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June 13, 2006

James Webb wins

Well, the people of Virginia (I guess, that is, really the Democrats mostly) have spoken, and James Webb will be facing off against George Allen in November. With only four precincts remaining, James Webb has a 6.9% lead that should not change by too much. What can be taken away from this primary?

First my prediction was certainly wrong; however, the predictions made by many of the Democratic bloggers (except for Red Bull from Morgan's Rifeleman, who hit the nail on the head for Webb's percentage; very impressive) were just as inaccurate, with the final result falling somewhere in the middle. Webb had a solid win in the primary, but it still only came out to be a little more than an even split. Was Webb on the cusp and eventually won because of unfounded accusations of anti-semitism, or did he have the lead that the bloggers suggested and took a hit because of those charges? And what does such a near-even split mean for the upcoming election? Will Democrats unite in the hope of knocking off George Allen, or will animosity hold out from the primary session, leaving Webb with a very small legion of supporters?

What does the higher than expected turnout (3.5%) mean? Was this a fluke? (doubtful) Was it drawn from the sharp contrasts of Miller and Webb? (seems likely) Or are Democrats very eager to beat George Allen? (possible as well) My gut says it was a little each of the last two questions, but I will not pretend to know the answer here.

Democrats see James Webb as George Allen's "worst nightmare", but many Republican bloggers believe that Webb was the weaker of the two opponents, boasting a very weak campaign strategy. There is no doubt in my mind that George Allen will be the junior Senator of Virginia again in November. However, what might this campaign mean for Allen in '08? A big win come November will help Allen, while a nasty, mud-slinging race between the two that ends with a smaller margin of victory may make infeasible a presidential run.

With five months left, many of these questions should be answered before the election. Congratulations to James Webb on winning today, but if he wishes to pose a credible threat to Senator Allen this fall, he is going to need to step things up a bit, or there may be some new question marks that appear.

UPDATE 10:30 PM: Made some edits included above.