Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore made two big mistakes that probably cost him enough votes among his conservative base that propelled Democrat Tim Kaine to victory. But reading this morning’s Washington Post, the largest paper covering the vast Northern Virginia suburbs, where I live, you wouldn’t know what they were.
1) In Herndon, a town located in western Fairfax Country, which remarkably accounted for one in seven Virginia voters, an immigration debate raged earlier this year over a day-laborer center where, critics feared, illegal immigrations would be prone to gather. The question was this: Why should taxpayers foot the bill for a place benefiting illegal aliens—i.e. lawbreakers.
Kilgore had an opportunity to seize the issue—one that’s important to many Northern Virginians, being that they encounter the issue on a daily basis in one way or another. And don’t get me wrong, at first Kilgore did grasp the importance of the issue, calling into a local radio show to attack the Herndon day-laborer center.
But after the town board voted to building the place, Kilgore dropped the issue. It received almost no media attention, and therefore, was displaced by other issues (such as the death penalty and taxes) in the campaign.
It’s telling how Kilgore faded once the immigration issue was off the table. In fact, Robert Novak, writing in the Evans-Novak Political Report, cited this as Kilgore’s biggest strength in late August. Why then didn’t Kilgore run with it? He might have been afraid of being labeled a bigot, or he simply didn’t grasp the significance in voter-rich Northern Virginia.
Virginia Republicans kept their firm control of the House of Delegates, despite losing a couple of seats in yesterday’s elections.
In Fairfax County’s 42nd District, Republican Delegate David. B. Albo, 43, defeated first-time candidate Gregory A. Werkheiser, a Democrat, by about 800 votes in a race that topped $875,000 in fundraising.
Mr. Albo won 9,589 votes and Mr. Werkheiser 8,832, with 15 of 15 precincts reporting.
Mr. Werkheiser, a lawyer in the District and former speechwriter for Mr. Warner, criticized Mr. Albo’s opposition to Mr. Warner’s tax increase. He also criticized Mr. Albo’s vow to bar illegal aliens from universities, voting booths and day-labor centers.