Posts Tagged ‘Primaries’

As Goes Virginia…..

December 27, 2011 1 comment

UPDATE: Via Bearing Drift, it has been learned that Rick Perry has launched his own legal challenge. Actually, it’s beyond launched–the suit has already been filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Their argument seems to be that the requirement that voters be registered to vote or eligible to register in Virginia unconstitutionally restricted his ability to recruit signature gatherers. (Focus on seems to be–I’m not a lawyer) They cite a number of other cases in which registration requirements were struck down. We seem to finally have a number for Perry–6k signatures. This isn’t even close to the 10,000 valid required. We’ll see how this pans out–he may get relief from the court, but I imagine the jeers will be even louder from the blogosphere than they were before. Also, one correction–any legislative fix will require 80 delegates, not 60 as I wrote earlier. That means they’ll need 13 Dems to cross over (12 if Putney votes with the GOP).

This is a Virginia-centric blog, so of course, one would expect me to view the entire political landscape through the prism of the Old Dominion. And sometimes, that can be a rather jaundiced view. However, a funny thing happened over the weekend….Virginia became kinda important. Or at least we think we did, or maybe we became less important….at any rate, people were talking about us.

That came when, in the early hours of Christmas Eve, it became known that the ballot for the March 6th Republican Presidential Primary would feature only former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Volunteers at RPV’s Obenshain Center had been working since the morning of December 23rd. Paul and Romney got through easily, but on that evening it was discovered that Texas Governor Rick Perry wouldn’t make it. That pretty much left Gingrich for those who don’t much care for either candidate, and the supporters of those two to root for Gingrich to fail. Facebook and Twitter lit up with conversation rivaling election night itself. Granted, some of this was likely due to the fact that “Ron Paul” is something of a fighting word for both Ron Paul detractors and supporters, but it was still pretty amazing for the night before Christmas Eve. Ultimately, around 3 a.m., word came out that Gingrich had indeed fallen short. Huzzahs rang out from those who don’t much care for Gingrich, while everyone else who doesn’t much care for Romney or Paul found themselves rather disgruntled. To add tragedy to all of this, one volunteer died in an automobile accident after a day of working to verify signatures.

So what now? Well, let’s first look at this close to home. The very first reaction to this was the first thing that comes to the mind of any loser (or to the mind of any candidate too lazy/principled to fill out paperwork *cough*AlAsbury*cough*): Write-in Time! However, despite the fact that it is discussed every time a primary comes up, write-ins are not allowed in Virginia primaries. Newt Gingrinch, a Virginia voter, was out of the loop on this, along with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who suggested such a thing in his post-Christmas newsletter. What’s left for Gingrich? Well, there could be a legal challenge, but the Washington Post talked to observers who suggest this as unlikely. The other possibility would be an emergency change in election law that would allow write-ins. But the RTD notes this too is a problem: the GA doesn’t convene until Jan 11th, and ballots must be printed by Jan 21st. Emergency legislation requires a supermajority of (updated) four fifths–32 Senators, and 60 80 Delegates. Those are high barriers, and with a very slim Republican majority based solely on the fact we hold the LG’s chair, very unlikely to be reached.

Read more…

Libertarian-Republican’s New Kentucky Home

November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

I predicted a few days ago that Kentucky’s Republican primary would be one to watch. The race is to fill the seat of outgoing Senator Jim Bunning. Bunning is known for two things. One is his stellar baseball career. He is one of eighteen players to ever pitch a perfect game (read: no opposing players ever got to base) and is currently 17th in total career strike-outs. The second thing he’s most noted for is being a reliable bag of crazy in the Senate.

His career got off to a less than auspicious start when he eked out a half of a percentage point win in 1998. That race was so nasty that former President Clinton made point of it in the interviews he conducted with Taylor Branch that eventually became part of Branch’s book The Clinton Tapes. Things got even worse in 2004, when Bunning ran a miserable campaign that ended up with him winning by just 1% when President Bush was swamping Bunning’s Senate colleague John Kerry by 20 points. Some of the lowlights of the campaign included: Bunning admitting that he only watched Fox News (great red meat for conservatives but probably not a good thing to tell reporters who are crafting a narrative on your race), comparing his opponent Dan Mongirado’s appearance to that of one of Saddam Hussein’s sons, and appearing via sattelite for a debate in which he relied on a teleprompter.

