Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not Jack's Stunning Reversal

I heard some news today that ought to make the Albo people rejoice - seems everyone's internal polling shows Albo up by a minimum of 4 points over Werkheiser. From what I'm told, Werkheiser's problem is the turnout factor. Right now, modeling is predicting that turnout will be very low, which will likely favor Republicans, incumbents and those who otherwise have a loyal following. Albo is a Republican, an incumbent, and has a loyal following that has not abandoned him - as evidenced by the huge fundraiser he had last night in Tysons Corner. From what I hear, it was a Republican sweep, with everyone there from Tom Davis to George Allen to my own namesake.

I figure maybe I'll admit I'm wrong early on so the Blogosphere will go easy on me. I am now predicting Albo will win 53-47.

Maybe the Blogosphere will go easy on me for being wrong since I admitted my mistake early.

Yeah, right.

Hello? Is This Thing On?

Sorry for my little hiatus....screwed up my password and had to get to the reclusive Rozie to get me back in....updates to follow.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Sue me baby, sue me!

Looks like the angry little man is at it again. This time he has filed a FEDERAL lawsuit against the REAL Larry Sabato.

As he continues his march to the sea scorched earth campaign, Potts shows that all cares about is getting his way. He knew the rules. He knew them from the beginning. He also knew the unwritten rules of politics. When you abandon your party, they will abandon you. No amount of kitchen utensil choir chanting will change that.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Careening Craddock

I have to give Not Larry Sabato props for unearthing the official (or unofficial) Chris Craddock slam site.

Since I mauled Greg Werkheiser for it, Craddock's tickets are not going to get by this salty old blogger either.

Looks like Craddock has racked up 6 tickets in 5 separate instances since 2001. Not the stellar record of Mr. Werkheiser, which reportedly includes 11 tickets, but still very damning.

What I find especially interesting is the fact that Mr. Craddock could not seem to get his vehicle registration in order for a very long time (3 tickets in 6 months) and that he failed to appear for traffic court on two separate occasions (he was convicted in absentia). I might be a stickler, but I think the guy who is elected to represent the people ought to at least have enough respect for the law to show up or pay his ticket on time. That even goes for parking tickets.

Friday, September 30, 2005

The NRA Does Strange Things...

I'm guessing NRA membership cards must going in trash cans across this great Commonwealth this morning over the endorsement of Democrat Creigh Deeds for Virginia's Attorney General.

I think the NRA really stepped in it this time. Deeds is a pretty weak candidate and is going to lose. Now they'll have to deal with an unfriendly Attorney General who is not beholden to them in the least. They probably should have done the "no endorsement" thing here.

Still, this means Bob McDonnell will have to work harder, since the NRA does have a loyal cadre of voters who will cast whatever ballot the NRA tells them to cast.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Waldo's Watts Update

Waldo actually got a copy of the Watts flier in question. He makes some good points.

My only question is, if the flier is supposedly anti-immigrant, why are so many of the faces decidedly NOT white guys? Mikey, I think you've stepped in it my friend.

I will hereby stop beating this horse. It is dead.

Does Michael Meunier Know Where He Lives?

There is an interesting Washington Post article on the accusation trading by Michael Meunier and Vivian Watts in the 39th. Vivian, a politician I've never underestimated (although I have fallen asleep during a couple of her marathon speeches) seems to have gotten the upper hand here.

You already know from yesterday that Meunier is leveling a charge of racism at Watts that is tenuous at best. Now, Watts has obtained a document Meunier filed in Prince George's County (that's Maryland for the geographically-challenged). The document certified that Meunier's home in PG would be his primary residence. Particularly damaging to Meunier is his surprisingly candid response to Watts' allegation:

"After reviewing the documents, Meunier confirmed that he had refinanced his home in Maryland but said that at the time late last year, he was seriously considering moving into that home permanently."

Seriously considering? The affidavit he signed says that home will be your primary residence. Not that you are "seriously considering" moving.

Besides the obvious fact that Meunier "misled" Prince George's County officials on this document, does anyone else question Meunier's commitment to Virginia if he was "seriously considering" a move to the other side of the River? This makes me seriously question Meunier's honesty and his commitment to Virginia. There are many things Vivian Watts and I disagree on, but I do not question her commitment to our Commonwealth.

This document has the power to halt any forward momentum Meunier had. Watts has this one wrapped up.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Is Vivian Watts a Racist?

Not Larry Sabato broke this little gem yesterday. I didn't post on it because I was too busy waxing poetic about Earnie Porta.

Michael Meunier is accusing Vivian Watts of being a racist. That's right, the delegate from the most diverse (and liberal) area of the state is now a racist. Apparently her mailer contained the words "One of Our Own" on the cover. Meunier says this is thinly-veiled racism. I think he gets that part wrong - technically it would be nativism since he claims it's an anti-immigrant slur.

Michael, you need a bit of education before you run next time. The picture of you campaigning on a motor scooter made you look like the class geek, and this little flap is making you look no better than the "Reverend" Al Sharpton.

Michael, "One of Our Own" is definitely a code. It's code that just about every elected official uses to let the public know that he or she has been involved in the community for several decades. To let the community know he or she is a known quantity and will not let people down. That's what "One of our Own" is code for. It's not racist, it's not nativist, it's not a slur. It's telling the voters you are a Johnny Come-Lately without real ties to the district you seek to represent.

Anyone who honestly thinks uber-liberal Vivan Watts is a racist probably has a screw loose. She's a lot of things, but not a racist. Candidates really need to quit throwing around accusations like this on a hair-trigger. It's not becoming, and it's causing a lot of otherwise spirited races to end up in the toilet.

Porta Update

James Young had this to say at Commonwealth Conservative on the issue of whether the judgment against Georgetown University in the Earnie Borda matter has been "vacated:"

"What Haru apparently refers to is a request for vacatur after an appeal was filed by Geogetown and Earnie. The motion (Clerk’s Docket No. 231) was granted by District Court Judge James Robertson, and clearly indicates that the case was settled after the jury rendered its verdict. As an experienced civil attorney, I can say that under no circumstances can this be construed as anything but confirmation of the original jury verdict. The plaintiff got something from Porta and Georgetown. "

I'm going to delve deep into my ancient law school days for the explanation. A "Motion for Vacatur" essentially means that the parties decided they were sick of paying lawyers so much money to litigate this thing and they decided to settle on their own. Vacatur is the request they make after they come to a settlement. It asks the court to set aside its judgment so the settlement can take effect. A judge has the power to either grant the motion or tell the parties they're full of it and the judgment will stand.

Say what you want. A judgment was entered in a federal court against Georgetown and Porta. Georgetown seems to have gotten slammed at every turn, and finally agreed to settle with the woman in this case after first appealing the jury's verdict. I'm guessing the details of the settlement were sealed. If they haven't, I'm sure we'll hear otherwise.

James, am I essentially correct here? Or are the cobwebs overpowering my brain?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Earnie Porta Gets Smacked

I found this tidbit on Chad Dotson's Commonwealth Conservative yesterday. Chad tells his readers he is passing it along "without comment." That's probably because the facts, taken by themselves, are pretty damaging.

A few things to note:

1. Most importantly, this is OLD NEWS. The news article and order that Chad links to are from 2002. This thing has been hanging out there for three years. Why is it just now getting traction? Is there something that happened after the fact that we don't know about.

2. Legal scholar that I am, I actually read the court order that Chad linked to. According to the court, this case presented a true-blue he-said/she-said situation. That means the jury just plain found the victim more credible than Porta.

3. Borda's involvement in the case does not appear to make him the actual harasser. Apparently his involvement stems from the fact that he, as this woman's supervisor, allowed the classic "hostile workplace environment" to flourish, took no measures to stop it, and actually retaliated against the plaintiff when she brought her concerns to his attention. For those of you who are really dense, that means he summarily fired her because she complained about feeling uncomfortable because other guys were hanging swimsuit calendars on their office walls and telling really nasty dirty jokes. These are things guys normally do, but most of us are smart enough to clean up our acts around the fairer sex.

Strangely enough, I find myself agreeing with Not Larry Sabato on this one. Borda can parse his role in this whole thing all he wants and it won't matter. If it is true that a jury of his peers found that his actions caused his employer, Georgetown University, to be liable to the plaintiff, nothing in the world will change the minds of most voters on that, except maybe if an appellate court vacates or reverses the verdict.

I should add that it is pretty durn difficult these days to get a sexual harassment case to trial, then get a majority of the jury to side with the plaintiff, and then get the court to uphold the verdict without doing something screwy. The real question is, why hasn't this been used by the GOP to tank Borda's campaign by now? I've got a GOP mole friend who tells me the reason is simple: Michele McQuigg is "annoying" and the GOP really doesn't care whether she's re-elected or not. If true, I think that's terribly short-sighted of the GOP. McQuigg may be a tad shrill at times, and she does tend to act like she's perpetually been named Queen for the Day, but she has also become Queen of Campaigning. She works very hard and she's going to keep this seat, regardless whether the Borda thing sticks.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Days of Our Lives?

So I went to Not Larry Sabato's site this morning, and read an update entitled "Campaign Tactics." What it turned into was a soap opera/gossipfest about all the little trivial inconsequential things that are happening in various campaigns throughout the state.

