Virginia Archive:

Friday, September 29, 2006

VA-Sen: Say Hello to Spitgate

Posted by James L.

First it was Macacagate. Then it was Deerheadgate, and, uh, Rugbygate. The slow drip of questions surrounding George Allen's racist past have turned into an all-out deluge this week with witness after witness stepping out of the woodwork and revealing more incidents of Allen's legacy of racism.

But forget about all that stuff for a moment. Lost in the shuffle of these explosive revelations is another one of Allen's nasty habits that speaks volumes to his character: George Allen likes to spit on women's feet. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but bear with me and say hello to Spitgate.

First, check out this Dailykos diary posted by a former writer for a Southwest Virginia newspaper to set the mood (emphasis added):

Mr. Allen visited our town to announce a major contract for the local defense plant. I was there because my editor had sent me. [...]

Governor Allen rode up in a big recreational vehicle. He looked so tall as he came out of the house-on-wheels. He was wearing a nice suit and his hair was neatly combed. He smiled and worked his way into the platoon of defense workers, who seemed to be all men. I looked around and realized I was the only female standing on the pavement in the sunshine. How about that?

I listened to what the governor was saying. My editor had told me Mr. Allen would talk about jobs and how wonderful this new defense contract was. I listened carefully, but the governor did not say a word about jobs. Instead, he made a few jokes with the workers, then he pulled a small, flat can from his jacket pocket. He asked if anybody else "dipped." One of the workers said yes, he dipped, but not the same brand, and all the men laughed.

Mr. Allen used his fingers to pinch out a clump of the finely chopped tobacco; he mashed it into his mouth and grinned, licking his lips. His bottom lip pooched out where he had lodged the tobacco. The other men chuckled like they were having a grand time.

Then the governor walked toward a building with some men who were not part of the platoon of workers. These other men were clearly Important; they wore suits. One of the suits had already told me I was not allowed to go into the building because a defense plant has Secrets.

I followed along as the governor walked, waiting to hear him say something about jobs. The situation began to look as if I would have to return to the newspaper office without hearing him say anything about "our fine workers." I didn't understand; I had to ask a question.

I stepped near the governor and smiled, told him my name and that I wrote for the local newspaper. Then I asked him a softball question, what some reporters call a "set-up."

"Does Southwest Virginia need these jobs?" I asked.

He stopped and looked straight at me. He had to look down at me, because he stood so tall in those cowboy boots. I thought I spotted a twinkle in his eye, and for a moment, I suspected he might give a humorous, light-hearted answer. Then he leaned forward and looked all the way down at the pavement. I figured he was planning a perfectly crafted answer to my question. I put pen to paper, ready to take it down. His lips puckered as if he might speak.

Then, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia gathered up a glob of tobacco-laced saliva. He used his lips to squirt it out, as if he had practiced. The spit landed just at the tip of my shoe. He grinned, but didn't say a word. Then he walked into the building.

Rude, boorish, and completely disgusting, to be sure, but it's just a weird isolated story, right? Wrong. You don't have to dig deep to find numerous eerily similar stories on Allen's behavior around women when he's got a nasty gob of tobacco in his mouth. In fact, when I first read that diary, my mind was jarred as I recalled a story that Sarah Carter, the daughter of Nevada Senatorial candidate Jack Carter and granddaughter of President Jimmy Carter, shared in a July DailyKos comment:

My husband’s family lives in Virginia. Several years ago, his little sister went with a friend to a parade where George Allen was making an appearance, and her friend’s Mom got a chance to speak to Allen. While they were talking, he was chewing tobacco. He spit on the ground and a fleck of brown spittle landed on my sister-in-law’s shoe. She was horrified.

So now you know: George Allen spits on little girls.


