earthquake

Primary Thoughts

Now that the dust has settled — not from the earthquake (another aftershock of 4.5 magnitude at 1:00 a.m. with possibly more in the offing) — but from Virginia's General Assembly primary season, some thoughts. First, although my prediction on Monday concerned the general election, it already has taken an embryonic form. It was an exceptional night for conservatives in numerous Republican Senate primaries, yet barely a whisper emanated from the mainstream media about this revolution. Throw in a previously held nomination contest in Hampton Roads as well as some conservatives who were unopposed. it's almost a lock that whether the GOP wins the Senate or not, its caucus, already trending to the right, may become nearly aligned with its House counterparts. But not all media are ignoring this trend or letting it slip them by. John Gizzi at Human Events recognizes it and is one of the few national columnists to trumpet the results.

If the GOP does win control of the Virginia Senate, not only will the caucus have a decidedly different philosophical bent from its past leaders, the likes of Ben Loyola, Jeff Frederick, Dick Black, Bill Carrico and Tom Garrett, among others, joining Mark Obenshain, Steve Martin, Jill Vogel and company, will create a dynamic not ever seen in Virginia history. The possibilities should jump start all ends of the conservative coalition, from social conservatives to limited government advocates, into a turbocharged grassroots effort this fall for an unprecedented opportunity — delivering both chambers of the General Assembly into conservative stewardship.

As for specific highlights: Turnout wasn't great, and there was the earthquake to deal with, but 10 percent turnout was not unexpected. What was shockingly appalling was the 2.5 percent turnout in the Southwestern 21st district. Delegate Dave Nutter took a late gamble by forsaking his safe House seat very late in the process (Roanoke Times), after denying he was interested, and jumped into the Senate race, defeating Tea Party backed Tripp Godsey. He will have to not only gain the Tea Party's enthusiastic backing, but energize a slew of activists to work hard for him to defeat entrenched liberal incumbent John Edwards. In what is still a blue district, Delegate Nutter now has even more work cut out for him.

Speaking of blue districts, now that he's won the 30th district Democrat primary, say hello to Senator Adam Ebbin. More reason than ever to turn the Senate conservative: As left as there is this side of Europe, Mr. Ebbin in the Senate majority will be able to advance every left-wing cause he advocated for in the House, but which met merciful deaths there.

In the hotly contested, newly drawn very red 22nd Senate district, where five Republicans went at it, Louisa County Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Garrett won. Some have asked whether it's a coincidence or irony that the 22nd was the epicenter of Tuesday's earthquake, as hard fought as it was. Bryan Rhode proved good looks, youth and a lot of money can't overcome among GOP voters a perceived slight to then-Attorney General Candidate Ken Cuccinelli (Lynchburg News & Advance).

Meanwhile, the Republican Party of Virginia establishment got crushed by the former state party chairman it ousted. Despite former U.S. Senator George Allen and other establishment Republicans endorsing opponent Tito Munoz, Jeff Frederick won the 36th district easily (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star). Lesson for the party royalty: Opposing Jeff Frederick typically leads to his success. He is the supremo at channeling establishment opposition into intense grassroots insurgencies that make said opposition look clueless.

Another loser — Bearing Drift. Perhaps the most influential and most read Virginia conservative political blog, and very dear friends, its endorsed candidates in the four highest profile and contested primaries took a beating — five if you consider the fact that it endorsed Rhode and Mark Peake in the 22nd, hedging its bets. The winner: Social and grassroots conservatives. In many races, all candidates had certified conservative bona fides and other factors came into play, notably, experience and electability. The latter taking in many considerations, such as residence and community involvement and name identification in the most populous portions of the district, for example.

What about the Tea Party? A surprise during the filing period was that the expected shoe did not drop on many GOP incumbents. Only one, caucus leader Tommy Norment of the 3rd district, received a challenge. Instead, Tea Party backed candidates (really, the old-line movement/grassroots conservatives) went another route, gunning instead for newly redistricted and open seats. By and large, they were successful.

Statement Of Governor McDonnell On Earthquake Centered In Virginia

Governor Bob McDonnell just released this statement:

We are currently working with federal, state and local agencies to assess the situation and determine if there has been any damage resulting from today’s 5.9 magnitude earthquake which was centered near Mineral in Louisa County. As part of this effort we are in touch with officials around the state. All indications are that emergency response plans and orderly evacuations have gone well today, and I thank all involved. In the wake of the earthquake, I would like to encourage all Virginians to check on neighbors and loved ones to ensure that everyone is safe and to continue cooperating with law enforcement and emergency responders working in your neighborhood. All resources of the Commonwealth have been put on alert to assist in any way necessary as we move forward.

Earthquake Rattles Virginia!

An estimated 5.9 or 6.0 magnitude earthquake has hit Virginia shortly before 2:00. Apparently, there is a significant difference in the two. The epicenter apparently was somewhere near Mineral and reports are that it was felt from New York City to Richmond and as far west as Ohio. Employees in buildings all over Richmond were evacuated. Same in D.C. with all major government buildings and AG Eric Holder reportedly was escorted out and into a motorcade. Buildings shook all over the metro Richmond area and some have reported thinking their houses or offices were coming down, while others reported thinking roof repair work was just louder than normal, only to realize they had to evacuate. As of now, though, there are no reports of injuries or damage. The 'quake is being defined as "shallow" — a half mile deep — but those are the most dangerous, according reports. Airports are closing along the East Coast. Importantly, the Lake Anna nuclear reactor has shut down. Phone service is out to many — and a potential category 3 hurricane is on its way this weekend! Meanwhile, primary elections continued uninterrupted as far as we can tell. Irony or coincidence? The epicenter is in the hotly contested the new 22nd Senate district where five Republicans are fighting for the nomination in a heavily GOP district. Updates as we can.