Thursday, March 12, 2009
Virginia Gentleman interviews Joe Murray
On January 13th Republican Joe Murray almost pulled off the biggest upset in Virginia Politics. In fact he came within 16 votes of winning Virginia's 46th House district, which has long been considered a solid Democrat district. So blue that in the Presidential race Barack Obama carried the district with nearly 75% of the vote.
VG: Joe how did you come within 16 votes of winning a solidly Democrat district? Was it as the Democrats claim all about low voter turnout?
JM: I would be dishonest to say it had nothing to do with turnout. Of course that was a factor, but give my campaign credit. We ran an aggressive campaign, we went door to door, we raised $50,000 and we made every dime count. We also had an excellent absentee ballot campaign. But most importantly, I would say we ran a positive campaign talking about issues that the voters cared about.
VG: What made you decide to run in a district which has such a major Democrat edge?
JM: My wife and I bought a house here and feel Alexandria is our home. We want to raise our child here and put down roots. I didn't let the Democratic make up of the district determine whether I should run or not.
VG: What was Brian Moran's role in the race?
JM: My guess is it was limited, at least in the General. He took some heat for getting involved in the primary and backing Charnielle Herring over Ariel Gonzalez. Many Democrats felt he should not have done that. And for the General maybe he didn't think he needed to get involved, he may have assumed like most that it would be an easy win for the Democrats. Also, he may have been preoccupied with his own race for Governor.
VG: There are those who feel that with your race, Herrity's close loss and now Cook's win last Tuesday, that maybe this is a trend. Maybe the GOP is making a comeback. Do you think all three races make a trend?
JM: I do, look these races were fought mere weeks apart. My race was on Jan. 13th, the Herrity race was on Feb. 3rd and the Cook victory was on March 10th. These races were also fought on the home field for the Democrats, yet they were all very close and in the Cook race, a Republican pick up. These races show that the Republican base is hungry and energized and if we concentrate on offering solutions and focus on the issues that voters care about we can win, even here.
VG: Do you think that your near upset woke up the Democrats and helped them beat back the Herrity challenge.
JM. That is a tough thing to measure. Sure my close call could have motivated Democrats in Fairfax not to be complacent, but on the other hand my race may have motivated more Republicans in Fairfax to think they could beat the odds and win, so it could have helped Herrity more. Who knows?
VG: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
JM: My pleasure.