Therefore, it was of little surprise when word got out that Mitch McConnell and others were trying to have the “You ever think about not running, Jim?” conversation with Bunning. Indeed, top Republican even started preparing for a primary challenge if Bunning didn’t want to go quietly. Rather than just go out with a whimper, however, he went out with a bang, accusing McConnell of being a control freak, saying that one of his potential primary competitiors owed him money, kept up his intense focus on steroids in baseball while the economy crashed, and predicted that Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be dead within nine months.

With lackluster funding and his approval at 28%, Bunning eventually got out, leaving McConnell’s pick Secretary of State Trey Grayson as the heir apparent. However, a funny thing happened on the way to Washington. Supporters of Ron Paul, whose firebrand libertarian-oriented campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 raised tons of cash and drew headlines while making little headway (though acute observers will note that he did come close to winning some little noticed contests and straw polls), were attempting to get Paul’s son Rand into the race. Rand had become somewhat of a darling of that wing of the party while on the stump for his dad in 2008. After Bunning stepped aside, Paul made his candidacy official on August 5th.

Again, most Republican insiders paid little attention. However, what they weren’t paying attention to was the groundswell on the internet, both in terms of money and support via social networking sites like Facebook. He currently has over 17k fans to Grayson’s more modest 5k. This is probably more of a testament to the Paulistas national spotlight on Paul, but no strategist would cast a negative light on that many potential supporters who very well may cross state lines to help Paul on the way to a primary win. On May 23rd, before Paul was even officially in the race (though he hinted he would get in if Bunning stayed out on May 1st), supporters raised $25k. On August 20th, another moneybomb raised over $400k.

Still, Grayson appeared the favorite. Then another funny thing happened. Word got out that the NRSC would host a fundraising event in DC for Grayson. That’s when Paul’s supporters got PISSED. They held a counter money-bomb that raised $186k for the campaign. This pushed the campaign over the million mark and meant real media attention for the campaign. On November 2nd, a poll came out showing Paul leading in the primary by 3 points. On November 4th, embarrassed over conservative reaction to this and their backing of Charlie Crist, NRSC Chair John Cornyn announced that the group would sit out contested Republican primaries, a move that was hailed by grassroots conservatives as allowing the people to decide (all the rage in our current populist moment).

Now, there’s further sign that big national attention is being graced on Dr. Paul (yes, he followed in his father’s footsteps in more way than one). From the New York Times (subscription required):

Representative Ron Paul proved to be a surprising presence in the presidential race in 2008. Now his son, Dr. Rand Paul, has become an unexpected contender in the 2010 Senate race in Kentucky.

Dr. Paul — an ophthalmologist and a son of the congressman, a Texas Republican and former presidential candidate — has become a serious challenger in the race to succeed Senator Jim Bunning.

Capitalizing on a hearty distrust of government and an anti-Republican-establishment fervor among conservatives, he has used the Internet to raise more than $1.3 million since he began his campaign in August.

“This primary is really about the future of our party,” said Dr. Paul, 46, who has lived in Kentucky since 1993 and has never run for public office before.

“The Republican platform specifically says we don’t believe in bailing out private business, and yet we did,” Dr. Paul said in a break between cataract operations. “The Republican platform also specifically says we don’t believe in government ownership of private businesses, and yet a lot of Republicans voted for that.”

As I’ve noted before, we’re seeing a new alliance forming between fiscal conservatives and straight up libertarian conservatives, combined with the interesting factor that many social conservatives are drawn to the Paul’s pro-life credentials. Will this continue all the way back to governance? Hard to say–one President already helped disintegrate that already shaky alliance. But a new one is bringing them right back together.

Paul’s race will be one to watch, as the primary seems to have quickly become nationalized beyond the borders of the sleepy commonwealth of Kentucky. This will be a curious race to watch, since Grayson isn’t exactly a Meg Whitman or Charlie Crist in terms of his politics. Still, this race will be a harbinger of things to come in terms of what issues will bring the party back to power and just what sort of candidate activists are seeking out to be their standard-bearer in 2012.

