As control of the Virginia Senate continues to hang in the most precious of balances — Democrat Lynwood Lewis' lead dropped to nine votes over Republican Wayne Coleman earlier today during the 6th district special election's certification, which should trigger a recount (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) — a new controversy has emerged in 33rd Senate district special election (necessitated by the election of Attorney General-elect Mark Herring). There, Democrat Jennifer Wexton, who has a history of slash and burn campaign tactics, released a television ad comparing Tea Party members to rapists (see Washington Post). While it's shocking that a "tolerant" liberal would be so vile (yeah, right), Wexton may have done more damage to Democrat hopes than releasing an obnoxious ad that is nothing more than a typical campaign misstep. It may just blow up in her, and her party's, face.
First, it shows desperation in what should be a fairly safe Democrat district. The Dems need to hold on to Lewis' Hampton Roads-area victory and lock up the Northern Virginia seat as well to get to a 20-20 split in the Senate where Lieutenant Governor-elect Ralph Northam would be the tie-breaking vote.
More than that, though, it moves the conversation away from which party should control the chamber, which would favor the Democrats and motivate its majority in that district, to one about personality and proper senatorial demeanor. A lot of the 33rd is genteel horse country and the ad (below) blows the lid off the mainstream media contrived stereotype that conservatives are the brass knuckle, street brawler campaigners.
Left wing Virginia Senate candidate Jennifer Wexton thinks comparing Tea Party members to rapists is no big deal.
Now, some might say that liberal base voters won't mind an ad like this and, besides, what else are they going to do on election day? Of course, it wouldn't be Virginia politics if anything about this was straightforward. Running against Wexton is not only conservative Republican John Whitbeck, but former Delegate Joe May, another liberal and recently turned independent. That gives district liberals, turned off from Wexton, an outlet.
Compounding the controversy is Wexton's obnoxious unrepentance. In typical leftist fashion, she has created an evil straw man that she, simply, is standing up to. Her spokesman told the Post:
(GOP) charges(s) are ridiculous. The real outrage here is that both of Jennifer's opponents have voted for these types of laws that would have prevented victims of rape and incest from seeking quality health care or exercising the right to choose.
Seriously. That is the level of intellectual honesty that regularly emanates from the Left.
Nothing is ever for certain in politics, especially in the commonwealth. A January special election with the General Assembly in mid session makes it as murky as the James near Hopewell. But when the waters do clear, it may because of the self-inflicted blowback from Wexton's bomb.