About Us

Bearing Drift was founded by J.R. Hoeft in 2004 and is today Virginia’s premiere conservative web site. What’s the name mean? Bearing Drift is a nautical term that describes relative motion. Having bearing drift is good, as it means that the likelihood of a collision is low. Without bearing drift, the risk of collision dramatically increases as range decreases. According to the U.S. Coast Guard “rules of the road”, the best course of action when there is a risk of collision is to alter ones course to starboard – the right. In this case, we believe that’s also true in public policy. When it looks like the ship of state is going to wreck, alter the course to the right. You can’t go wrong! Bearing Drift is part of Virginia Line Media LLC, which also produces the weekly radio program, “The Score”, the news letter “The Last Word” as well as Bearing Drift Magazine (on temporary hiatus).

Bearing Drift does not solicit, accept or otherwise receive any funding from political campaigns or candidates for public office in exchange for favorable coverage, unfavorable coverage of opponents, or silence on issues of the day.  All posts on the site reflect the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or beliefs of Virginia Line Media LLC, its owners or other Bearing Drift contributors.  Bearing Drift no longer issues endorsements of candidates for public office, although individual contributors may do so.  All Bearing Drift contributors are required to disclose any financial relationships with candidates or campaigns they are affiliated with and failure to do so is grounds for removal from contributor status.

Board of Directors

Norm LeahyNorm Leahy
Norm Leahy has written about Virginia and national politics online since 2002. He is the producer of “The Score” radio show, a former Washington Examiner columnist, currently co-authors a weekly Washington Post column with Paul Goldman and is a Virginia politics reporter for the American Media Institute. Norm is a founding partner of Virginia Line Media LLC, the parent company of both Bearing Drift and “The Score.” Email Norm.

Shaun KenneyShaun Kenney
Shaun Kenney is the former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia, the former Chairman of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors, the former Communications Director for the Republican Party of Virginia, and an active blogger since 2002. Shaun lives in Thomas Jefferson’s backyard with his wife, seven children, and a modest attempt at a farm in Kents Store, Virginia.  E-mail Shaun.


Scott LeeScott Lee
Scott Lee has been covering pop culture and politics on the radio in Richmond since 2003. He cohosts “The Lee Brothers” on 1140 WRVA and hosts our very own radio program here at Bearing Drift. “The Score” is a lively, intelligent and witty political talk radio show that’s syndicated across the commonwealth. Each week, Scott talks with people who know the score – national policy experts, opinion leaders, elected officials. As well as a popular on air personality, you may find him hosting and speaking at certain political events throughout central VA. When not at Smith Mountain Lake, Scott resides in Midlothian, VA with his wife and four children. Email Scott.


1397976_10151721928250863_2122813019_oBrian W. Schoeneman
Brian W. Schoeneman is a veteran political professional, former Republican public official and small business owner, with over a decade of public policy experience.   He has been blogging in Virginia since 2009.  An attorney, he serves as political and legislative director for a major maritime labor union, is the former Secretary of the Fairfax County Electoral Board and a former Bush Administration Labor Department official.  He also serves as General Counsel Virginia Line Media LLC, Bearing Drift’s parent company.  He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife and son. E-mail Brian. Follow Brian on twitter at @BrianSchoeneman.

hoeft_profileJ.R. Hoeft
J.R. Hoeft is the founder of Bearing Drift, has nearly two decades of political experience, and has served on the Republican Party of Virginia and Republican Party of Chesapeake committees. He recently retired as a member of the United States Navy where he served as a nuclear reactor operator, surface warfare officer and navigator, and public affairs officer. He completed his most recent tour of duty in Haiti where he spent one year as a spokesperson for the military component of the United Nations mission there.   He is currently a communications consultant and resides in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife and daughter. E-mail J.R.. Follow J.R. on twitter at @jrhoeft.

Regular Columnists

Tim DonnerTim Donner
Tim is Founder & President of two organizations: One Generation Away, an educational and public policy non-profit, and Horizons Television, Inc., a video production company. He is host of the weekly syndicated radio show, Liberty Nation, heard on WRC Radio in Washington and 40 stations across the country, is a former candidate for the US Senate and resides in Great Falls, VA with his wife Leesa and two sons.


Michael FletcherMichael Fletcher
Michael R. Fletcher is a campaign veteran who now works both a full time job and as a freelance writer, blogger and editor living in Richmond, Virginia. He also blogs at The Write Side of My Brain and Richmond Bible Examiner. He’s been writing on the web since 2000. In his spare time, he’s into music, art and acting and is an active member of the Music and Fine Arts ministry at his church. E-mail Michael

Chris Saxman

Chris Saxman
Father of Four. Michele’s husband. Born in Pittsburgh, raised in the Valley of Virginia. Grew up in a family business, still there – sort of. Served eight years in the Virginia General Assembly. Pragmatic Conservative. Catholic Convert. Consultant and speaker. Retired rabble rouser, works behind the scenes on both sides of the aisle – Libra.

Brian Kirwin

Brian Kirwin
The right wants to jeer him. The left wants to censor him. Moderates usually want both. Brian Kirwin is a political consultant and public relations strategist in Virginia Beach with a lightning-rod flair. Brian also serves on the VB Arts & Humanities Commission and frequently appears on Hampton Roads theatrical stages, if only to prove that all actors aren’t liberals. Kirwin’s columns stir up debate and hit the political scene with no punches pulled.



