Republicans

Candidates In Crowded GOP Lt. Gov. Field Face Potential Game Changing Debate Tuesday Night

It may be unique in the long history of Virginia politics: Seven candidates standing for a party nomination for a statewide office. But that's the situation this year as seven Republicans seek to win the second spot on the GOP ticket at the party's May 18 convention. There hasn't been anything like this since 1985, when five ran for the number two spot at the GOP convention at Norfolk's Scope. But seven? There are similarities to the two campaigns aside from the large number, though not enough to draw many parallels. The one major common denominator is that both nominations were decided by convention instead of primary, drawing a lot of interest from people who would not have otherwise run.

Precisely because of that, the candidates are by and large unknown to many GOP activists going into the convention at the Richmond Coliseum. Not one has been able to cut through the clutter of an already hot gubernatorial general election campaign between Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, as well as a more easy to sort through GOP campaign for attorney general between Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle County and Senator Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg. Throwing seven candidates into the mix for a part-time position that has two official duties — preside over the Virginia Senate and fill the office in case of vacancy — makes deciding who is best a difficult task.

However, there may be a game changer in the LG race in the form of a late-in-the-process-debate Tuesday night in Richmond at Benedictine College Prep at 6:30. The Central Virginia GOP Lieutenant Governor Candidates Forum is sponsored by several of that area's GOP committees, including the Richmond City and Henrico County units. They selected the location in the middle of the city as a way to bring the conservative message to areas that don't always hear it, and reach young people and Catholic voters as well.

All seven candidates have agreed to attend and a buzz (see Norm Leahy at Bearing Drift) is building up over it primarily because its proximity to the convention could create a breakthrough wave for a candidate that impresses or sink one who doesn't. In addition, the host committee and moderator Scott Lee, a conservative talk show host on Richmond radio station WRVA and the host of the syndicated Score Radio Show (which previewed the debate with its organizers last weekend), have promised questions that won't lend themselves to campaign brochure blather. We'll see and we'll be there to report.

The event is free and, while elected convention delegates may take special interest to attend, is open to the public as well. Doors at the Benedictine College Prep gym open at 6:00. The school is located at 304 North Sheppard Street (23221). Click here for more information. The candidates are: former Senator Jeannemarie Davis, E.W. Jackson, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, Senator Steve Martin, Pete Snyder, Prince WIlliam County Board Chairman Corey Stewart, Stafford County Board Chairman Susan Stimpson.

21-20, 21-20, 21-20: Pro-Life Bills Finally Pass Virginia Senate Roadblock To Become Law; Behind The Scenes At Last Night's Drama!

Near the end of an already extraordinarily long annual "Veto Session" last night, at around 10:00, after intense debate and several failed parliamentary maneuvers by opponents, the Virginia General Assembly handed pro-lifers and Governor Bob McDonnell another big victory. After passing the House of Delegates by a comfortable margin, the Virginia Senate — whose committees long have been the burial ground for commonsense bipartisan pro-life legislation, deadlocked 20-20 on the governor's amendments to HB 2434 — to restrict Virginia's health insurance exchanges (when and if ObamaCare takes effect) from publicly funding abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother — allowing Lt. Governor Bill Bolling to break the tie and send the bill back to Governor McDonnell for his signature. We long have stated that if certain measures could get to the floor, they would pass. This victory, another vote last night to restore the abstinence education funding eliminated by former Governor Tim Kaine, as well as the landmark vote the last week of the regular session to regulate abortion centers (all by 21-20 margins with Lt. Governor Bolling casting the tie-breaking vote each time), vindicates us. As represented by their legislators in Richmond, Virginians are decidedly pro-life.

The hard work began as lawmakers returned to the capitol Monday. Family Foundation lobbyists hit the ground running, going door to door to sure up votes and answer questions from legislators. Preceding that were efforts well before the reconvened session to educate lawmakers and their constituents. While the House looked secure, the Senate was always going to be close, with perhaps one or two senators leaning one way or another, but not fully committed.

Meanwhile, opponents in both chambers used several procedural motions to derail the votes. House members yielded their time from member to member in an attempt to control the debate and even moved to break up the governor's amendments into separate votes. While that succeeded, all four passed. The bill then moved down the hall where Senator John Edwards (D-21) challenged the germaneness of the governor’s amendments. When Lt. Governor Bolling ruled them in order, opponents attempted to overturn the decision by a floor vote, but lost 21-19 (see vote).

