Although he gave the top spot to Harry Reid, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post says Ron Johnson and Scott Walker also deserve recognition for running great campaigns this year. Both made the list for the top seven of 2010.
Walker, who briefly entered the 2006 governor's race before dropping out, spent the next four years plotting his run in 2010. And, it showed. Brilliantly conceived from beginning to end, Walker cast himself as the everyman -- toting a brown bag lunch and driving a 1998 Saturn -- in a message that fit perfectly with the mood of the electorate who wanted something new.
More importantly, Walker casted himself as an "everyman" despite his long career in politics, which was especially relevant during the primary, when Mark Neumann made defeating the "career pols" the central message of his campaign. However, Cillizza gives little indication of why Walker's message was so brilliant. Is there any evidence that suggests Walker won many more votes than any other Republican candidate would have in this election year?
The praise for Ron Johnson was more warranted.
Johnson, a political neophyte making his first bid for elected office, proved to be a natural. He ran a campaign pitched perfectly to capture voters' desire for change. Johnson's whiteboard ads became so iconic -- and influential -- in the race that Sen. Russ Feingold (D) felt compelled to use a whiteboard of his own in one of his closing commercials. Too little, too late. Johnson won by five points.
Cillizza misses a key point, however. Johnson's genius was relying entirely on the election trends and avoiding the types of gaffes that doomed other Tea Party candidates, such as Ken Buck and Sharron Angle.