In a tight race, McAuliffe ready to rely on ground game
Terry McAuliffe admits that the race for the Democratic nomination is a close one but, he claims, he always thought it was going to be that way.
“There is one poll and that is on election day,” McAuliffe told me today after a tour of the ChemTreat facility in Glen Allen.
McAuliffe will spend the next few days criss-crossing the state hoping to encourage as many people to get to the polls as possible next Tuesday. Part of that barnstorming tour will include an appearance tomorrow with the chairman of the Democratic Governor’s Association, Brian Schewitzer. The Governor of Montana will be endorsing the former DNC chair on his own behalf, not as the leader of the organization.
Despite McAuliffe’s confidence, there is no doubt his campaign has hit a rough patch that began around the time Creigh Deeds earned the endorsement of the Washington Post. In that time, polls have shown Deeds steadily gaining ground while McAuliffe has slowly tracked back. The third candidate in the race, Brian Moran, has remained steady.
McAuliffe didn’t want to talk to me about polls. His focus was the ground game he is set to unleash on June 9th. A campaign veteran, McAuliffe said his team is ready to send thousands of volunteers into the field to get his supporters to the polls.
“Last weekend we had more than 5,800 people volunteering throughout Virginia, knocking on doors, making phone calls,” said the candidate. “We have built a massive grassroots get-out-the-vote operation.”
He rejected the idea that his dip in the polls could be attributed to the attacks that have come from his opponents, instead claiming their surge was due to their new presence on television. He said he has just brushed off the attacks and his favorable ratings have actually gone up.
“When they attack you, you know you must be doing well if they are paying attention to you,” McAuliffe said.
But when I pointed out his own mail piece that was described by one of the competing campaigns as a “false, negative attack,” McAuliffe rejected that claim: “If you think it is negative to talk about your record, than maybe you shouldn’t have voted the way you did.”
My complete, uncut interview with Mr. McAuliffe (including his reaction to Governor Doug Wilder‘s rejection of his campaign) can be found after the jump.