Virginia Steps Towards Statewide Election Run-Offs

The Virginia State Senate voted 22-16 yesterday to implement run-off elections for statewide offices where no candidate receives a majority of the vote.

The Washington Times article reporting on this gets the analogy wrong, however — it wouldn’t turn Virginia’s system into one like Louisiana’s since Louisiana holds a “jungle primary” on Election Day and runoffs are held about a month later. They do not have primary elections in Louisiana, which is why two Republicans split the vote for U.S. Senate there in November necessitating the December run-off. Instead, this bill would turn Virginia’s electoral system into one like that in Georgia where you first have a primary, then the general election and a runoff if there are more than two candidates on the ballot and no one gets a majority.

It makes sense for elected officials to be able to claim a majority of the vote when they seek to implement their agendas, so why not have a runoff in Virginia if no one gets 50% +1? It works in Georgia and it isn’t employed very often. It would also allow for voters to support third-party or write-in candidates, either out of conviction or protest, and in turn those third-parties could grow and flourish without serving as merely spoilers. Those same voters could then come back in the run-off and vote for their second-choice candidate or abstain from voting if they so choose.

Two years in a row Virginia has seen statewide offices won by individuals without a majority of the vote — in 2014 Mark Warner was reelected to the U.S. Senate with 49.15% and in 2013 Terry McAuliffe was elected governor with 47.75% and Mark Herring was elected Attorney General with 49.89% of the vote (the exact same percentage that his opponent Mark Obenshain had with the remaining 0.22% going to write-ins.) This would have also impacted the 2006 U.S. Senate race where Jim Webb received 49.59% and the 2005 Attorney General race won by Bob McDonnell with 49.96%. No other statewide race going back to at least 1997 would have resulted in a run-off.

By no means would a run-off election be a “gimme” for Republicans to have won all or any of those seats and the equation could just as easily tip the other way as can by seen by McDonnell’s ’05 victory. However, this is an idea whose time has come and one that should be embraced by both Republicans and Democrats. Republicans in the House of Delegates should vote to pass this measure and Gov. McAuliffe should sign it into law.

Did Corey Stewart Pay A Bribe To Secure An Endorsement?

Uh, oh. The reverberations of Corey Stewart’s failed 2013 Lt. Governor campaign continue. An investigative blog known as the Louisville Courant takes note that the alleged “bagman” in an endorsement for sale scheme involving the 2012 Iowa GOP caucus also received a $10,000 payment from Stewart’s campaign just two days before he received an important endorsement that raised many eyebrows after it was issued. Now the question is being asked whether Corey Stewart paid a bribe to secure that endorsement – something that for everyone’s sakes I hope is not true.

Dear Virginia Senate Republican Majority: Don’t mess it up again with another tax hike

With Ben Chafin’s election, it is now official. After seven months, the Republicans have a majority in the Virginia Senate once more. As one would expect, a number of my friends are crowing.

Unfortunately for me, recent political history is screaming in my ears. It makes my optimism about a fully Republican-controlled Virginia legislature extremely cautious.

For those unaware, the Republican Party first had a State Senate “majority” in 1998 (although the 21st vote was actually the Lieutenant Governor); they held it for ten years. This is the record of that decade…

  • Holding up budget amendments in an attempt to reverse the progress of the Gilmore car-tax cut (2001)
  • A referendum in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia for tax increases (2002 – thankfully rejected by the voters)
  • A proposed tax increase that was twice what Mark Warner wanted (2004)
  • A proposed gas tax increase (2006)
  • A proposed statewide tax increase in response to the HB3202 debacle (2007)
  • Enacting HB3202 anyway (2007)

Somehow, the party was shocked – shocked! – when voters showed them the door and returned the State Senate to the Democrats in November 2007 (on a night when those without a tax-stained record did quite well, thank you very much).

Four years later, after Governor Bob McDonnell won a landslide victory by promising not to raise taxes, the GOP managed another 20-20 split. Once again, the Lieutenant Governor give them control…and within a fifteen months, the Republican-controlled State Senate passed a McDonnell-proposed tax hike (known in this corner as Plan ’13 From Outer Space). The nominee to replace McDonnell – Ken Cuccinelli – tried to defend and oppose it at the same time.

Somehow, the party was shocked – shocked! – when voters showed the 2013 GOP ticket the door, which also put the State Senate back into the hands of the Democrats in January.

Now, Republicans have the 21st vote once more.

I sincerely hope that the party has learned its lesson…and not f*ck it up with yet another tax hike that reminds the voters why they took power away from them, repeatedly.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

We Told You So About Terry McAuliffe and the Bi-County Parkway…

Surprise, surprise. According to Leesburg Today, Gov. Terry McAuliffe is pushing to get the controversial Bi-County Parkway through:

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said today that he expects the Bi-County Parkway to receive a high priority rating among transportation projects being considered in Northern Virginia.

“We have to open up Dulles airport,” McAuliffe said. “We will have a resolution relatively quickly.”

Don’t say we didn’t tell you this would happen, because we did just that way back on Aug. 16, 2013:

In a complete 180, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe has told the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce that he has in fact taken a stance on the bi-county parkway connecting Prince William and Loudoun counties and is supporting it.

And then again on Aug. 28, 2013:

The Virginia Association of Realtors PAC would not have endorsed Terry McAuliffe if they weren’t certain that he will support the controversial Bi-County Parkway (a.k.a. the Developers Highway) through Manassas Battlefield that will open up a lot of land, particularly in Loudoun County, that has been bought up by residential developers.

Anyone who doubts that McAuliffe didn’t really mean what he said to the Dulles area Chamber of Commerce about supporting the Bi-County Parkway as it currently is mapped out is just deluding themselves.

And finally on Oct. 17, 2013, just before Election Day with the revelation that VDOT was teaming up with McAuliffe politically to go after the opponents of the road.

So much for the “solution” to block this road that the Prince William County Board of Supervisors came up with that the state wouldn’t go forward with building the road if the county restricted themselves from widening Route 234 in the eastern part of the county.