After intense debate, the Senate voted 20-20, with all 18 Republicans and pro-life Democrats Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phillip Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) voting yes. Interestingly, Senator Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), who voted to sustain Lt. Governor Bolling's ruling, voted no. When the clerk read the result, The LG decisively announced that "The chair votes aye." Thus, the making of a law (see vote).

Despite the late vote, an early morning event may have had the most impact — the first ever meeting of the Virginia Legislative Prayer Caucus (more on the LPC in a future post). More than 500 Virginians, including many delegates and senators of both parties, gathered at the steps of the historic capitol to pray for God to shower His blessings on our Commonwealth. As Governor McDonnell reminded attendees, Matthew 19:26 says, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

The Family Foundation gives its overwhelming appreciation to Governor McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bolling, all 20 Senators who voted for this pro-life amendment, and to all who contacted their senator to urge their support. If you don't think this has the grassroots excited, see our Facebook page!

While Some May Want A Truce On Social Issues, Governor McDonnell Says Press On

While some Republicans, in Virginia and nationally, think the time has come and passed on "social issues" (i.e., preserving life and marriage), and that elections can be won only from the "center," Governor Bob McDonnell has some news for you. Social issues matter and they are worth the fight. Charlottesville television station NBC29's RichmondReport conducted an interview (read here) with the governor and posted the video online today. He was asked if there should be a "truce on social issues," perhaps in response to Indiana governor and potential GOP presidential candidate Mitch Daniels, who created headlines last year when he said there should be a "truce" on social issues (i.e., throw in the towel, traditional marriage supporters and pro-lifers). Last week, Governor Daniels reiterated that position unapologetically in The Hill.

Equally unequivocal, Governor McDonnell said that while people tend to think first about jobs and fiscal issues during a tough economy, there are certain issues that must always be discussed because they go to the core of our founding, most especially life. He added that issues regarding the family are a significant aspect of public policy and government has a place in looking for solutions to problems affecting families and in making them stronger.

From the interview:

I believe that’s very much what the focus ought to be on right now, but to say we’re not going to discuss any social or values issues because they’re controversial, I don’t think is the right thing to do. ...

There are (issues) regarding life and marriage and family that there are public policies that I think the government needs to set. ...

No truce here, carry on: Governor McDonnell affirms the importance of life, marriage and other "social issues" in public policy that some politicians prefer to ignore.

Quote Of The Day: Defining (And Repealing) Washington, D.C.

This morning the House Privileges and Elections Committee voted to report the Repeal Amendment (HJ 542) to the floor by a vote of 15-7. All 14 Republicans were joined by one Democrat, Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth). The resolution is patroned by Delegate James LeMunyon (R-67, Chantilly) and is heavily supported by House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg), did not go through sub-committee. It was the only legislation heard in the committee and discussion lasted more than an hour — some of it enlightening and, inevitably, some very disappointing, including opponents' injection of race into the debate. While opposition lawmakers tried to raise incendiary, irrelevant and inconsistent points, committee proponents and a plethora of witnesses (including The Family Foundationunderlined the necessity of rebalancing power with Washington, D.C., and the necessary re-establishment of our founding system of federalism. That's where we get our Quote of the Day, from Delegate Bill Janis (R-56, Henrico).

Responding to Delegate Mark Sickles' (D-43, Fairfax) contention that while Washington, D.C., doesn't do things efficiently, much less perfectly, it eventually gets it right, Delegate Janis replied, in part:

Washington, D.C., is 100 acres of fantasy land surrounded by reality.  

The Repeal Amendment should be on the House floor early next week. If passed, it will go to the Senate where a version there was defeated earlier this week. The amendment, if approved by three-fourths of the states, would authorize a constitutional convention to adopt the Repeal Amendment into the U.S. Constitution. The Repeal Amendment would, with two-thirds of the states concurring, repeal any federal law or regulation in U.S. Code.

Representative Rigell Endorses Stuart For 91st HOD Seat

Recently elected U.S. Representative Scott Rigell, from Virginia's second Congressional district, has wasted no time in using his newly gained prestige by endorsing Hampton City Councilman Chris Stuart today for the 91st district House of Delegates seat which opened with the retirement of Tom Gear in late December. The GOP will nominate its candidate in a canvas Tuesday, January 18. The special election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 8. Also running for the GOP nomination are Teresa Vanasse Schmidt, a day-care assistant director from Hampton; attorney Chad Green, the second vice-chairman of the York County Republican Committee; and Poquoson Mayor Gordon C. Helsel, Jr., made it four when he threw his hat into the ring last Thursday (see The Daily Press). Gear is backing Schmidt for his old seat.

