Voter anger sends Boucher a pink slip

Hillary Davis Griffith (left) and Susan Allen campaign for Morgan Griffith at the Fridajy Night Jamboree
Hillary Davis Griffith (left) and Susan Allen campaign for Morgan Griffith at the Fridajy Night Jamboree

The networks called the 9th District Congressional race early Tuesday. Republican Morgan Griffith, the carpetbagger from Salem, ousted Democrat Rick Boucher from the Congressional seat he has held for 28 years.

In a campaign fueled by voter anger, outside money and 800 grand in spending by the National Republican Congressional Committee, Griffith handily defeated a veteran Congressman many considered unbeatable.

Voter anger became the unpredictable variable in this year’s election. Nationwide, voter anger turned the keys to the House of Representatives back over to the Grand Old Party and that anger — directed at long-term incumbents — probably beat Boucher more than anything else.

In comments Tuesday night, Boucher said he was a victim of “a tidal wave of sentiment that the other party should have control of the House of Representatives.”

Perhaps but Floyd Countians didn’t see much of Boucher during this campaign. Floyd usually votes Republican and Boucher may have considered the area a lost cause but I heard from other areas of the Ninth District that the Congressman was a no show at many events.

The Griffith camp teamed up the candidate’s wife with Susan Allen, wife of former Virginia Senator George “macaca” Allen for a drive-by during the Friday Night Jamboree last week but Griffith also appeared in the county during the campaign.

Griffith ran most of his campaign on national themes, tying Boucher to President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Boucher, he claimed, was nothing more than a puppet of those two unpopular Democratic leaders.

The strategy worked:  Griffith carried Floyd County by 1,500 votes — 2,796 to 2,295 — a 10 point margin. In 2006, Boucher carried Floyd County with 63 percent of the vote over Republican C.W. Carrico. In 2002, Boucher beat Republican J.K. Katzen with 62 percent of the vote. On Tuesday, Griffith racked up 51.2 percent of the vote to Boucher’s 46.43 percent and independent Jeremiah Heaton pulled down 2.27 percent.

Boucher’s loss surprised most political observers — including us. Most polls gave Boucher a 5-10 point edge.

But polls don’t win elections. The only poll that matters is the final one cast by voters on election day.

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7 thoughts on “Voter anger sends Boucher a pink slip”

  1. Doug, I believe the VA GOP has a number of rising young stars who are really good campaigners. Last year everyone underestimated Cuccinelli and he ran ahead of the incumbent Lt Gov. I believe that Boucher underestimated the effectiveness of Griffith and his message.
    On the money issue, I believe Boucher had more money even when you include any outside money spent on Griffith. I’m not sure you can say that money bought this race although you may be able to argue that the money spent on Griffith was spent more at the end of the campaign, I’m not sure about that.
    I’m not sure this was as much a wave election as you might think. In many states similar to Va the Democrats were able to hang on and keep seats.
    The biggest surprise of all the counties in the 9nth district was Tazewell where Boucher was not able to break 40%. Much of the credit for this goes to Adam Light who ran against Griffith at the GOP convention. Adam did not act like a spoiled child after he lost as many candidates do. Instead Adam worked tirelessly for Griffith and really brought out the vote in Tazewell. He stands as a great example of how to conduct ones self after loosing in a primary or convention.

  2. ahem..are we forgetting about the power of money? Last night the news said Griffith spent over 2 million dollars on this campaign….ouch. I’m sorry. I don’t think the Republicans represent the majority of the people. I think the majority of the people are too darned tired at the end of the day to think for themselves, do their homework….they turn on FoX news, or the tube in general and get bombarded with negative ads and untrue sound bites. And after the sheer amount of these pounded in to them for months….they start believing it. I love the people of this country. The PEOPLE, not the 5% of the very wealthy….but I believe they have just been led to slaughter.

    • “Led to Slaughter”, misinformed, uninformed, or “just too darned tired to think for themselves”?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Rick Boucher has been in his ELECTED position since 1982 and has accomplished many great things for our District in that time; unfortunately none of them lately. So if we, the “ignorant” majority, choose to oust (i.e., NOT ELECT!!) a man who has held such an important and esteemed position for such a long time, do you not think that perhaps there just MIGHT be a reason for such a significant need for a change?(rhetorical) I have had the opportunity to speak with as well as corresponded with Mr Boucher on several different occassions regarding several issues and found that I like and respect the man. However, in case the other 95% that you refer to have been too busy NOT paying attention as to what is happening to and around our country, there is most certainly a need for change NOW…ironic, huh? Incidently, I am a far cry from the “5%” that you refer to, but rather very much on the other end of that metaphorical rainbow!

    • Griffith and outside groups may have very well spent 2 million however Boucher spent more than that. According to Boucher spent 2.4 million by the first part of Oct. and had 1.25 still on hand. Most likely much of that was spent in the last month. I would say last night was an example of how money can not buy a congressional seat so long as the voters are energized.

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