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2012 Election aftermath: winners and losers

Associated Press Published: November 11, 2012

Victor: Shoe-leather politics. The ground game. Callin' and haulin'. Call it what you will, the oldest and most basic form of electioneering was also the most effective. The Democrats' field organization, pioneered in 2008 by former community organizer Obama, prevailed despite the president's middling approval numbers, a sluggish economy and persistent unemployment around 8 percent, and despite being lavishly outspent. Turns out, the difference wasn't the ad on your TV, the robo-call to your phone or the tweet on your laptop. It was the knock at your door.

Vanquished: Tea party groups, Americans for Prosperity and other conservative organizations marked Nov. 6, 2012, on their calendars four years ago. In each subsequent Virginia election since 2008, they helped the GOP gain ground. Tuesday was their day to put up or shut up. They came away empty-handed. But they're not dead by any means. They are Cuccinelli's ardent army, and they've already pivoted to the GOP statewide nomination battles that end with the state party convention eight months from now in Richmond.

Victor AND Vanquished: McDonnell's hopes of being the next attorney general or holding some other cabinet post in Washington died with Romney's defeat. Obama won Virginia for a second election in a row even though McDonnell gave his all campaigning for Romney. In the buzz about the wide-open 2016 presidential field, however, McDonnell finds his name mentioned alongside former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Romney's running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, as GOP prospects.

Victor: Television and radio stations across Virginia that rebounded handsomely from some lean recent years thanks to the tens of millions of dollars spent on ads in a battleground state.

Victor: You. A campaign that cost $6 billion nationally is over, and you, Virginia, survived its full fury and voted in huge numbers. The shrill advertising, the nonstop braying of pundits, all is at an end. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.


Bob Lewis has covered Virginia government and politics for The Associated Press since 2000.