While the GOP insists on internal strife with a chairman who won the position overwhelmingly at a state convention only nine months ago, the Virginia Democrats have had stability within its party apparatus. Former House Majority Leader Dickie Cranwell assumed the chairmanship in 2005 when then party chair Kerry Donley stepped down not even one year into a four-year term. Now he seeks a four-year term of his own as reported by the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog (here). With all the success he's overseen the last four years — the election of a governor, two U.S. senators, the takeover of the Virginia Senate, gains in the House of Delegates and winning a majority of Virginia's House Congressional delegation (6-5) — there's no doubt he'll retain the chair and deserves it. However . . . there's always a "however," if not a "but," and here it is: He made it pretty clear he was getting out when he could. He wanted to leave after Tim Kaine won the governorship and let him appoint his own man (Cranwell came in at the request of then-Governor Mark Warner). But he stayed on because the new governor asked him to, although he said he would serve no longer than the unexpired term, which ended in 2009. So this marks not one, but two, changes of mind.
Coincidentally, we had him for an exclussive two-part interview about 10 months ago (here). Our first question to him was:
You've had a distinguished career as an attorney, legislator — the House Majority Leader, in fact — and party chairman. With the Democrats making so many gains in Virginia over the last few years, why retire as party chairman now?
His answer was emphatic:
I never sought the position of Chair of the Democratic Party. Governor Warner asked me to fill the unexpired term of Kerry Donley. I agreed to serve until a new Governor was elected. Governor Tim Kaine's vision for restructuring the Democratic Party agreed with mine so I agreed to stay on until Donley's term expires in 2009. Hopefully the changes in the Democratic Party which have occurred during my tenure have made the party stronger and more candidate friendly. ...
The party is in good shape and I have boys, ages 8 and 10, so there is a lot of baseball and soccer to occupy my time. I am just stepping down. I am not retiring from the field of battle. There is a wealth of talented people in the party who can carry on the work of the Chair. I look forward to those folks' continued success.
Not that people can't change their mind, but lost in all this is that he has changed his mind. Probably not many in the Mainstream Media will report this. Not only that, but will they ask where all those talented people are who could step in? Could there be some tie-in with Kaine's ascension to the DNC chairmanship — maybe he needs his guy to guide the campaign apparatus and millions in cash the DNC will pour into Virginia this fall? (Just as President Obama needs Kaine, maybe Kaine needs Cranwell.) Regardless of how the Mainstream Media treats the story, or other bloggers for that matter, we had it first then and have it first now, and each time we had it on good authority — directly from the source himself.