I'm not sure what to make of this. The Martinsville Bulletin reported today that some of Virgil Goode's die-hards held a dinner for him Monday night, where some urged him to run again in 2010. As with similar speculation that has arisen recently, Goode is taking a 'neither confirm nor deny' sort of approach.
This is probably nothing more than kind words from long-time supporters, but just for fun, here are a few of my first-blush reactions to the possibility of Goode 2010:
1. It won't happen. And if it does, there will almost certainly be a primary battle. There are too many other Republicans who could run in this district--Del. Rob Bell (R-58 - Albemarle, Nelson) and Sen. Robert Hurt (R-19 - Danville, Campbell, Franklin) are the two strongest candidates that come to mind. The 5th District GOP has over a year for Goode loyalties to wane, and they'll be gunning hard for this seat in two years. My guess is they'll want a fresh new face who can build the party and run a competitive race. Given the lackluster campaign he ran (his support came from long-time loyalists, including many "Goode Democrats," not a persuasive message) and the amount of support he lost (more on that below), it's not Virgil.
2. Even if he were to get the nomination, he would have a much-diminished base of support even among Republicans. Goode's negativity turned a lot of people off; since the election, we've heard many accounts of people who had voted for him at every stage of his career--regardless of party affiliation--giving up on him because of his TV ads and debate performances. Couple that with resentment over a costly recount that didn't even come close to changing the outcome, and his political capital is currently in the red. On top of all this, Tom ran a positive, ideas-oriented campaign and is currently winning over influentials and community leaders who did not support him initially. Which brings me to this:
3. Sign him up. If Goode can get the 5th District GOP on board, it probably means he'll have many of the same people running his campaign. That means no ground game, weak messaging and extreme negativity. Also, good luck fundraising as a defeated incumbent from what was perceived to be a safe district, even in 2008. If Tom does his job in Congress and runs a good campaign, he'll be able to weather Goode part 2.
4. Goode is politically savvy enough to know all of this, and he'll play a supporting role in 2010 and beyond.
What do yall think?
Cross posted to 220 South