I don't think anyone cares whether Dave Marsden's supporters are writing letters to the editor falsely saying they are newly involved in politics. If you think letters to the editor turn a campaign, you've got rocks in your head. In fact, most people just tune them out anyway. So the opponent caught you red-handed. So what? That's what opponents do, even if they didn't really catch you.

I don't even think Earnie Porta has "hit a home run" with his commuter Race to DC. NLS, go try to campaign at a Metro station and see how many growls you get from people whose daily commute you are interrupting. In fact, this stunt may backfire if campaign workers start competing with daily commuters for precious space on already-crowded VRE trains. This is campaign showmanship and Porta needs to do more than this to upstage his opponent, who is a master of little inconsequential issues herself.

More and more, I think NLS is making some "rookie mistakes." He's attributing way too much importance to the shots campaigns fire across each other's bows but voters don't tune in to. Stepping back and taking a look at the big picture, most of this stuff doesn't matter. In some cases, even campaign mailings and advertisements have little effect, especially in a climate where voters reach a "saturation" point. The only thing that matters in most campaigns is who gets a door knock or who sees the candidate at the summer festival he attends every year. That's what turns a campaign. Rozie calls it the "ground game," I call it "boots on the ground" (military tendencies die hard).

If you can get a dedicated bunch of people who follow you to community events and knock on every door in the district, you can win a race. Even without two nickels to rub together. Letters to the editor don't mean a thing, yard signs are a waste (unless you are totally unknown) and mass mailings only count if you are smart enough to send them before mailboxes get flooded.

There you have it. The words of the master, spoken to you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pimp My Ride?

Not Larry Sabato's latest prognostication is just a tad off base.

Maybe he's just never been to Prince William County.

Top 10 Fundraisers

The Virginia Public Access Project has updated its records to reflect the most recent financial filings. I found the list of the top 10 fundraisers to be interesting (interspersed are my miscellaneous rantings):

Mason, John
He'll win. He's a moderate and many people are surprised when they hear he's no longer the Mayor of the City of Fairfax (he got ousted by Rob Lederer after a zoning fight split the City).

Frederick, Jeff
Another winner. Young Jeffy has resolve that makes up for his youthful inexperience and a seeming lack of manners. We've called him the Jack Russell Terrier candidate, and we hope that nickname sticks.

Caputo, Chuck
Two words: You're not working and the Governor raised all your money for you.

Bulova, David
Sorry, David. Despite your capital outlay on khaki pants, John Mason will beat you.

Miller, Paula
She's going to win. Incumbency has its privileges, as does the name recognition that comes with having been a television news reporter.

Marsden, David
This one is tough because the Democrats have been fighting so much they've hurt their own guy. The argument is he's a Republican in Democrats' clothing because he used to be a Republican. I think it's funny how hard-core Democrats always want to pardon convicted felons but not former Republicans. The Democrats need to understand Marsden is one of their best chances of a pickup 'round these parts. Marsden was Dillard's aide for many years, and is pretty much a Dillard clone. The Democrats, by the way, love Dillard because he's pretty much one of them.

Werkheiser, Gregory
Rozie and I disagree vehemently on this one. I think Werkheiser is going to squeak out a victory despite his lead-foot tendencies. Rozie thinks I underestimate Albo. We will see. All I can say is there is no good choice in this district.

Marrs, Bradley
He's a true believer who makes Bob Marshall look like an agnostic. Marrs was recently condemned by, well, EVERYONE for a fundraising letter he sent out gay-baiting his opponent for having the gall to accept a donation without checking the donor's sexual orientation first. Despite all this, and a fairly moderate district that includes liberal parts of the City of Richmond, he'll probably win.

Barg, Hilda Marie
If Young Jeffy is the Jack Russell Candidate, Hilda Marie is the Old Hound Dog, content to lie on the porch and watch the world pass her by. A bunch of her money comes from the Governor's arm-twisting on her behalf.

Hall, Franklin P
Go, Frank! If you raise enough money, maybe they'll let you be Minority Leader for another couple years, despite the fact that they should know better.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Transporation, Potatoe, Whatever

Even though the GOP continuously pushes school accountability measures, such as Standards of Learning, apparently it's not working. The GOP seems to put up chronically bad spellers as candidates.

This time it's not Dan Quayle, but Jerry Kilgore. His latest mailer contained a typographical error (did I spell that right?) in which a "t" that was supposed to be in transportation was omitted. It doesn't matter which one.

We join our superhero, Lowell (of Raising Kaine fame), who is hot on the case. According to Lowell, this has all but sealed Kilgore's fate. Would you expect anything less?

Earth to Lowell: Get a Real Issue. All this means is that all the Kilgore minions are going to be up all night proofreading all Kaine's mailers for the inevitable typo. Then they'll point and squawk and predict Kaine's doom. Anyone detect a trend here?

My guy, on the other hand, will be up all night rapping on his teflon Farberware. And Lowell's worried about spell check. God help us all.

Not My Guy's Finest Moment

Let's just say Russ Potts should be glad my support for him doesn't hinge on the quality of his advertisements. People banging on pots and pans chanting "We Want Potts?" What the heck is he thinking? Maybe Monty Python could get away with it, but British humor is usually lost on Virginians.

I'm going to go hold my head in my hands now...

All Jeffy and Hilda, All the Time

It was pointed out to me that I have ignored the PWEA Scandal, which was also broken by the gents over at Too Conservative.

"Riley, Not O'Reilly" has a good post over there today. I especially like his comment about Prince William County Attorney Paul Ebert "blowing the Bobbitt case." This is a family blog over here, but that's still good comedy.

Anyhow, seems to me that the PWEA people made a very stupid mistake by encouraging members to send their political questionnaires to a union rep through the mail. In fact, it violated school system policy and several laws separating campaigning from public workplaces. It's not surprising, though, since many public union reps - including those from the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Fire Fighters - treat their jobs as union representative as inextricably entwined with the job we as the taxpayers pay them to do.

These PWEA union guys need a news flash that we're not paying them to work for their own self-aggrandizement. I may agree that we should pay our public safety guys more, I may even admit that our teachers are underpaid. But don't use the time you're supposed to be spending teaching my kids and use it so you can get better retirement pay than any other state employee or more "planning time." You do that on your own time, not mine.

Do I think Paul Ebert ought to go after them? Heck yeah. They advocated breaking County policy and the law, and even if they just plain goofed, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Do I think Ebert will go after them like he did Steve Chapman? No, I don't. And I agree with Riley that this smells very bad - especially since Ebert gave Hilda Barg's campaign a very large donation.

Panning Potts

I think his Napoleonic complex is starting to show.....

Watch the TV ad. And make a special effort to notice the unique "Charles Foster Kane" glamor shots at the end. And I think I saw a NJH cameo in there somewhere....

This is no cake cutting ad.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ooops.....We all Goofed

Looks like a few of us in the blogosphere have some 'splainin to do.

You see, the boys over at Too Conservative started a smackdown on "Young Jeffy" Frederick by reporting that his financial reports filed with SBE were inaccurate. Best I can tell, they had two issues with him:

1. That he didn't list event expenses for a fundraising event with Tom "The Hammer" DeLay in April. Based on what I'm looking at over on the SBE site, Youn Jeffy did indeed post "event expenses" through an American Express card payment in May. Anyone want to contradict me on that? Not Larry Sabato, smelling political blood in the water, jumped on the bandwagon, posting on his site Frederick's list of expenses. He spouts this as proof positive that Frederick didn't list the expenses for this event. But there's one problem with NLS' evidence: the link on NLS' site gets you to the September 15 filing. You see, Frederick's expenses for the April Hammer Event were paid in May and listed on his previous report here. Once you report the expense, it doesn't go on the future reports. I'd say I caught NLS red-handed, but I'm as culpable as he is on this one. I took Mitch's story as gospel. But it's just not true. Frederick paid those expenses, and he disclosed them as required.

2. The second bone of contention is that Young Jeffy's staff expenses ought to be higher. Specifically, Not Larry Sabato points to Hilda Barg's higher expenses for her staff. I'm not buying it, based on my sources here in Northern Virginia. I think Sabbie is out on a witch-hunt. Just because Barg's campaign is staff-heavy, doesn't mean Frederick's has to be too. In fact, Frederick lists both consulting costs and campaign manager costs under his in-kind expenditures here. Remember, Barg needs more staff to begin with because by all accounts she is an anemic campaigner with only a fraction of the energy of the Jack Russell Terrier that is Jeff Frederick. So she's got to have staff to do the stuff that Frederick does himself.

I firmly believe there is nothing here. Why? I did the "gut test." That's where I sit down and figure out, what is Jeff Frederick's motivation to lie on his campaign finance reports about his staff? What could he possibly be trying to hide? That's where it all breaks down. If he is failing to report the in-kind services of campaign staff, he's just plain stupid. Smart candidates typically report everything they can on the in-kind side because it beefs up their fundraising totals. That's the kicker with campaign finance in Virginia - when you look at that total number raised, it can include that campaign volunteer who's the retired colonel who spends ten hours a day with you and who is involved in the sign war with the other side. That's an in-kind contribution if the value of his services is greater than $100.

