About Us

About Us

Bearing Drift was founded in 2004 by J.R. Hoeft and is Virginia’s premiere conservative web site.  It is part of the Virginia Line Media LLC group, which includes The Jeffersoniad website, and our regionally syndicated radio show The Score.

What does the name mean?

Bearing Drift is a nautical term that describes relative motion. Having bearing drift is good, as 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 one’s course to starboard – the right. In our case, we also believe this is 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!


Editorial Board

Lynn R. Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief

Lynn Mitchell is the Editor-in-Chief of Bearing Drift. She has been a fixture of the Virginia political commentary scene since 2006. Active in local and statewide politics, Lynn has coordinated campaigns and served in various Party leadership roles. She has served on official boards in the area including Trustee with the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia, and currently sits on the Augusta County Library Board. Originally from the Richmond area, she and her husband live in the Shenandoah Valley.

Melissa Kenney, Managing Editor and Advertising Director

Melissa Kenney is an occasional writer, a full-time mother, and a part-time farmer in the #centeroftheuniverse. She is the Managing Editor, and the point person for advertising on Bearing Drift. For advertising opportunities, contact her at [email protected]

Jason Kenney, Webmaster

Jason Kenney is a veteran Virginia political commentator and has blogged at J's Notes since 2001. He is a graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University and resides in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and two sons. He also serves as Bearing Drift's webmaster.

Featured Columnists

Brian Schoeneman

Brian W. Schoeneman is the former Editor-in-Chief of BearingDrift.com. He is an attorney and resides in Centreville, Virginia, with his wife and son.

Norman Leahy

Norm Leahy is a Washington Post columnist, and comments on Virginia politics for WRVA and the Virginia Talk Radio Network

Senior Contributors

D.J. McGuire

D.J. is an Adjunct Faculty Instructor in Economics at Tidewater Community College, a cost estimator, and a musician. A neoconservative, he has watched the Republican Party succumb to white supremacist and anti-democratic impulses with alarm. He now calls himself a Red Dog Democrat.

Matt Walton

Matt Walton is the former Republican nominee for the 74th House of Delegates and is a member of the Henrico County Republican Committee. Matt is a high school technology & engineering education teacher and is heavily involved in local, state, and national politics. You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt4Va.

Michael Allers Jr.

Michael Allers Jr. is an educator, politico, and a former veteran of central Virginia politics. He is a Long Island native, and both a JMU and Mary Baldwin graduate. He lives in Northern Virginia and proud of it!

Stephen Spiker

Stephen Spiker is a pollster and a veteran Northern Virginia political operative. He is the 11th District Young Republican representative and former chair of the Prince William YRs. Spiker graduated from George Mason University and lives in Woodbridge with his wife and three sons.

M.D. Russ

M. D. Russ is a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army and a 17-year veteran of the Defense industry, working in three Fortune 100 companies and then running his own consulting practice. He is a native of Princess Anne County and has a dual-major undergraduate degree in History and Political Science from Wofford College in South Carolina, and a graduate degree in Management Science from Troy University in Alabama. Merle now owns and operates a vineyard in Loudoun County.

Andrea Epps

Andrea Epps is a part-time land use consultant, full-time mother, and her mother’s caregiver. Her hobbies are centered on her family, land use, politics, and working on the second rebuild of her 40’ 1973 MCI Bus. She is fiercely independent and enjoys a unhealthy obsession with creating obscure legal arguments.

Kristina Nohe

Kristina Nohe is a political activist, adoption advocate, and homeschooling mom who is proud to be from Prince William County but does not suffer fools lightly or quietly. She has been involved in Republican politics for over twenty years, was a member of RPV State Central Committee, and is a graduate of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership Program.

Grand New Podcast

Michael Allers Jr. and Kimmy Kruskamp are hosts of Bearing Drift’s video series that interviews political movers and shakers across the Commonwealth with a Virginia political millennial twist.

Susan Sili, Interim Editor, The Jeffersoniad

Susan Sili has been a freelance journalist and photographer for 30 years, published in numerous Virginia periodicals and recently along with the team from the local newspaper, won several Virginia Press Association awards for stories on history and architecture. She has also covered the last three Governor inaugurations in depth for The Caroline Progress. A former local elected official, her interest in politics is generational, with the first ancestor serving in an elected position in Caroline in 1727.

Andrew Hull

Andrew Hull is a former campaign staffer who worked in various roles during election cycles in New Jersey, West Virginia, and Virginia. He has an Associate of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Science in Government and Public Policy. He is a 2L at Regent University School of Law.


Matt Homer

Matt Homer is a former pastor, congressional staffer, political operative who worked on both the 2016 Trump campaign and the 2012 Romney campaign, elected political official in Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, and lobbyist.

Steven Brodie Tucker

Steven Brodie Tucker graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, later studying economics and political science at George Mason. In 2017, he earned his M.A. in Public Policy at Liberty University. He is a member of the Caroline County Republican Party and an activist for Constitutional and Republican principles.

Will Shewmake

Will Shewmake is a long-time member of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee and veteran volunteer for many campaigns. A graduate of William and Mary where he majored in philosophy and government, he is of counsel with the law firm Woods Rogers PLC in its Richmond office. All views Will expresses are his own and are not attributed to his firm.

John Hardy Willson

John Hardy Willson was born and raised in Vienna, Virginia. After graduating from James Madison High School, he attended the University of Alabama where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in History with a minor in English. John is also a graduate of the CLP/PLP Programs at the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. A former Republican Party officer, John is now an Independent. A veteran of numerous political campaigns, non-profits, and PACs, he has over a decade of experience in both IT consulting and the healthcare industry.

Shaun Kenney

Shaun Kenney is senior editor for The Republican Standard and a former contributor for Bearing Drift.

Jim Hoeft

Jim Hoeft resides in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife and daughter.

Jay McConville

Jay McConville is a former candidate for Virginia House of Delegates and the former Chair of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, Virginia's largest Republican unit committee.

Susan Kiers, Contributor

Susan lives with her husband and family in the central Shenandoah Valley where they own and operate Ox-Eye Vineyards and Ox-Eye Tasting Room in historic downtown Staunton.

Content Partners

Chris Saxman

Chris Saxman represented the 20th District in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002-10. A businessman and active member of the community, he is Executive Director of Virginia FREE, a non-partisan, non-profit that informs the business community in order to advance free enterprise and responsible, pro-business government. Chris and his wife Michele live in Richmond.

Rob Schilling

Rob Schilling is a respected voice and trusted name in the Charlottesville community. A former member of the Charlottesville City Council, the first and last Republican to have accomplished that feat since 1986, Rob hosts The Schilling Show on WINA 1070 AM from Noon to 2 PM each weekday.

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