Much like Riley in his post endorsing Scott Lingamfelter, I do not claim to speak for Virginia Virtucon as a whole. I only speak for myself.
As the race for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia careens toward the finish line, convention delegates are faced with a smorgasboard of candidates: some with experience, others with outsider credibility; some touting their records, others running away from them; some looking to lift the campaign up, others tearing it down (and themselves in the process). It can all be a bit confusing.
That said, this could be the most important nomination contest the party has faced in a long time. I say that not due to the importance of the office, but rather the nature of the candidates, the campaign, and the political environment swirling around them. This decision will be made as the party reels from internal arguments, the self-inflicted wound known as Plan ’13 From Outer Space, and as always, the growing shadow of Washington, DC. In times like these, while outsiders can be useful and appealing, what is really needed is someone who has both political experience in office and the willingness to take on entrenched interests on behalf of the taxpayer.
Five candidates have experience in elected office. Four of them have buckled under and chosen to raise taxes on Virginians. Only Susan Stimpson has refused to stain her tenure of office with a tax increase.
This is not to say that the other four have bad records, but their records do have bad votes – votes which have cost you more money. Steve Martin, Scott Lingamfelter, and JMDD all voted for the Rube Goldberg scheme known as HB3202. Martin and Lingamfelter also voted for the sales tax “acceleration” in 2009 (as part of that years budget amendements; Martin opposed it as a stand-alone bill) and the manufacturers’ tax increase of 2010 (as part of that year’s budget). Mrs. Devolites-Davis voted for the Warner tax hike of 2004.
By contrast, Stimpson has ensured taxes have gone down, not up, in Stafford County (in contrast to Prince William, where Corey Stewart has indeed raised property taxes during his time there). I know from personal experience how difficult it is to tell local elites “no” on spending and tax matters. Susan has done that, every time.
Additionally, she has stood up for her constituents at the state level, where she can, by calling for more thrift, openness, and accountability at the Virginia Railway Express (funded by taxes paid on gas by residents from Great Falls to Glenora), and publicly opposing Plan ’13 From Outer Space – crossing her former patron (Speaker Bill Howell) in the process.
The Republican Party of Virginia will have a difficult 2013. If they wish to show voters that Plan ’13 will not be repeated, and that taxpayers will be respected from here on out, they need a nominee for Lieutenant Governor who can do more than say he will stand with them. They need a candidate who has stood with them.
Susan Stimpson is that candidate.