Robert Hurt

BREAKING: Stanley Claims Victory In 19th Senate District Special Election

Republican Bill Stanley a few minutes ago claimed victory to the Virginia Senate in a special election to fill the 19th district seat vacated by fellow Republican and now-U.S. Representative Robert Hurt. His win keeps the Senate at a 22-18 Democrat advantage. Here is Stanley's statement:

Our two-month campaign for Senate was an effort to ensure that the people of the 19th District continue to receive a strong voice in Richmond that represents their values and their concerns. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers and supporters across the district who took our message to heart, this effort was successful. Without their hard work and dedication, our victory would not have been possible.

I congratulate my opponent, Hank Davis, on running an admirable, spirited campaign that focused on issues most important to the citizens of the 19th Senate District, and thank him for his long and dedicated service to the people of Pittsylvania County.

I am humbled to have the privilege of serving my friends and neighbors in the 19th Virginia Senate District. Now comes the important work of government, and I look forward to my immediate trip to Richmond to begin work with my colleagues and Governor McDonnell to help create more jobs, and increase prosperity and long-term economic opportunity that the 19th District so badly needs.

As Senator I will keep my promise to focus on bringing jobs to our area by opposing higher taxes, cutting spending and excessive regulation, and promoting a limited, efficient, and responsive state government. Most importantly, I look forward to responding to the concerns of the citizens of the 19th District and dutifully representing them in our State Capitol.

Voter Guides Available Online For January 11 Special Elections For 19th District Senate, 8th House District House Seats

Our sister organization, Family Foundation Action, has printed and put online voter guides for the January 11 special elections to fill the Virginia Senate and House seats vacated by the Congressional election victories of Republicans Robert Hurt and Morgan Griffith, respectively. The elections are in the 19th Senate district and the 8th House district. The Senate district includes Danville, Franklin, Pittsylvania and part of Campbell County. The House district includes Salem and part of Roanoke. (Click here to find out  if you live in either one.) The candidates for the Senate seat are Republican Bill Stanley and Democrat Hank Davis. The voter guide for that election can be viewed by clicking here.

The candidates for the House seat are Republican Greg Habeeb and Democrat Ginger Mumpower. The voter guide for that election is available here

Both voter guides may printed and distributed or linked to social media sites or forwarded to friends via e-mail. To get hard copies, contact The Family Foundation at 804-343-0010. In addition, you may share or forward this link via social media sites or via e-mail.

Post: Griffith And Hurt Land Key Committee Assignments, Rigell Awaits Armed Services

According to Ben Pershing a little while ago at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog, Virginia freshmen GOP Representatives Morgan Griffith (VA-09) and Robert Hurt (VA-05) will land on two key committees: Energy and Commerce and Financial Services, respectively. While liberal soon-to-be former Representative Rick Boucher, whom Griffith defeated, served on Energy and Commerce, no Virginia member currently sits on the equally powerful Financial Services committee, making that a huge score for Hurt. On the downside, he'll have to put up with Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who will assume the position of ranking member (see Housing Wire) after four disastrous years as its chairman. Freshmen appointments to both committees is unusual (even Boucher had to wait a few terms before his gig started). The news especially was welcome for Hurt who made national headlines last month at the every-two-year-ritual House office lottery for freshman, where he had the misfortune of drawing the highest number and, therefore, the least desirable office space (see Jake Gibson at FoxNews.com). He needed the office karma of Kirk Cox. As for Virginia's other freshman GOP House member, Scott Rigell (VA-02) is awaiting, but expected to get, a spot on the Armed Services Committee, an assignment Virginians from either party from that district almost always get because of the large military presence in Hampton Roads.

Conservative Enters Race For Hurt Seat

Last night it was announced that RENEWANATION president Melvin Adams will seek the Republican nomination to replace state Senator Robert Hurt in the 19th Senate district. Adams plans a formal announcement in Roanoke this Friday.

Three others have already floated their names or signaled their intentions to enter the race: Attorney Bill Stanley, Danville city councilman Fred Shanks and Pittsylvania Republican Committee Chair Brenda Bowman.

Breaking: Bill Stanley To Seek Virginia Senate Seat To Be Vacated By Robert Hurt

This just in, via Jim Hoeft at Bearing Drift: Fifth District Republican Chairman Bill Stanley will seek the party's nomination for the 19th district Virginia Senate seat that will become open once Congressman-elect Robert Hurt officially resigns to assume his new office. Governor Bob McDonnell will call a special election at that time.

