Virginia could be roadmap out of primary mess

Back in 1994, Virgil Goode was a Democrat, Mark Warner was Virginia’s Democratic party chairman and former governor Doug Wilder was in the same unenviable position where Hillary Clinton now finds herself. As the Democratic primary for a Virginia U.S. Senate seat wound down, Wilder was staring at a coming defeat to incumbent Senator Chuck Robb.

Wilder’s former press secretary Dan Conley has a must-read piece in Salon today about the back-room negotiations that led Wilder to drop out of the race and ultimately back his opponent—and what it took to get him to do these things.

"I had a front-row seat to this greatest of all Democratic crack-ups as Wilder’s press secretary. The candidate trailing badly in the polls on Labor Day weekend, our campaign decided that we had only two options left: keep running the same campaign, or sink Sen. Robb."

The piece offers a way out of a messy, protracted Democratic struggle between Clinton and Barack Obama that is threatening to run all the way to the August convention. But it’s also a fascinating look at a back-room deal that has shaped Virginia politics.

Some of those national Dems might want to take a hard look at Conley’s advice. According to Politico, Obama is planning to declare victory very, very soon.

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