In a statement, Rigell said:

Republicans have four fine candidates running to fill the seat vacated by my friend, Tom Gear, in the Virginia House of Delegates. All would make fine Delegates, but I am personally supporting . . . Chris Stuart. Chris is a proven job creator and a respected leader in our community and I believe he is the right candidate to fight for our shared conservative values in Richmond. Chris is committed to fighting for lower taxes and less regulation. ...

Special Election Set For 91st District House Seat

Governor Bob McDonnell today set March 8 as the date for the special election to fill the 91st district House of Delegates seat suddenly vacated last week when Delegate Tom Gear (R-Hampton) resigned for health reasons. Delegate Gear's multiple sclerosis is worsening and his wife and sister both have cancer (see Rosalind Helderman at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog). That date ensures that 91st district voters will not be represented in the House of Delegates this 46-day session. The earliest the election could have been set, by law, was 45 days after Delegate Gear's resignation.  We will miss Delegate Gear. Quick witted and always genial, his great sense of humor frequently was on display, especially in the small chat world of General Assembly Building elevators and waiting areas, and often timely to relieve certain stress over upcoming committee votes those elevators were taking us to. An unwavering conservative, he is a public servant committed to principle. We wish him and his loved ones well and the restoration of their health.

Of course,  just because he resigned doesn't mean he's gone inactive. There are three Republicans running to succeed him in a largely GOP district (no word on whether the Democrats will field a candidate) and he's already thrown his endorsement to Teresa Vanasse Schmidt, a day-care assistant director from Hampton, calling her "a rock-solid conservative. She's pro-life. She's big on the Second Amendment. And she doesn't believe in raising taxes" (see the Post). 

Also running are Hampton City Councilman Chris Stuart, who owns a security company, and attorney Chad Green, the second vice-chairman of the York County Republican Committee. Stuart today released a statement announcing that he is the first of the three to sign the Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" which states that a candidate will never vote for a tax increase.

VA-5 Update: Perriello Behind Clark Mailers?

The sadly ironic touch to Democrat Congressman Jim Moran calling his 8th district Republican opponent Patrick Murray a "strawman" is that it has been documented that liberals have, in fact, set up "independent TEA Party backed" candidates to draw away votes from Republicans. There are documented cases in Florida and elsewhere, including, apparently in Virginia — particularly in the Southwest's 9th Congressional district and in the Southside-Central 5th Congressional district. While Jeff Clark polls around 1 percent, incumbent Democrat Congressman Tom Perriello has run television ads promoting Clark as the true conservative in the race to blunt Republican Robert Hurt's appeal to independent voters. (Unfortunately, most media have played along the last three months, prefacing his name with "TEA Party backed.") 

While Mr. Perriello has acknowledged paying for those ads per the law, direct mail pieces promoting Clark without a disclaimer have flooded the district (see Danville Register & Bee). But a little detective work has uncovered some telling clues as from where they originated — namely, that the bulk mail permit is the same as that of the Maryland company that handles Mr. Perriello's constituent newsletter.

The pieces also have a union label and the company in question is a union shop. Don't think too many Virginia TEA Party candidates are using Maryland union shops for their direct mail campaigns (read the evidence here).

Any mailer or advertising without a disclaimer is afoul of election law. We thought liberals were all for campaign finance and disclosure reform? Surely, it's a last ditch desperation roll of the dice for Mr. Perriello. Win or lose, his campaign should be investigated for his double standard if not for potential illegalities.

Ad Of The Year?

This ad by Citizens Against Government Waste is getting rave reviews by people of all political stripes. It scored in the 90s among Republicans and around 75 among Democrats in a Dr. Frank Luntz focus group, the highest ever bipartisan approval he's ever seen for a political ad. It goes to show how massive, incomprehensible debt (in the multi trillions of dollars)scares everyone but the most left wing of the electorate — and rightly so. If all good humor must contain at least a grain of truth, then all credible looks into the future must have a seed of realism, which is why this ad soars — unlike the futuristic dud produced recently by the left wing pressure group MoveOn.org (starring a big name Hollywood actress, no less). It also may be a metaphor for this election.

It's no longer Halloween, but consider this our horror story for the ocassion. Released on October 20, already nearly 900,000 people have viewed it. Will it scare people across the country to the polls?