Bill Stanley, Chairman of the GOP’s Fifth District Congressional Committee, will be running for the State Senate to replace Congressman-elect Robert Hurt. It is our understanding that the Democrats are not fielding a candidate at this time (Update: Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Chairman Hank Davis may be interested . . . more to follow).

However, Bill is expecting at least one, if not more, names to come out for the R nod, where they expect a three week nominating process.

He also quotes sources citing Republican Delegates Danny Marshall, Don Merricks and Charles Poindexter, as well as Danville City Councilman Fred Shanks, as declining to run for different reasons. Another special election will be called to replace House of Delegates Majority Leader Morgan Griffith who was elected to Congress last night from the ninth Congressional district.

Historic Elections: But Why?

The results of yesterday's elections are historic in many obvious ways. Unlike 1994, Virginians participated in making that history by turning over three liberal incumbent members of the House of Representatives (see Washington Post), including a 28-year veteran previoulsy thought unbeatable, someone who hadn't had a competitive race in years. So we congratulate three friends of The Family Foundation who won their races yesterday and are on their way to Congress:

» Congressman-elect Morgan Griffith (Newsweek's The Gaggle blog), a 100 percent TFF voter as a member of the House of Delegates;

» Congressman-elect Robert Hurt (Danville Register & Bee), a 91 percent TFF voter as a member of the Virginia Senate; and

» Congressman-elect Scott Rigell (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), a donor to our organization.

In the 11th district, liberal incumbent Gerry Connolly has a narrow lead over conservative challenger Keith Fimian, a vote likely to be recounted (Wall Street Journal Washington Wire blog). Pending that outcome, eight of Virginia's 11 Representatives are Republican. We were pleased to participate in the voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts in these districts. Some of you may have received our GOTV phone calls over the weekend.

In some ways, though, the elections went beyond politics. While the national and state media focus on Congressional outcomes, something happened a bit below the surface that is even more historic — and perhaps longer term.

For example, at least 19 state legislative bodies, including those in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio flipped partisan control to Republicans (John Hood at National Review's The Corner blog and Ryan Beckwith at CQ Politics' The Eye blog). In fact, the North Carolina Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1870. The Alabama legislature is Republican for the first time since 1876.

I don't tell you that to trumpet Republicans, but because our sister family policy council organizations inform us that many of those elected yesterday support pro-family policies. These organizations ran campaigns similar to our Winning Matters 2009 program and saw pro-life, pro-family candidates win across the board. More important than simply electing people of one particular party, citizens in these states elected pro-family conservatives.

Possibly more telling, voters in Iowa defeated three Supreme Court judges instrumental in imposing homosexual marriage on that state against the will of the people via judicial fiat (New York Times). It is the first time since judges have been on the ballot in Iowa (1962) that they have been defeated on Election Day. Once again, when the issue of marriage is put to the people, traditional marriage wins.

Now, the question is, will the message sent by the voters yesterday carry over into next year's crucial Virginia Senate elections? Will party leaders get the message that motivates voters and give us candidates that are unapologetically pro-life and pro-family? Will Virginia follow the lead of other states that brought wholesale change to their legislatures? Will party leaders endorse incumbents for the sake of "party unity" or listen to the voters? Time will tell if they truly got the message.

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.

Poll: Mid-Term Election Predictions: How Many House Seats Will Flip In Virginia?

All signs are pointing to a large Republican victory on November 2. But how large? Will Virginia play a role? It's prediction time. Tell us how many of Virginia's six seats held by Democrats will flip to the GOP column in this mid-term election. Then, please post your comments on the campaigns and which specific candidates you think will win. Will there be a surprising upset? Will the close elections break one way or the other? Will Morgan Griffith, Keith Fimian, Robert Hurt and Scott Rigell sweep? Will Patrick Murray or Chuck Smithpull shockers? Who will win the biggest and who will squeak by? Any recounts? Give us percentages and predictions of all types. We ask. You tell us.

More Traffic Problems For Perriello?