The other side might continue to argue that Frederick is hiding money he actually paid a campaign staffer. Again, why? This is pretty easy for the State Board of Elections to figure out. I've just never seen a candidate deliberately hide his staff costs. It just makes no bloody sense. If you've got four guys working for you, why hide it? Make sure the other side knows so they can quake in their boots.

I'm hoping Cumstein and NLS will tell me where I'm wrong, or correct their own stories. The Blogosphere has to police itself, and I'll be the first to admit that I jumped on a moving train too early. If you have evidence that Frederick has staff he's not reporting, spill it. Otherwise, telling us that Barg has more staff, ergo Frederick should have more staff is not going to wash. In fact, that's hogwash. And don't even start on the DeLay thing because Myth Busters just debunked that one.

Elderberries Anyone?

News flash from the Dotson Camp: The Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Club has endorsed Bruce Elder for the 20th House District against Chris Saxman. Yeah, that's right, the VALLEY. Where the closet is very small and the doors are locked shut so no one can get out of it.

Holy Matrimony, Batman!

Oh, yeah, and Democracy for Virginia endorsed Elder too. Right. Was that just so he can have more than one endorsement on his web site?

Saxman must have gone home early today to break it to the kids and write his concession speech. Just to humor him, we're going to leave this one in his column for now. Maybe we'll "Pull an NLS" and turn it into a toss-up. We don't want to let poor Saxman down too hard.

It's okay, Chris. I've heard there is life after the legislature.

Calling Jeff Frederick....

Even the guys who are friendly with Young Jeffy are calling him out on this one. For a primer, check out Too Conservative and Not Larry Sabato. I don't feel like getting into the whole story again.

Here's the bottom line. I've worked in campaigns before. Recently, in fact. The State Board of Elections gives you all the slack in the world if you find out your treasurer got a little senile and forgot about all those expenses from the fundraising event with The Hammer. What they don't like is when you just sweep all that stuff under the carpet.

Young Jeffy is reporting no expenditures during that time, nor is he reporting any in-kind donations from the event. If you have an event where there is food and drink, you have to have either expenditures or in-kind contributions. The expenditures come into play if you bought the food yourself, the in-kind contributions come if your host or another donor gave you the stuff. Either way, Young Jeffy's only line item is for copier toner. As someone at Too Conservative alluded to, copier toner is none too tasty.

Young Jeffy needs to come clean. Otherwise, we're going to sit over here and dog him until Election Day.

Rozie, you sorry you gave me the keys yet?

All Werked Out

Okay, since this started it all, I'm going to say this on my own blog now. Greg Werkheiser owes the people of the 41nd district an apology. Why? Because he's a lead-foot and can't seem to figure out where the brake pedal is. He's had 10 tickets in 11 years, and my sources tell me he just paid another fine late last week.

NLS can sit over there and say that it doesn't matter, and Lowell can whine that it's all Jerry Kilgore's fault because he took money from Smithfield foods. I don't care. 10 traffic tickets is a lot to rack up in that many years. 2 or 3 tickets wouldn't matter, but 10 makes me want to stay off the sidewalks. Especially when one was for 44 in a 25-mph school zone.

The thing that I think is hilarious is that he'd qualify for the "Abuser Fee" bill that Dave Albo (Werkheiser's opponent) and fellow GOPer Tom Rust put up last year.

By the way, I don't agree with the death penalty for traffic infractions (maybe Kilgore would), but this kid needs some jail time.

The Revival

After a couple weeks of arm-twisting, Not Mark has finally gotten me to pinch-hit for him for a while, during his unannounced hiatus. The poor dude got work issues and health issues all at the same time. At any rate, we're going to pray for him and hope he'll come back soon. Until then, you're stuck with me.

As you've seen, I've been bravely tearing up the pavement at Not Larry Sabato's Virginia 2005 Elections and commie-lib Lowell's "Raising Kaine." I've also raised a little cain at Chad Dotson's Commonwealth Conservative. Frankly, I like Chad better than Lowell, even though both of their politics suck.

By the way, did I tell you that Not Rozell gave me free reign to be a jerk? Good, because I don't keep my opinions to myself or couch them in fancy-pants diplomatic language like Not Mark. If you're a horse's a**, I'll tell you so.

By the way, I'm openly supporting Potts, so Rozie told me to go easy on the governor's race for now. I think he's afraid we'll find Mosby's Ghost, who, if you remember, is a Kilgore flunkie.

At any rate, I'll be back soon to talk some smack.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Do Virginians Like Taxes?

The Virginian-Pilot made this odd claim today on its editorial page. But the claim appears to be backed up by the latest Mason-Dixon poll, the same one that showed Tim Kaine ahead of Jerry Kilgore in the Governor's race for the first time.

Based on the results of the June 14 primary, the tax hike is clearly not in the forefront of most Virginians' minds. Its effects are barely perceptible to anyone who hasn't made a large-ticket purchase or gotten socked with the new real estate titling tax. But we're not prepared to accept the 2 to 1 figure of the Mason Dixon poll, and we're not prepared to say that a majority of Virginians are "okay" with the tax hike after two years of large surpluses.

What we do think is common-sense is this paragraph:

Voters are less interested in hot-button topics such as the death penalty,
gun laws and gay adoption than in more fundamental matters: education, state
spending, transportation and jobs, in that order. The candidates should tailor
their advertising and their themes accordingly.

The hot-button issues that Kilgore has been spending most of his time on are not, by themselves, going to win him this election. Kaine may be smart to steer clear of those issues, such as the gay adoption issue that I've written about here. Those hot-button issues may win a candidate votes of the True Believers, but they won't win over the Great Unwashed, as we in the hack community refer to the huge numbers of perennially undecided voters whose ballots ultimately decide who gets to rule.

Kilgore and Kaine both need to win over the Great Unwashed while, at the same time, playing enough to the True Believers so they don't stay home. Whichever candidate can play that juggling act the best will win the election.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Kaine Ahead?

So Mason-Dixon comes out with a poll, done for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, that now says Kilgore trails Kaine by one point - well within the margin of error for the poll.

How did this happen? Just two weeks ago, several news organizations reported that Kilgore had a huge lead of nearly 10 points over Kaine. A couple things can account for this:

1. It's early. No one is paying attention to this race. It's the middle of summer and people will say anything to get off the phone with someone doing polling. "Yeah, yeah, I support the guy you said first, now let me cook my burgers."

2. Mason-Dixon included the name of Russ Potts, which none of the earlier polls had included (they included instead a category they called "other"). I predicted that including Potts could change the nature of the race, and it has.

3. Different polls include different assumptions. Remember back in 2004 when one poll would come out and say Bush was ahead and one poll said Kerry was ahead? Then on election day, the media were convinced, based on their numbers and exit polling, that Kerry had walked away with it. What happened? Mostly, the voter turnout models used by polling organizations were flat wrong. That skewed the polls toward Kerry.

The Mason-Dixon poll seems to confirm the earlier conventional wisdom that Potts is pulling from Kilgore. I can't explain why this is happening, but if you believe the poll, Potts has close to 10% and "double digits" each in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

It's still too early to call this one, but my gut tells me Kilgore is still the odds-on favorite in conservative Virginia. You can get a poll to say anything you want it to. Combining this poll with the ones we've had to date just proves it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Virginia Blog Post of the Week

Since Mosby and I patrol the other Virginia blogs looking for good information, we decided we'd run an occasional "post of the week" for the post that made us laugh the hardest.

This gem from Addison at Sic Semper Tyrannis, entitled "Scott Howell - Dragon Slayer," had us all in stitches. What made it even funnier is some of the responses, including the one from Waldo Jaquith, who apparently doesn't get the joke.

Next week we'll gore the Republicans. Promise.

HD42: Is Werkheiser Losing Steam?

According to reports filed with SBE, Dave Albo pulled out pretty far ahead of Greg Werkheiser, who had outraised him for the last couple of cycles. The stats ended up something like this:

Cash on Hand:
Werkheiser: $127,000
Albo: $204,000

Raised this Period:
Werkheiser: $34,000
Albo: $62,000

Total Raised:
Werkheiser: $232,000
Albo: $293,000

From this one deficit, Werkheiser may have worn out his fundraising welcome. Summer is usually the time to make your fundraising calls, since the "ground game" doesn't begin in earnest until after Labor Day. We usually expect an incumbent to outraise a challenger, no matter who he or she is.

These new numbers are not encouraging for Werkheiser, who now needs to concentrate more on what Not Larry Sabato calls the "Leaking Brinks Truck" phenomenon. Werkheiser has spent much more cash than Albo, and no one is even paying attention yet. I didn't initially see this problem as a huge deal because any challenger needs to dump a load of cash to prop up his name ID. However, if Werkheiser can't reverse his fundraising slowdown, he's going to end up in the hole by October.

We're still calling this race for Albo, although we expect a big cash drop into Werkheiser's anemic accounts by the DNC or the DPV during the next reporting period. The Dems really want this one and the district may be starting to lean their way, but the GOP is not going to let their young heir-apparent to the House Courts of Justice Committee get beaten. That would be too big a trophy.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Not Larry Sabato Melts Down - Open Thread

Seems that NLS' Virginia 2005 Elections site was almost literally shut down by amateur hackers who decided to make the same post about NLS' identity 137 times in the span of a few minutes. We'd like to condemn this nasty activity, which only harms those of us who want to have honest discussions about the races.