 Not so nutty Chinese professor. What would've seemed impossible a a few years ago will be on our door step shortly if we don't elect the leaders who will take corrective action now. 

When Obama Speaks, Who Do You Call To Respond? Our Gala Speaker, Mike Pence

We've mentioned several times recently that Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) is a rising national conservative star and leader. Many tout him as a 2012 presidential candidate and he is the third ranking GOP member of the House, in line to become the majority whip if the Republicans win the House majority in November. He also happens to be the keynote speaker at The Family Foundation's 25th Anniversary Celebration Gala on October 9 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. (See video invite featuring Congressman Pence, here.) There is no greater evidence of his standing and stature in the national media and political realm than this: Friday morning after the Labor Department released yet another sad employment number (9.6 percent unemployment rate) and President Obama's sadder still rationalization and fantasy land pronouncement that the economy is improving, it was Representative Pence who was the in-demand speaker to articulate the opposition view.

Here is the Fox News Channel interview with Congressman Pence that aired live immediately after the president's propaganda show:

Voice of the opposition: Congressman Mike Pence takes the lead in providing right reason to the Obama-Reid-Pelosi regime program of failure. See for yourself why he commands so much national media attention at our 25th Anniversary Celebration Gala on October 9 in Richmond.

Obama's August Surprise: Forgiving Mortgage Payments?

Sinking in the polls and facing the largest wave election since 1946 (a GOP gain of 55 House and 12 Senate seats, see Ashbrook.org), the Obama administration reportedly isn't waiting for October. Instead, as several sources report, the president is planning an August surprise and deal a "fairness card" (again, turning the language on its head); a Main Street bailout rather than a Wall Street bailout (which he engineered, though he blames it on Republicans). The reported plan is that Barack Obama will instruct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which he the federal government now owns, to forgive up to 20 percent of underwater mortgage balances (see Liz Peek wowOwow's sheconomics blog). Forget redistribution of wealth and spreading the wealth around. Just outright order it to be given away. 

As usual with this misguided regime, there's a better idea. Writes Capitol Securities Management Chief Economic Strategist and Managing Director Kent Engelke in his daily Early Morning Commentary today:    

There are rumors that on or about August 17 the Administration will propose up to a 20% deduction of any Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae or FHA mortgages balances that are underwater. In my view this would cause a political firestorm on both sides of the political aisle.

Instead of taking this radical step, I propose the doubling or tripling of the mortgage interest deduction for all home owners for the next two years. Yes this change would create a revenue shortfall but it will increase the monies in consumer’s pockets which should in turn increase housing prices and stimulate economic demand.

Engelke notes that such tax credits have worked in stemming, or even turning around, previous bubble-caused crises. For example, about eight years ago, the Congress and president approved an "accelerated depreciation schedule for many capital expenditure items purchased between 2001 and 2003," which accelerated the recovery in the aftermath of the dotcom bubble. 

Something needs to be done — and fast. Families are hurting. Weekly unemployment claims jumped again today, even above an upward revision of last week's increase (CNNMoney.com)! Yet, the only answers — all devastatingly wrong — from Washington's liberal, left-wing leadership are more taxes, more borrowing and blowing it all on redistributionist themes. Remember when Nancy Pelosi said unemployment benefits create jobs? (See Neil Braithwaite at American Thinker.)  This new plan exceeds that.

Forget those who struggle and play by the rules and make their payments. Those who don't apparently will just get it for free, except that nothing is free. Instead, homeowners, already struggling, will have to pay twice.

Virginia News Stand: May 20, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Left Over The Long Term

Remember Tim Kaine? Barely? Yeah, that's him. He's in the news today, throwing it down at the Republicans. As we say in sports, that's why we play the game. In other news, the guy who succeeded Mr. Kaine, Governor Bob McDonnell, appointed a Family Foundation alumnus to his administration while arrogant academics scream foul at Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Also, the AG speaks frankly about what's at stake in the legal battle over the government takeover of health care. Meanwhile, Mark Preston and Dick Morris, in Analysis, get the gold medal in telepathy today with almost identical headlines. You'll have to read their columns to see if they are on the same wavelength about the midterm elections. Christopher Adamo adds his two bits in Commentary.

