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Saxman: Three Quick Things

Thursday Endorsement Alert– Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney just endorsed Delegate Hala Ayala for Lt. Governor and with a fundraising appeal. [1]

Virginia FREE Fridays – Noon Zoom – breaking down competitive House races and updating the statewide nomination contests with Chaz Nuttycombe of CNalysis. CLICK HERE TO JOIN FRIDAY AT NOON [2]

Two recent polls – CNU Wason Center [3] and PPP [4] of the Democratic statewide nomination contest conclude the same thing:

  1. The race for their nomination is no longer a contest. Terry McAuliffe leads Undecided 44.5 to 28 and the Field of Four is a distant third at 24.
  2. The Lt. Governor race is still wide open. Delegate Rasoul leads the field but is coming in at just 12% while Undecided is a 64. Governor Ralph Northam’s pending endorsement could swing this race. I think it will come down to Delegate Hala Ayala or Norfolk Council Member Andria McClellan with Ayala having the inside lane. See below.
  3. The nomination for Attorney General is closing and remains my Upset AlertTwo months ago CNU Wason Center had two term incumbent AG Mark Herring leading Delegate Jay Jones [5] 42-3 with 50% Undecided. Now, that race is 42-18 with 34% Undecided. That means nearly ALL February Undecideds who have since Decided went to Jones. This calls for a hashtag like #JayMentum #JonesComingOn.

Regarding the LG race and from the McClellan poll covered in Blue Virginia [6]:

According to Brodnitz, by a 63%-29% margin, the primary electorate said “we benefit more from having the new perspective that one of the women would bring.”


Brodnitz said that right now, “the men are competing more for men and the women are competing more for women…in both cases, they have a stronger appeal with their own gender.” As for ideology, Brodnitz said “it’s not that ideological at this point, even though…we’ve got candidates who have very different points of view on things.”

Levar Stoney’s endorsement of Ayala could be the signal that the Democratic Party’s big guns have started to get behind her.

Here’s the average of the above two polls:

  1. Terry McAuliffe – 44.5 (12 point improvement from Jennifer McClellan’s internal 2020 December poll)
  2. Undecided – 28 (down 10 from December – yes, people are deciding)
  3. LG Justin Fairfax – 7.5 (8.5 decline since December)
  4. Sen. Jennifer McClellan – 7 (.5 nominal decline since her poll)
  5. Jennifer Carroll Foy – 6.5 (1.5 nominal increase from December)
  6. Delegate Lee Carter – 2.5

Information that stands out?

  1. Terry McAuliffe, in just two months, reminded the Democratic electorate that they actually have a favorable opinion of him. In CNU’s February poll his Fave/Unfave was 25/21 which is a 1.2 rating. Today that has moved to 56-14 or 4.0. That’s massive. There is a soft underbelly here for McAuliffe in the general since his rating with Democrats in 2017 was 88-6 or 14.6. So, he went from 14.6 to 1.2 to 4.0.
  2. Democratic voters self identify as Moderates at 42%, Liberal 34%, and Very Liberal at 10%. With Conservative at 8% and Very Conservative at 2%, it’s easy to why there is a growing tension in this Center Left party. It’s still a relatively Moderate political party.
  3. From the CNU poll in February, Virginians still self identify as a Center Right state vs a Center Left state 47-42. The problem for the GOP in statewide races is that their base is further to the Right than the Democrats are to the Left. Which recalls GMU Schar School’s Mark Rozell’s recently writing in the WAPO – Did Virginia’s Democrats misread their mandate with a boldly progressive agenda? [7] Maybe. The better questions might be – Did Democrats misread their mandate with their own party because of internal pressure from their more progressive elements? Are they making the same mistakes that the Virginia Republicans made?
  4. State Senator Jennifer McClellan’s Fave/Unfave numbers mirror McAuliffe’s in ratio 4 to 1 at 20-5, but she just doesn’t have the name ID. McClellan is well positioned for 2025, with Jennifer Carroll Foy behind her at a 3 to 1 favorability.

Virginia Republicans, on the other hand, have yet another controversy brewing. Three of their candidates – Amanda Chase, Kirk Cox, and Glenn Youngkin signed a letter written to party ChairmanRich Anderson in which they raise concerns about the voting process in their convoluted Unassembled Convention with Ranked Choice Voting Nomination. [8]

Last night, during texting with a Republican committee chair from one of Virginia’s largest localities, I discovered that with just SIXTEEN days until their nomination the Virginia GOP has yet to offer guidance on how to actually count their ballots.

(Run on sentence alert – hide the children and avert the eyes of English teachers – not that grammar is a thing anymore and may Hemingway forgive me.)

The party that screamed up and down that the national election was rigged and fraud was rampant but only in states they lost mind you so now we have to have our own method of nomination since we don’t trust the Commonwealth to fairly conduct our primary even thought their U.S. Senate nominee Daniel Gade and former Trump Chairman for Virginia John Fredericks both agreed publicly on Fredericks’s radio show that NO in fact, the Virginia election was not fraudulent they just lost by half a million votes NOW has three statewide candidates who will have dropped over $10 MM on this race say that they think this same party cannot pull off their own method of nomination but should be able to run state government nonetheless. (Inserts poll question – should the Virginia Republicans change from the GOP to the WTF?)

Full disclosure – I actually registered to be a delegate for this thing. No, I did not sign the Loyalty Oath for three reasons – 1) the form I was sent didn’t have the asterisk indicating that was required 2) I never sign Loyalty Oaths – #Murica #GFY and 3) I wrote on the form that there is no way in hell I would ever sign a public document stating that I would vote for Amanda Chase. Or as Jack Nicholson said in Terms of Endearment, “I’d rather stick needles in my eyes.”


Let’s finish this newsletter on a more inquisitive path, shall we?

Yes, let’s.

In the Tuesday edition of the Wall St. Journal, Gerald Seib wrote a great column Why Business Leaders Are Taking Political Stands – Companies are feeling pressure from younger customers and their own employees to take a position on voting rights, other issues [10]

Final two sentences:

On a broader scale, though, the political landscape is different. Neither party today provides a comfortable home for corporate America. The Republican party, once the safe place for business leaders to land, has turned more populist on trade and immigration, and skeptical of big business. The Democratic party has turned leftward.

Business leaders increasingly find themselves on their own, in a political system that is failing, and at a time when silence is not an option.