Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blue Tide Risin'

It is now becoming clear that Democrats will field strong and aggressive candidates in ALL of the House of Delegates races in the central Shenandoah Valley. This region has been taken for granted by the GOP for years as they've waltzed into office with easy wins and, more often than not, unopposed. Everyone knows bumping off  incumbents will be tough, but every Democrat I've talked to is encouraged and energized by the prospect of such good candidates in every single district.
In the 20th District (Staunton, Highland, parts of Augusta and Rockingham), a candidate from the Staunton end of the district is committed to running. This person has filed the paperwork, started putting an organization in place, is networking with both Democrats and Republicans frustrated by the current representation that is more bent on ideology than practical results for constituents. We should hear an announcement in the next couple of weeks.
A footnote on the 20th - an interesting discussion with a Rockingham Republican revealed that there is growing dissatisfaction with the current representation. This politician told me Chris Saxman would have an opponent... a Republican opponent. As the conversation progressed, he backed off somewhat, saying that intraparty opposition would likely emerge in 2011, if Saxman is still in office seeking reelection. Wonder who...?
In the 15th District (Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and part of Rockingham) the Democrats have a challenger to Todd Gilbert. Like in the 20th, this individual should be announcing in the next few weeks.
In the 26th District (Harrisonburg, part of Rockingham) attorney Gene Hart has been in the race for sometime. From what I am hearing, his organization is in place and his fundraising going well.
In the 24th District (Rockbridge, Buena Vista, Lexington, parts of Amherst and Augusta) Jeff Price has been out and about talking to voters for months. Jeff is a businessman in Amherst and been meeting with Democratic, teacher, environmental, business, and many other groups since last fall.
In the 25th District (Waynesboro and parts of Augusta, Rockingham, and Albemarle) there are two Democrats vying for the nomination. Dr. Greg Marrow has a very organized campaign that has been reaching out to Democrats and raising money in every corner of the sprawling district. His opponent is James Noel of Mt. Sidney.
It has been fun watching the incumbents position themselves as it becomes more apparent they'll have to talk to voters and justify their actions (or lack thereof). Todd Gilbert is out there with the ever-popular VDOT bashing responding to rest area closures and the other cost savings proposed by the agency. Apparently he's doesn't connect his votes to their lack of funding. Chris Saxman is claiming credit for keeping the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents open (Governor Kaine proposed closing it to save money), but everyone knows both houses of the General Assembly and legislators of both parties supported funding it. And Steve Landes got a fluff piece on TV3 to explain why tweaking old laws consumes so much of his legislative time.
With the Democrats needing just 6 seats to gain control of the House of Delegates, a couple of these races could reach critical mass. Stay tuned for a busy summer and fall of Virginia politics.

2 comments:

unionman said...

I've heard that even Senator Hanger was miffed over Delegate Saxman being given all the credit for "saving" CCCA.

Anonymous said...

what a %@!*ing joke. think you can beat any of these republicans on thier own turf? dream on fool.