Now you have to be a team member to post anything on NLS' blog. Since I'm not a team member, I can't post anything, and I suspect none of you can either. So for the two of you who read my blog and are temporarily barred from NLS' site, here's an open thread so you have an outlet for your comments. You're even guaranteed that NLS will see them, since he comes over here regularly to make fun of us. :)

We do reserve the right to block any hackers who try to do the same thing to us.

NLS: Don't say we never did nothin' for you!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Rodokanakis and the Wi-Fi Pirates

The Jaded JD pointed me to an article in Bacon's Rebellion by Phil Rodokanakis that deals with the pirating of wireless Internet service. Currently, such pirating is illegal in Virginia. Rodokanakis, typically seeing a shadow behind every tree, thinks Virginia's law is overreaching:
With Wi-Fi networks and hotspots popping up all over the place, computer
users may be unaware that they are logged into someone else’s Wi-Fi network.
Because Wi-Fis operate on radio frequencies and these frequencies are
susceptible to interference, Wi-Fi users may unwittingly lose the connection to
their home networks. In such instances, their wireless connection software could
scan the area for other Wi-Fi networks and automatically connect them to any
other unsecured network. Thus, Wi-Fi owners may—without their knowledge—become Wi-Fi pirates.

This could be true, but it's not likely. When my computer loses its wireless connection, it tells me. Before I connect to an unprotected wireless network, it warns me. For the uninitiated, "hotspots" are those places, usually a Starbucks or a Panera, where they maintain a wireless network that is open for anyone to use. Sometimes you need an access code, sometimes their networks are "wide open" and you do not need a password. The Jaded JD has this analogy, which works fairly well but also has its problems:
There is a colorable argument that the unauthorized use is my fault,
because I could have locked down my wireless network and I failed to do
so. That's like saying because I leased a car and left the doors unlocked
with the keys in the ignition (say, warming my engine on a cold winter day),
it's my fault the car was stolen and guy who stole my car from my driveway isn't
criminally liable for the theft. Nonsense.

The question remains: if you try to log on to an open network at the local Panera that you have every right to be on, what happens if you log onto Not Larry Sabato's private unsecured network down the street by mistake? The Jaded JD points to "intent," which I hope would govern in this hypothetical:

Mr. Rodokanakis conveniently omits the mens rea element of the
statute: "Any person who uses a computer or computer network without
authorityand with the intent to: (1) obtain property or services by false
pretenses; (2) embezzle or commit larceny; or (3) convert the property of
another is guilty of computer fraud." Unwitting and innocent computer
users lack the specific intent to be charged under Va. Code Ann. Sec.
18.2-152.3. In fact, all the computer trespass, theft, invasion,
harassment and fraud provisions (Va. Code Ann. Secs. 18.2-152.4, -152.5, -152.6,
-152.7, and -152.7:1) require intent. And in which chapter are these
provisions codified? Yes, you guessed it, Chapter 5 (Crimes Against

Rodokanakis, a former federal employee who specialized in detecting fraud, ought to know that the guy who was just arrested in Florida on the first-ever charge of wireless pirating had intent - whether a court rules that way or not. He was sitting in a van in front of some poor schmoe's house hunched over a laptop. Is that the way someone acts if he thinks he has permission to use a wireless network? If we start arresting people at the local Starbucks because they unwittingly pirated Not Larry Sabato's wireless network, then we can panic. But that hasn't happened yet and I doubt it will.

The real question issue here is this: why is Phil Rodokanakis writing about this instead of ruminating about the Virginia Club for Growth's stunning victory on June 14?

Why am I writing about it? Good question. I'm bored. I'm waiting for Tim Kaine to yell at his staff again, or for Jerry Kilgore to refuse to debate John Kerry, or for Russ Potts to announce that he is opposed to motherhood and apple pie. Even better, I'm waiting for the Greg Werkheiser release announcing that he's against drunk driving and Dave Albo is for it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Russ Potts and Gay Adoption - UPDATED

I hate to inject Potts' name into the debate again, but Will Vehrs and Virginia Centrist have both posted about Potts' recent support for gay adoption. Frankly, I'm not sure this issue matters all that much to most people. The people on the far right will hate Potts for it, but they already hate him anyway. Potts may get a small pickup from gay and lesbian Virginians who can't stomach Kaine's fence-sitting on the issue. In the end, I don't think this will give Potts a boost one way or the other. The pool of interested people is just too small.

UPDATE: Apparently this issue is getting under the skin of some Democrats. Bob Griendling, a card-carrying member of the "Mother Earth" wing of the Democratic party, is none too happy with Kaine's fence-sitting on gay adoption. Frankly, even I'm mystified by Kaine's stance. Get on one side or the other. At this point, he's making no one happy. He's not going to peel off any of Kilgore's anti-gay-adoption votes by saying he likes the status quo, and Potts has got him fully encircled on the left. This is one issue where middle-of-the-road doesn't win.

If there is any truth to John Behan's reporting of Kaine's minor meltdown over the 4th of July, Kaine needs to go off on his policy staff too. Kilgore and Potts are both running circles around him on the policy front.

Albo Says Underage Drinking is Bad

One of the Werkheiser people sent this to me, and it did strike me as illogical. Here is a man whose law practice consists largely of defending two-bit criminals and drunk drivers, and he's telling us the evils of underage drinking?

I know this issue is not as simple as the Werkheiser people have framed it, and I don't believe the Werkheiser drumbeat that Albo gets tough legislation passed on drunk drivers so that he can get retainers from more of them ("I wrote the laws, I can get you out of this.") However, Albo has made a choice with the focus of his law practice, and this issue will continue to dog him.

More Swift Boats?

The Virginian-Pilot is reporting that a group that styles itself the "Center for Individual Freedom" is running anti-Kaine television and radio ads in the Norfolk market. I haven't heard of any ads in other markets, but I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has. The group is the succesor-in-interest to the "National Smokers Alliance," an interest group that met its demise when it attacked Sen. John McCain and caused Phillip Morris to publicly repudiate its tactics.

Am I the only one who thinks these guys are getting started on this awfully early? Between Behan, Lowell, and myself, we remain the few, the proud, the only three who are paying any attention to this whole debate. Perhaps they want to take to the airwaves before they become just another part of the "noise pollution" that is sure to come in the Fall. However, I'm still not convinced anyone will pay attention or retain the information in the ads until Election Day. It's still a long way away.

A short note to the Center for Individual Freedom: if you run the ads in Northern Virginia, drop the part about the Million Mom March. There are still hordes of soccer moms up in NoVa sporting Million Mom March bumper stickers next to their Jim Dillard stickers. That might work well in Hampton Roads and Richmond, but those crazy Northern Virginians practically invented the word Republicrat.

Monday, July 11, 2005

HD13: Extremist v. Extremist

Not to be outdone by anyone else in his quest for media attention, Del. Bob Marshall is apparently gearing up to make abortion illegal, in the hopes that President Bush will float a conservative nominee to replace outgoing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

A couple weeks ago, Not Larry Sabato, Inc., posted musings on whether the debate over Justice O'Connor's retirement would affect Virginia's 2005 elections. In general, I do not believe that her retirement and the resulting media siege will affect all that many local races, which have their own individual flavors and dynamics to them. But Marshall is making it clear that he wants abortion to affect at least one race - his own.

The problem with Marshall's proposal to resurrect a law that dates to 1847 is that he makes it a whole lot more painful for anyone outside of the hard-line anti-abortion movement to vote for him. Many of Marshall's Green friends are likely to have one foot out the door at this point. I'm still not willing to throw this thing to Roemmelt, but Marshall sure is trying to make it a whole lot more competitive.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Yep, Lowell Went There

Lowell posts a positively trashy line at his Raising Kaine blog today, turning London's tragedy into a political statement:

The bottom line is that, almost four years into the “war on terror,” our leaders have failed us. There is no sign of a light at the end of the tunnel. Unless, of course,
it’s the headlight of an oncoming train. Today, London, tomorrow….who knows?

I'm one of those rare people who still believes that fighting terrorism should be a non-partisan issue. Bill Clinton had several opportunities to nab bin Laden, and so has Bush. There's more than enough blame to go around, but can anyone really say that disposing of Osama bin Laden would have stopped this brutal attack? I think not. Terrorism was around before him, and it will certainly survive him.

Give it a rest for a couple of days, Lowell. Your post is shameless. The people of London need prayers, not preaching.

Chapman Convicted on Dog Charge

The Manassas Journal Messenger is reporting that former 50th district candidate Steve Chapman was convicted yesterday of allowing his dog, Nixon, to run loose. Chapman still has to answer felony election fraud charges in September.

I'm going to go out on a limb and call Chapman irresponsible in caring for his pet. If animal control picked up Nixon on three separate occasions, how many times do you think the poor pooch really got out? Nixon was killed by a car in September 2004, also while on the lam.

For his part, Chapman blames Nixon's outings on his employees. I think Chapman needs to own up to his mistakes. I just hope he's learned that caring for a dog is a pretty huge responsibility.

If you think we had a field day with this one, just wait until September.

Prayers for London

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of London as they mourn the loss suffered in this morning's cowardly terrorist attack.

