Polite primary comes to an end
It has been brewing under the surface for weeks. From blog posts by surrogates to twitter posts by high level staff members, the Democratic primary has officially gone negative and at this point it may be too late to turn back.
After several weeks of public sniping by supporters from both sides, today both Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran were forced to release official statements addressing the negative attacks being hurled from both sides.
The negativity is not a surprise, in fact many observers wondered just how long it would take. Terry McAuliffe had pledged from the start of the race that he would “never say a negative word” about any of the Democrats in the race. To his credit, the candidate himself has not. Instead, his supporters (both “official” and “not official”) have used the internet to criticize Brian Moran for being negative. In some cases, baiting Moran officials in written quarrels on twitter and through the blogs of independent supporters.
Moran’s camp is by no means innocent in this fight. They lobbed the first bomb when they publicly attacked McAuliffe’s connection to GOP lobbyist Ed Rogers. From there they have used blogs, surrogates and high profile supporters to attack McAuliffe’s position on energy policy, offshore drilling and social justice issues like gay marriage.
Creigh Deeds has not necessarily been involved this particular back and forth, but he has not been afraid to criticize his opponents and bring up issues on the campaign trial and in debates that put them in difficult positions.
The public’s reaction to negative campaigning is often not nearly as great as the reaction from political insiders, but in this case that could be important. There is an incredible about of left-leaning talent that is dispersed amongst the three candidates for Governor. The Republican staff support is currently all working for one man.
How difficult will it be for staff members of Brian Moran or Creigh Deeds to loyally follow Terry McAuliffe for the “greater good” after the all the bad blood that has been spilled? Will McAuliffe staff members, many of which have connections to his national work with the DNC, lose interest in what happens at the state level if their guy is out of the race? Will Moran and McAuliffe staffers be able to work hard for Creigh Deeds after they didn’t take him seriously enough during the primary and he came from behind to upset them?
One thing is for sure, regardless of who wins, the nominee will need the help of everyone to defeat a Bob McDonnell machine that will be performing at mid-season form come the middle of June, when the Democratic nominee emerges.
After the jump is the full text from both camps is after the jump. Decide for yourself which side is being more negative.. and if you care.
McAuliffe Campaign Breaks Positive Pledge; Attempts Offshore “Bait and Switch”
~ McAuliffe campaign admits support for offshore drilling, continues to support Surry Coal Mega-Plant~
ALEXANDRIA – After months of pledging to run an entirely positive campaign, McAuliffe campaign manager Mike Henry sent an email to supporters today attacking the Moran campaign, in an attempt to cover up McAuliffe’s record of supporting drilling off Virginia’s coast.
“Our opponent’s campaign has broken their promise to stay positive in an attempt to divert attention from the positions CEO McAuliffe has taken in his ‘Business Plan’ and during this campaign,” Campaign Manager Andrew Roos said. “It’s just a simple fact that there are real differences in this campaign, and we will continue to point those out to the voters no matter what the other side tries to throw at us. Brian Moran has a great record of protecting the environment throughout his career. He opposes offshore drilling and a new coal mega-plant in Surry. Terry McAuliffe has consistently said he’s for drilling off our coast and that he does not oppose the new coal mega-plant. He should be honest about that and tell the truth. The difference is clear.”
Charlottesville’s NBC29 recently featured a discussion of the four candidates on offshore drilling available here:
Earlier in the week, Friends of Terry McAuliffe sponsored a poll testing negative attacks against Brian Moran. The poll was conducted by Luce Research from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
McAuliffe’s campaign has not only broken its most visible campaign pledge, but also continues to make a misleading distinction between offshore oil drilling and offshore gas drilling. This position has been refuted by the federal Minerals Management Service, the body which regulates federal offshore drilling leases:
“Q15: The Commonwealth of Virginia indicated interest in possibly having gas-only leasing, as part of Virginia’s Energy Policy as defined in Virginia Code § 67-300. Is that an option?
A15: No, gas-only leasing is not currently an option because the OCS Lands Act does not allow for leasing of and exploration for natural gas only, as it authorizes ‘oil and gas leases’ under section 8 (43 U.S.C. 1337). Additionally, there are technical and engineering challenges to gas-only leasing including maintaining appropriate reservoir development and determining what would happen if oil was found.”
Brian Moran has consistently fought offshore drilling of all kinds.
• January, 2009. “In the race to become the next governor, Brian Moran, a Democrat, broke ranks Tuesday with other candidates by vowing to fight all efforts to allow oil and natural gas drilling off the Virginia coast.” (No Drilling off VA Coast, Virginian-Pilot, 1/14/2009)
• May, 2007. “During a news conference, [Brian Moran and Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf] …raised concerns about the impact offshore drilling could have on Virginia Beach tourism, the environment and global warming.” (Delegate, Mayor, Sierra Club Oppose Drilling for Oil in Virginia, Associated Press, May 26, 2007)
Moran Continues False Attack On Drilling Positions
After weeks of misleading attacks on Terry’s bold plans to make Virginia a national leader in renewable energy, the Moran campaign today falsely accused McAuliffe of supporting offshore oil drilling, despite the fact that he has consistently opposed it. However, when he was in the General Assembly, Brian Moran actually voted FOR the current Virginia law, supported by Governor Kaine, that prohibited oil drilling but allowed for limited natural gas exploration 50 miles off the VA coast. [SB262, 4/19/06 ]
“Another day, another misleading attack from Brian Moran,” McAuliffe spokeswoman Lis Smith said. “Since he’s raised the issue, perhaps he can clarify whether or not he was wrong when he voted for offshore natural gas exploration and explain why he continues to attack his opponents on a position that he held just a few years ago.”