An e-mail I read today from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about the Tom Perriello-Robert Hurt race in Virginia's 5th Congressional district, said that "Tom never met a red light he didn't like." I figured it was a reference to his illegal lane change last week in which he sideswiped another vehicle sending one woman to the hospital with minor injuries. But the e-mail included an article from Roll Call's John McArdle which began:

Besides nearly hitting a deer on the road outside Rocky Mount, running a red light in Martinsville and Republican trackers tailing him in Danville and South Boston. ...

The chamber even made a game of it, including Mr. Perriello on its Where Is Nancy? locater/blog. Here is, in part, what Chamber senior vice president for Political Affairs Bill Miller wrote:

Have you seen Nancy? She may be riding around with Congressman Perriello. After standing with Nancy on trillions of dollars in government spending, you’d think she’d show up for her tax and spend pal, Tom Perriello. He’s been spotted driving all over Virginia trying to reinvent himself and run away from his near lockstep voting record with Nancy Pelosi.

Tom never met a red light he didn’t fly through in Congress, voting with Nancy Pelosi on government run health care, cap and trade and the reckless budget. So if you see Tom, tell him to stop. Virginia cannot afford his reckless policies.

So, apparently, Rep. Perriello ran a red light in Martinsville, but that's the extent of what we could find. The Roll Call article mentioned nothing more of it and no other media seems to have picked up on it. The question is, how did Roll Call learn of it? Did Mr. McArdle witness it? Was it leaked to him? Did the police stop Mr. Perriello? Some might say Mr. Perriello stopped himself with his left wing voting record the last two years.

More Voter Guide Notes Re: VA-5, VA-9

Although Family Foundation Action released a voter guide only for the 11th Congressional District campaign, we thought we'd bring your attention to some information about the candidates running in the 5th and 9th Congressional districts. Voters in those districts can get information about the Democrat incumbents, Tom Perriello and Rick Boucher, by referencing their scores on the FRC Action Scorecard, which we wrote about recently (click here). Then, you can compare where they stand on the issues with their respective Republican challengers, Virginia Senator Robert Hurt and House of Delegates Majority Leader Morgan Griffith on TFF Action's General Assembly Report Card (click here). In sum, here's how it adds up:

FRC Action rates 5th District Congressmen Perriello at 12 percent for the last two years in the House of Representatives while TFF Action scored Senator Hurt at 91 percent for the last two sessions of the General Assembly.

FRC Action rates 9th District Congressman Rick Boucher at 25 percent, while TFF Action rates Delegate Griffith at 100 percent.

We report. You decide. Messrs. Perriello and Connolly received low marks on economic issues, as well, from The Club For Growth: 11 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

For direct, side-by-side comparisons of the candidates' positions on the issues, the Faith & Freedom Coalition is issuing voter guides in the 5th and 9th districts. They will be made available online next week, although copies are available now. For more information, click here.

Rep. Perriello Addresses Car Wreck

Virginia 5th District Congressman Tom Perriello, a Democrat, spoke to the media yesterday regarding the car wreck Friday night, that was first reported yesterday, in which he was charged with an improper lane change, calling it, "one of those things that can happen anywhere." The Congressman, driving a pickup, sideswiped a Ford Explorer carrying four people, it into a grassy median. A 23-year-old "banged her knee a little bit, and they insisted on taking her in" to the hospital he said. The accident occurred near Burkeville on U.S. 460 where it splits with U.S. 360. He made the remarks to the Lynchburg News & Advance editorial board and tried to downplay the incident, although he acknowledged the difficulty in that considering his position and, especially, in the stretch run of a hotly contested election.

He said he signaled, visually checked and was not distracted in any way, and no alcohol was involved according to police. He blamed the accident on a blind spot.

"It didn’t feel like that big of a deal at the time. I guess, given who I am, it should always be" treated as a news-making event, but "we exchanged insurance as you do when you hit someone else’s car."

Mr. Perriello is running against Republican Robert Hurt, a member of the Virginia Senate. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has more, here.

Rep. Perriello Charged In Car Crash

This news is making the rounds fast and furious this afternoon: Virginia 5th District U.S. Representative Tom Perriello, a freshman Democrat seeking re-election against Republican Robert Hurt, a member of the Virginia Senate, was charged with making an unsafe lane change after he caused a traffic crash Friday night in Nottoway County that injured one person. Here's the story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Rep. Tom Perriello, D-5th, was charged with making an unsafe lane change after a traffic crash Friday night in Nottoway County that injured one person.

