The Money War
This is my single biggest concern going into the 2009 elections.
In 2001 the GOP had the sitting President and VP, Governor, LG, AG, 7 members of Congress (in the majority, many with committee chairmanships) and both Senators (also in the majority, with a high ranking John Warner), a House of Delegates majority and the same in the State Senate. This allowed the GOP to have a massive fundraising advantage throughout the period, allowing further victories in the Assembly and Congress (redistricting didn't hurt either).
The only counter the democrats had was running a candidate for governor that is worth several hundred million dollars. This is what helped him to out raise Mark Earley and win the election.
I do not think a Republican has ever won the governor's mansion while being outspent; but I cannot find data on that from the 1970s. Currently, I do not know how the GOP will be able to muster the funds to outspend the democratic candidate (unless Bob McDonnell is also worth $300 million and didn't tell anyone).
Think about this: President Bush raised $3 million in one night for Jerry Kilgore at Dwight Schar's house in 2005. Just think how much worse that race would have turned out had a President Kerry done a $3 million fundraiser for Kaine instead? That's not even counting the massive fundraisers done by Presidential Candidate George Allen, Armed Services Chairman John Warner, and others for the downballot candidates and the House candidates.
I fully expect a full-court press from Kaine & Co. in 2009 much like Gilmore's New Majority PAC that cranked fundraising in the 1999 midterm elections and retook the House. They will use the Obama numbers to convince the business community that they have the trends to take seats and majority. I would also expect the DNC/DGA to have an advantage due to having Obama as well.
To add insult to injury, the economic situation and the stock market will undoubtedly make it tougher to raise funds; which makes star powered fundraisers even more valuable.
There is one thing we can do to stem some of this: Make everyone raise harder. In the past, many of our candidates in safe seats have failed to raise many funds; as they do not need them. Others hoard cash for future races and/or other ambitions. If we are to have any chance at all in 2009; everyone must do their part to raise as much as possible and be willing to part with it to help others.
If the safe seat GOPs want to be in the majority in January 2010; they had better squeeze out every dollar they can find to raise in 2009.