DNC chairman Tim Kaine, the outgoing Governor of Virginia, told the Washington Post that Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds made some key mistakes in his landslide defeat to Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell — mainly failing to tie himself to President Obama and thus mobilize Democrats:
“After the [June] primary was done, his advisers basically said, distance yourself from the president. We think we have our base locked down, we’ve got to win independents. And we’re going to win by being negative about McDonnell,” Kaine said. “That was the basic strategy they pursued, despite some significant urging to the contrary.”
Kaine said the key to victory for Democrats in a highly competitive Virginia is recognizing that party members need not be “apologetic” about their affiliation to find success. He noted that about 200,000 more people voted in the Democratic primary for president on a frigid February day in 2008 than cast ballots for Deeds this year, and said McDonnell successfully spooked Deeds by suggesting that Virginians had grown anxious about the Democratic agenda.
“I think the issue of being nervous about the Virginia electorate was overdone and I think Creigh did exactly what the McDonnell campaign hoped he would do, which was distance himself from the president and national issues,” Kaine said.