Preston Bryant Gets Tough

The fight between Del. Preston Bryant and Lynchburg Republican chairman Wendell Walker erupted soon after the primary ended, but the Lynchburg News Advance is just getting around to reporting on it. So are we. :)

For those who weren't on the "inside baseball" track in this race, Walker temporarily stepped down as GOP chair to run Robert Garber's primary campaign against Bryant. Walker's action is not unheard of, but you can see from this story how it can split a party down the middle. Now that the primary is over and Bryant has won decisively, he is making a rare public display of temper by calling for Walker's resignation.

We're confident that Bryant's easy win gives him the ability to pick a fight now and again, but we are still concerned about Bryant's seemingly eroding political base. Bryant's voting record reads a lot like Dick Black's or Bob Marshall's, except on that pesky tax issue. What will he do once his honeymoon with the pro-tax crowd is over and he's left with several festering fights with his philosophical base?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Potts and the Post....a Match Made in Heaven

The Washington Post put itself squarely in the corner of Russ Potts this morning with this editorial about Tim Kaine's transportation package, which managed to be about as lackluster as Jerry Kilgore's. One thing you have to admit: both major party candidates have really handed this issue to Potts. All he has to do is distinguish himself and draw attention to the differences between himself and the other guys.

The Post credits Potts with being the only candidate willing to raise taxes to deal with Virginia's transportation problems. Potts gets Post points for saying he would keep the General Assembly in session until they "produced a long-range financing package." But while the Governor can convene a special session of the General Assembly, he doesn't have the power to keep them in session until they do what he wants. For that, Potts would need help from Sen. John Chichester and his band of merry men in the Senate of Virginia. Chichester, we think, would be only too willing to play ball with Potts on this issue.

So far, Debategate hasn't hurt Kilgore any. Will the Kilgore/Kaine fizzle on transportation give Potts that needed bounce toward the 10% mark? I doubt it, but the Post sure is trying.

HD21-30: The Unopposed Races

All Republicans in this latest installment of the unopposed races:

HD21 - John J. Welch, III (R) - This Virginia Beach chiropractor with the intense Boston accent is a bit nutty, but his constituents like him.

HD22 - Kathy J. Byron (R) - She represents the area around Lynchburg and she makes Pastor John look like a liberal. 'Nuff said.

HD23 - Preston Bryant (R) - His Dem opponent dropped out about three hours after Bryant won his victory against Robert Garber.

HD25 - R. Steven Landes (R) - This is another one the Dems should have gone after. He is the GOP Caucus chairman and a modestly effective legislator.

HD27 - Samuel Nixon (R) - Otherwise known as Del. Rob Bell's twin. Nixon is a policy wonk whose intelligence puts him light-years ahead of everyone else.

HD28 - William J. Howell (R - Speaker) - The Dems couldn't topple this Spotsylvania resident with the smallest law firm in Virginia, but they sure could have made things interesting by challenging him.

HD29 - Beverly J. Sherwood (R) - Chair of the House Militia Committee, she gets the final say-so on guns and such. This is a very safe seat for the GOP.

HD30 - Edward T. Scott (R) - Another Democratless primary survivor. Scott really showed his mettle by wholloping his opponent, Pastor Mark Jarvis

Friday, July 01, 2005

Potts Steals from Kaine

WSLS-TV in Roanoke has conducted an exclusive poll showing gubernatorial hopeful Jerry Kilgore subsatantially ahead of opponent Tim Kaine 49%-39%. This poll is a bit more reliable than previous polls for two reasons:

1. It includes only likely voters, rather than all registered voters.
2. It includes Russ Potts by name.

The poll reports that Kilgore is ahead in all regions of Virginia, with the notable exception of Northern Virginia (naturally). It also gives Potts' numbers as 5%, which is where John Behan and I both believe he will end up in November.

The one concern I have about this poll is that the margin of error is rather high at +/- 4.5%. I prefer to see the margin at +/-3 or lower. Despite the high margin, Kilgore retains a decisive lead.

This shows what many hacks have been saying for a while: Potts seems to be pulling his support from those who can't stomach Kaine. It also shows us that we may have been wrong about the impact of Debategate - so far, Kilgore hasn't taken a beating from it at all.

It's still early, so this whole thing is still academic. But this can't be good news for the Kaine camp.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Eyebrows Disappear

Not Robert Roberts and his magical eyebrows have mysteriously disappeared from the Blogosphere.

NRR: if you're listening, come back! Even NLS liked you, and NLS doesn't like anybody! :)

Bill Bolling as David Spade?

You've all seen the Capital One commercials with David Spade, where "no" is the stock answer to every question. The Blue Dog has managed to put Bill "No" Bolling on the defensive in his latest Augusta Free Press column, but Bolling walked into it voluntarily. Read the column here.

We know the Blue Dog's political loyalties lie somewhat to the left of Bolling's, and we know Bolling was only answering the questions put to him about Byrne's health care proposals. But does a good candidate really let himself be cast as The "No" Guy that easily? Byrne's proposals may indeed come from an "unabashed liberal," but use the opportunity to say intelligent things about your own plan rather than wasting space with a point-by-point critique of your opponent's plan.

We still think Bolling is going to win, but this is just another indication that he's letting Leslie Byrne walk all over him in the policy debate.

HD11-20: The Unopposed Races

HD11 - Onzlee Ware (D) - Best known for his frugality and his untimely trip to Vegas during the budget showdown. His part of Roanoke is solid Democratic territory.

HD14 - Daniel W. Marshall, III (R) - One of the 17 renegades, Marshall owns a concrete business and races Porsches in his spare time. Not a bad gig.

HD16 - Robert Hurt (R) - Another of the 17, Hurt generally keeps a low profile but is extremely intelligent and effective as a legislator. Hurt is one to watch.

HD17 - William H. Fralin, Jr. (R) - Son of nursing home magnate Heywood Fralin, this guy stands about seven feet tall and weighs no more than a buck fifty. I'm not making that up. He's no dummy either.

HD18 - C.L. "Clay" Athey, Jr. (R) - The former Mayor of Front Royal is well-known but has not done himself any favors lately. This should have been contested.

HD19 - Lacey E. Putney (I) - He was originally a Democrat but is more comfortable as a Republican. He also has the most time in the General Assembly of any member (43 years), which means he gets to hog the "1" license plate. He stood in as Speaker after Vance Wilkins resigned but refused to run for the job himself. Definitely one of the last gentlemen politicians left in Virginia.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nader's Virginia Coordinator Cops a Plea

We usually don't report on national politics, but I had a heck of a good laugh when I read this. Gil Davis is certainly making the election fraud rounds, isn't he? I'm not Steve Chapman, but if I was, I'd be looking up the term "Alford Plea."

HD20 - Elder v. Saxman

This is another easy mark for us to put on the map. The real story here is not whether Chris Saxman will win this election, but where his "rising star" is taking him.

Saxman opponent Bruce Elder has his work cut out for him. Elected in 2001 in a solid victory over Democrat Tracy Pyles, Saxman has grown into his position. He also seems to have grown on his constituency, despite early discontent with him over his straddling of the I-81 debate and a minor tiff when the state shuttered the aging prison facility in his home base of Staunton. Saxman became chairman of the General Assembly's Cost Cutting Caucus in 2003 and has maintained a fairly high visibility for a new member.

Elder, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have that much energy. His web site makes it look as if the only issue he cares about is public safety, and likewise makes his schedule look very thin. His pedigree shows Boston as his birthplace but doesn't give a lot of information about his roots in the Shenandoah Valley, a region where roots still matter.

This race is a very easy call for Chris Saxman. The biggest question is whether Saxman has his star set on a race for Lieutenant Governor in 2009. Some of us saw Saxman's out-of-place endorsement of Sean Connaughton in the LG primary as an olive branch to the most populous region in Virginia.

Caption Contest Winner

Wow so many submissions from so many people......

Good Job Will. Your caption

"The ladies at the Garden Club think you're spending too much
time out in the sticks, with NASCAR and such."

Is the winner. You should recieve your commemorative bobble head in 6-8 weeks...baring any unforseen circumstances like sunny days, cloudy days, rain, heat, cold, or alien invasion.

HD01-10: The Unopposed Races

SBE has finally updated their web site, so we're going to start the long process of updating you on the unopposed races, of which there are many. But the SBE site still isn't 100% Not Larry Sabato accurate, so please let us know if we leave any out. Our fearless webhead, Mosby's Ghost, will add these to the "race counter" in due time. That is, if Russ Potts doesn't get him spun up first.

Without further adieu, here is the first batch of unopposed races:

HD03 - Jackie T. Stump (D) - This good-hearted teddy bear of a mine worker can turn on the water works seemingly at will. He has shed tears in a multitude of public places. Stump got his start in coalfields politics by spending time in jail as a local union organizer. It seems rural Buchanan (that's "BUCK-anon") County loves their emotional delegate. The last time Stump was opposed was 1995, and he crushed his GOP opponent by nearly 2 to 1.

HD04 - Joseph P. Johnson, Jr. (D) - Why not? Someone has to sit in that chair.

HD05 - C.W. "Bill" Carrico, Jr. (R) - First elected in 2001, this former State Trooper is perhaps best known in the rest of Virginia for switching his vote on the mandatory seat belt bill after first fiercely (and publicly) supporting it. We doubt that flip-flop will hurt Carrico with his anti-government constituents in Southwest. He won re-election in 2003 by 54%. That doesn't seem like much until you consider most observers thought his opponent had a chance of toppling him.