But there's more to scare liberals than pending elections. Education reform and freedom is gaining more momentum, yet the Left stubbornly resists to a long-failed ideology and continues to pander to unions. Joshua Mercer at CatholicVoteAction Blog comments on a Michael Steele op-ed and the we also posted the op-ed itself. Worse yet for the Left, long term, the pro-life movement looks bright. More and more young people are involved as the pro-abortion crowd dwindles in numbers and energy — a victim of age and technology. David Bass at The American Spectator explains.

News

*McDonnell announces appointments (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine: Democrats will hold congressional majorities (Richmond Times-Dispatch

Cuccinelli: Federalism itself is at stake in health care debate (Woodbridge/Manassas News & Messenger)

Cuccinelli’s demand for U.Va. decried (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Academics fight Cuccinelli's call for climate-change records (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

National News

GOP stops $40 billion in future spending for science bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Senators press for National Guard troops on border (AP/GOPUSA.com)

'Modifying' Miranda modifies the political debate (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Senate fails to end debate on bank regulation bill (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama ramps up criticism of Ariz. immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

Open season on political incumbents (Mark Preston/CNN.com)

Open Season on Incumbents (Dick Morris/GOPUSA.com)

The Golden Age of Centrism Wasn't So Golden (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Pro-Choice Twilight Years (David N. Bass/The American Spectator AmSpecBlog)

Another Judicial Power Grab (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Steele: Democrats fail on school program (Michael Steele/CNN.com)

Michael Steele slams Obama for killing DC voucher program (Joshua Mercer/CatholicVoteAction Blog)

Immigration and Liberty (Walter E. Williams/GOPUSA.com

May Primaries And The Coming Electoral Tsunami (Christopher G. Adamo/GOPUSA.com)

Merry Christmas To Liberals; Merry Christmas To Conservatives

An e-mail greeting for Christmas wishes or holiday hum-drum, depending on your political persuasion, that we couldn't resist passing on, from our friends Jim Hoeft and the gang at BearingDrift.com

Subject: Merry Christmas from your friends at Bearing Drift

To all our Democrat Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere.

Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To our Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Virginia News Stand: December 15, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Bringing Back The Car Tax?

Governor Tim Kaine is yanking the commonwealth's collective chain on whether he will propose re-instituting the car tax in his last budget. Will he or won't he? We'll know Friday when he releases it. Republicans, from Governor-elect Bob McDonnell on down, say they will not go along. Meanwhile, the GOP's sixth House of Delegates seat pickup is official as Ron Villanueva maintained his 16 vote lead in a recount. Speaking of the House, the pre-filing deadline for legislation has brought in a pile of bills and the Washington Times has a preview of some early newsworthy favorites come January. Over in the national House, the Washington Post reports that Dems are fretting over another crush — a crush of retirements that may throw up into the air the issue of control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.

News:

Kaine coy about plans for car tax (Northern Virginia Daily)

Dems on McDonnell advisers list: I'm doing what now? (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Pre-filing allowing avalanche of new bills (Washington Times)

It's official: Villanueva wins close election in Virginia Beach (The Daily Press)

Villanueva winner of 21st District seat in Va. Beach recount (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Conservatives launch PACs to grab for Tea Party cash (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

State fines disappearing candidate (WVEC.com/WVEC-TV)

National:

House Democrats lose fourth member to retirement (Washington Post)

When 'real world data' fails (OneNewsNow.com)

Family group uneasy with FCC appointee (OneNewsNow.com)

FAIR to fight 'ridiculous' amnesty bill (OneNewsNow.com)

Obama to work to solidify support for health bill (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Commentary:

Chinese official pushes 'one child' policy in Copenhagen (Matt Friedeman/Rightly Concerned Blog)

'Religious Test' — Belong to a Particular Denomination (Bryan Fischer/Focal Point, Rightly Concerned Blog

Muslim followers of Jesus? (Matt Friedeman/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Dave Marsden Now Is A Low Tax Guy?

It may be December, and it may be a one month campaign, but it's already a hot one in the 37th Senate District special election (to be held January 12) to fill the seat of Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. It was guaranteed to be so from the beginning: The Dems think the seat belongs to them because of they way Fairfax County has trended recently. As the number one targeted Republican in 2007, they thought they had Cuccinelli dead in their sights, but he escaped with a victory of less than 100 votes. (Now, he's attorney general, surely to endless liberal heartburn, mental anguish, knashing of teeth and sleepless nights.) But a Democrat victory now would be a welcome buttress to its current one seat firewall against GOP policy initiatives.

