Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dems Playing Chicken

Brian Moran has decided to resign from his seat in the House of Delegates and concentrate on running for Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Governor Tim Kaine has already announced that a special election will be held on January 13 to elect a new Delegate for the 46th District, which includes part of Alexandria and part of Fairfax.
Moran's decision is surprising to some political analysts and others (folks in his district, perhaps) because they didn't see it coming and because of its timing. In the past many candidates running for statewide office have given up their seats in whatever elective office they held in order to run for the higher office. It has even become a bit of a tradition to do so. But it often it occurs after the candidate has the party's nomination. Brian Moran made the decision before the hens got up.
Beyond that, Moran's calculus is factoring in several advantages:
  • Legislators are prohibited from fundraising during the session of the General Assembly. By opting out now, Moran can solicit all the funds he wants during a time when he'd have been "blacked out." Moran must figure Terry McAuliffe will seriously challenge him for those dollars, especially out of NOVA. Senator Creigh Deeds will be on on the fundraising sidelines for the duration of the session.
  • While Senator Deeds is committed to his duties in Richmond, Moran can join (well, not actually) McAuliffe on the campaign trail across the state. We'll see him speaking to civic clubs and local Democratic groups and attending ribbon cuttings. Time is money. Money is time, I guess.
  • Perhaps Moran heard McAuliffe's comment last week about his opponents being "stuck in the legislature." Stuck on fundraising? Stuck on old ideas? Stuck because McAuliffe sees himself above it all?
  • Some pundits think Moran has made a good decision by getting out of the General Assembly in what looks like a tough year. Difficult votes on the budget and other issues will be cast. Republicans will undoubtably put forth bills designed to put Democrats in difficult positions. According to these pundits, Moran can take the high road while avoiding controversy. Flip side - is Moran being a chicken? Will Deeds show leadership by taking on the tough issues? Will Deeds make news while Moran seems impotent?
Clearly, Brian Moran thinks Terry McAuliffe is running (so does just about everybody else) and that McAuliffe will challenge him for NOVA dollars and votes. Moran wants to take McAuliffe head on in battling for money and time. 
If you, like me, think Senator Deeds is refusing to chicken out by meeting his commitments to his constituents and the state by sticking it out and tackling the very tough issues... perhaps you'd like to send him a few bucks now since he can't raise any during session.
But, forgetting politics for a minute, how about those Richmond Spiders!

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