Perriello was not hurt in the crash, and neither speed nor alcohol was considered a factor, according to Virginia State Police.

The incident happened after 8 p.m. near U.S. 460 eastbound at state Route 723, Lewiston Plank Road.

A 2005 Ford Ranger pickup truck driven by Perriello was traveling eastbound in the right lane when Perriello attempted to change lanes and struck a 1996 Ford Explorer. The Explorer ran off the roadway and into the median.

The driver of the Explorer, Sh'Vonta S. Montgomery, 26, of Crewe was not injured in the crash and was wearing her safety belt, according to police.

Montgomery had three passengers. State police said Ashley Robertson, 23, was seated behind Montgomery and was transported by ambulance to Farmville Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries.

Additional information on Robertson's injuries was not available today.

The front-seat passenger and another backseat passenger, who is under the age of 8, were not injured and both were wearing their safety belts, state police said.

Our friend Jim Hoeft, at Bearing Drift, has recreated the scene with state of the art modern technology. Worth a peak.

UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments at the T-D. Best ones so far: "I just read the police report — He blamed it all on BUSH!" and "Perriello, un-Hurt."

Polls Show Virginia GOP Within Distance Of Sweeping Four Targeted House Seats

In 1994, a year after George Allen led a historic landslide Republican victory in the Old Dominion, Virginia was, for the most part, left out of the national limelight in the even more historic national Republican wave that won the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate for the first time in more than 40years. Oliver North lost a hotly contested Senate race to Chuck Robb and the GOP picked up only one House seat (the 11th, Tom Davis) while Republicans were winning in all corners of America. Was reason given by pundits at the time was that Virginians had gotten the protest out of their system in 1993. This year, following last year's more-impressive-than-1993 Bob McDonnell-led-landslide, Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins has been fond of saying that to take back the House, the GOP needs to gain 40 seats; 10 percent of that is here in Virginia. Now, as Jim Geraghty of National Review's Campaign Spot blog writes today, polling information shows those victories may be within reach: Three Republican challengers in those four targeted districts are leading their Democrat incumbent rivals, with a fourth closing fast. Here's the breakdown:

» In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Scott Rigell leads Democrat Glenn Nye, 48.6 to 34.5 percent.

» In the 5th District, Republican Robert Hurt leads Democrat Tom Perriello, 51.1 to 34.7 percent.

» In the 11th District, Republican Keith Fimian leads Democrat Gerry Connolly, 42.2 percent to 36.7 percent.

» In the 9th District, Republican challenger Morgan Griffith is down to Democrat Rick Boucher only 42.6 to 39.7 percent. However, one poll had Boucher up by 20 points about a month back, then by only 8 points a couple of weeks ago. The recent fallout over Mr. Boucher buying a brand new Ford with campaign funds while Virginians in the Southwest part of the state are suffering particularly hard during this recession could easily factor into a quickly narrowing gap.

The rest of the respondents in each poll were undecided. Tellingly, though, the poll, conducted by ccAdvdertising, does not include independents or third parties. Although not a top tier polling outfit, the snapshot does provide a glimpse of what directions the campaigns are going and who has momentum.

Not all landslides are the same and electorates can swing back from whence they came in a very short time. But this year, Virginia Democrats have much going against them, much more so than in 1994. Many of the circumstances that drove people to the polls and to the GOP in Virginia and in blue New Jersey (and deep blue Massachusetts in January) last year are still around: Primarily, as in the case of Congressman Boucher, this:

This love is going to last, but that might not be a good thing.

And this:

He's doing fine, representing liberal special interests rather then his constituents.

Representative Perriello's Announces His Summer Town Hall Schedule

FYI, for the good folks in the 5th Congressional District: U.S Representative Tom Perreillo has released his summer town hall schedule. As with last summer, it's extensive. So, if you are concerned about the issues of the day, and his voting record, you have every opportunity to hear him for yourself, and perhaps ask him questions. Representative Perriello's re-election campaign against Republican Virginia Senator Robert Hurt will be one of the most watched House races in the country this fall (it already has the attention of Sheryl Crow). An early poll, and many pundits, believe the congressman will have a hard go to earn another two years — he won the closest House race in the country in 2008 (700-plus votes) when the tides and stars both were aligned with the Democrats, and was the beneficiary of the Obama machine's large student and new voter registration and turnout. This year, he can't count on a repeat of that and, in a naturally conservative district (his Club For Growth voting record is decidedly liberal), there's a renewed energy  among grassroots conservative activists.  

