It’s not been a good week for Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam. The gubernatorial hopeful, who was viewed as an early favorite, is in a tied race with Republican Ed Gillespie. That was actually the best news of the week for Northam.
The real story of the week is national Democrats stepping in to try to rescue the floundering Northam effort. DNC Chairman Tom Perez is dispensing some of his top aides to Virginia to try to right the course:
Perez is also sending three of his top political aides, including Chief of Staff Sam Cornale, DNC Political and Organizing Director Amanda Brown Lierman, and DNC political adviser Ramsey Reid, who ran get-out-the-vote operations for the Virginia Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 2016.
Traditionally, these types of national staff injections occur when the guys on the ground aren’t getting it done. It’s a stunning indictment of the Northam effort from his own allies in Washington.
The DNC also dumped $1.5 million into Northam’s warchest. A cash infusion alone isn’t a sign of desperation, but it becomes one when the national party is almost broke to begin with. That contribution is almost a quarter of the DNC’s last reported cash-on-hand.
Fast forward to this morning, and Northam supporters decided to protest a Gillespie event on, get this, ending gang violence and keeping our streets safe. Again, the type of low-rent behavior you only see from campaigns grasping for positive press (or negative press on an opponent).
Virginia is idionsyncratic. Democrats won in 2013 in the Commonwealth despite a deep national backlash against President Obama. Republicans can win in 2017, and Northam’s strategy of talking about federal issues instead of issues that truly affect the Commonwealth seems to be backfiring. National Democrats are noticing, and the current effort from Northam can be described as nothing short of shambles.