The Board of County Supervisors, in an ill-conceived plan to derail the equally ill-conceived proposed Bi-County Parkway, passed a change to the county’s comprehensive plan restricting Route 234 to 4 lanes. This denies residents much needed future traffic relief and will only serve to clog the roads within Montclair, in particular Waterway Drive.

There was a clear choice last November to make a difference in stopping the Bi-County Parkway, but a majority of voters in PWC opted not to take that into consideration when casting their vote. There’s not much more they can do now…

Four 2013 GOP LG Candidates Co-Write Op-Ed Supporting Federal Tax Reform

Well, here is something you don’t see every day. Four of the Republican candidates for Lt. Governor in 2013 (including its nominee), wrote an op-ed published in Washington, D.C.’s “The Hill” newspaper in support of of federal tax reform. Former Chairwoman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors Susan Stimpson, Virginia State Senator Steve Martin, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, and 2013 GOP LG nominee Bishop E. W. Jackson joined together to write this piece advocating for reform as a much needed pro-economic growth, pro-business measure.

A key part of their argument includes:

The poor and unemployed need help, but they do not need to be made dependents of government.  They need a bustling economy in which jobs and wealth are being created not stifled. Government needs to make it easier for businesses on Main Street to grow and thrive and create the jobs desperately needed by those who can’t find the employment necessary to meet their financial obligations.  

But growth cannot happen without substantive tax reform that fixes the budget, restores fiscal sanity and stops punishing job creation and productivity. It is up to Congress to create a pro-business environment because this administration is never going to do it.

Congress must reduce and simplify taxes and give U.S. companies the certainty they need to grow the economy.  

Tax reform is something that we hold dear here at Virtucon (coming from the Jack Kemp-Steve Forbes-Paul Ryan wing of the Republican Party) and we are glad that these four leaders have chosen to join together and make their important voices heard on this matter.

Is Rob Wasinger a Catfish Candidate?

#HARVERD Strikes Again.

harverdRepublicans in Virginia’s 10th Congressional district are wondering whether Capitol Hill careerist Rob Wasinger is actually a real candidate running to replace retiring Rep. Frank Wolf. Known most widely for the amateurish astroturf rollout of his campaign by a handful of sock puppets, one can be forgiven for wondering if Wasinger is actually Virginia’s first “catfish” campaign.

To translate that into standard English: the Wasinger campaign has distinguished himself by faking grassroots support, and by doing so in some cases through fake online identities. Now, The Bull Elephant has learned that Wasinger has not had a presence at the most recent local meetings of the two largest Republican committees in the 10th District (those in Fairfax and Loudoun counties). None of the 10th District sources with whom The Bull Elephant has spoken has seen Wasinger or any staff members at any events or GOP functions. Further, today brings proof that Wasinger has not made required filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Under FEC rules, any candidate for a federal office who raises $5000 or more must make an initial filing with the FEC disclosing the fact of their candidacy within 15 days of their having raised such a sum. In the 10th District, so far four Democrats, three Republicans (Comstock, Hollingshead, and now-former candidate Dick Black), and even an independent candidate have each made these filings. But not Wasinger, despite claims by Wasinger’s press secretary 15 days ago in comments on The Bull Elephant and Bearing Drift that the campaign had by that time already raised in the neighborhood of $100,000. (Surely his campaign would not have lied about that, would they?)

Where's Wasinger? (Click to Enlarge)
Where’s Wasinger? (Click to Enlarge)

So is Wasinger actually in the race (meaning the missing filing is yet another example of #HARVERD in action), or is he a catfish candidate? From Urban Dictionary:

A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.
Did you hear how Dave got totally catfished last month?! The fox he thought he was talking to turned out to be a pervy guy from San Diego!

So, if you see a real live person in the 10th District who claims to be Wasinger, let us know. And then let us know how accurate that online profile pic is, otherwise we might continue to wonder if this would-be paramour of 10th District pro-lifers is actually some overgrown adolescent in the downstairs rec room of his parent’s house in Overland Park, Kansas, living out his Congressional fantasy online.

Cross-posted to The Bull Elephant.

VA Senate Dems Setting Dangerous New Precedents

Virginia Democrats in the State Senate, now in control of that body thanks to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s tie-breaking vote, have begun reorganizing the chamber.  However, things are going beyond that and wholesale rules changes are being implemented.

According to state Sen. Bryce Reeves (R):

Rules that have governed this chamber have been dramatically changed.


According to Willie Deutsch:

This is no small change…

. . .

Pulling members off committees, allowing members to be removed from a committee with a majority vote instead of 2/3rds, and something about requiring some portion of all bills to be reviewd by the rules chair before bills go to the floor.

. . .

First time ever members will be removed from a committee midsession. Would think some Democrats could just get some more committee assignments so the ranking member would become chair.

. . .

Bill Stanley arguing the Rules committee rule change violates the constitution and ends what it means for a body to be a bicameral body. (Rule 19.I)

All of this sets dangerous new precedents. Too bad Republicans are generally too spineless to retaliate in kind when they have the opportunity to do so.

Impeaching Mark Herring is a terrible idea

“I’ve never seen anything as brutally clear as this…an odd, set, stony quality to it, as if tomorrow’s already happening and there’s nothing you can do about it. The way you feel before an ill-considered attack – knowing it’ll fail. But you cannot stop it.”

– General John Buford (acted by Sam Elliot), Gettysburg (1993)

Of course, Buford did manage to “stop” his nightmare scenario (the Union Army charging up a hill that could not be taken) by his own actions. I doubt I will be as successful, but I feel I have to try to stop what will be a catastrophic error by the Richmond Republicans: the impeachment of Mark Herring.

Plans to impeach Herring are already afoot. My friend Shaun Kenney has the details. The crime: Herring agreed with plaintiffs suing the state over the 2006 Marriage Amendment. The plaintiffs said it violates the federal constitution, and Herring essentially said the plaintiffs were right. This is apparently a “constitutional crisis.”

I beg to differ. The “crisis” will be within the Republican Party if they actually try to impeach and remove Herring. This is a mistake on multiple levels.