However, the climate is much different now. The GOP did very well in Fairfax in November and has momentum and the weight of landslide victors Governor-elect Bob McDonnell and re-elected Lt. Governor Bill Bolling as well as Cuccinelli behind its nominee, Stephen Hunt. Hunt has been elected county wide before (to the Fairfax County School Board), while the best the Demscould come up with is Delegate Dave Marsden (D-41, Fairfax), who barely won re-election in November to his House seat, which partially overlaps the Senate district.

But it's not only a matter of a changed political atmosphere, but also Marsden's residency, at least for now. He doesn't live in the district, but a couple of weeks ago took up in a room in a friend's house that is in the district (see Washington Times).

But political climate and residency aren't the only things that have changed. Now, Delegate Marsden claims to be a low-tax guy. Talk about reading political tea leaves, or at least election results. In a recent direct mail piece, Delegate Marsden stakes out the low-tax mantle, claiming he will  "Hold the line on taxes," although he has consistently voted for numerous tax increases in the House of Delegates, including this $2 billion increase (click here) in 2008. It would have raised taxes on car and home purchases (just what we need in a recession) and encouraged a Northern Virginia sales tax increase.

When voters ask for change, residency and glossing over voting records isn't what they have in mind. Virginia Democrats won several elections in Virginia prior to November by basically saying, "We're not Republicans." Now, facing a statewide catastrophe, they have to say who they are, for once. According to the mailer released by Delegate Marsden, they still aren't.

Education Study Provides More Ammunition For Much Needed Reform

Here are more telling details from the education choice polling data and study of which we were a party and released yesterday: Paul DiPerna, research director for The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, wrote in his study that the research indicates:

a major disconnect between Virginia's schooling preferences and actual school enrollments. ... As in other states where we have surveyed, the implication of these results is that Virginia does not have a sufficient school choice system in place to match parents' schooling preferences. (See the entire report here.)

The survey polled 1,203 likely voters and was conducted from October 1-4. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.8 percent points. (See today's Richmond Times-Dispatch for coverage of yesterday's study release news conference.) The results illustrate the vast support in Virginia for a program of income tax credits for donations to scholarship foundations that, in turn, provide funds to qualifying students to attend a school of their choice instead of an assigned public school.

Of course, common sense and public opinion never guarantee a thing, and this issue is living proof — for years the General Assembly has refused to pass legislation to enable such foundations to fully unleash their potential to provide more students better education options. But the results of this study will be a much needed resupply of ammunition that we and several partner organizations will use this coming session and beyond. For example:

» 65 percent of Virginians support tax-credit scholarships, while only 22 percent oppose.

» 57 percent of Virginians favor school vouchers, while only 35 percent oppose.

Even when broken down by party affiliation, Virginians strongly support tax-credit scholarships and vouchers:

» 64 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of independents support tax-credit scholarships.

» 53 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of independents support school vouchers.

» 81 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of independents support special needs school vouchers.

Additionally, the favor-oppose margins are large among the parties:

» On tax-credit scholarships, it's +43 among Democrats, +46 among Republicans and +44 among independents.

» On school vouchers, it's +15 among Democrats, +39 among Republicans and +22 among independents.

» On special needs school vouchers, it's +67 among Democrats, +64 among Republicans and +60 among independents.

Education reform will be an issue to watch this session. With school choice a major issue in the recent campaign and a new philosophy at the helm of state government, sound ideas, such as those Virginians overwhelmingly support in this study, may have their best chance in years to get a much needed foothold in Virginia's education system.

New State Poll: Virginians Overwhelmingly Favor Education Choice

We are part of a wide-ranging coalition of organizations that earlier today released results of a statewide poll and a study on education choice in Virginia. Among our release partners are School Choice Virginia, the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of AmericaVerizon Virginia, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, The Lexington Institute, the Virginia Council for Private Education and Markel Corporation. From corporations to think tanks to religious organizations and minority advocacy groups — all agree: Virginia needs vastly more options in education that it currently provides.     The poll was conducted in October by Braun Research, Inc., and an accompanying study was authored by Paul DiPerna of The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. While it shows that while Virginians support public schools, it also shows they overwhelmingly support education freedom and choice, something clearly lacking in the commonwealth right now. (For example, Virginia only has four charter schools.)

Survey highlights include:

» Broad support among Democrats, Republicans and Independents for tax-credit scholarship programs and school vouchers.

» 64 percent of Democrats support for tax-credit scholarships.

