Three candidates have arisen for the Republican nomination for the US Senate seat of Tim Kaine in Virginia, Corey Stewart, EW Jackson, and Nick Freitas. Each comes with their negatives and positives. Each has brought their own strategy to the table in the approach to the June Primary. Three important facts that should play into the Republican Party of Virginia’s overall strategy when it comes to this election: 1. Hillary Clinton & Tim Kaine won in Virginia by more than 5% in 2016. 2. Terry McAuliffe who was Governor of Virginia at the time made several moves that gave the democrats additional voters (a potential 3% impact), which they would not have otherwise had in that election. Ralph Northam the current Governor has done nothing to change any of that. The question for today is this, of the three candidates, which one will fare better against Virginia Incumbent Senator Tim Kaine in November.
This is the second in a series of four essays conveying the results of an extensive analysis of the race and potential results in November. It covers the results we should expect to see if the Republican Nominee is Corey Stewart. More than 45,000 potential election scenarios were run and the results that were compiled offered some insights into this critical Virginia Election.
Stewart v. Kaine is almost the easiest mathematical model created. Since every element almost mirrors the 2016 election, so the results. Not more than 50,000 voting citizens have moved to Virginia since the 2016 election. Virginia continues to grow, with immigration.org tracking an additional 686,000 voters moving to Virginia since 2010. What does that mean to elections? The answer is not much. When Kaine beat George Allen for this seat in 2012, he won by less than 300k with a total voting group of 3,790k (66% of eligible voters). Assume only half of newcomers vote, another 150k. Now, assume that because Trump is in the White House, a more populist presence has taken up residence in the NOVA area. Does that mean a 450k loss or a 150k loss or maybe 75k each way and the change is meaningless. The inputs that proved more important to analyzing this race were the 2016 match up between Clinton and Trump. Trump certainly won the electoral college, but he was soundly defeated in Virginia. In the model and in his message, Stewart has adopted all the characteristics of Trump. To the point of touting his name, and in spite of the fact, he was fired from his campaign. As discussed above, the mathematical results play out over and over mostly the same.
In the 2016 election, we saw Fairfax, Price William, Loudoun, Henrico, and Arlington all go for Clinton by an almost 2-1 margin. With the same message, the same strategy, after a full two years of media shredding President Trump, the only question for Corey Stewart is will he be able to double Trump’s loss percentage since he’s doubled down on Trump. Go for 11% Stewart. You can do it. The nearly 11,000 variants of the Stewart v. Kaine matchup that I ran, the results were always a loss with the variation between 8-13%. To be sure, Stewart is a statement for the Trump Administration, a do over for the 2016 election. Should Stewart win, all of the polls showing positive feeling toward him will be vindicated here in the commonwealth. Should he lose, he’ll be just another Roy Moore, littering the field. A casualty of the idea that they too could pull off a Donald Trump style campaign.
What could make it happen for Stewart? If the President suddenly became the President (aka not Donald Trump). If Donald Trump suddenly captured the happy Mormon within, a la Mitt Romney and was perceived as born again a new man. If Melania suddenly and passionately began kissing the president prior to press conferences and appearences. In short, there’s nothing that Stewart can do for himself. He’s hitched his wagon to an enormous ball of flaming hydrogen and it, not he, is in control of his fate.
Stewart is a poor bet for Republicans in November. They’ve seen it before, known it before. In none of his 3 runs for office state wide has he been successful. The willingness to go after Kaine like a dog with rabbies isn’t likely to get him any further than he has already been. Sorry Corey, it’s not your year (or should I say decade). Kaine 54.4%, Stewart 41.3%
How the models work:
1. It is driven by the current political environment, tested against historical results
2. The statistical method used to build these models focuses on policy positions and candidate characteristics as detailed below. It’s possible to win at one and lose at the other.
3. Branding is taken into account. Some people will vote republican or democrat no matter who wears the robe.
4. Apathy is taken into account. Given a certain set of circumstance some people won’t hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. They won’t show up at all.
5. Regression is used to determine which elements are prevailing based on voting precinct. This assumes the people in a community are similar, but the analysis weeds out those factors that are irrelevant.
6. Actual voter behavior is measured by comparing historical campaign data / events / campaign information and voter records by precinct. All voter records are available at the Virginia board of elections Web Site or from the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV).
7. A Google Web crawler was used to determine a stand on and measure a candidate’s commitment to a position on a policy issue for the campaign. Policies were measured via a five-value scale from strongly favors to strongly opposes.
8. Voting records are a separate factor from a campaign policy statement.
9. Candidate historical voting records influence position stands. For example, a person who holds a position they once voted against will have their commitment to the position diminished.
10. Personal characteristics of the candidates such as education, jobs, prior public office, and military service, were taken from online biographies and campaign websites.
11. Candidate characteristics are based on available online mentions, videos, and supporter statements. The tenor and tone of the candidate from public pronouncements, press releases, or other publicly available information influence voting patterns as well.
12. Voting records were assessed via linear regression analysis tied to the above factors to determine future voter behavior.
13. Population change by county was considered.
14. New Virginia Immigrant Citizen Voters were analyzed via origin state and assigned to a group of voters based on a similar voter region.
15. The Model does not take into account dead people voting or any other form of voter fraud.
For Kaine and the Democrats, the key will be to link whatever Republican runs to Trump. If they make the race a true replay of the 2016 election they will engage their voters and get them out to vote. Nothing excites democrats like hating Trump these days. It is by far the most telling driver of turn out for them. Kaine has all the advantages of an incumbent senator including instant money and name recognition. He also has all the detractors of a candidate that corrupted an entire political process as part of an overall plan to nominate Hillary Clinton. This conspiracy handed the White House to Donald Trump and the Republicans. For many in the democratic party, this is unforgivable.
For Republicans, the best chance statistically is to nominate, Nick Freitas. In 2/3s of all scenarios, he beats Tim Kaine. He doesn’t need as much money or as much name recognition. He does need to get out and talk to everyone who will listen. E.W. Jackson can win the day, but he needs a new message and a new delivery model for it. Stewart is a wasted chance. Under no set of circumstances does he even win his home county of Prince William. Importantly, under no set of circumstances can a Republican win when any segment of the party refuses to participate after their candidate loses. I’m talking to you Bill Bolling.