Seeing a pattern emerge yet? No? Well, here's some more, courtesy of the New Republic's Ryan Lizza:

It's credible enthusiasm given that, this afternoon, Allen resembles a froufrou version of Toby Keith. He is wearing a blue button-down shirt and brown pants accented with a fat brass belt buckle that says virginia in stylized, countrified letters. And, of course, he's wearing the cowboy boots. They are black, broken in, and vaguely reptilian. From his back pocket, he removes a tin of Copenhagen--"the brand of choice for adult consumers who identify with its rugged, individual and uncompromising image," according to the company--and taps a fat wad of the tobacco between his lip and gum using an impressive one-handed maneuver. As the scrum breaks up, Allen turns away and spits a long brown streak of saliva into the dirt, just missing one of his constituents, a carefully put-together, blonde, ponytailed woman approaching the senator for an autograph. She stops in her tracks and stares with disgust at the bubbly tobacco juice that almost landed on her feet. Without missing a beat, Allen's communications director, John Reid, reassures her: "That's just authenticity!".

"Authenticity," John, or just another one of George Allen's disturbing personal habits? Or just another one of his ways of demeaning people?

No, I'm not done yet. There's yet another story of Allen's salivary dark arts, this time from the letters section of the Bristol Herald Courier. The original page seems to be scrubbed, but luckily Google's cache caught it for posterity:

I was not surprised by Sen. Allen’s crude remarks aimed at a Democratic campaign worker. Several years ago, while I was engaged in research at the Dickenson County courthouse, I heard that then-Gov. Allen was on his way to a groundbreaking for the new Red Onion prison. A friend and I drove up to the site, not realizing until we arrived that it was a Republican-only event.

Allen was escorted by a politician who, noting our presence, made some comment to him and pointed at us. We stood with a small semi-circle of onlookers waiting to shake Allen’s hand, but he deliberately skipped the two of us and continued shaking hands with others in the line.

He made a few remarks to the crowd and then stood with his back to us, turning once to aim a jet of tobacco spit directly at our feet. Although he had never met us before, he made us well aware of his sentiments. A small incident, yes, but very revealing of his attitude. He did not intend to treat Democrats with the slightest common courtesy.

So there you have it. Four separate stories of people stepping forward with George Allen's saliva on their shoes. The consensus is pretty clear: George Allen gets his kicks by spitting on or at people. Coincidentally, all of them have been women.

Posted at 01:03 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

VA-Sen: Help Support the Most Effective Ad of the Year (and New SUSA Poll)

Posted by James L.

I just want to reiterate what's been said by Markos and Stoller. This ad by VoteVets PAC is by far the most brilliant and effective ad I've seen this cycle:

Truly chilling. VoteVets has already gone up on the air in Virginia to help defeat George Allen, but they'd like to expand their air war to other states with vulnerable incumbent Republican senators up for re-election who voted against proper body armor. If you have the means, please consider donating to VoteVets PAC. If you contribute directly via their website, you'll get a chance to vote for the next senator who'll receive their own version of this ad aired against them. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have an ad this crystal clear and effective on our side this year, but we need to expand this battle beyond Virginia. So if you've got any Big Money friends who are itching to help the Democrats take back the Senate this year, tell them to cut a $5,000 check to VoteVets PAC. It could be the most effective political investment you'll make this year. VoteVets is the real deal, too; just check out their list of advisors: Gen. Wesley Clark, Paul Hackett, Bob Kerrey, Leslie Gelb, etc.

And we'll need effective ads like this one by VoteVets in order to counter right-wing hysteria messages like this one.

UPDATE: Via the Political Wire, SurveyUSA has a new poll out today showing Allen edging Webb 48-45, with a 4.6% MoE. This is the exact same result as a poll done by SUSA three weeks ago, during the height of the macaca controversy, showing that Allen's racist gaffe has not been erased from the minds of voters (and given that Allen apologized again for the incident today, he knows he's in trouble).

Posted at 04:30 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, September 10, 2006

VA-Sen: Mason-Dixon Has Webb Within Four

Posted by James L.

