Dear Party Member,
Simply put, this Tuesday’s results were devastating. While some will want to play the blame game, we as a Party do not have the time to engage in that useless dialogue. Our defeated candidates are not to blame, every single one worked their hearts out and left everything they had out on the field. President Trump is not to blame, the sad fact is that we have been losing statewide elections in Virginia long before Trump was elected President. Our issue is a simple math problem: the Democrat voting base is larger than the Republican base in Virginia. It has been since the Obama campaign registered hundreds of thousands of new voters in 2008, and their base has turned out at a higher rate than our base.
Some may think this is making an excuse, but the proof is in the numbers. Tim Kaine, as of this writing, has over 1.9 million votes. Why is that number important? It is over 150,000 more votes than President Trump received in Virginia in 2016. Put another way this year Tim Kaine received 90,000 more votes than ANY Republican candidate in Virginia history!
For all of the scorn heaped upon Corey Stewart by the mainstream media, his vote total of 1.375 million would beat any other previous midterm US Senate nominee in Virginia. Corey’s vote total was 300,000 more than Mark Warner’s winning total just 4 years ago in 2014!
A similar trend of truly unprecedented Democrat turnout was observed in the Congressional races. In Virginia’s 10th, Barbara Comstock received 30,000 more votes Tuesday than in 2014 when she won with 57%, and ended up losing by over 10 points. Both the Democrat candidates in the 10th and 2nd districts got within 6,000 votes of Hillary Clinton’s raw vote totals in a midterm. In the 7th district, Abigail Spanberger, in a midterm, actually received more votes than Hillary Clinton did in 2016!
While the results were grim, my message is not. We can win in the future, but we as a Party must change if we are to survive in Virginia. Here are the 3 areas of focus I will be pushing our leadership to explore in the coming months:
1.) Unity – We must stop the infighting. After our nomination methods for office are over, we all must get behind our nominees. For the last 4 straight statewide elections, we have had losing candidates for the same office, or significant portions of their support base, refuse to get behind the eventual nominee. This practice needs to end. It has only helped the Democrats. As the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He was right and we must do that to succeed statewide. In the 2 months I have had the privilege of as serving as Chairman I have been vocal about this and will continue to do so.
2.) Voter Registration – Prior to 2008, Democrats used to regularly lose statewide elections in Virginia. When they did win, they did so by campaigning as “conservative” or “moderate” Democrats. This changed in 2008 mainly because the Obama campaign registered over half a million new voters and turned them out. Since 2008, Democrat Presidential nominees have ended up with around 1.9 million votes and our Party’s nominees have finished with around 1.7 million votes. Our vote total is nearly the same number as Bush’s total in 2004. We as a Party must do more than pay lip service to voter registration. We must develop a strategy to register our voters in a systematic and continuous fashion. Our periodic, haphazard approach has failed us and our candidates. This must happen quickly to close this statewide structural gap we have with the Democrats.
3.) Growing the Party – In 2016, 2017, and this year, approximately a third of the electorate was non-white. In those same years, roughly those 40 years and under made up nearly 40% of the vote. With both groups, non-whites and those under 40, our Party lost by massive margins. Such showings are not sustainable if we are to win again statewide. We must devote significant time and resources to outreach to these voters and communities. We must work with our candidates to develop positive messages that show how we can address in a conservative manner the issues these voters see as important. The same is true of the suburban voters we clearly lost this year.
While we are down we are NOT out. Virginia Republicans still hold the majority in the state legislature and we WILL fight to hold and grow it in 2019! We will also build towards 2020 starting NOW! Some pundits say that we are on an inexorable path towards becoming Maryland or Massachusetts. I can’t predict what the future holds, but I do know that I will fight with my every fiber to prevent that from happening. I hope you will join me in this fight. We we can only rebuild our Party with your help!
Republican Party of Virginia