Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last week's other loser

Senator Emmett Hanger, I hope you are watching your back. Folks are already taking aim at your political life... and most likely they are your fellow Republicans. Democrats are still in a daze and aren't plotting that far ahead....
Senator Hanger represents the 24th Senate District that includes Augusta County, Greene County, Highland County, Lexington, Staunton, Waynesboro, plus parts of Albemarle County, Rockbridge County, and Rockingham County. You may recall that right wingers in the GOP worked hard to deny Hanger the party's nomination in 2007. They put up Scott Sayre who Hanger eventually defeated in the primary, but not until deep rifts between party factions were exposed.
Flash forward to the summer of 2009. At Staunton's July 4 parade Senator Hanger had his own float (actually a convertible) that was quite separate from the Republican float. Then later that month came Chris Saxman's surprise announcement that he was withdrawing from the 20th District House of Delegates race. Although there was a very public forum at Buffalo Gap High School, the local GOP chairs privately interviewed candidates and just as privately picked Staunton City Councilman Dickie Bell as their nominee. Bell easily won the election in November.
So, what does all this have to do with Senator Hanger? The bitter feelings from 2007 are still festering among local Republicans. Hanger, who is still popular with many in the GOP (and independent) electorate remains distrusted, even disliked, by his party's right wing. Reports indicate that the GOP chairs' interviews of potential candidates in the 20th District got not only into issues and electability, but also touched on their relationship and loyalty to the Senator. Anyone who was seen as too friendly to Hanger, or not tight enough with the conservative faction, had no chance of being the nominee. Equally important was picking a nominee acceptable to Delegate Saxman.
Looking forward to 2011, most observers assume Senator Hanger will seek renomination by the GOP and another term. But he faces considerable obstacles. Hanger, though he remains popular with many in the community, is largely estranged from the local Republican committees. Delegate Dickie Bell, who owes his nomination to those local chairs and to Chris Saxman will never be a Hanger ally and may well continue what some say was Saxman's behind-the-scenes sabotage of the Senator.
Speaking of Saxman, come January he is free to roam the political landscape. He says he will concentrate on "school choice" issues, but nobody buys that as his last waltz in politics. While some of the rumors swirling around his exit from the House race would, if true, likely end his career in electoral politics; the rumors of his future political aspirations have more credibility. Some say he may challenge Bob Goodlatte, but this bird wonders if his plans might be focused more on 2011.
Added to the toxic mix for Senator Hanger is the rise of the Tea Party activists and their appeal to right wing Republicans and the continuing local involvement of far right groups like the Club for Growth fighting healthcare reform. The nexus of a hostile party leadership and right wing grassroots politics spells danger for a mountain-valley Republican like Hanger. The Senator is well-advised to watch his back, to see who is following, to see who is gaining, to see who is taking aim. Might be a whole flock!


Anonymous said...

We are under a state of emergency and where is Tim Kaine ? In Arkansas at a fundraiser for the DNC what a shame. Im sure the same Democrats that were upset with Mark Sanford will also be upset with Tim Kaine being gone in a actual emergency.

Anonymous said...

okay. So FOR THE RECORD. I am not running against Bob Goodlatte in 2010 or Emmett Hanger in 2011. Nor I am running for US Senate in 2012 or statewide office in 2013.

What I am doing is actually fun and exciting - yes, i am working on school choice and we will be having a press conference on Monday. Additionally, I having been working on creating a national 501 C 3 organization (non partisan) to recruit, train and equip business people to run for public office. Also, I have been working on a Catholic grassroots project.

that is what is happening.

Feel free to call me anytime and I will be more than happy to discuss them with you.

Chris Saxman

Agitator said...

exactly what the heck is a mountain-valley republican? is this code for something?

Agitator said...

also, why should republicans take advice from you? As if you have their best interests at heart! Hilarious. I certainly don't waste my time doling out advice to my Liberal/Democratic aquaintences about how they can gain political advantage. If I truly belived their policies to be wrong, that would be plain ig-nor-ray-moose

Progressive said...

Ag, where have you been for God knows how long? "Mountain-Valley Republican" is a common term which is even used by the Repubs.

Belle Rose said...

Delegate Saxman, thanks for the update on your political activities. Lots of folks are curious. I'll look forward to learning more in your press conference.

Agitator, "mountain-valley Republican" isn't some unknown code. It generally refers to a moderate/conservative faction of the VA Republican Party whose roots go back to the days when the Byrd Machine controlled Democratic and state politics. As the name implies, its energy was mostly in western part of the state. Governors like Linwood Holton and John Dalton were products of this tradition. While generally conservative (although more moderate than the segregationist Byrd Machine), mountain-valley Republicans believed that government was a positive thing. I'm sorry you've never heard of the term. It isn't my invention or code... if you can use Google you'll find out much more (4,000+ hits) about mountain-valley Republicans in VA, their origins, their beliefs, their decline within the state GOP. Maybe The Dynamic Dominion: Realignment and the Rise of Two-Party Competition in Virginia, 1945-1980 will give you helpful background.

Anonymous said...

Agitator, I don't think ccc was giving advice to Republicans or Hanger. Just commenting on things as this fowl bird brain sees them. Laid another egg.