First, there is the matter of constitutions: In case anyone forgot, Herring’s oath is to uphold both the Federal and state constitutions, and the Federal one comes first. You can argue with Herring’s reasoning on whether or not the 2006 amendment violates the Federal Constitution, but he has the power to express his opinion and act on it. To attempt to remove him from office for upholding the Federal constitution (as he sees it) is a much greater danger than anything Herring has done. I would also note that this great concern for the state constitution was appallingly missing back in 2007 when “transportation solutions” were a priority, the result being a dog’s breakfast of legislation that nearly every Republican not named Bob Marshall swore was a great achievement, yet was laughed out of town by a unanimous state Supreme Court. Voters might find the idea that the Constitution is paramount when it can stop same-sex-marriage but irrelevant when it protects their money from the taxman to be…a bit strange (more on that later).

Second, there is the question of Herring’s action: I’m reading some bizarre hair-splitting from some who say that Herring didn’t have to defend the 2006 amendment, but he shouldn’t have opposed it publicly. Why? Based on the rulings from the federal Supreme Court on this matter last year, refusing to defend and openly advocating for the plaintiffs is a distinction without a difference. Does it really matter that Herring is simply open about his agreement with the plaintiffs?

Next up, we have the political implications, which are vast and multi-dimensional. For starters, as I noted above, the RPV’s respect for the state constitution is hardly consistent, and Democrats will gleefully remind voters of that for months and years. Again, voters saw the Richmond Republican crew pass and celebrate a blatantly unconstitutional tax scheme less than a decade ago. They will wonder why the constitution is so important now, and they will conclude that the Republicans care more about stopping gay marriages than keeping taxes low and government limited. That’s the political equivalent of drowning the Commonwealth in blue paint.

Yet there are also ramifications for just this year. Political capital that would otherwise be saved up for stopping Medicaid expansion (Brian Schoeneman explains the financial implications here; he didn’t mention that Medicaid does – at best – nothing to improve the health of the poor, but that would just reinforce the point) or Governor McAuliffe’s budget spending spree will be wasted on an effort doomed to fail (seven Senate Democrats would have to vote to remove Herring from office, and that’s not happening).

Finally, there is the one thing we are all forgetting – the flip side of what Herring has done: I may be the only person to notice this, but there are serious problems with the 1971 Virginia Constitution. Article 10 (on education) specifically discriminates against schools of faith, and could be read to make vouchers illegal in the Commonwealth (a potential violation of freedom of religion). Article 11 (on environmental protection) could be used to ride roughshod over property rights (and the Fifth and Fourteenth federal amendments). Do we really want future Attorneys General to arbitrarily defend an overreaching state government? Or muzzle itself in the face of such overreach? I feel the question answers itself.

For these reasons, impeaching Mark Herring is a terrible idea – one that will damage Virginia, the cause of limited government within Virginia, and the Republican Party of Virginia for years – if not decades.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

Recount Update: Are Democrat Voters Truly Morons?

The recount in the Attorney General race is nearing its conclusion. Democrat Mark Herring has picked up several hundred votes and now leads by approximately 800 as of early morning on Wed., Dec. 18th.

How has he picked up so many votes? Well, apparently those “geniuses” who vote for Democrats can’t distinguish between the oval you are supposed to color in on the optical scan cards and the letter “D” for Democrat after Herring’s name. We’ve been receiving reports of this being the case from Tidewater to Stafford. Since the ovals were not filled in, the scanner did not pick up those votes because these truly moronic people colored in the letter “D”.

What other words begin with the letter “D” to describe these voters?


Okay, I could go on and on, but it would be pointless since such people are obviously incapable of understanding anything other than monosyllabic words.

These, my friends, are the people deciding who are elected leaders are.

The Washington Post Plays Fast and Loose With the Truth to Support Liberal Joe May

Today’s Washington Post editorial criticizing 33rd Senate District Republicans for supposedly forcing Joe May to run as an independent misses the mark entirely. The Post either failed to do its research or is intentionally trying to mislead its readers.

POST: The editorial claims local Republicans should have chosen an open primary to nominate their candidate.

 FACT: This is nonsense. Virginia law mandates that special election nominees must be chosen in a process run and funded by the political parties; thus, an open primary (which is run and funded by the state) was not even a legal option.

POST: The editorial claims local Republicans’ motivation in conducting a mass meeting was to doom Joe May’s chances.

 FACT: In an open primary – the very process for which the Post argues – Joe May lost his seat this year by a staggering 15 points in an election that drew over 5,000 votes. It’s clear Joe May would have been defeated no matter what selection method was chosen.

POST: The editorial claims the selection of a mass meeting prompted Joe May to run as an independent.

 FACT: The Post itself reported three weeks ago that Joe May was likely to run as an independent, not a Republican. It’s pretty clear what May did here: he announced as a Republican hours before the nomination method was selected, then disingenuously used the party’s decision as his excuse for going independent, when in fact he lost an open primary in June by 15 points.

POST: The editorial praises local Democrats for choosing a firehouse primary, which netted 1,100 votes.

FACT: The GOP mass meeting will draw several hundred voters perhaps closer to 1,000.  Is the difference between, say, 600 votes and 1,100 votes really a significant distinction that would have produced different results? Of course not.

Once again the Washington Post plays fast and loose with the truth to support their preferred liberal candidate, Joe May.

<<<Cross posted at>>>


The largest Democrat stronghold in the state gave their provisional voters significant advantages that provisional voters elsewhere in the state did not get. The result? Predictably, the Democrat wins.

This isn’t about not wanting to count votes that should be counted. It’s not about seeking partisan advantage. To the contrary, it’s about fairness and equal protection of all Virginians under the law.

What happened in Fairfax over the last week, culminating in tonight’s announcement of a reversal in fortunes of the Virginia Attorney General candidates, was a travesty. I serve as Vice Chairman of the Stafford County Electoral Board, and can say from first hand knowledge that the Fairfax Board has departed significantly from the procedures followed by almost all other jurisdictions in Virginia in two important ways. First, provisional voters in Fairfax had more than twice the time as other Virginia voters to organize themselves and make their arguments that their ballots should be counted. Second, over the course of most of the last week, lawyers and advisors for both the Democrat and Republican parties were able to identify and coach “their” respective voters on how best to spin their facts and present their arguments to the board. No other provisional voters in the state had access to those resources.

