The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza released his best and worst ran campaigns of 2009, and you’ve guessed it…the best and worst were found in the Commonwealth of Virginia. “The Fixie” was awarded to the best campaign of 2009 to Bob McDonnell and the worst campaign to Creigh Deeds. Cillizza did a great job assessing why both campaigns deserved their respective honors.
For McDonnell, Cillizza praised him for sticking to the message and not going off topic, as well as, citing how composed he was during the campaign. Another observation was that McDonnell discussed the issues that mattered most to Virginians and that was what ultimately led him to the Governor’s Mansion.
Meanwhile, Deeds was called out on his campaign strategy, which relied on his focus of targeting rural voters, rather than the core constituencies of the Commonwealth (namely Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia) and for talking about his opponent’s thesis from grad school instead of focusing on why he should have been elected. Cillizza mentioned that Deeds distanced himself from Obama, which alienated the liberal voting block in Northern Virginia and the African-American vote.
Overall, Cillizza’s analysis of both campaigns were spot-on. However, there was one unique factor that Cillizza ignored in his selection. There is great public disdain for what is occurring in the nation’s capital and with President Obama’s approval ratings dropping, the Virginia campaign, along with the campaign in New Jersey served as voter referendums on the unpopular public policies of Obama and Congress.