October 29th, 2009
03:33 PM ET
13 years ago

Steele: Virginia a 'blueprint' for GOP success

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/29/art.steele0720.gi.jpg caption="Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele isn't predicting victory yet in the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races."]
Washington (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele isn't predicting victory yet in the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races, but in Virginia - a race Republicans look poised to win - he sees a "blueprint" for GOP success in 2010.

"You dont win until the last vote is counted," Steele told CNN by phone during a campaign swing in southern Virginia with Republican candidate Bob McDonnell. "We failed in the past by assuming too much. The only thing I am assuming is there is much more to do."

Steele said that while Virginia and New Jersey are very different states requiring different "messaging styles," the gubernatorial races have provided the RNC with a way to "test the waters" before next year's midterm elections. He said the party has been trying out new strategies in both races "in terms of resources we put on the ground, in providing ground support or air support, on the Internet, on television, phones, things like that."

As McDonnell has surged to a lead in Virginia polls over his Democratic rival Creigh Deeds, national Republicans have described his campaign - in which he focused on job creation and downplayed his conservative positions on social issues - as a blueprint for future GOP victories. Asked what specifically in McDonnell's approach represents a way forward for the party, Steele praised the Republican for focusing on issues relevant to middle-class voters while staying true to conservative economic principles.

"If you have just lost your home, are you going to pin someone down on where they are on social issues not relevant to you getting your home back?," Steele asked. "Candidates have to understand what people are valuing at the moment. They don't need to go around and beat their chests about social issues. The liberal media would like us to do that, the Washington Post would like us to do that, but the people don't. The blueprint is one of talking about who you are and what you believe and making it relevant to people."

"All the rest of the issues take care of themselves in time," he said. "Right now America is focused on the economy."

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Creigh Deeds • Michael Steele • New Jersey • Virginia
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. S M R

    A GOP win means the AMERICAN TAXPAYERS LOSE. 🙁

    October 29, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. The Other Michael in Houston

    if I am not mistaken, hasn't VA been a Republican state for a very long time??? He Republicans, if you want to show diversity, go find yourself a black man that actually has a brain, oh wait, all the smart minorities are either Dems or Indie's,

    October 29, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. paul

    20% of Americans call themselves Republicans. They 're concentrated here in Virginia, as It's still very much the deep South and Racist. A National Party this does not make.

    October 29, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    It's sad to watch the Democrats in Washington trying to figure out how to govern again, but in 2010 and 2012 voters will send Republicans back so that the Federal government can once again get in control of the US Treasury and actually get people back to work again.

    October 29, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Flo

    Steele is such a fool...I hope Democrats win all 3 races to see him deflated. He is nothing but a tool for the GOP. They have no respect for this dude and he is just grinning away like a good GOP tool.

    October 29, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Vigla

    In the end, VA is a Republican state. Dems have won because of a surge from the north. I expect this race to be close, just like the Senatorial election. If the Dem wins, it spells DISASTER for Republicans. It really does...

    October 29, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Sea.gem

    Virginia is going GOP because of the obvious way the DNC tried to buy the election andbecause it's current Governor doesn't spend much time in office but spends a lot of time trying toadvance national liberal policies...people that don't live here need not comment.

    October 29, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Mike in LR

    BO and his band of merry statist's has soiled the democrat party and will be the reason for a conservative victory this year, next year and in 2012. He's a weak, weak leader and a whining hand wringer who cannot make a decision. His leaders in the house and senate, whom he follows, are ramming through this health care debacle to their own detriment. I'm enjoying every moment.

    October 29, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. kris

    1. The Treasury has been out of control for more than the last year.

    2. There is usually a two-year backlash against the majority party. Doesn't mean the President will lose in 4 years (see Clinton).

    3. While it is nice to see the Republican Party focusing on their economic core and not the ultra-right wing religious core, I don't see a Republican winning the White House in 2012 without having to revert to using the same rhetoric that many conservative pundits continue to scream.

    4. When are people going to learn that pure Capitalism is just as bad as pure Socialism? There will be moments when people fall on hard times, and a little help may be the difference in getting them back on their feet. Too many people focus on help going to those who abuse it, when the majority of those who do need help are going on being 'uniquely American' and working multiple low-paying jobs in order to feed their familes (even small families).

    October 29, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. NVa Native

    The GOP leadership doesn't care about anything but cash. Virginia might go their way for several reasons, but not because McDonnell is quailified to govern for all Virginians. He will only serve his master – which is his radical interpertation of his religion of choice.
    Steele is a looser – just like Palin, Romney, Guilliani, Chuck-abee, Santourum, Delay, Foley, Craig, Ensin, etc., etc.,
    But Virginia is evolving quickly and the GOP is on their last gasp. The terrorized base (who does vote) is old and not being replenished.

    October 29, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. William

    The key here, is moderate Republican. That can still win despite Limbaugh ,Armey, etc.How many 2010 races will allow moderates even to run–Look at district 23 ( or is it 24?) in New York. Middle America still rules as it has for years.

    October 29, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. lorent

    As someone who lives in Virginia, I can tell you that if McDonnell wins, it's not because this election was some kind of referendum on Obama. It's because Creigh Deeds was an awful candidate who ran an awful campaign.

    October 29, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Recreator

    There's an expression for the kind of grin Steele shows in this picture. People, if you value your health care tell your senators and representatives to vote for the public option.

    October 29, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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