» 53 percent support school vouchers.

» They are more likely to favor, rather than oppose, these policies by +43 percentage points and +15 percentage points, respectively.

Also, these stats are sure to blow away the educrats:

» While the survey found that 62 percent of Virginians believe the public school system is "good" or "excellent," when given the choice between sending their child to a public school or an alternative (private, charter or homeschooling) 54 percent said they would choose the alternative.

» Among parents whose children attend Virginia public schools, 40 percent would keep their children there while 39 percent would choose an alternative. (Currently, 90 percent of Virginia’s school children attend public schools.)

Poor educrat monopolists! No one wants to be entrapped by their product. When will government learn that people want choice. Choice is natural and instinctive. It breeds competition and produces better products and services. So when given a choice, people prefer choice to that which is state-run. See the complete survey and study here.

Virginia News Stand: November 12, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Slow Time

It's a slow political news cycle this time of year, especially right after a gangbusters election, as things settle down. Soon, however, it will be special election time in Fairfax and Virginia Beach for two Virginia Senate seats (vacated by the elections of Ken Cuccinelli to attorney general and Ken Stolle to Virginia Beach Sheriff). It's becoming more likely that the new senator from Virginia Beach will be the Republican nominee since the Democrats can't seem to find a candidate. Bob McDonnell will show his bipartisan stripes and meet with House Democrats, while Ron Villanueva gains another vote in his bid to keep said Dems one seat fewer.

Nationally, the AP reports 10 states face looming budget disasters, while U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is seeking a huge tax increase to pay for the health care bill. Who thinks things will get better soon? Meanwhile, Walter E. Williams is on target as ever in his column about contempt for the constitution, Christopher Adamo offers the GOP lessons from the New York special Congressional election, and Bobby Eberle tells RNC Chairman Michael Steele to knock off the irresponsible racial talk.  

News:

McDonnell to meet with House Democratic Caucus (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Beach electoral board finds extra vote for Villanueva (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Two Republicans run for Stolle's seat; another Democrat out (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

'Jane Roe' honored at LU pro-life conference (Lynchburg News & Advance)

National News:

A Year Out, Widespread Anti-Incumbent Sentiment (Pew Research Center for the People & the Press)

Reid eyes payroll tax hike to pay for health care (AP/GOPUSA.com

Report: 10 states face looming budget disasters (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

History Is Calling — Will Obama Answer? (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Constitutional Contempt (Walter E. Williams/GOPUSA.com)

We Win, They Lose (Lisa Fabrizio/GOPUSA.com)

Blind Diversity Equals Death (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Lessons Learned From New York District 23 (Christopher Adamo/GOPUSA.com)

Bridging the Racial Divide Takes a Bridge, not a Chainsaw (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

No More Career Politicians! (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: November 11, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations "Stylistic" Election Coverage

The Communications Department didn't come up with much from conventional news sources today, but I dug around and found, in of all places, in-depth election coverage and post mortems from Richmond's too-old-to-be-hip-anymore weekly freebie, Style Weekly, which now delves into the business of the serious. It's done a decent job, too. Of particular interest are the hat-tips to Republicans by Democrat guru-strategist Paul Goldman and the whining of Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Equality Virginia's lobbyist. University of Richmond Professor Daniel Palazzolo harangues Governor Tim Kaine and Scott Bass gets about half of it right. It's funny when liberals try to manipulate conservative mandates by telling us what they want the results to mean is fact, and then fratricidally turn on themselves (a sure sign that their interpretation of the results is a disingenuous attempt to water down the victory).

Elsewhere, Republican Ron Villanueva was declared the winner in the closest House of Delegates race, but it's only one step toward resolution, and will go on still longer, for sure. Attorney General Bill Mims is doing what all former attorneys general do (especially those who fill out a term of an elected one), and that is sign on with a big bucks power law law firm, while Senator Edd Houck (D-17, Spottsylvania) makes the news for the second day on the trot, describing a dour picture of state funding to localities. Nationally, the Washington Post reports that pro-abortion activists are trying to muzzle the free speech rights of pro-life clinics and information centers.

