obamacare Mandates, advocating Pro-life issues and fighting for State’s Rights has been a mainstay of Marshall’s legislative career.
But now that Marshall has decided to run in an already crowded Republican Primary that features no less than former Virginia Governor and US Senator George Allen as the leading contender as well as a host of lesser known wannabees: Jamie Radtke, E.W. Jackson and David McCormick, exactly what will his candidacy do the rest of the field?
Given that Marshall is getting in late and is still bogged down in Legislative Mode which severely restricts what he do during the General Assembly session, can he even be a factor? And then there is the well known signature hurdle. All of the candidates have been busy collecting the required 10,000 signatures, and as we have seen in the presidential primary, this is not a simple task and will be a struggle for Marshall, as well as the wannabees.
And the finance issue is a big question mark.
Marshall has not yet been required to file a finance report with the Federal Election Commission as he is just entering the race, but the Virginia Public Access Project lists Marshall with $44, 379 cash on hand. Marshall can undoubtedly raise money in a hurry, but once the General Assembly session ends, he will have a lot of ground to catch up.
The table below shows that George Allen has raised over $4.5 million and had over $2 million cash on hand and zero campaign debt.
The other three Republicans, Radtke, McCormick and Jackson have raised $449,553, $306,245 and $99,203 respectively. And all three have campaign debt, with Radtke and McCormick falling below a zero balance and Jackson at just over $21K after debts.
And when you think about it, it is a bit ironic that candidates with campaign debt and a below zero balance are attacking Allen on fiscal issues where he has maintained no debt at all.
If you can’t keep your own fiscal house in order … Just saying.
|CANDIDATE NAME||NET RECEIPTS||NET DISB||CASH||DEBT||THROUGH|
|CHISHOLM, JAMES KEVIN||$14,040||$13,418||$620||$0||12/31/2011|
|GILMORE, JAMES S (JIM) III||$1,465||$0||$10,737||$0||12/31/2011|
|JACKSON, EARL W SR||$99,203||$67,553||$31,649||$10,675||12/31/2011|
|KAINE, TIMOTHY MICHAEL||$5,202,688||$1,865,982||$3,336,705||$0||12/31/2011|
|MCCORMICK, DAVID M||$306,245||$83,350||$222,893||$297,000||12/31/2011|
|RADTKE, JAMIE L||$449,553||$507,318||$41,562||$42,850||12/31/2011|
|WARNER, JOHN WILLIAM||$136||$39,739||$64,518||$0||12/31/2011|
|WARNER, MARK ROBERT||$1,469,165||$390,787||$2,914,568||$0||12/31/2011|
|WEBB, JAMES H JR||$2,275||$244,311||$202,467||$0||12/31/2011|
(If this table does not translate well in your browser, this link should look better.)
You will notice that Democrat Tim Kaine has raised $5.2 million and has over $3.3 million on hand (and no debt).
George Allen is financially closest to Kaine in funds, but he has a bit to make up to match and counter the barrage of negative ads sure to come when Kaine and Obama swing into full campaign mode.
So, where will the primary votes for Bob Marshall come from?
George Allen has a strong, solid base of support. His time in politics in Virginia has earned him a statewide and loyal base. While there will undoubtedly be some erosion of primary voters from Allen to Marshall, most of those who would support a Bob Marshall for Senate bid would necessarily come from the other three candidates.
In looking at a possible path to a primary victory for anyone besides Allen, it is obvious that in order to be successful, such a candidate would have to attract the votes of every Republican that is not part of the Allen base. And as I have previously concluded that there is simply not sufficient interest among the “not Allen” voters to produce a path to victory.
In speaking with former Senate candidate Tim Donner after his decision to leave the race, he came to the same conclusion. There simply are not enough primary voters to overcome Allen’s base.
Bob Marshall may be the one candidate that, had he entered the contest earlier, could have successfully managed to winnow the field to just he and Allen, but at this late date, that seems unlikely (but not impossible).
But even in a head to head Primary, Allen’s base would still be more than Marshall could overcome.
And current polls show the only path to victory in the General Election against Kaine is for George Allen.
A new poll by Christopher Newport University shows this.
In a head to head match-up, Allen leads Kain 42% to 40%.
In a Marshall vs. Kaine match-up, Kaine wins 39% to 28%.
And if Radtke faces Kaine, Kaine wins 40% to 26%.
What these statistics show is that Allen and Kaine have an equally strong base. They also shows that while few voters are willing to cross party lines to vote for the “other” side no matter the candidate, the strongest support on the Republican side is for Allen. Marshall and Radtke candidacies move voters from the Repulican column to the undecided column. In the Allen – Kaine match-up, only 16% are undecided, but that number jumps to 30% with Radtke or Marshall as the Republican nominee.
The strong points Conservative voters see in Marshall are also his weakest points against Kaine. When Social issues become major topics in statewide campaigns, the left is able to motivate their base to fight “far right wing” ideology. They are able to whip up liberals into a frenzy on immigration, abortion, religion and other issues. And Bob Marshall has made his name with these issues. And while I find myself personally in agreement with Marshall on these issues, I fear that they will be a lightning rod in November should he be the nominee.
Further, I love Bob Marshall and the job he does in the Virginia General Assembly. I feel he is the right man in the right job as a Delegate. And I do not see Bob Marshall as being nearly the Rock Star he is in Richmond should he become a US Senator. Who would fill the void in Richmond?
And it seems that the CNU poll shows most Virginian’s feel the same. I’d really hate to lose Bob Marshall in the Virginia General Assembly.
So, the “Marshall Effect” on the US Senate race, as I see it, is minimal. At best, he will move into a distant second place, and George Allen still wins the Republican Primary. The rest of the field will find their donations continue to dry up, and perhaps be shifted to Marshall.
George Allen continues as the only possible path to a Republican gain in the US Senate. And it promises to be a tight race between Allen and Kaine.
Tim Kaine holds the seat for the Democrats with any other candidate.