Not only does this unprecedented and entirely unnecessary departure from the rules constitute tremendous unfairness to other voters around the Commonwealth, it turned what should have been a low-key, objective examination of the facts in accordance with published rules into the opposite: a politically charged zoo that undermines the electorate’s confidence in the uniformity and fairness of the electoral process. I’m sure the members of the FCEB felt they were doing the right thing by their voters, but in doing so they raised a giant middle finger to the rest of us.

The Log of Provisional Ballots

On election day, each precinct keeps a log of the provisional ballots cast in that precinct. Among other things, the log reflects the name, address, social security number, and phone number of the provisional voter. The log also has a coded number to reflect the reason the voter is casting a provisional ballot. According to the Virginia Code and clear guidance from the State Board of Elections (“SBE”) to all electoral boards around the state, this log is NOT TO BE SHARED WITH THE PUBLIC OR THE POLITICAL PARTIES. Rather, it is to be made available for inspection by representatives of the political parties only during the electoral board’s meeting to decide on which provisional ballots to accept from each precinct. The SBE guidance, Provisional Ballot Meeting Memo_2013 (Final), reads in relevant part as follows:

During the provisional ballot meeting, authorized representatives are permitted to see and hear the process, to inspect the provisional ballot log and take notes from the list, including the names, phone numbers, date of birth, and addresses of individuals who have voted provisionally. While authorized representatives may take notes from the log, they should not be permitted to leave the meeting with any photocopy. The access rights are limited to inspection and note-taking.

This procedure allows the party observers to understand why each ballot was accepted or rejected, and to record (in real time) the relevant information for those voters whose ballots were rejected in the event a party wishes to challenge that decision in court. What IT DOES NOT DO is allow the parties time to identify their potential supporters among provisional voters in advance of the provisional ballot meeting, get those voters to the Board meeting to plead their cases, and have the party lawyers coach them on the best possible way to spin their circumstances to get the electoral board to accept their votes.

For that, we have to look to Fairfax County, where the FCEB decided to provide the information on the provisional ballot logs to the parties well in advance of the board’s consideration of the provisional ballots. Not only that, but rather than limiting the parties’ “access rights [] to inspection and note-taking,” according to FCEB Secretary Brian Schoeneman the board helpfully provided the parties with the relevant information on a single consolidated spreadsheet “as an administrative convenience.” The FCEB apparently justifies this by relying on a remarkably tendentious reading of SBE’s policy. Schoeneman has taken great pains to clarify that they DID NOT provide the provisional logs or copies of the logs (“To be clear, again, we do NOT provide copies of the provisional ballot log”), which would have been prohibited by SBE’s guidance. Instead, they simply extracted all the relevant information from the logs and provided it to the parties in a more usable, convenient electronic form (i.e., technically not a “photocopy”).

agvoter1110_021384033741Schoeneman says that other large jurisdictions do this as well, and suggests that perhaps this has been done before in Fairfax. I cannot speak to this, but I can say that most jurisdictions choose to follow the rules and guidance from SBE, as this is the only way to ensure that voters across the state are provided equal protection under the law. FCEB’s departure from these rules means that a substantial portion of the electorate are subjected to a different (and more favorable) treatment than the rest.

With all due respect to the Fairfax board members, this “administrative convenience” is precisely what the procedures followed by most of the rest of the state are designed to thwart. The political parties are not supposed to be in advocacy mode, injecting their partisan interest into what should be an almost completely objective determination of the merits of each ballot. Which leads us to the second major departure from standard practice.

The blanket extension of time for provisional ballot consideration

Provisional voters are informed when they cast their provisional ballot that they may, if they wish, appear before the board THE FOLLOWING DAY to tell the board why their provisional ballot should be accepted. The Virginia Code Section 24-2.653 contemplates that the electoral board may determine a need to grant more time for this process:

If the board is unable to determine the validity of all the provisional ballots offered in the election, or has granted any voter who has offered a provisional ballot an extension to the following day as provided in subsection A, the meeting shall stand adjourned from day to day, not to exceed seven calendar days from the date of the election, until the board has determined the validity of all provisional ballots offered in the election.

(Emphasis added). Read that again: “[T]he meeting shall stand adjourned from day to day, not to exceed seven calendar days from the date of the election.” On Saturday the FCEB announced that it was extending the period for considering provisional ballots to Tuesday (today) at 1:00 PM. It is quite obvious that this departs from the Code in two important ways: first, a single day extension is to be granted to individual voters (presumably because of individual circumstances), not ALL provisional voters. Second, if the board is unable to complete its review of all voters by the end of one day, they may adjourn to the next day, but there is no authority to say in advance of a particular day’s meeting that the meeting will need to be adjourned for subsequent days.

Undoubtedly because of squawking by the political parties about insufficient time to find and coach their voters, and the fact that relatively few voters had shown up during the standard period (just like in every other jurisdiction), the Fairfax Board decided their voters were special, and not subject to the same rules and limits as everyone else. So, the Board voted to extend all Fairfax provisional voters’ time to appear before the Board by 3 days. And this is after they had already extended the period a day longer than almost every other jurisdiction, the vast majority of which completed their provisional canvasses last Friday.

Election Dis-Uniformity

I confess that I’m not privy to all the facts and circumstances giving rise to the Fairfax Board’s actions. My impression from afar is that they took these actions over the private objections of the State Board, and some of the actions over the very public objections of the Republican Party. Nor am I familiar with the precise procedures in other large jurisdictions, or what has been done previously in Fairfax. But, that’s essentially irrelevant.

What I CAN speak to is what most other electoral boards did. In Stafford, we too were harangued by the political parties to provide the lists of provisional voters in advance of the provisional ballot meeting. But, like most other jurisdictions, we followed SBE procedures to provide a uniform application of the election laws across all of the Commonwealth’s localities. We also saw the value of SBE’s procedures, as the idea of having the media and partisan circus swirling around our process is inimical to the spirit of non-partisan fairness that my colleagues and I pride ourselves on.