HD08 - H. Morgan Griffith (R) - The Majority Leader. Have the Dems learned nothing? Never let the other party's floor leader off without a fight. Then he has time to circle the state stumping for his people and stomping on yours. Griffith won 59% in 2003, seemingly without lifting a finger. But that's a far cry from the nearly 70% he got in 2001.

Okay, that's the first batch. We'll be back with another batch tomorrow.

HD32: Black v. Poisson

Kenton Ngo has a post up about several races, including the 32nd district seat owned by controversial Loudoun County Delegate Dick Black. Black faces David Poisson (who we understand pronounces his name "Poison") this year. Ngo thinks Loudoun voters would "double over in pain" if presented the facts about Black. I'm not so sure. Patty Morrissey presented the same set of facts to the voters in Black's district twice - in 2001 and 2003. The second time she even had a ton of money from Mark Warner.

This is an easy call for us: Dick Black wins, probably with close to 60%. Black's district is not as full of religious conservatives as it once was, but Black still runs a formidable machine that is piped in to nearly every conservative activist in the area. And conservative activists vote. Black is also a huge fundraiser and perennial hard worker whose ground game involves papering local churches during Sunday services. It's going to take a lot more than Poisson to kill Black's chances in conservative Loudoun County.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

HD67 - Caputo v. Craddock

Not Larry Sabato posted this e-mail about a week ago from a source from within the "Democratic Coordinated Campaign" saying Chuck Caputo is missing in action. Turns out most of the substance of the e-mail is true. This race is going to be a sticky one:
  • The 67th District is home to Ken Cuccinelli, another right-wing conservative who is a perennial high-poller for the Virginia Club for Growth axis. But a few precincts are shared with moderate Republicans Bill Mims and Jeannemarie Devolites. And Cuccinelli is not on the ballot this year, eliminating any hope for huge Cuccinelli coattails. Advantage Craddock
  • The Sully Magisterial District, which overlaps much of the 67th, is a very transient area that has shown a trend toward more moderate Republicrats than in past elections. Sully elected Democrat Kathy Smith to Gary Reese's School Board seat in a small turnout special election after Reese went to the General Assembly in 2001. She won handily in 2003, a year when Sully's GOP Supervisor Mike Frey also won big. This shows some big-time vote splitting. Advantage Caputo
  • Chris Craddock has proven his mettle in a hard-fought (okay, the incumbent basically abdicated) primary. He is willing to fight his way to the top, is not afraid of hard work, and has organized legions of volunteers. Kind of reminds us of Cuccinelli and Dick Black. Advantage Craddock
  • Chuck Caputo has strong ties to the 67th and its surrounding communities. He's been fairly active in the community. Craddock is very young and has fewer ties. But remember all those new voters - will they really care who has been there longer? Does Caputo actually have any name ID or credibility with the new folks? Ever so slight Advantage Caputo
  • Craddock says odd things in public like "Jesus brought these voters to me." He is also much more conservative than the Republicrats who are increasingly populating the 67th and who like Craddock's stance on taxes but don't care much for his injection of religion into everything. Advantage Caputo
  • Caputo apparently spends the primary in Europe "recharging his batteries." Okay, so I'll admit that about three people really care if the candidate takes a well-deserved vacation. But this gives us a strong signal that Caputo is not willing to do what it takes to run an effective ground game against Craddock. Advantage Craddock

Each candidate also benefits from a level playing field since this is now an open seat, making this race the cliffhanger of the season. Chuck Caputo goes into this as a very slight razor-thin favorite. This doesn't mean we are counting Craddock out by any means. This kid works hard and he has support from what I term the True Believers, who are much more likely to show up at the polls than moderate Republicrats.

We're having a hard time making the numbers for this district crunch solidly in Craddock's direction. We're seeing blue barbarians at the gates, although we must add that Kathy Smith will not be their leader. The 42nd will be the race to watch, and the open 67th will be a close second.

Depending on what we hear out of this district in the next couple of weeks this may migrate into the Craddock category very quickly.

Hank Hill....Red-Stater?

Norman has been hitting lots of home runs lately, but we were extremely surprised to learn over the weekend that he reads the New York Times. For those who are not up on the dominant political persuasion of the media, the New York Times makes the Washington Post and the Roanoke Times look like the vast right-wing conspiracy.

At any rate, the New York Times assigned one of their staff writers to investigate the strange television phenomenon known on Fox as "King of the Hill." Since I've long been a fan of the show, I read Norman's post feeling somewhat vindicated.

Norman and the New York Times have hit on something profound. Hank Hill is both a parody and a study in the sociology of the American heartland. The Times and those Northern Virginia blue-staters might not understand Hank Hill's allegiance to his country, propane (and propane accessories), his wife, his pickup truck, his dog Lady Bird, and his kooky friends who cause him more trouble than not, but I suspect those red-state people outside the Beltway see a lot of themselves in this good-hearted family man.

Based on the Republican-sounding stuff coming out of the Kaine camp lately, we wonder whether someone on Team Kaine has gotten the cultural message that John Kerry missed...any fans of Hank Hill over there?

Monday, June 27, 2005

HD42: Englin/Werkheiser v. Albo

It looks like there was a shred of truth to the strange post by Not Larry Sabato some time back about Greg Werkheiser standing on David Englin's front lawn. On Saturday, Raising Kaine posted this call for action. It looks like the forces are marshaling themselves for the July 4th parade in Lorton, the heart of the 42nd district.

This is the House of Delegates battleground, folks. If Tom Davis really is going to be there in person, it is a good guess he is foresaking his traditional and time-honored place in the City of Fairfax 4th of July Parade, which begins an hour before the Lorton parade. For those unfamiliar with Northern Virginia topography and trafficology, it is theoretically possible for Davis to do both parades personally. It is also theoretically possible for NASA to land on Mars that same day.

This is the race to watch. If Werkheiser has managed to draw out Davis, Albo's internal poll numbers must be sagging. You can tell a lot about who needs propping up by where the big dogs show up on a major holiday. This could also signal that John Mason has a cakewalk on his hands.

I'll post an update to this tidbit once I've got reports from the 4th of July events. Scheduling for candidates is always a fluid game, so we're going to see whether the post on Raising Kaine is accurate, or whether it is primarily designed to draw out volunteers.

Potts Gets 15%!

Not Bob Roberts' eyebrows seem to have grown a bit over the weekend. He is predicting the following numbers in the gubernatorial race:

Kilgore - 45%
Kaine - 40%
Potts - 15%

We've got a couple of problems with those numbers:

1. Not Bob points out that Virginia is a conservative state. We agree. But with the totals Bob has given us, it looks like 55% of the electorate will vote for the more liberal guys. We don't understand that.

2. Not Bob's Eyebrows tell us that Potts will pull votes from Kaine, not Kilgore. Our intuition tells us the same thing, but we're not willing to go so far as to give Potts 15%. Not yet. Even with his folksy stories about burning down cornfields in his youth.

Kilgore is still the odds-on favorite, but his momentum has definitely eased lately.


Off topic...but....I'm SURE it will be revisited in the elections.

Will the Democrats run from this subject? Will the Republicans jump on it? Will Kilgore get behind a Constitutional Amendment? Will Kaine? It seems to more right Kilgore goes, the more right Kaine goes......we shall see.

This is sure to be fodder for the more conservative candidates.

HD41: Marsden v. Golden...Really a Toss-up?

Not Larry Sabato has continued his "toss-up" rating for the 41st district, where Michael Golden and David Marsden are vying for the chance to replace retiring Delegate Jim Dillard. Golden recently crushed fellow Republican Bill Finerfrock in the GOP primary, and some political hacks have taken his strong showing as an indication that Golden is a political powerhouse. I'm not sure that's the case.

NLS' rating of this race as a toss-up seems to focus more on the Dems' inability to coalesce around their own candidate, former longtime Republican and Dillard aide David Marsden. Marsden, rumor has it, decided to cut and run as a Democrat when it became clear to him that winning the GOP nomination would be difficult, if not impossible. We think it makes better sense for Marsden to run as a Dem if he hopes to capture Dillard's base. Let's be honest, there aren't many hard-core conservative Republicans who are also Dillard fans.

I too have heard a lot of complaining about Marsden from fellow Dems. The carping has led a couple of Dem party-line blogs to ask why the GOP is so much more comfortable accepting turncoats from the other party than the Dems are. The question is, will this really matter in November? With three statewide races to draw voters to the polls in ever bluer Northern Virginia, the Dems begin with an advantage since the GOP doesn't have a statewide candidate from Northern Virginia. Who really thinks all the Dems who show up to the polls will really pick Golden over Marsden?

I'm going to give Marsden a slight edge in this race. He's an old hand with plenty of experience and enormous support from Dillard, his former straight-talking boss. That edge could be erased in this district that gave President Bush the edge in 2004 if Marsden can't get past his past.

Friday, June 24, 2005

One time only caption contest.

Total props to John Behan, but I could not pass this one up.

Best caption wins a commemorative "I survived Teapot Dome" Warren G. Harding bobblehead!

