So if the Democrats were delivered a cloud on Tuesday, there was a lot of silver lining behind it.
This isn’t to say that Senate Republicans did not score a massive win against Governor McAuliffe and his vaunted millions, the demographic turnout machine the Democrats have mythologized as unstoppable, and Bloomberg last minute anti-gun campaign — which more than likely, if numbers hold, produced the striking turnout in Powhatan County that pulled Glen Sturtevant into the winners circle.
Bearing Drift editor-in-chief Jim Hoeft remarks on the historic win despite Democratic gerrymandering in the Virginia Senate, while our own Brian Schoeneman rightly points out that Virginia Republicans stumbled in key races, especially in Northern Virginia. We have an awful lot to do, and rather than outright win, we might very well have dodged a bullet (let the Bloomberg jokes commence).
…and so, to the Winners and Losers 2015 bracket:
…because you know Terry is probably still fast asleep right now.
Glen Sturtevant and the Senate Republicans
In SEN-10, one could not have asked for a more amazing win. Sturtevant’s campaign held back Gecker in Richmond while running up the stats in Powhatan County, where the latter saw not only a series of heavily contested races but — in the immortal words of Jerry Kilgore — you don’t campaign on taking away guns in Powhatan.
Speaker Bill Howell and the House Republicans
Howell began this year beleaguered and on the defensive. McAuliffe indicated he would make a mess of things again, a direct challenge from his right back home, and rumors of epic and sweeping defeat at the hands of the populist Tea Party across Virginia. Fast forward to today? McAuliffe is silenced, the Senate is perhaps more conservative now than ever before (making that 21 seat majority much more solid), and Howell is in the drivers seat with a Governor’s Mansion besieged with only the veto pen to influence matters. Not a bad place to be… even if the House of Delegates lost a seat — for a 66 seat majority.
The Goochland Miracle
Something is happening in Central Virginia, and folks need to keep an eye on this. Goochland County has long been a model locality for how conservatives really can take back a local government and swing it back to the right. We tried something like this in Fluvanna County — unfortunately a $70 mil high school got in the way, but we were on the path to bending the budget back — but you’re starting to see inklings of this in Greene and Fluvanna again. In Albemarle County, conservatives managed to knock off longtime Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford, and though the Albemarle GOP might have another two years to go, the path is wide open. Even in other localities such as Caroline County, you’re starting to see a method and perspective on governance that is a bit more hard nosed and less inclined to spend recklessly than over the last 20 years.
Of course, Goochland has advantages. A low tax rate betrays incredibly high property values, with a tax burden that per capita that is rather high compared to its western neighbors. Yet such observations are shortsighted, as Goochland has the trifecta that creates a great environment for future growth: infrastructure, economic development, and great workforce development via Reynolds Community College.
What is required for the Goochland Miracle to set the pace? A larger locality that will unite the rest. Prince William County has that potential… but Goochland will have to lead by example.
PWC Chairman Corey Stewart
…outperformed Hal Parrish big time. This, given his recent softening on racial profiling and immigrants while remaining firm against illegal immigration, makes him the antidote to some of the vitriol spewed by acolytes of Dave Brat (a now doomed candidate). No question that Stewart would make a formidable LG candidate at this stage…
State Senator Frank Wagner
Gary McCollum practically handed the election to Wagner on a plate the moment he threw in. One never likes to see the public demise of an individual, as McCollum had no reason whatsoever to embellish his resume. Yet he did… and for that, he earned the derision of his peers in a race that might have been winnable — but wasn’t. More to the point, McAuliffe personally recruited McCollum to run against Wagner, long thought to be one of the more reasonable and moderate-minded members of the Virginia Senate. Given the condition of the Virginia Senate today, combined with the ill-will sewn by McAuliffe in previous budget battles? Wagner might not be so inclined to be as statesman-like over the next two years.
Disruptor Fund Chairman Pete Snyder
Big push at the last minute… might not have been enough, but the help wasn’t just welcome — it was targeted. That’s a level of precision and professionalism not seen in Virginia campaigns in a long, long time. Snyder has to be happy with the effort, if perhaps disappointed (as we all are) by the result.