Thursday, August 5

7:30–9:30 a.m., Charlotte County Board of Supervisors Meeting Room, 250 LeGrande Avenue, Suite A, Charlotte Court House

Saturday, August 7

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Carysbrook Performing Arts Center, 8880 James Madison Highway (Hwy 15), Fork Union

Monday, August 9

7:30–9:30 a.m., The Nelson Center, 8445 Thomas Nelson Highway, Lovingston

Tuesday, August 10

7:30–9:30 a.m., Scottsville Elementary School, 7868 Scottsville Road, Scottsville

Thursday, August 12

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Buckingham County Middle School, 1184 High School Road, Buckingham

Saturday, August 14

4:00–6:00 p.m., Swartz Gymnasium, Ferrum College, 445 Ferrum Mountain Road, Ferrum

Monday, August 16

7:30–9:30 a.m., Chatham Community Center, 115 South Main Street, Chatham

Tuesday, August 17

6:00–8:00 p.m., O.T. Bonner Middle School, 300 Apollo Avenue, Danville

Wednesday, August 18

6:00–8:00 p.m., Martinsville High School, 351 Commonwealth Boulevard East, Martinsville

Thursday, August 19

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Halifax High School, 1030 Mary Bethune Street, South Boston

Friday, August 20

7:30– 9:30 a.m., Ruckersville Fire Station, 50 Sassafras Lane, Ruckersville

Monday, August 30

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Saint Paul’s College, Chicago Building, Kirby Auditorium, 115 College Drive, Lawrenceville

Tuesday, August 31

6:00–8:00 p.m., Blackwell Hall, Longwood University, 201 High Street, Farmville

Wednesday, September 1

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Mecklenburg County School Board Meeting Room, 175 Mayfield Drive, Boydton

Thursday, September 2

7:30- 9:30 a.m., Kenbridge Community Center, 511 East 5th Avenue, Kenbridge

Friday, September 3

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Cumberland Community Center, 13 Community Center Drive, Cumberland

Tuesday, September 7

6:00-8:00 p.m., MLK Performing Arts Center, 1400 Melbourne Road, Charlottesville

Friday, September 10

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Campbell County Board of Supervisors Meeting Room, Haberer Building, Board Level, 47 Courthouse Lane, Rustburg

Monday, September 13

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Bedford County Board of Supervisors Meeting Room, County Administration Building, 122 East Main Street, Bedford

One Down, 39 To Go?

Republicans need to gain 40 seats in November's midterm elections to win control of the House of Representatives. Ten percent of that goal is in Virginia, where targeted incumbent Democrats Rick Boucher (VA-9), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Glenn Nye (VA-2) and Tom Perriello (VA-5) are being challenged by House of Delegates Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, Keith Fimian, Scott Rigell and Virginia Senator Robert Hurt, respectively. Connolly, Nye and Perriello all are freshmen and Perriello may be the number one GOP target in the entire country given his razor thin victory in 2008 and the 5th's generally conservative leanings (Charlottesville Daily Progress). Perhaps no House win pleased liberals more. Now, according to a poll released yesterday by SurveyUSA for Roanoke television station WDBJ, Representative Perriello may be toast (see American Prospect's Tapped Blog and the Washington Post's Virginia Politics Blog). It shows the 5th to be a blowout already: Hurt up by a 58-35 margin (see National Review Online's Campaign Spot Blog).

While many GOP House candidates are polling well, few have the numbers that elicited a "WOW" from NRO's Jim Geraghty. Of course, polls this early can mean anything and the pros will say SurveyUSA is not a top tier pollster on the lines of Mason-Dixon or Rasmussen Reports. But, SurveyUSA was the first to poll Virginia last summer (51 weeks ago, to be exact) and it had all three statewide races right from the beginning to the very end, including double digit leads when all the more "reputable" polls showed it closer. In fact, one political pro told me the SurveyUSA results were "embarrassing," but the only people embarrassed last November were the doubters and the Democrats.