Had we fully grasped the impending disregard of the rules in Fairfax, I’m quite confident my colleagues and I would have likewise availed ourselves of the opportunity to give our voters a much better chance of getting their votes counted. But now, like most voters around the state, the voters in my county have been subjected to the unfairness of Fairfax.

Cross-Posted at The Bull Elephant.

The Myth Of Red Virginia

We’ve been hearing for years that Virginia is a “red” state.  True, Republican presidential candidates carried it in every election from 1968 through 2004, but apart from that, exactly how “red” has Virginia been?

If Mark Obenshain loses the race for Attorney General following the recount (as of right now after the completion of county canvases, he trails by fewer than 200 votes), Democrats will hold all five statewide offices – Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and both U.S. Senate seats – for the first time since before the 1969 election when Linwood Holton was elected Governor as a Republican.  If Virginia ever was such a “red” state, then surely Republicans have matched this feat.

In truth, Republicans have held all five statewide seats only once in the history of Virginia and that lasted for but one year between the 2000 and 2001 elections.  At that time, Jim Gilmore was Governor, John Hager was Lt. Governor, Mark Earley was Attorney General, and John Warner and George Allen were our U.S. Senators.  It was at this point when Virginia was declared a solid red state.  To me, that was always a myth.  Let’s look at the numbers…

Republicans have only held a U.S. Senate seat from Virginia 5 times — John Lewis 1870, William Scott 1972, John Warner 1978, Paul Trible 1982 and George Allen 2000.

We’ve only held the office of Governor 8 times – 6 since the end of Reconstruction. Dems have won the governorship 40 times.

We’ve only held the office of Lt. Governor 7 times – 3 since the end of Reconstruction. Dems have won the seat 26 times.

We’ve only won the office of Attorney General 8 times – 6 since the end of Reconstruction. (Republicans have had a total of 12 AGs, since 4 of them were appointed to fill the unexpired terms of AGs who won the GOP nomination and resigned from office early to run.) Dems have won the office in election 14 times.

That is a total of only 19 Republicans who have held any one of the 5 statewide offices in Virginia since Reconstruction ended in the 1870s. (Some of those 19 are the same person as George Allen was both Governor and U.S. Senator, Jim Gilmore and Bob McDonnell were both AG and Gov., etc.)

Virginia is not nor has it ever been a “red” state.  To the same extent, I would argue that despite Democrats’ recent successes in the Commonwealth that it has not turned “blue” either, but remains an ever shifting degree of purple.

The Rinos Can Keep the GOP

When you realize that the RNC is a mess, stuck technologically in the 1990’s, maybe even the late 1980’s, and with hopelessly inaccurate voter rolls you begin to wonder, “Why are we putting up with these clowns?”  In VA Bolling, May, and others lead the charge from within the Republican party to undermine the ticket. This is a clear case of someone cutting their nose in order to spite their face.  They prefer to see Democrats win over conservative Republicans when they do not get their way in the primary.

According to an article from the American Thinker, Christie got four times the money Cuccinelli did from the RNC and he was never in need of the help Ken was since the local papers did not smear Christie the way the WashPo smeared Ken.  In fact they were having a love-in with Christie, similar to the one they had with McCain prior to his failed presidential run in 2008.  Ken was slandered in the WashPo – got retractions – and then the WashPo would later reissue the same lies in a different articles.  The RNC never came to his aid with this.  Priebus tramped about in NJ, in a safe race.  Cuccinelli, Obenshain and Jackson were thrown under the bus.

Ken lost by a two points while facing a WashPo resolutely in the team blue camp no matter what, with a pseudo phony baloney libertarian candidate in the race – funded by a Texas Democrat, and with inaccurate polls showing Ken behind by 17 points. All this killed Ken’s chances of raising out of state money for his campaign.  Ken was outspent by $14M.  It was calculated and the likes of Bolling did not help.

It is time to cut the cord. The Bollings can keep the label. Conservatives should look elsewhere.  I do not know where conservatives should go, but they should never again bang doors for the kind of Republican that Bolling represents.  Conservatives are not welcome in ‘the big tent.’  What is so radical about fiscally prudent policies?  What is ‘crazy’ about a balanced budget?  What wrong with seeking to pass laws that do not reward self destructive and irresponsible behavior?  For this conservatives are pilloried and their character assassinated not only by Democrats but by the Bollings and Roves of the party.

At this point, according to the US Census Bureau the number of households that receive benefits exceed the number that pay for those benefits.  This is a cause for great alarm.  This is unsustainable.  This sad state is the result of the progressive Democrat and Republican policies going back to Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt.  Conservatives, not the GOP, are trying to stop the coming fiscal Armageddon.  The Bush wing of the party is part of the problem. Only the deluded would think a Mitch McConnell is part of the solution.  Only the insane would think the Democrats will reign in spending.

Rockefeller Republicans lose far more elections than they win yet conservatives are unelectable?  Lets look at the stellar track record of recent Presidential elections:

  • Ford in 1976 lost to Carter. Reagan was considered to be too far right for America
  • Bush Sr. got elected only because the country wanted four more years of Reagan.  America realized Bush was no Reagan and we got Bill Clinton.
  • Bob Dole a left-wing experiment that never stood a chance. Did we hear about how such left-wing Rockefeller wannabes are too far left for the country?  No.
  • W ran as a conservative, which is why he won.  W was no conservative
  • John McCain lost so big he had reverse coat tails
  • Romney who was another left-wing Republican. He managed to lose to a president highest unemployment in the past 40 years.

The lesson?  Rinos lose nationally.  I will repeat for the intellectually impaired: Rinos. Lose. Nationally.  The electorate is 40% conservative according to Gallop.  So why is the establishment GOP running always away from them?  It is personal that is why, we are a threat to their gravy train.  From here on out, when the GOP establishment fields a Bolling, we take him out in a primary, and is he survives that, we help the Democrats.  Why?  That is what the Bollings do to conservatives.  It is war on conservatives.

