Chris Graham: Strangely quiet Virginia Senate race

Other than the occasional report on polls that of late have put Tim Kaine in the lead over George Allen, it’s been strangely quiet on the campaign trail in the Virginia Senate race.

Think about it. Battleground state, two former governors, both of whom have been talked about at one time or another as possible future players on the national stage, locked in what has been a neck-and-neck race for 18 months, and … nothing.

No fireworks from either side. No “macaca” moments. No controversial comments on rape or abortion or climate change or ObamaCare.

Not that the two campaigns aren’t trying to make an impression. They crank out the press releases several times a day aiming kicks at the shins of those on the other side, but the blows when landed are glancing at best.

Allen’s side has tried to make issue of Kaine’s stated support for sequestration, which goes over the head of 99.5 percent of voters who must wonder to themselves why the Republicans are making such a big deal about quarantining horses, or whatever the heck sequestration refers to.

The Kaine camp, for its part, has baffled voters with its repeated references to Allen’s role in the profligate spending of Republicans in the George W. Bush era, which to most of us seems like a hundred years ago.

Call it a stalemate, and right now stalemate seems to benefit the Kaine side, if only because the polls seem to have him in position for a safe, if narrow, victory on Election Day. It would seem to stand to reason that Allen needs to go on the offensive in the final two weeks to try to nip at the Kaine advantage, but the risk there is that in so doing he comes across as he did in his snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory performance in 2006.

Indeed, a big reason that the Kaine-Allen race has been so, well, boring is that both sides have been able to maintain unparalleled discipline dating back to the early stages of the race in mid-2011.

What we’re seeing here is reminiscent to a boxing match wherein the two competitors hug and clench for several rounds to keep their opponent at bay as a way of preventing any chance at a knockout blow from being thrown.

At some point in the match, the trainer of the guy who seems to be behind on points yells advice in the corner between rounds. The only way you’re going to win is to go for the knockout.

That may be where Allen is right now.

The question is, Does he have anything left in the tank after 18 months of hugging and clenching?

More at www.TheWorldAccordingToChrisGraham.com.

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The book, with additional reporting by Scott Ratcliffe and Zach Pereles, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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