Rodo-Watch Day 15

We still can't find Phil Rodokanakis anywhere. But then again, we're not Jim Dillard.

Not Larry Sabato Unveiled?

This is the only credence we are going to give to this strange thread going on over at Not Larry's site.

For the record, we don't really want to know the real identity of Not Larry Sabato. Or John Behan (although that one's a poorly-kept secret). Or Addison, or Light Horse Harry. James Young chooses to use his real name, although we've joined Virginia Centrist and his pseudonym in making light of the similarities between his posts and straw man Pastor John. Will Vehrs, Phil Rodokanakis, Jim Bacon, and Democratic Uber-Hack Barnie Day all blog using their own identities, and we enjoy their site.

Here is the way we look at it: anonymous blogging can allow people to exchange ideas free from the baggage and bias that often accompanies "identity." If I suspected Mike Shear or Ben Tribbett of being the real Not Larry Sabato, it would bias my opinion of his blog. The "alternate personality" Not Larry has created eliminates or changes that bias, and allows me to give a harder look at his ideas without dismissing them based on the personality behind them.

I just don't care who these anonymous guys are. I enjoy reading their blogs anyway - even if Not Larry Sabato occasionally gets to be the object of my good-natured scorn.

For the record, I am not Tom Davis. Not even close. In fact, the poor guy doesn't even seem to remember who I am when our paths cross up in Northern Virginia.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Shear Gets One Right...

Rarely will you see me link to the Washington Post, but columnist Mike Shear had a rare lucid moment with this piece.

It's almost as if Mike's been spending some time on my blog.

UPDATE: Norman over at One Man's Trash has devoted a little more blogspace to this one than I have. I don't agree with Norman's reasoning, but he comes to essentially the same conclusion - Act I of the Anti-Tax Revolt has failed. If the only incumbent you can knock off is Gary Reese, you had might as well go home.

Do Republicans Need More Room?

Excellent post by Virginia Centrist about the correlation between party identification and lot size. I'm not sure large lots necessarily put the GOP at a disadvantage in terms of canvassing - witness the growth of gated communities in Northern Virginia and Richmond. The GOP does have difficulty putting on a good ground game in rural areas where it can take an hour to knock on 5 doors. But gated townhome communities and condo complexes that bar any type of soliciting in urban and exurban areas hamper Dem efforts as well.

Like Virginia Centrist, I would love to see one of our political patron saints - The Real Sabato or The Real Rozell (or even The Real Holsworth) - tackle this one.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Who Gets to Debate?

Will Vehrs makes an excellent point in a week where the prime political issue seems to be Debategate:

I wonder if all the editorial boards would go to the ramparts if Del. Dick
Black or Del. Bob Marshall were the independent, not Russ Potts. They've
certainly got an electoral base and proven grasp of the issues. What are
"noxious views?" Maybe, Potter Stewart-like, they know them when we see

I wonder indeed. He goes on to say this:
Jerry Kilgore should not have ruled out debating Potts, but he should have
at least referenced the "Sabato standard" as the most important consideration. We are setting ourselves up for some real donnybrooks in the future if 5% or less is the standard for getting into a debate among candidates in a state-wide general election.
Maybe the Sabato standard is the best we have, but can anyone tell me definitively that Potts is not at 5%? Moreover, can anyone tell me why we need a different standard for inclusion in debates than we have for inclusion on the ballot? If Nancy Spannaus or Bob Marshall can gather 24,000 signatures, let them in the debate.

And Yet Another Blog....

Apparently there is a growing trend of cheap Not Larry Sabato knockoff sites, of which we were the first.

Not Bob Roberts will now be using his magic eyebrows to predict the outcome of campaigns. He promises to provide percentages for each race - just like we've promised to do later in the season. Hopefully we won't lose both of our readers to Not Bob.

Potts' New Clothes

First of all I'd like to thank Not Mark for inviting me to this blog. With an introduction like that I can only hope to live up to it. Let's try, shall we?

I would like to take the time to make my first post on a topic that has been on my mind for a while.

Russ Potts.

I hate to waste good Internet bandwidth discussing this tired topic. And I know there are people (mostly high ranking GOP members) who would prefer that I ignore the little man, but I can't. I know and have seen too much to hold it back.

Russ Potts is an intolerable sycophant with little to no regard for the people, ideas, and voters who got him where he is today. I don't just say this out of my distain for his Napoleonic run for the Governor's Office, but from years of personal experience.

I have witnessed him tell someone that taxes are too high, and then turn around and tell another person the complete opposite. I have witnessed him berating and belittling his fellow Senators by name, in the hallways of the General Assembly to lobbyists, staff and constituents and then turn around and ask for their support for one of his bills.

I have seen his temper. Think Joan Crawford in "Mommy Dearest".

I know that he is one of the dirtiest campaigners out there. He has called the clients/employers/customers of his opponents and tried to bully them against said opponents. He has also attempted to have opponents audited and inspected by state agencies.

And those were the Republicans.

After playing "Mark the Tax-man" (his Democrat opponent's name was Mark) radio ads on a local radio station, he is seen on the front pages of the Washington Compost crying that raising taxes is the only solution.

He has used his power on the Education and Health Committee to win elections, but couldn't recognize members of his own local school boards if he ran into them at the local Wal-Mart. He campaigned in his last election as an anti-tax, anti-abortion candidate ONLY so he could win a fairly conservative district full of the same people for which he is now he is espousing so much contempt.

The first things he did when in session this year were to raise taxes and kill all abortion legislation. Not only did he do them, he was the POSTER CHILD for doing so. Several weeks after sending out his "I am the only pro life candidate" mailing, he was THE featured as a speaker at a pro-choice Republican women's club.

Regardless on where you stand on abortion or taxes, what Potts did was contemptuous, manipulative and deceitful.

It is quite obvious that the press in enamored with his candidacy simply to make a good story. Their constant flattery only makes him believe himself even more. The more drama there is in the election, the more papers they will sell. One newspaper is ready to endorse him, others are touting how refreshing his candidacy is. Have they ever met this man? Perhaps they have. He is great at telling you what you need or want to hear. And he comes across fairly sincere. Until you have seen it over and over, with lie after lie.

While Potts is a thorn in the side of Kilgore, and a playful distraction for Kaine, he has no real chance. Rumor has it he is working hard for the Barry/Wadell exit strategy.

His pandering and disingenuous character is reason enough to boot him out of his committee seats. But let us hope that the Senate Republican Caucus will follow its own rules and remove him the moment he files his candidacy, no vote needed. If not, I'm sure the voters of the 33rd will take care of the problem in 2007.

Are the Dems United?

John Behan thinks he has uncovered a bit of friction between the Dems on the statewide ticket. I can't figure out whether Deeds is more uncomfortable with uber-liberal and perennial loser Leslie Byrne or Tim "Not Liberal" Kaine.

Then again, the GOP doesn't exactly have a dynamic ticket itself, with Jerry "Master Debater" Kilgore.

I think I see lots of write-ins this year.

Englin v. Moran?

Not Larry Sabato made this breathless report today. The anonymous e-mail message alleges that the glamorous and intelligent Shayna Englin, wife of newly annointed 45th district Delegate David Englin, is gearing up to challenge Congressman Jim Moran next year for the Democratic nomination in the 8th Congressional district. David Englin is also a member of Not Larry's Celebrity Blog Team.

Predictably, this was met with the requisite scoffing, as well as shouts of "I told you so" from Shayna's detractors, who we believe need to be collectively declawed. I did a little digging tonight, and I'm pretty sure I have come up with a definitive denial from the Englin camp, albeit through a supporter. We'd be happy to get confirmation either way from the Englins, unless David's Celebrity Blogger contract with Not Larry Sabato prevents his posting on our blog.

I'd like to think we'd do a bit more checking before posting a rumor about the wife of one of our blog team. In fact, we're quite fond of the wives of our bloggers, and we happen to be a fan of Shayna's too. We're sure she's got her sights set on something, but we hope it's not Moran - yet.

UPDATE: Shayna Englin has indeed posted a definitive denial of this rumor (the same denial it took me 3.5 minutes to get last night). In fact, she claims she will never run for any office. The question of the day is can you still call youself 100% accurate if your stories turn out to be bogus plants by bitter activists?

UPDATE 2: David Englin just came to Shayna's rescue over at Not Larry's with the following message: "To those courageous souls who make anonymous personal attacks on my wife and son, our address is 1505 Wayne Street, Alexandria, Va. Why not come by to state your case in person and stand by your remarks?" Englin also clarifies that he has no intention of being a celebrity blogger for NLS. Uh-oh. I hope Cuccinelli is still in the Celebrity Blogger bag or we'll have to start coming up with our own material.

Rodokanakis v. Dillard (Long Post)

A few of the junkies out there still haven't seen the testy e-mail exchange between Virginia Club for Growth President Phil Rodokanakis and retiring Delegate Jim Dillard. I guess there are at least a couple e-mail addresses in Virginia that Paul Jost doesn't have on his list. I'm going to do this without much comment, since I've already called Rodokanakis on the carpet for falsely claiming that his group had something to do with Jim Dillard's retirement. I've also pointed out that Dillard's impending retirement has been one of the most open secrets in Richmond since at least 2003.