Conservatives typically accept the results of a primary contest, campaigning for Democrat-lite in the general election.  Rinos like Bolling never return the courtesy.  Locally in Loudoun Co., Clint Good, a ‘Republican’ was out campaigning for the Democrat candidate Mary Daniels against David LaRock, a conservative Republican in the VA33rd HOD — Clint called it, “Republicans for Daniels”.   Joe May the big spending, tax hiking Republican lost the primary against LaRock 57%-43%.  He did much to harm LaRock in the general election, refusing to endorse David, and not renouncing a mailer from Daniels that implied that May endorsed Daniels.  As the national party leadership is lousy with this sort of Republican, conservatives should strongly consider looking for greener pastures.

Currently the chief difference is that the Democrats lie to the public and pretend to be more centrist than they rule.  The GOP tells its base, “I am conservative” but rules in a way indistinguishable from the Democrats most of the time.  While there are people in the GOP worthy of consideration — they days of calling the GOP a conservative party are over.

Bill Bolling and the Sabotage Republicans

In this article from ‘The Amercican Spectator‘ Jeffrey Lord provides some great analysis of what is, and has been taking place within the Republican Party where so-called ‘Good Republicans’ like Bill Bolling have worked for decades to insure the failure of Conservative candidates like Ken Cuccinelli.

RINOs – The Enemy Within

From Fauquier Free Citizen comes this article, “RINOs Victorious on November 5th – Or The Enemy Within“.

The battle lines were drawn long ago, and now it’s time to take the gloves off.

For years Conservatives have been told we have to support the candidates chosen by the GOP establishment, and we have faithfully done so. So why didn’t they support our candidates?

Ken Cuccinelli could have won this election, but the establishment did not want it to happen; witness the fact that Bill Bolling would not endorse Cuccinelli, and the GOP would not spend the money on this very important race.

It’s time Bolling and others like him leave the Party.

Why Election 2013 Was Like 2001 (And 2014 Will Be Like 2006)

A Republican Attorney General popular with the social conservative movement bests a Republican Lt. Gov. rooted in the business community for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.  A multi-millionaire Democrat nominee for governor with no elected experience and a questionable history about how he made his money.  An unexpected Republican nominee for Lt. Governor popular with the grassroots, but woefully underfunded.  A major national event that freezes the race for weeks.

If you guessed these were Ken Cuccinelli, Bill Bolling, Terry McAuliffe, E.W Jackson, and the government shutdown, you’d be right.

If you guessed these were Mark Earley, John Hager, Mark Warner, Jay Katzen, and 9/11, you’d be right, too.

Everything old is new again in politics.  Everything is cyclical.  In retrospect, the dynamics at work in 2013 were extremely similar to what happened 12 years ago in so many ways.  About the only difference was in the Attorney General’s race which more resembled the 2005 election where a Republican member of the General Assembly, Bob McDonnell, narrowly defeated a Democrat state senator, Creigh Deeds, by just a few hundred votes.  (Even there, we had a Mark vs. Mark race like in the 2001 gubernatorial election.)

So, what forces are at work now and what past election year will 2014 be like?

A president in his second term.  A deeply unpopular policy considered to be the signature one of his presidency.  A popular Virginia U.S. senator (and former governor) from the same party as the president considered a major contender for president himself in the next election who voted for that policy.  No big name contenders from the other party in the race against said senator.

If you guessed George W. Bush, the Iraq War, George Allen, and Jim Webb / Harris Miller, you’d be right.

The 2014 election is tracking to be almost exactly like 2006 with Barack Obama, Obamacare, Mark Warner, and a still evolving GOP field as the players this time around.  Something to consider for any Republican with an interest in jumping in the senate race next year.  My advice to whoever may be on the fence — get in the race.  You don’t want to wind up kicking yourself for passing on it the way so many Democrats did after Jim Webb beat Allen.  Just make sure that you hammer Warner continuously for having cast the 60th and deciding vote to enact Obamacare and how that decision has hurt the American economy and destroyed full-time job creation in this country.  At the same time, have a message of your own about what you want to accomplish as one of Virginia’s U.S. senators.  If you do those two things, you can win.

UPDATE:  Virtucon friend Ben Marchi has floated the name of Brig. Gen. Bert Mizusawa (USAR) to play the Jim Webb role in ’14 against Warner’s Allen.  Very interesting indeed.

And the most accurate pollster of 2013 is…

Each election cycle, Virtucon likes to go back and see which pollster was the most accurate with their final poll before the election.  Without further fanfare…

Final Result: McAuliffe +2.5%

1. Emerson College: McAuliffe +2% (off by 0.5%)

2. Wenzel Strategies: McAuliffe +1% (off by 1.5%)

3. (TIE)

Hampton University: McAuliffe +6% (off by 3.5%)

Quinnipiac University: McAuliffe +6% (off by 3.5%)

5. RealClearPolitics Average: McAuliffe +6.7% (off by 4.2%)

6. (TIE)

Christopher Newport University: McAuliffe +7% (off by 4.5%)

Public Policy Polling: McAuliffe +7% (off by 4.5%)

Rasmussen: McAuliffe +7% (off by 4.5%)

9. The Washington Post: McAuliffe +12% (off by 9.5%)

Source: RealClearPolitics and Wenzel Strategies (which was not included in the RCP average, but reported on Virtucon.)

Meet The Democrats’ Newest Delegate – Michael Futrell

Meet Michael Futrell, the Democrat Delegate-elect in the 2nd Dist. House of Delegates.

In one of his campaign fliers, he claimed to be a “lifelong educator”:

MTF Flier

as he did in this video where he talks about a girl who was a senior in high school that he taught:

Yet, his own resume shows he was a teacher for less than a year and only taught 5th and 6th grades. (City Day School is only K-8.)  So much for being a lifelong educator who would have taught a high school senior

MTF LinkedIn

Then there is this from his “Make The Future” organization website:

Make The Future began with a summer basketball camp in 2010 when Coach Mike and Dr.Bernadine noticed the alarming childhood obesity rates in Prince William County. Armed with the knowledge from being a former professional and college athlete along with a doctorate in education, the two put together a summer program that became the essence of what Make The Future would become. (emphasis added)

I guess if you consider the Lebanon Lancers of the Kentucky Basketball Developmental League to be the “pros” you’d accept this, even if the league’s website is hosted on Tripod (who knew those sites were even still up?)

