Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PR Victory for Gov. O'Malley: Democrats Win Yesterday's West Virginia Gubernatorial Special Election

Last August, Maryland Juice discussed yesterday's West Virginia special election for Governor. We previously called it a "big test" for Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, since the likely 2016 presidential hopeful is currently heading the national Democratic Governors Association. That means that when Mr. O'Malley is not stickin' it to the Republicans in his own state, he is stickin' it to the Republicans in other states. West Virginia's Charleston Gazette framed the race as a battle between the Republican and Democratic Governors associations:
[Denocratic gubernatorial candidate] Tomblin and the electioneering arm of the Democratic Governors' Association depicted [Republican gubernatorial candidate] Maloney as a millionaire businessman out-of-touch with average West Virginians, who supported policies that, they said, would discourage business investments in the state, and would cut funding for public schools. The DGA spent more than $2 million on its own attack ads.

In the closing days of the election, the RGA launched an ad attempting to tie Tomblin to Obama, contending that the administration's failure to join other states in suing to overturn Obama's health reform plan amounted to support for the president.

With no other seriously contested gubernatorial races this year, the RGA and DGA combined to pour nearly $6 million of independent expenditures into the election, far outpacing the candidates' own campaign spending, and turning the race on a national level into a referendum on Obama.
Now for the outcome of the race, the Gazette reports: "Earl Ray Tomblin can remove 'acting' from his title. Withstanding a $3.4 million barrage of attack ads funded by a national Republican organization, the Logan County Democrat defeated Republican challenger Bill Maloney by a 50 percent to 47 percent margin in the gubernatorial special election Tuesday."

This is good news from a state that has flipped from Blue to Red in presidential races, especially in this terrible political climate. (And congratulations to Colm O'Comartun).

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