D.J. Spiker
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…entrenched on the right as a member of the Establishment, proudly tattooed member of the Republican Party, bartender by trade serving both sides the libations needed to continue the debate and discourse. College student, ten years late, majoring in Public Policy and Administration with an eye to serving the conservative and Republican movement in the public or private sector. ducit amor patriae

D.J. McGuire
Recently relocated to Suffolk, Virginia (fell in love with a local), planting new roots…and reminding anyone who’ll read that (1) the Chinese Communist Party is still a danger, (2) the EU is a disaster, and (3) when the GOP nominates tax-hikers or TARP-backers, it handicaps itself, badly.

Leslie Carbone
Leslie Carbone is the author of “Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform” (Potomac, 2009). Her writing has appeared in magazines including “The Weekly Standard” and “The American Enterprise”, in newspapers from “The Philadelphia Inquirer” to “The San Francisco Chronicle”, and on Web sites like “BreakPoint” and “National Review Online”. She has appeared on more than 200 radio and television talk shows, been quoted in national newspapers including “The Wall Street Journal” and “USA Today”, and spoken at venues across the United States from Tea Parties to college campuses, including Northwestern University, UCLA, and Cornell University. Ms. Carbone has served as Chief-of-Staff to the late Assemblyman Gil Ferguson of California, Executive Director of Accuracy In Academia, Director of Family Tax Policy at Family Research Council, Senior Writer at Koch Industries, Inc., and Speechwriter for former Secretary of Labor of the United States Elaine L. Chao.

Jane Dudley
Jane Dudley has enjoyed conservatism and photography for over 30 years. After looking around at the mediocre state of affairs of political photography as it exists on the right, she decided to start making better images, to document Virginia Republicans and to inspire them to make more of an effort to put a fine face on their fine ideas. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and works in new media. She is also an associate member of ASMP. E-mail Jane.

Jason Kenney
Jason Kenney has blogged at
J’s Notes since 2001, is the director of RedStormPAC providing online fundraising for Republican candidates in Virginia, and co-founder of K6 Consulting. He is a graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University and resides in Richmond, Virginia. E-mail Jason.

Rick Sincere
Rick Sincere was twice a Libertarian candidate for the Virginia General Assembly and served for several years as chairman of the Libertarian Party of Virginia. He is now a member of the Charlottesville Republican Committee and secretary of the Electoral Board for the City of Charlottesville. He has written two books and his articles have appeared in Liberty magazine, the Houston Chronicle, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Wall Street Journal, Washington Examiner, and Washington Times. He is president of Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty and also blogs at RickSincere.com and Sub-Saharan Monitor. E-mail Rick.

Ward Smythe
Ward Smythe is a pseudonymous aspiring freelance writer from Central Virginia. Until late 2007 Ward blogged at the now defunct “Ward View” and was active in Virginia and National politics. Ward’s signature style of snarkery gained him a unique following that he hopes to regain here at Bearing Drift. Ward uses humor, satire and sometimes photoshop to make his point. Ward is proud to be an equal opportunity offender. E-mail Ward.

Joe Thomas
Joe Thomas is the host of WCHV’s “Joe Thomas In the Morning” and the syndicated radio program “The Afternoon Constitutional.”

Ron Utt
A former senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and most recently the author of “Ships of Oak, Guns of Iron,” Dr. Utt is a nationally recognized expert on transportation, economic development and housing policy.

Alan Joel
Alan Joel has been a practicing CPA in New York for more than 40 years, where libertarians and fiscal conservatives are few and far between. He writes at his popular blog, www.alanjoelny.com, as well as Canada Free Press, TACD News, Red State, and Examiner.

Steve Minor
Steve Minor is an attorney who represents plaintiffs and defendants in jury trials and other proceedings in state and federal court in Southwest Virginia and surrounding areas. His SW Virginia law blog has been a prime source of legal insight, and good humor, for readers across Virginia since 2003.

John McGlothin
John McGlothlin is a Fairfax native who recently returned to the commonwealth after nearly a decade in the military as a paratrooper and Arabic linguist. His time in service took him to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and several countries across Europe. Before enlisting, he was a speechwriter for the Florida Secretary of State and a journalist who covered everything from the 2000 presidential recount to the U.S. debut of Pokémon. He currently teaches at the Virginia Military Institute as an adjunct professor and will complete a J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law in 2015

Rob Schilling
Rob Schilling, also known as Charlottesville’s “Community Watchdog,” is a respected voice and a trusted name across central Virginia. Weekdays from noon to 2 PM, Rob hosts The Schilling Show radio program, heard on Newsradio 1070 WINA and streamed live online. As editor and founder of SchillingShow.com, a news, analysis, and commentary web site, Rob has launched multiple national news stories, several of which have appeared on Drudge ReportThe Blaze,Fox News and many other prominent media outlets.

Zach Martin
Zach Martin is the Chairman of the Lynchburg Republican Party while professionally working as a regional sales manager for Delta Star, Inc covering the north-eastern United States and Canada. Among other political positions held, Zach has previously served as a 6th congressional district representative to the state central committee, regional field director for George Allen for US Senate, campaign manager for Senator Steve Newman, and Chairman of the College Republicans at Liberty University.  Considered a conservative Republican who is dedicated to seeing America return to it’s proper place of prominence and prosperity.