Mason-Dixon, one of the best in the biz, confirms what we've been seeing in the recent SurveyUSA and Rasmussen polls (with Zogby Interactive being just a little too optimistic for Webb)--Webb has the big mo' (likely voters, July in parens):

Jim Webb (D): 42 (32)
George Felix Allen, Jr. (R): 46 (48)
Undecided: 12 (20)
MoE: ±4%

Here's the Macaca Effect at work:

While most voters said the “macaca” comment did little to change their minds about the race, Allen’s unfavorable rating increased from 23 percent to 31 percent between July and September. The percentage of undecided voters dropped from 20 percent to 12 percent, with Webb the apparent beneficiary of that shift. Webb’s support among black voters increased from 39 percent to 73 percent.

“It’s pretty easy to draw a straight line from that to the 'macaca,’ ” said Brad Coker, the managing director of the Mason-Dixon poll.


Allen has a 9-point lead over Webb in Southwest and Southside Virginia and greater margins in the Shenandoah Valley and the Richmond area. But Webb holds a 13-point lead in vote-rich Northern Virginia, an area that was critical to the 2005 victory of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine.

If Webb can energize the NoVA vote, Allen is in for a world of pain in November. The best part about these numbers is that they were taken before Webb got on the air in any meaningful way. Webb's first TV ads start tomorrow, I believe, and, as MyDD notes, Schumer has hooked up Webb with Tim Kaine's ad guy. Webb is still a relative unknown quantity in Virginia; as his fundraising and airtime escalates, the chances of this race tightening, or even shifting to Webb are much greater.

The recipe for victory is here. All we need is for Webb and the DSCC to step up and make sure it happens.

Posted at 12:53 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, August 31, 2006

VA-Sen: Webb's Son Deployed to Iraq Early

Posted by James L.

From a campaign e-mail:

I wanted to send a note to you today, as a supporter of Jim's campaign and someone who cares about the direction of this country. As many of you know, Jim's son Jimmy, an infantry Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps, has been scheduled to be deployed to Iraq for a number of months. In the last few days, Jimmy learned he would be deploying next week. While Labor Day is the traditional kickoff to the Election and Jim already made many commitments to do events throughout the state, including events with Governor Tim Kaine and Governor Mark Warner, we hope you understand at this time that Jim wants to have time with his son. He will be taking Jimmy back to Camp Lejeune on Monday and will spend time with him and his unit before their deployment.

Jim wishes to emphasize that he is not unlike the thousands of parents and families who are sending their children and loved ones to war but that it is important to him that he has some private moments with his son before he deploys. Regardless of the political aspects of this war and your feelings towards it, it's important we keep our thoughts and prayers with the soldiers we are sending into harm's way.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Let's all put Jim Webb and his family in our thoughts this week.

On the web: Jim Webb for Senate

Posted at 07:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

VA-Sen: Here Comes the Cavalry

Posted by James L.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

With three polls showing the U.S. Senate race close after George Allen's alleged racial remark, national Democrats yesterday pledged dollars to Jim Webb.

The latest survey, by Zogby International, gives Webb, once a long shot, a statistically insignificant lead over the Republican incumbent, who has been sidetracked for two weeks for addressing a Webb volunteer staff member of Indian descent as "macaca."

Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said his group -- the political arm of the Senate Democratic Conference -- will donate an unspecified amount to Webb.

Schumer earlier this summer was noncommittal about directing cash and services to Webb.

"We think this is a neck-and-neck race," Schumer told report- ers when asked about the impact of the Allen controversy. "We plan to provide Jim Webb with the kinds of resources he needs to win."

Schumer's promise comes amid a dramatic shift in the Virginia contest, one triggered by Allen's oral blunder, which apparently has cost his re-election effort momentum and threatens to derail his presidential ambitions in 2008.

