A recent slew of public opinion polls basically confirm that the Virginia Governor’s race is tight, despite abysmal approval ratings for President Trump in the Commonwealth. Republican Ed Gillespie is running a disciplined campaign, and Democrats are openly wondering if Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam is on the brink of a huge upset.
Brendan Lilly, a former congressional staffer and left-wing communications operative, penned a post on Medium that laments Northam’s impending doom:
The Ralph Northam for Governor campaign is a disaster and heading for defeat in November.
The “Hey, I’m a doctor and a nice guy message” is weak at best, and being completely drowned out by a wave of Gillespie media buys that effectively attack Northam’s credibility and experience.
Lilly’s critique gets worse from there, accusing the Northam campaign of poor outreach to minorities, misguided attack ads, and a lack of message discipline. Lilly also notes that there’s little-to-no enthusiasm for the Northam effort:
Paid television media isn’t everything though, and an effective field campaign tapping into energy on the left combined with positive earned media can overcome even the biggest media buys.
That’s not happening. In an admittedly unscientific survey of friends throughout the state — the only people who have been contacted are strong dem supporters living in strong dem neighborhoods such as Arlington and Alexandria.
If you’re a Virginia Democrat, with high hopes of solidifying the Commonwealth as a “blue state” instead of a “purple state”, the Northam campaign is a massive disappointment. Despite almost every other political observer giving Northam a handicap, he sits poised to flush away any institutional advantage he started with and lose this race.
Lilly makes a number of recommendations for Northam, and it’s incredibly telling that he wants heads to roll:
Fire or demote the people running this operation, or at least anyone on the campaign that is not screaming ‘fire!’ This campaign has failed to capture the energy, attention and money that should be relatively low hanging fruit in this environment. Whatever they’re doing — It’s not working. I’m guessing the problem has more to do with the candidate than the staff, but can only swap one at this point.
Lilly goes on to attack Northam’s fundraising committee, his field organizers, his messaging team, and his media buying team. This is a guy who wants to see Democrats win, and yet in late September, he feels the need to sound the alarm on an impending upset. It has to feel pretty lonely in the Northam camp right now.