(With a tip-o-the-hat to snolan at Raising Kaine)
Mark Warner lost in 1996.
The Red Sox lost in 2003.
James Madison lost in 1777.
In each case, the loss led to adjustments and lessons which brought long-term success for the future. The losses sustained by Karen Schultz, Marty Martinez and Bruce Roemmelt should not be seen as defeats, but as lessons which our Party can take into the future. We need to retain contact with the voters that Karen, Marty and Bruce connected with during the campaign, the combination of which yield a strong starting plurality for races in 2008 and 2009. We need to activate these voters in their local precincts in advance of Novembers to come, and keep Karen, Marty and Bruce in the loop so that voters are reminded of the alternative they had when the Republican Assembly stonewalls Virginia's progress for the next two years.
In every defeat lies and opportunity for learning and changing. Perhaps we need to do a better job or organizing west of Route 15. Perhaps we need to hold some community meetings with independent voters to understand whether we are dealing with people who have a skewed idea of what it means to be a Democrat, or simply people who did not know who Karen, Bruce and Marty were. If nothing else, we need to make sure it is okay to be a Democrat west of Rt. 15 (Sally Kurtz probably knows a thing or two about doing that), since there is always safety in numbers, and with opponents like Bob Marshall and Karen Vogel, we can expect our voters to be ridiculed simply for voting Democratic.
It is in victory that people start taking the voters for granted; that's what happened in Loudoun County. The Board majority forgot that it's not money, or developers, or closed meetings, or titles that matter. It's the voters on election day who matter. The races we lost this year should serve us as inspiration to remember the voters, remember what they care about, and do our best for a better Virginia.
Brian Moran gets the last word: We aren't here just to win elections. We win elections in order to give Virginia the government it deserves.