WASHINGTON (CNN) The GOP - looking for a glimmer of hope in the wake of November’s drubbing - has trained their eyes on Virginia, where Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell is pitching himself as a solutions-oriented leader who can reverse the commonwealth’s leftward drift.
And McDonnell, running in a state The Weekly Standard has dubbed “Ground Zero for the GOP,” is working overtime to avoid mistakes that have vexed Republicans in recent election cycles.
The commonwealth’s current attorney general is promising that unlike other recent Republican campaigns, his will aggressively target younger voters using new technology. On Monday, the same day Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe used text messaging to announce his first TV spot, McDonnell posted a promise on the popular conservative blog RedState that Republicans, not Democrats, will be the tech-wizards of the 2009 governor’s race.
“If I know one thing, I know that people are interacting with media in a way that we have never before seen,” McDonnell wrote. “I recognize this and I believe that people will see us as the techno-savvy campaign this year. We understand younger voting demographics, we understand new media technologies, and we understand the remarkable power of successfully reaching voters with our common sense, conservative message.”
McDonnell’s tech-pitch is timely, and not just because Barack Obama successfully harnessed the Internet to out-organize and out-raise John McCain in 2008.
The technology deficit is a hot topic in the race to head up the Republican National Committee, a campaign that's seen each of the six candidates scramble to prove that they’ll retrofit the party with the social media and fundraising tools necessary to keep pace with the Democrats. That election takes place Friday.