In an effort to keep both of our readers happy, here is Dillard's original message:

Do you really feel you have to lie to get your points across. You know as well
as I do that Golden did not play a role in my decision not to seek re-election.
You may recall that I had promised my wife that I wo/ quit at 30 and only w/ her
acceptance did I run again to help get Virginia the necessary revenues to meet
our fiscal responsibilities to fund our core services. You guys don't have a
clue about the responsibilities of running a state. You may also recall that
"Republican" Golden ran against the Republican incumbent and I soundly defeated
him. One of the few things you have said about me that is correct is that I
always let my constituents know my position on issues and I thank you for that.
I told the voters that if you elect me I am going to raise your taxes .
Incidentally I never said that I wanted to raise the gas tax 10 cents and didn't
put in a gas tax bill. I realize that writing to you is a waste of time because
you guys w/ continue to distort the truth whenever it suits your purpose. Jim

To which Rodokanakis responded:

Dear Jim:

Thank you for your message. I firmly believe that we can better understand each other by initiating a dialog outlining our respective positions; in this regard, I'm thankful that you took the time to write to me.

And in this spirit, I would like to take the opportunity to answer the points you raised in your message:

1. Did Golden play a role in your decision not to seek re-election?
Well Jim, I don't profess to be a mind reader. But reasonable people can agree that we can infer things from the positions we espouse publicly. As far as the record shows, you went to Richmond in January and you had made no announcement of your impending retirement. If you intended on retiring during the 2005 term of the legislative assembly, that must have been the best kept secret in Richmond--which usually leaks like a sieve.

The facts as I recall them were that Golden kicked off his campaign in December 2004--an extremely well attended function by the way--and soon thereafter Mychele Brickner who was thinking about running for your seat announced that due to family considerations she would be unable to enter the race. When the 2005 session started in the General Assembly, to my knowledge everyone expected you to run for office again. As a matter of fact, Golden was initially campaigning against you (see my OpEd column "The Taxpayers Nemesis" at
It wasn't until early February I believe, when out of the blue Golden got a call from an aide to Speaker Howell advising him of your decision not to run again and inviting Golden to an event sponsored by the Republican caucus. This was the first time most of us heard that you told anyone you planned to retire.

So perhaps it was coincidence on your part, but from our perspective you only made this decision after you saw first hand that Golden's campaign was catching fire. Whichever the case, you certainly cannot make the claim that everyone knew that you planned to retire this last session, because that is simply not the case.

2. Your noble sacrifices in running for office with the unselfish goal of securing Virginia the necessary revenues to meet our fiscal

Well Jim, some people never change no matter what fiscal realities they face. I have to give you credit for being consistent in being a tax-and-spend liberal, a true unadulterated RINO--unfortunately, you're also consistently wrong!

It's hard to believe that you can still espouse this sort of mantra in the face of burgeoning budget surpluses. The "sky is falling" cries from your side that got us saddled with the largest tax increase in the history of Virginia last year, were completely discredited--proven to be nothing but lies. You raised taxes by more than a billion dollars in the face of a $1.5 billion budget surplus.

And did you do the right thing afterwards when the tax increase was proven to be totally unnecessary? No, you just spent it all, never bothering to return a penny to the taxpayers you stole the money from.

Jim, I'm sure you've noticed that in the last few years tax increases (both local and state taxes) have been growing at double digit rates, while personal incomes are only growing by about 3 to 4%. In other words, tax increases can't continue year-after-year to outstrip the growth in personal incomes, because if you carry out this argument to its logical conclusion, eventually taxes will eat up 100% of personal incomes. What will the government do then to feed its insatiable appetite?

3. Funding core services:
What do you define as core services, Jim? Is funding the Virginia Department of the Mattresses really essential? (Why do we need a Department of Mattresses anyway?)
How about the Wilder report, Jim? Do you recall any of Doug's recommendations to cut back spending by $1 billion? How come you always want to stick it to the taxpayers, instead of streamlining government for a change?

How can you run a $60 billion enterprise without having in place any independent auditing and investigative controls? Is it responsible to always ask from more in taxes, yet take no steps to institute any accountability in government spending?

Jim do you realize that, as my friend John Taylor says, it took Virginia 386 years to reach a $30 billion bi-annual budget, yet it took you guys only another decade to double it to $60 billion?
Will you ever reach the point to admit that we cannot continue increasing spending at the present rates?

4. "Us guys" having no clue about the responsibilities of running a state:
Do Senators Ken Cuccinelli, Bill Bolling, Jay O'Brien, Mark Obenshain, and others have a clue about such responsibilities? Or what about the majority of the Republican Caucus in the House of Delegates--including the Republican Leadership--that voted against the tax increase?
When it comes to taxes and increased government spending, I doubt that you agree with any them. Are you the only one that knows what's best? And are your only solutions based on keeping your greedy hand in our wallets? I certainly don't recall you ever talking about government accountability--just more spending and more taxes.

5. Republican Golden running against you, the incumbent, as an independent:
Jim, as the old saying goes, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!
Given the fact that you donated money to John Kerry and supported him for President over the Republican nominee George W. Bush, I wouldn't be questioning anyone's loyalty to the Republican Party.

Furthermore, when did you discover that your long time Republican legislative aide, David Marsden, had been masquerading all along as a Democrat in Republican clothing?
And what about the Republican donations you raised over the years that are now finding their way to Democrat Marsden's political coffers?

But I guess the essential question on this matter is: Will you Jim as a loyal Republican, support Michael Golden in the November elections? Will you renounce Marsden for switching parties and for hoodwinking you into giving him $10,000 from the political donations of hardworking Republicans?

6. You never said that you wanted to raise the gas tax
You know, Jim, I'm a strong supporter of term limits. I believe your statement that you never wanted to raise the gas tax makes a good case in point as to why guys like you should be restricted from serving in the Legislature for more than three of four consecutive terms.
After all the years you've been drinking the Richmond Kool-Aid you've either forgotten your own record or have bought into the many lies and falsehoods you've spewed over the years.
That's why I'm here for--to keep the record straight, so let me refresh your memory.
At an Orange Hunt Estates Civic Association meeting in late 2003, you floated the idea of raising the gas tax by up to $0.10/gallon.

In the 2004 session, you then co-patroned a bill (HB60) with Harry Parrish--another bastion of fiscal accountability--to increase taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel, and alternative fuels by 6.5 cents per gallon.

Now who is propagating lies, Jim? Did you already forget the bills you patroned in 2004? Or is it that you can't keep straight the many different versions of the stories you tell to different groups?

Since you obviously have a convenient memory, let me refresh your recollection about some the bills you sponsored/co-sponsored in 2004. You supported bills to increase the sales tax, gas tax, taxes on fishing licenses, prepaid calling cards, income taxes, and taxes on new homeowners (deed tax), among others, and to stop the promised rollback of the car tax. Now that's got to be a record, even by your own standards.

You also actively supported legislation to increase local taxes and/or increase the authority of localities to tax (e.g., hotel taxes). And you opposed legislation that would have required localities to secure voter approval via referendum before increasing certain taxes.
Do you have any other answers, Jim, other than to always propose tax increases? This one-trick pony of yours is getting kind of old, don't you agree?

I can go on and on, but I think that for our first exchange this covers all the essential points you raised in your message. I look forward to many more similar exchanges with you and debating the issues. However, I would appreciate if you stuck to the facts and didn't try to reason by asserting mendacities. Who knows, maybe some day we can publish our exchanges, perhaps under the title of "Point Counterpoint: Shining the light on Liberal Myths and Other Falsehoods."

With my warmest regards,


That last "warmest regards" part is my favorite. That's the entire e-mail exchange, as I got it from Paul Jost. I haven't added or subtracted anything. Can anyone figure out why the Club for Growth feels compelled to spend so much time debating a retiring delegate who supposedly quit rather than face their chosen opponent?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Rodo-watch....Day 11

Phil Rodokanakis, President of the Virginia Club for Growth and blogger extraordinaire, seems to have crawled in a hole somewhere. We've commented on his press releases and we've seen the testy e-mail exchange he had with retiring Delegate Jim Dillard, but we just can't seem to make Phil surface on his own blog over at Bacon's Rebellion. I'm hoping uber-hack Barnie Day will help me coax him out.

HD36 - Ferguson v. Plum

Okay, we're really going to go out on a limb with this one. Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio has farmed out his aide, Donny Ferguson, to run as a Libertarian against 30-year Democratic Delegate Ken Plum in Reston. Ferguson's campaign platform can be summed up in two prongs: "no local income tax," which leaves people scratching their heads in confusion; and "no tolls on the Toll Road," which might actually get Ferguson a handful of protest votes.

Still, does anyone see Ken Plum getting less than 90% in a district comprised mostly of the People's Republic of Reston? Against a Libertarian?

My trademark George Foreman intuition is on solid ground here. Maybe Delgaudio and Ferguson should stick to rattling cages in Loudoun County.

UPDATE: Ferguson tells us that Plum spent primary day out of the country. Perhaps he was out with fellow absentee Chuck Caputo?

UPDATE 2: Not Larry Sabato thought perhaps there were readers of my blog who would not get the Caputo reference. As if both of you don't come straight over here after reading the latest at Not Larry's. :) At any rate, here is where the inside joke on Caputo comes from.