Delegate Scott Lingamfelter
Lingamfelter is a great American who rolled up his sleeves and pitched in this year, taking slings and arrows from both sides (and on the 2nd Amendment of all things). Lingamfelter held firm… and I couldn’t be more pleased. We desperately need more people of Lingamfelter’s quality and demeanor in public office today.
Powhatan Supervisor Larry Nordvig
Criticized for having voted not to raise taxes by the Tea Party (and attacked by Ken Cuccinelli and Jamie Radtke, of all people, for not voting for a last-minute proposed tax cut), Nordvig was resoundingly re-elected with 63% of the vote by his constituents — proving once again that principle and practicality do not have to be at odds.
Congratulations or condolences, whichever you’d prefer.
To be charitable, you had a lot of guts throwing your hat in the ring to begin with given your last name (artfully pronounced LOZ-her rather than loo-ZER). The attack on Glen and Dan for adopting their children? Low. The nonsense in the RTD about threatening people for exposing whatever-the-heck-it-was to the press? No one does that in the real world, dude. Go find something to do that helps build up a small corner of the world and come back to us in 20 years… you will not be proud of yourself for this campaign, nor should you be. But I would love to hear the redemption story.
Governor Terry McAuliffe
Gonna be a long vacation at taxpayer expense in the Governor’s Manison… also means that your budget is DOA when it hits the State Capitol, buddy.
Man up, Terry.
Loudoun Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio
Probably more famous for the “Ted Kennedy Swim Team” or the “Kennedy Sobriety Checkpoint” along Constitution Avenue… truly the end of an era.
Bloomberg the Gun-Grabber
This doesn’t quite make up for the recent unpleasantness, but it is tantamount to Grant losing at Petersburg. Wellington throwing in the towel at Waterloo. Washington throwing down his arms and running at Yorktown. We kicked Bloomberg’s butt.
…and Bloomberg, frankly, you suck.
Not quite done yet. Bloomberg, buddy… all the children you could have helped with that money, or all the carbon credits you could have invested in, or the number of Starbucks caffe latte’s you could have bought for your advisors whispering in your ear “Hey, wanna blow a few million dollars?” Hell — you could have done a “voluntary” gun buyback program and had more effect for your cause than dropping all that cash… to which the folks in Powhatan would have sold you old, worn, or wooden guns and promptly upgraded for a really sweet Bushmaster M4 Carbine with removable handle with chrome-lined rifled chamber and telestock all for the low price of $1,368.15 — if you don’t know where to look…
Ain’t she beautiful? Heck, with all that money we could have bought a bunch of reeeely skeeery
assault weapons freedom dispensers firearms and trained thousands of children on firearm safety, thus ensuring an entire generation would learn to respect these tools for what they are — and making hunting season the seasonal ritual of fathers and sons (and mothers and daughters) it is and remains in the South.
Yankee, go home.
The Democratic Party of Virginia
Washington Redskins / Virginia Cavaliers
Dear God S.J.,
This is Shaun again. I know you really don’t care about sports at the end of the day and find it all rather silly — the things we worry about, like politics and sports and where the paychecks come from and that car cutting me off this morning. Petty and inconsequential things to worry about, even though they loom rather large to us.
All that having been said, I am remarkably appreciative of Your desire to make the Washington Redskins holy by inflicting so much suffering on this team. Same with the Virginia Cavaliers — saints all. Such things remind me of St. Francis throwing himself in the thorns to avoid the sin of temptation, or monks in the desert, or perhaps the “I Love Lucy” marathons on WDCA 20 when I was a kid. But I digress…
Could You kindly consider easing up on the Redskins? Just for say, six games or so? That should be enough to get them into the playoffs given the condition of the NFC East.
As for the Cavaliers, Thy will be done. They deserve it, even if all the Hoos in Hooville share in their suffering.
Northern Virginia Republicans (specifically)
Look — I really don’t want to put fellow Republicans in this category. It is not a function of leadership, nor is it a function of process. One hates kicking something when it’s already down… but the fact of the matter is pretty plain.