News:

Misaligned: How Virginia Democrats overestimated the power of Obama and underestimated the importance of independent voters. (Style Weekly)

Villanueva declared winner in 21st District race (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Houck paints dire budget picture to city and Spotsy (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Attorney General to join Hunton and Williams (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine Takes a Hike (Style Weekly)

National News:

Disclaimer proposed for anti-abortion clinics (Washington Post)

Analysis:

McDonnell, Picture Perfect (Paul Goldman/Style Weekly)

Presumptive Politics (Paul Goldman/Style Weekly)

McDonnell's Power Surge (Scott Bass/Style Weekly)

Democratic Downers (Margaret Edds/Style Weekly)

Commentary:

Shilling For Bob (Claire Guthrie Gastañaga/Style Weekly)

Losing Legacy (Daniel Palazzolo/Style Weekly)

Editorial Comics:

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Glenn Foden/Townhall.com)

"A Year Later . . ." (Scott Stantis/Townhall.com)

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Virginia News Stand: November 10, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Houck Not Going Anywhere

The hot rumor going around was that Senator Edd Houck (D-17, Spottsylvania) would accept a job in the new McDonnell administration, thus opening up a potential re-take of the Senate by Republicans by winning that seat in a special election. Democrats hold a one seat majority in the chamber, but a tie would flip it back to the GOP because of the re-election of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. However, Senator Houck has dampened that speculation in today's Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.

In other news, Senator Robert Hurt (R-19, Chatham) has hired Chris LaCivita as his consultant in the crowded 5th Congressional District Republican nomination campaign. LaCivita, formerly a consultant to former Governor George Allen, is most noted for running the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry, and is fresh off Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli's landslide victory. Those who hire LaCivita mean to win. Elsewhere, a Democrat big gun is brought in for the recount in the 21st House of Delegates district election (where Republican Ron Villanueva defeated incumbent Democrat Bobby Mathieson); the effect of the Liberty University student vote is looked at in the 23rd district campaign (where Republican Scott Garrett defeated incumbent Democrat Shannon Valentine); and Public Opinion Strategies offers insights into the Obama affect in the Virginia campaign. But mainly, we're happy to bring back editorial comics to the News Stand.  

News:

Houck: No plan to leave (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

McDonnell disagrees with study on trimming tax breaks (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Falwell says he's 'surprised' by election results (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Counting in disputed 21st District race to resume at noon (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Al Gore's Attorney helps Mathieson (BearingDrift.com)

Hurt signs up LaCivita (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Population, inflation fuel 10-year budget growth in Va. (Washington Post)

Analysis:

Don't Tell Anyone, But Obama Hurt Deeds in Virginia (Public Opinion Strategies/TQIA Blog)

Commentary:

Are Republicans too giddy? (Julian E. Zelizer/CNN.com)

Editorial Comics:

"Wahtchya doing?" (Eric Allie/Townhall.com)

"DrainO" (Nate Beeler/Townhall.com)

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Virginia News Stand: November 9, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Sunday Talk Shows And A Special Time Of Year

Governor-elect Bob McDonnell is still basking in the electoral landslide after glow, already a national figure, as he made the Sunday national talk show circuit yesterday. Meanwhile, the media is busy outlining what it thinks will be his challenges and goals starting in January. But . . . we're not done with campaigning, yet. Two major special elections are forthcoming: One, in Fairfax, to fill the seat of Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli, and one to fill the seat of Senator Ken Stolle, elected last week as Virginia Beach Sheriff. The Washington Post's Virginia Politics Blog has much of the scoop on the former. 

While there are plenty of Republicans who are seeking the position, the Democrats can't find one. At least one who lives in the district. Party leaders leaned on Janet Oleszek, who bumblingly opposed Cuccinelli in 2007, not to run again. It looks like Delegate Dave Marsden (D-41, Fairfax) will run, but he doesn't live in the district, and it's not like he won so convincingly last week. Voter fatigue may be the biggest factor in both of the special elections.

News:

McDonnell opposes Va. participation in health-care bill's public option (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obstacles await McDonnell administration (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Governor-elect McDonnell: Putting his plan in motion (Roanoke Times)

McDonnell on Sunday morning talk shows (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell pegs his win to Va. issues, not national (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Va. unlikely to put charter schools on fast track (Washington Post)

GOP hopes to keep Cuccinelli's seat (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Oleszek and Bulova out for senate, Marsden possibly in for Cuccinelli seat (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Republicans still hard-pressed for minority support (Washington Post)

After bad fall, Democrats looking to bounce back (Washington Post)

Weakened Virginia Democrats seek strategy for comeback (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National:

Abortion an obstacle to health-care bill (Washington Post)

Commentary:

Governing with 2013 in mind (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)