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Mark Robinson counters whisper campaign about his electability
"People are trying to put doubt in the air about our campaign," Robinson says
Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson appears to be trying to counter the undercurrent of doubt surrounding his campaign that he's not electable next November. In a voicemail message to a donor, he acknowledges the conversation in Republican circles that his opposition research file could hurt his chances against Democrat Josh Stein.
"I know there’s probably a lot of stuff out there swirling around," he said, as reported by center-right publication The Dispatch this week. "People are trying to put doubt in the air about our campaign, about me, but none of that stuff is true, I guarantee you.”
Why this matters: The electability argument is really the only one Robinson’s opponents have in the Republican primary, and both State Treasurer Dale Folwell and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker have hit on it hard.
But these concerns have had no bearing on his position in the polls, and don’t seem to have much chance of derailing him in the Republican primary.
The Dispatch piece quotes a number of anonymous Republican consultants and political advisors who say it would take tens of millions of dollars and a "united front" to derail Robinson's grip on the Republican nomination for governor in 2024. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards.
The piece also quotes Republican consultant Jonathan Felts, who advised U.S. Sen. Ted Budd in his successful 2022 run. He calls the concerns about Robinson's electability "significantly overblown" and people worried about them" desperately irrelevant." He (correctly) says electability isn't a major issue for primary voters anyway.
However, this “whisper campaign” could affect Robinson’s ability to raise enough money to counter the tens of millions of dollars in negative advertising that is soon to come his way. Electability concerns tend to be of greater interest to big-dollar donors than to the grassroots.
What comes next: Campaign finance reports for the first half of this year will be huge. They cover the year through June 30, and will be due July 28. Expect Attorney General Josh Stein’s campaign to send a press release about its fundraising much sooner than that.
Robinson may follow suit. If he doesn’t, it’s a sign that this whisper campaign is affecting his fundraising in a significant way.
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