Loudoun County — named LoCo for a reason — has spread its errors. Fairfax County was a total mess. Parrish in Prince William should have been a win, and was practically forfeited. Nguyen was hamstrung by “hmong” comments by racist bloggers. It was simply not good. Whatever broke needs fixing ASAP.
So I understand Brian Schoeneman is running ads — right now — in the Sully District. Bearing Drift was able to obtain a copy (perhaps against his will) and… well… you be the judge:
Moderately in jest — as I’m not sure that anyone could have pulled off a win in the Sully District. Still, Guevara fought the good fight and did what he could — it is unfortunate that he ran the marathon campaign with only one lung… and that should serve as a lesson in hindsight.
Look — not gonna sugar coat this one.
The Democrats unleashed their permanent ground game on us for the ninth year in a row. NINE. Republicans responded with the same tried and true tactics of the 1990s. The Democrats added to their superior data collection and refinement process. Best of luck even identifying it, or if the argument at RPV over which one to use (i360, RNC Data Center, rVotes) has even been resolved.
Democratic social media? Worked.
Democratic press operations? In sync.
Democratic field operations? Also synchronized.
Democratic ad buys? Well co-ordinated.
Money? Well spent and precisely where it needed to be spent.
Nationally, this spells trouble for 2016. In a year where Virginia Republicans were supposed to be running downhill, we had a few hundred independently run races all over the Commonwealth. We had folks more focused on who was carrying the R next to their name rather than where resources (scant as they are) should be allocated.
We absolutely must start coalescing around the things on which we agree, and start rebuilding the cell structure that used to make Virginia Republicans great. The rise of the populists have driven away too many independents, moderates, conservatives, and libertarians in the race for “unity” and “principle” — it has to stop being 100% compliance with orthodoxy and interpretations of credo and start being more along the lines of four-part harmony.
(1) Find a unit committee
(2) Pitch in. Write a letter to the editor. Talk to folks about joining the unit committee.
(3) Donate your $5/mo to RPV (used to have a $7/mo membership thing on there… if I find it, I’ll share)
(4) Beat the hell out of anyone who says RINO, uses racial language, or abuses purity tests — because they are killing our party.
(5) Fix the problems in our own back yard.
(6) Make your principles practical; find friends, accomplish what we can, keep our eyes on the goal.
This really ought to be on a postcard and handed to just about every Republican in Virginia — kinda like a checklist. Because we’re all individuals, there’s this great thing called the internet that helps people find out information they don’t know: unit committee leaders, meeting times, events, and the like. Treat it as you would your own parish or church. Do your part, but don’t call yourself a Republican unless you are doing your part. Above all, don’t give up on your neighbor… we need leadership and good example, not the scolding and profiteering and scaremongering that passes for the political right nowadays. After all — we surround them… or so I’ve heard it said.
I’m sure we all know someone on our local committee we’ve ticked off — forgive them.
I’m sure we all haven’t chipped in as much as we could — do so.
I’m sure we all didn’t work our precincts — primaries are coming up.
I’m sure we might think about what divides us — focus on what brings us together.
I’m sure we will pick our POTUS and federal candidates in 2016 — focus on your candidate’s positives.
I’m sure we will hear talk about unity — think more about harmony.
I’m sure Hillary will be presented as inevitable — consider this as a 10 year fight, and keep plowing forward.
The person next to us agrees with us on perhaps 50-80% of what one might personally believe. There’s a whole other half of Virginia that disagrees with us all… the “all or nothing” contests are drowning any hope of Virginia remaining true to the spirit of Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson.
Got work to do, folks. See you at the Advance.
Still Not Done With Bloomberg
…and the worst part is that he could have spent that money on GOTV, new Priuses, handing out $100 bills in front of key precincts — anything. But $2.2 mil on TV ads? Sure they probably turned an epic defeat of McAuliffe’s gambit into a mere loss rather than the bone crushing rout we all expected, but dammit — what a waste of cash!
Stay in New York, and fire the advisors who told you this was a good idea.