The numbers are even more astounding considering a hard fought Republican primary, a Libertarian candidate and some TEA Party dissatisfaction with Senator Hurt. (SurveyUSA breaks down its research here.) It admits it has factored Republican turnout to be much greater than Democrat turnout (not surprising since when comparing the U.Va. student drop-of from 2008, where Perriello benefited from a large Barack Obama student turnout, to 2009). However, SurveyUSA says even if it factors in a 50-50 Republican-Democrat turnout, Hurt still wins by 11 points. At this point. (Which would allow the GOP to focus on the other three seats.) But, if the trend holds, it's a remarkable sign for House Republicans — and one down and 39 to go.

Dr. Bob Holsworth Interview, Part, 2

This is the second and final installment of an interview with nationally known political scientist Dr. Bob Holsworth. The former Virginia Commonwealth University dean is a regular commentator on Virginia and national politics. His writes for national and state publications, as well as on his widely read blog, Virginia Tomorrow, and is a frequent guest on television and radio. He also is an in-demand public speaker and heads his own consultancy. In yesterday's first installment, we covered the current session of the General Assembly and touched on national politics. Today, we look at Virginia's version of health care legislation, the upcoming 2010 mid-term elections, discuss U.S. Senator Jim Webb's 2012 prospects, and examine the Tea Party movement in Virginia. FamilyFoundationBlog: Which is the most interesting GOP Congressional District nominating contest — the 5th, 2nd or 11th — and why? How do you see those campaigns playing out?

Dr. Bob Holsworth: All of these races are very interesting because each of them is competitive. The number of entrants indicate that Republicans believe that 2010 may be a once in a generation opportunity, a year that could potentially rival 1994 in terms of GOP success. At the moment, the battle for the 5th District nomination to challenge Tom Perriello might be the most fascinating, if only because of the number of forces that are, or potentially are, in play, including ones that may have national implications.

There's Robert Hurt, a highly respected member of the Senate who has considerable support from the party's national establishment, but who is also being challenged largely by a set of conservative activists who maintain that Hurt has not been sufficiently supportive of low-tax, small government principles. One question that is being raised is whether the anti-Hurt forces will actually coalesce behind a single candidate or divide their vote in a primary? Recently, things have even gotten more complicated. At least one of the candidates currently in the nomination contest says that he is considering dropping out and running as an independent.

Moreover, Virgil Goode has said that he has not made up his mind about a possible challenge and could even run as an independent Republican. A poll out today says that in a three way race between Hurt, Perriello, and Goode, the former Congressman is in a tie with Perriello with Hurt running third. In any event, I think that a lot of national media will be looking at the 5th to see if the GOP can negotiate its internal tensions productively, something that will have to achieved if a candidate who is hard working and energetic as Tom Perriello is to be defeated.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Is there a credible Republican candidate in the wings to challenge Rick Boucher in the 9th Congressional District? Is Representative Boucher vulnerable?

Dr. Holsworth: It is usually very, very difficult to defeat a long-term incumbent such as Rick Boucher who has been widely applauded for his constituent service, even if a number of his votes may not be consistent with majority views in his district. But if there is a year in which Boucher is vulnerable, 2010 may be it. The problem for the GOP here is very different than in the 2nd, 5th and 11th — it's not clear that the Republicans can recruit a strong challenger. Terry Kilgore and William Wampler have said no, though Eric Cantor was in town yesterday to see if "No" really means "No." Morgan Griffith has said, however, that he is seriously considering entering the contest. If he does, he'll be a formidable challenger — he's tough, politically very skilled, and a very hard worker. But even with Griffith, this would be a tough race, because Boucher has built up a lot of support in the localities that make up the district. But if Morgan enters, it'll be a great race.

FamilyFoundationBlog: How do you see the Tea Party movement in Virginia? Are these people disgruntled conservatives who normally vote Republican showing displeasure at the party (and who may have sat out in 2008) or are they new people getting involved for the first time who can make a difference in upcoming elections?

Dr. Holsworth: I think that it's difficult to say that there is one kind of person attracted to the Tea Party. I think that there are a number of Republican conservatives disgruntled with what Glenn Beck calls "Progressives." I also think that there are many of the same kind of independents who were initially attracted to Ross Perot in 1992 — "the government is broken, we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore." And I think that there are also some people who may not have been very much involved in politics before, but have become mobilized by what they consider to be an inappropriate and ineffective response by the federal government to the economic downturn. It seems to me that they represent sentiments that are fairly broadly distributed at the moment throughout the general population and political figures would be foolish to ignore their perspective in 2010. At the same time, it is not so clear how their influence inside GOP nomination battles will play out and whether this will be positive or negative for the GOP in the general elections. This is one of the reasons why I'm watching the 5th District very closely since it has what appears to be a large and relatively organized set of Tea Party activists.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Are you surprised at how quickly and smoothly the Health Care Freedom legislation has moved through the General Assembly, especially in the Senate?