Furthermore, the Delegate-elect’s “Make The Future” foundation was automatically stripped of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status by the IRS for failure to file any reports for the past three years.  Despite losing its status back in May, the foundation was still soliciting funds until late August when the media began inquiring about this.  The foundation was also still advertising and charging admission for events that were never held including an “academic enrichment camp” a basketball camp as of late August.

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Futrell does in Richmond.

(This post has been updated to include information relating to Mr. Futrell’s sports background.)

UPDATED: Obenshain Up By More Than 1,100 Votes With 100% Reporting

And here you thought Bob McDonnell’s race for Attorney General in ’05 was close when he beat Creigh Deeds by only 323 votes.  With 100% reporting, Mark Obenshain leads Mark Herring by just 276 votes:

Obenshain 1,099,412
Herring 1,099,136

Heading for an automatic recount…

UPDATE:  SBE is now reporting the margin is 491 votes.

Obenshain 1,099,630
Herring 1,099,139


Obenshain’s lead has now grown to more than 1,100 votes.

ELECTION DAY 2013 OPEN THREAD (Continuously Updated)

Keep coming back throughout the day for updates on Election Day 2013. Post your experiences here. How was turnout in your precinct? (Please give your county and precinct name as well as the time you were there.) Any observations about which side appeared to have the advantage in getting their supporters to the polls, etc. We want to hear from YOU!

FINAL UPDATE — It’s over.  Goodnight, Virginia.  Welcome to South Maryland.  Congratulations to everyone who voted for McAuliffe (or who were accessories by way of voting for Sarvis) – you just voted to turn Virginia into the places that you left behind because taxes were too high, regulations were too burdensome, and jobs were too few.

Update 6:45 PM (Riley) – Prince William County, General Turnout –

Here’s the top 21 precincts in terms of turnout in Prince William County as of 3 p.m.  ALL of them went for Bob McDonnell in 2009 (the % is what Bob McD got in that precinct and those with an * were not in existence then and those are Romney’s numbers from 2012.)

Prec #




















* 53%





























Cedar Point






Signal Hill
























Mountain View





















































I’m predicting a COMFORTABLE win in PWC for Cuccinelli & Co. based upon this turnout.  The Democrats just didn’t get their voters to the polls in even their most reliable precincts.

Update 2:55 PM (Riley) – Prince William County, General Turnout – From Inside NOVA we get a view at the county’s early turnout:

As of 10 a.m., voter turnout was 8.77 percent at polling places in Prince William County, according to the county Office of Elections.

Top five precincts in voter turnout (so far) are listed below. Next report due at 3 p.m.

1. Kilby: 19.45 percent
2. Marshall: 16.16 percent
3. McCoart: 15.69 percent
4. Signal Hill: 15.10 percent
5. Washington/Reid: 14.4 percent

Here is how those precincts voted in 2009 —

Kilby: 19.45 percent (53% Deeds – 275 votes)
Marshall: 16.16 percent (67% McDonnell – 616 votes)
McCoart: 15.69 percent (*N/A 2009 / 2012 53% Romney – 918 votes)
Signal Hill: 15.10 percent (69% McDonnell – 827 votes)
Washington/Reid: 14.4 percent (58% McDonnell – 683 votes)

As the Washington Post wrote just yesterday, Prince William County is THE swing county in Virginia. It appears that, at least early on, the very solid Republican precincts are performing the best. That has to be extremely troubling for Democrats.

Update 3:00 PM (Thor’s Hammer) – General Turnout – Went back to check out Blue Virginia again. They seem to be pleased that McAuliffe appears to be doing better in Arlington than Creigh Deeds did. Let’s see how that works out for them…

More from their comments:

Prince William County
Just voted at Battlefield High School in western Prince William County. Voter number 664. Was told that turnout was high.
by: janmaxwell @ Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 16:16:45 PM UTC

664 is high
Total turnout in ’09 Battlefield was 1481. There’s been some pretty high population growth in Western PW, but that’s still high for 11am.

Unfortunately, Battlefield is a ruby red district. 76% McDonnell.
by: knopfler @ Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 16:26:09 PM UTC

Update 2:10 PM (Thor’s Hammer) – Fairfax County, Bucknell precinct – We just heard the same thing from someone who cast a ballot at 11:30 a.m. today in the Bucknell precinct at Bryant School on Popkins Lane in the Fairfax portion of Alexandria. Only four voters in the entire place. This was a 64% Creigh Deeds precinct in 2011.

Update 2:00 PM (Thor’s Hammer) – Arlington County, Gunston precinct – Long-time friend of Virtucon reports that he just voted at the Gunston Community Center in Arlington. He had a 3 hour wait last year, but was in and out in 3 mins today. He went at the same time too. Don’t believe the hype that turnout in Arlington is off the charts. It isn’t, but more in line with 2009 which must have the D’s scared to death.

Update 1:05 PM (Thor’s Hammer) – Prince William County, Cedar Point precinct – Roughly 700 out of the 3500 registered voters (20%) have already cast their ballots. This precinct went for Bob McDonnell with 66% of the vote 4 years ago.

Update 10:45 AM (Jesionowski) – found an interesting bit of advertisement n the web regarding the election:

Find Your Polling Place

Do you know where you’re voting today? Confirm where you vote!

This sort of thing will target Democrats, because they are drawn to the name.  It is simple.  It works.  The Democrats are far more savvy when it comes to use of the web and social media.    The message of economic freedom and small government translating into individual liberty requires the GOP to stop advertising using the latest tech from the 20th century.

Update 10:45 AM (Riley) – Prince William County, Swans Creek precinct – My wife just voted and there was no one there. She walked right in to an empty polling place. Last year, the wait time during the day was in the 2 hour range. As she was exiting, she ran into one of our neighbors who is another reliable GOP voter. Our son’s daycare provider voted earlier this morning (for the GOP ticket) at Swans Creek and reported that there was no one in there. Dems are not turning out in PWC in the kinds of numbers they need to carry the county.

Update 10:05 AM (Thor’s Hammer) – General Turnout – Just perusing the forums over at Blue Virginia to see what they have to say. Of interest:

Out In the Valley…Heavier Turnout Than Expected
Of the 4 Wards in Waynesboro, the highest turnout thus far is in the reddest. But there were voters waiting at 6AM at every one.