Morris, Baroncelli look safe for GOP Sup Nods

Hardcore Republicans (and extremely curious Democrats) who are on top of Republican politics know that mass meetings were held last night in the precincts that make up Districts 1 (Forestville, New Market, and Orkney), 4 (Woodstock and Fort Valley), and  5 (Lebanon Church, Toms Brook, Mt. Olive, and Cedar Creek) to elect delegates to the County Convention on May 15th. For those of you who are confused, yes, we still hold mass meetings at the precinct level to elect Delegates who then gather at the County Convention to conduct business (nominations for public office in odd years, part organizing in even ones). As far as I know, mostly only suburban or urban counties in Virginia use the county convention; most others use mass meetings or canvasses (although some put in a clause canceling whatever method  is selected if only one candidate files). There have been discussions of switching to another method, with the main argument being that participation would increase if there was only one meeting to go to (even though you may submit your name to someone for nomination, although this is not widely known and varies by precinct), but so far the only progress made has been a pre-filing deadline and filing fee. I think its a function that should be reconsidered, but as it stands, this is the method for at least one more year. 

At any rate, at the meetings last night Delegates were elected. In District 5, no candidate emerged to challenge incumbent Supervisor Dennis Morris within the party. Early word was that HB Sager, backed by Morris foe Mark Prince, would run within the party, but he did not file on April 2nd and there are reports that he has been circulating filing petitions to run as an indy. Additionally, no nominations will be allowed from the floor unless a candidate has not filed for that office, and as far as I know, Morris did indeed file.

Regardless, the meetings were still held in District 5. In Toms Brook, we had a grand total of three people and elected 17 delegates. In Mt. Olive, six people attended and elected 25 delegates. 

In District Four there was a much different story. A late challenger arose to incumbent Sharon Baroncelli, Carolyn Miller, a former jailer at the county jail. Early reports indicate that 58 people were in attendance. It should be noted that a handful of people is far, far more common. However, this is a contested nomination–hence the turnout. According to a source, there were a number of motions made that were withdrawn–however, when the dust cleared, it appeared that Baroncelli had elected the most delegates, 41, to Miller’s 17. Since delegates are not pledged to any particular candidate, the nomination is still technically up in the air. Indeed, there will be a candidate’s forum at the County Breakfast at the Mt. Jackson Denny’s at 9 A.M. this Saturday. However, with such an overwhelming advantage, Miller may very well pull out, unless Fort Valley offered up a suprise (doubtful, given that Miller is from Woodstock). The big question: will she take advantage of the loophole that allows the loser of party run processes (canvasses, conventions, and mass meetings) to run as an independent if they gather the signatures in time? Will another independent arise? Will the Dems take advantage of their increasing share in the District and file someone? 

Still waiting on word from District 1. However, last we heard, no one filed other than Dick Neese. Another Dem challenge doesn’t seem likely, but might we see an independent? Doubtful, since Neese tends not to track much controversy, but with the county’s budget still up in the air and a general anti-incumbent mood striking conservatives these days, possibilities abound.

Another Entry in the 17th

After William Fralin announced his surprise retirement from the House of Delegates after three terms, there’s been a great deal of scrambling amongst potential candidates.

First out of the gate: Melvin Williams, a Roanoke attorney. At 36 years old, he would join the younger end of the House, with Delegates Lohr and Gilbert. Second to announce was  Josh Johnson, a UVA Law grad and attorney in Roanoke. 

Announcing his intention to NOT run: Adam Boitnott, Chair of the 17th Legislative District Committee and Roanoke City Committee Chair. Mr. Boitnott has been widely admitted throughout the 6th Congressional District for his efforts with the Roanoke Valley Republican Blogs and nearly ubiquitous emails on behalf of the committee, but he cited family and financial concerns in his decision not to run. 

With several candidates rumored to still be considering the race and the district a relatively stable but moderate red area, expect quite a battle for the right to lead our party to victory in November. We’ll have news about these and other primaries as they develop throughout the 6th and 5th Congressional districts.