Dr. Holsworth: Yes. At least until you see that the five Democratic legislators sit in districts where (Governor Bob) McDonnell ran strong and where their own seats could be in jeopardy.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Speaking of health care, as well as all the new government spending Tea Party activists abhor, do you think Senators Webb and Warner have endangered their re-elections by voting for these programs? Will the new conservative movement stay active that long?

Dr. Holsworth: 2014 for Warner is a long, long way off. Webb will obviously have a serious Republican challenger. Webb will not be easy to pigeonhole because there will be numerous instances in both foreign and domestic policy where he will part company with the administration and the Democratic congressional leadership. A big question regarding Webb is how his progressive economic populism be viewed. Will he seen as too liberal for Virginia economically or as authentic guy willing to stand up for the voiceless?

FamilyFoundationBlog: Dr. Holsworth, thank you very much for your time. Your thoughts are always informative and I know our readers have learned a lot.

Questions And Answers Regarding The Virginia Senate

After all the reporting we've done this week on SB 504, Senator Ralph Smith's (R-22, Roanoke) coerced abortion bill, and the Senate's mischief with it, the in-box has been flooded and the phone lines burned up with questions. We are grateful for your interest and for your desire to get involved. With all the interest, we decided to compile a FAQ list, of sorts. Here goes:   Who hires the Clerk of the Senate?

Mrs. Susan Schaar is the Clerk of the Senate and has held that office since 1990. According to Senate Rule 8a:

A Clerk of the Senate shall be elected by the Senate for a term of four years and shall thereafter continue in office until another is chosen.

Among the Clerk’s duties are the maintenance of all Senate records and the referral of bills to committees. In different circumstances, we would provide you with Mrs. Schaar’s contact information and ask for you to contact her to encourage judicious bill referrals. However, since Mrs. Schaar is not elected by the populace and instead is elected by the Senate — and instructed to strictly follow its rules — contacting her to encourage changes to bill referrals is not the most appropriate course of action.

When can "the rule" be changed?

According to Rule 54 of the Senate, the Senate rules are adopted at the beginning of the first General Assembly session upon the election of the Senate. The Rules were last adopted in January 2008. Amendments can be made any year; however, January 2012 is the next year rules will be adopted.

What can I do?

Contacting legislators really does make a difference. In the past, we’ve seen that even as few as two or three e-mails or calls from constituents can cause a legislator to reconsider his or her vote. Concerning this bill, there are two things you can do:

1. Contact the Senate Courts of Justice Committee members (see below). Thank those who supported SB 504 for their principled stand for life. For those who opposed SB 504, let them know that you were monitoring this bill and that you were disappointed with their vote.

2. Contact the Senate Education and Health Committee members (click here) and encourage them to support SB 504.

How can I express thanks/disappointment to senators on their SB 504 vote?

Below are the names and contact information for the Senators on the full Senate Courts of Justice committee. E-mailing or calling is the best way to contact these senators to express your thanks or disappointment.

Senators to thank for voting to add penalties for coerced abortion:

Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk), district13@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7513

Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg), district03@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7503

Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), district20@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7520

Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), district26@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7526

Ryan McDougle (R-4, Mechanicsville), district04@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7504

Robert Hurt (R-19, Chatham), district19@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7519

Senators voting against adding penalties for coerced abortion:

Henry Marsh (D-16, Richmond), district16@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7516

Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield), district25@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7535

Janet Howell (D-32, Reston), district32@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7532

Louise Lucas (D-18, Portsmouth), district18@senate.virginia.gov, 804-98-7518

John Edwards (D-21, Roanoke), district21@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7521

Toddy Puller (D-36, Mount Vernon), district36@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7536

Creigh Deeds (D-25, Charlottesville), district25@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7525

Don McEachin (D-9, Richmond), district09@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7509

Chap Petersen (D-34, Fairfax) , district34@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7526

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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