These are not predictions (those will come much later) but merely my analysis on where the races stand right now.
As you know, I’m always right…
I made two key assumptions:
• The nomination will be decided via a convention, not a primary
• Ken Cuccinelli will not run for governor. If he does, the odds change dramatically – in his favor.
Ed Gillespie 5:2
Money, time, organization and big name endorsements make Ed Gillespie the morning line chalk going in.
The Republican establishment views him as their best hope to win a statewide election after five losses in a row. As a result, they employed “shock and awe” during the days leading up to the RPV Advance, releasing a massive who’s-who list of big name endorsements in Virginia.
Republican House and Senate leadership want to “clear the field” by making his nomination appear inevitable and scaring other competitors away.
That juggernaut strategy failed miserably this weekend, because at least four other candidates emerged as serious contenders at the Advance in Hot Springs. Not exactly what the Gillespie brain trust had in mind.
But Gillespie has inherent strengths that bode well in his nomination quest.
First, he’s been around the block once, and I believe he really liked the convention process. He’s a tireless worker, and he can raise a boatload of cash.
Second, I’m convinced he truly believes he’s the knight on the white horse that can deliver Virginia Republicans out of their statewide wilderness. Where his maiden campaign for U.S. Senate was somewhat quixotic and cautious, his race for governor will be rooted in his vision to reshape the state party in his image. I envision a bolder platform of reform and a much better command of the issues.
Third, his wife Cathy is a significant asset in an 18-month long nominating convention slog. She brings warmth and charm where the candidate can often convey the distant aloofness of a lifelong lobbyist. And she’s at his side.
Gillespie’s forces failed to clear the field. Now they have to figure out how to win – or come close to winning — on the first convention ballot.
Multiple ballots put Gillespie at risk with 15,000 raucous delegates at a long drawn out Richmond convention extending well into the night.