Voters 93 and 94 in Falls Church
at 7:30 this morning. No line, but passed another school en route to metro and it looks a lot busier.


In Charlottesville
I’m at an almost completely student precinct in Charlottesville, and turnout is, to put it mildly, “light.”

In 2012 this precinct, Venable, had 1638 votes (out of 3100 registered – so 52.8% turnout).

As of 9:30 AM, we have 134 votes (4.3% turnout – yikes, not sure what that’s on track for, though half the students probably aren’t awake yet).

Update 9:14 (Steve Albertson) – Stafford turnout so far (non-scientific) running at about 12-15% by 9:00 AM in generally GOP precincts. Consistent with overall turnout by the end of the day in the neighborhood of 35-40%. [Update: these numbers are for heavy GOP precincts…some mixed precincts with turnout at around 7-8%.]

Update 8:25 AM – Prince William County, Brentsville precinct – PWC GOP Chairman Bill Card posts this photo of Ken Cuccinelli going in to vote.


Update 8:15 AM – City of Alexandria, NOVA Arts Center precinct – Extremely light turnout in this Dem heavy precinct. No waiting line at all.

Update 7:46 AM (Riley) – Prince William County, Dumfries precinct – No one waiting outside town hall to vote. Only signs for the 3 statewide Republican candidates and the unopposed Democrat incumbent Delegate, Luke Torian. No Democrat statewide candidate signs. Three 4’x8′ Cuccinelli signs plus one each for Jackson and Obenshain in the town limits.

Update 6:46 AM (Riley) – Prince William County, Swans Creek precinct – In this Dem heavy precinct that President Obama won twice and even Creigh Deeds carried in 2009, turnout at 6 a.m. was no more than 1/20th of what it was last year at the opening of the polls. In the morning rush of people voting before going to work, I waited for less than 10 minutes total. Republicans had 2-3 volunteers, numerous yard signs for everyone on the ticket, and were handing out sample ballots. The Democrats sent one volunteer who didn’t show up until 6:15 when he put out a handful of ticket signs (no signs for their candidate for Delegate at all.) I’m guessing that by the end of the day turnout here won’t match 2009 and may even be more analogous to an off- off-year election when state senate seats are up. By the time I left at 6:40, there was NO waiting line at all to vote.

Sarvis is a Democrat Tool

It appears that Sarvis’ single biggest contributor is a Democrat from Texas with deep pockets who gave over $90K to the Democrats and Obama during the last campaign cycle. What connection does a wealthy Texas businessman have with a neophyte pseudo Libertarian wannabe? Terry McCauliffe is the link that joins these two together.

Lets remember that Sarvis may be a real politician.  He already talks out of both sides of his mouth.  His web page has a number of Libertarian sounding paragraphs.  Other positions are of dubious Libertarian timber.  What came out in his interview is that Robert Sarvis is not in the Austrian Economic camp, and supports progressive programs like Obamacare as well as raising taxes.  You cannot be a Libertarian without believing in small government, a free market and the right to go to hell in your own way.

In short, Robert Sarvis, when the curtain is pulled away is just another dyed in the wool progressive.  Ron Paul has says you have to be nuts to vote for Sarvis.  Beyond that Sarvis is a tool for the Democrats.  Most pols show he pulls two Republican votes for each Democrat he captures.  This is the reason why the Democrats are pouring money into his campaign.  Considering the blatant dishonesty of McCauliffe during this campaign, his own outrageous behavior he described in his autobiography, is it any wonder he found a pawn in Sarvis.

Bob McDonnell Weighs In For The GOP Ticket

This is a clear message from Gov. Bob McDonnell to Establishment Republicans – get out and vote for the entire GOP ticket tomorrow. These nominees may not have been the ones that you would have preferred, but they are head and shoulders better than the Democrat alternatives. Don’t make Virginia suffer for four years out of spite. Politics is a two-way street and conservatives back our nominees regardless of whether that is who they supported in the nomination. The Establishment must return the favor now that it is their turn.

Dear Friend,

Tomorrow, voters all across Virginia will head to the polls to cast their ballots in the 2013 election. The stakes could not be higher and today I’m asking you to please vote for our Republican ticket.

Four years ago today I was standing at the State Capitol talking to the press about our historic sweep that had occurred the night before. Thanks to your support, help and hard work we received the most votes of any candidate for governor in Virginia history. We won localities from Fairfax to Buchanan. And with that strong support, we got to work.

Together with Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and our next governor, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, we set about putting in place common-sense conservative policies that would get positive results for our people. Here’s what Republican leadership has achieved:

  • Over the last four years over 167,000 net new jobs have been created in Virginia
  • The state unemployment rate has fallen from 7.4 percent to 5.8 percent today; the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast and the 3rd-lowest east of the Mississippi
  • We’ve posted four straight budget surpluses totaling nearly 2 billion dollars. That’s the first time a Virginia administration has put up four consecutive surpluses since the administration of Governor George Allen in the 1990’s
  • We passed Virginia’s first major transportation funding plan since 1986, finally addressing a challenge that had been impeding economic growth and hurting our citizens’ quality of life for nearly 30 years
  • We made college more affordable and accessible, adding 14,000 new slots for undergraduate students and seeing the lowest average yearly tuition increases in a decade
  • We reduced the unfunded liabilities in our pension system by 9 billion dollars
  • We put in place new innovative programs and policies in our K-12 system to give students, parents and teachers more resources, accountability and choice
  • And just a month ago, named Virginia “America’s Best State for Business.”

THAT is what Republican leadership looks like!

More Virginians are working. Our economy is stronger. Transportation and education are well funded. Virginia is on the right track.

Now, we need to keep that progress going by electing Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson and Mark Obenshain!

Republican leadership has gotten results. Tomorrow, let’s keep building this “Commonwealth of Opportunity” by electing our great Republican ticket to lead Virginia forward for four more years.


Bob McDonnell
Governor of Virginia

P.S: if you get this email and you happen to live in New Jersey, I hope you’ll vote tomorrow for my friend, and the Garden State’s great governor, Chris Christie!