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.
- The Ninth District Race: We wish we had a fourth choice (blueridgemuse.com)
- Odds favor another term for Boucher (blueridgemuse.com)
- 14-term Democratic Rep. Boucher defeated in Va. (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- The Internet Boucher Delivered Buoys His Opponents (techdailydose.nationaljournal.com)
- Democratic Bloodbath in Virginia (newsweek.com)
- Boucher, Perriello Ousted in Va. (blogs.wsj.com)