1. Barbara Comstock will crush John Foust by 8-12 points. Comstock has run a fantastic campaign, and has shown over and over again that she outclasses John Foust in every way imaginable. Foust has been a visibly desperate and ineffective candidate, and on a long, slow decline ever since the Virginia blogosphere started reporting on his overtly sexist remarks. (It took a while, but the newspapers eventually realized it was a real story). As I wrote back in August:
Here, when Foust accuses Comstock of never having had a real job, not only does he demean and denigrate tens of millions of women who HAVE HAD those kinds of “real jobs,” he does it in service to a narrative aimed at painting Comstock as something less than a “real woman.”
I’ve got news for Foust: Not only has Barbara Comstock had real jobs, like raising a family and serving her country and community, but she’s a real woman who is going to kick your backward, old fashioned, sexist ass in November.
Sealing the deal? Mark Warner and Tim Kaine canceled their GOTV rally with Foust, recognizing a lost cause when they see it. Meanwhile, Barbara will be joined at her rally tonight by Ann Romney and Ed Gillespie—who clearly knows a winner when he sees one.
2. Republicans will take control of the Senate. (Not an original thought, I admit). There’s been lots of talk of a GOP “wave” this year, and while I don’t doubt that there is a huge enthusiasm gap between the parties, this hasn’t necessarily translated into polling results that show a historic shift. Instead, we’ve got a lot of tough races where numbers are closer than they would be without the enthusiasm gap, but no clear indication that the wave will come anywhere close to being a tsunami. I think we’re looking at a Senate majority of 53 seats, maybe 54 if my next prediction is right.
3. Ed Gillespie will win. Maybe I’ll sing a different tune on Wednesday, but I think his strategy has been just right. Some people have criticized his campaign for being too low key. I think this is probably unfair for two important reasons. First, there has been relatively little attention paid to this race, given the supposedly insurmountable 29-point deficit Gillespie faced at the beginning of the campaign. There’s only so much a candidate can do to overcome the media’s indifference to what’s assumed to be a pre-ordained race, even when the incumbent is (or likely will be) subject of a federal probe into potential bribery. Just imagine how much more press Dave Brat would have gotten last spring if it wasn’t assumed he’d lose by double digits.
Second, when you’re a challenger in an election where your opponents are deciding where in the country to invest over $1 billion in campaign cash, you don’t necessarily want to come on too strong too early. Gillespie saved his warchest for when it mattered, and when it was too late for national groups to pile on to the millions Warner is burning through to halt Gillespie’s momentum. If the word I’m hearing about internal polls are true, Warner’s decision to finally take Gillespie seriously may be too little, too late.
The latest public poll from Christopher Newport University has Warner at +7. That same shop had McAuliffe at +7 in their final pre-election poll last year. Ken Cuccinelli outperformed that poll and came within 2.5 points of winning. Taken together with a likely oversampling of Democrats (seriously, how can a pollster in this environment assume more Democrats will vote than Republicans?) and some internal numbers showing Gillespie is actually ahead, I think the Gillespie momentum has reached its peak and that Ed pulls off a close win tomorrow. Let’s hope it’s no so close that we don’t know who our next Senator is until next month.
If Gillespie topples Mark Warner, it’s going to be the headline emblematic of a very good night nationwide for Republicans.
UPDATE: I’ve been asked why I haven’t made certain other predictions. The answer is that there’s no real reason other than economy of time. All Republican incumbent Congressmen in Virginia will cruise handily to re-election, as will Democrat Bobby Scott in the 3rd. Frankly, I’m not even sure which of these gentlemen face actual opponents. Micah Edmonds and Suzanne Scholte, despite seriously outperforming in heavily Democrat districts, will both come up short in their bids to replace the retiring Jim Moran in the 8th, and displace the dysfunctional Gerry Connolly in the 11th, respectively. Edmonds and Scholte have done a fantastic job in very difficult territory, and both have done great service to the Party. Scholte in particular has shown a level of vigor in her campaign that is truly inspiring. But, in the end, these districts are where the Democrat turnout operation is at its highest concentration, and where having Mark Warner at the top of the ticket is an advantage for them. Warner and OFA are relying heavily on boosting the Dem vote in the 8th and the 11th, and unfortunately this will likely present a mountain that’s just too high for any Republican to climb. Hopefully I am wrong. Like I said, I admittedly don’t have a great track record at election prognostication.