Webb has badly trailed Allen in fund raising. After the June primary, he had $424,245 in cash to $6.6 million for Allen. Webb said yesterday in Norfolk that he has collected $2 million since winning the nomination.

"We think we have a very good chance of winning in Virginia," said Schumer.

In related news, Webb's netroots coordinator, Lowell Feld, has a Dailykos diary up highlighting some big names headlining upcoming fundraisers for Webb: 1) fellow authors Stephen King and John Grisham in Charlottsville on Sept. 24 and 2) Gov. Mark Warner on Sept. 21 in Old Town Alexandria. However, he doesn't give any specifics on the upcoming President Clinton fundraiser for Webb.

Let's hope this late push is enough. The last thing I want to see is the DSCC kicking itself over waiting this one out too long.

Posted at 01:04 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

VA-Sen: Webb Snags the Big Dog

Posted by James L.

From the Richmond-Times Dispatch:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Webb has snared the big guy -- former President Bill Clinton -- to help him raise money for his Senate race.

A spokeswoman said the time and place for Clinton's visit have yet to be worked out.

Webb is running against U.S. Sen. George Allen, a Republican, who ended the June 30 fundraising period with a $6 million edge over Webb.

But Webb just completed what his aides say was a successful fundraising trip to Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Money, so far, has been Webb's biggest hurdle that he has yet to clear. A visit from the Big Dog will not only rake in a significant dollar sum for Webb's campaign, but it will also send the signal to national donors that Webb may well be worth the investment. Furthermore--and we saw this attempted by Joe Lieberman a few weeks ago--a Clinton visit will hopefully help boost Jim Webb's appeal among African-Americans (a group that Webb's primary opponent, Harris Miller, sought to carve away from his camp). Now that Sen. Allen is knee-deep in macaca, you've got to believe that minority communities all across Virginia are shopping around for someone a bit more respectable.

Posted at 09:03 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, June 30, 2006

VA-Sen: Senator Dude Ranch

Posted by James L.

Steve Jarding of the Jim Webb for Senate campaign cracks me up:

Jarding also took issue with [Allen campaign manager Dick] Wadhams’ attempt to attack Webb as a “Hollywood movie producer” for Webb’s role in the film “Rules of Engagement.”

“What part of ‘Rules of Engagement’ did George Felix Allen Jr. and his insensitive mouthpiece Dick Wadhams not respect – military service? Patriotism? Honor? Valor? We know that George Felix Allen Jr. spent much of the Vietnam War years on a dude ranch in Nevada and chose not to serve, but his continued silence as his key staff dismiss military personnel and their patriotism is beginning to shine a very unfavorable light on Senator Dude Ranch,” Jarding said.

If nothing else, this is gonna be one of the most amusing races to watch this cycle. Heh. "Senator Dude Ranch".

Posted at 11:47 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Late Night Poll Round-up: MA-Gov, VA-Sen, GA-Gov, Pew and Gallup

Posted by James L.

MA-Gov: Buzz candidate and former Clinton Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval Patrick is now pulling significantly ahead of Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly in the Democratic primary for Governor, while businessman Chris Gabrieli (who has pumped $2.5 million into a hefty TV ad campaign) is threatening to leave Reilly in third place if this trend continues (likely voters, May in parens).

Deval Patrick (D): 31 (20)
Tom Reilly (D): 25 (35)
Chris Gabrieli (D): 22 (15)
MoE: ±4%

Obviously a big part of Patrick's bounce has to do with snagging the MA Democratic Party endorsement at the recent state convention, but Patrick is also pushing himself as a fresh face in a state full of tired, entrenched incumbents. In a hypothetical general election match-up, however, all three candidates lead Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey by wide margins.

Massachusetts has been reluctant to give the Democrats full control of every lever of power in the state, hence the lack of a Democrat in the Governor's mansion since Dukakis. But after seeing Romney veto bills in favor of embryonic stem cell research and emergency contraception (both vetoes were overridden by the MA legislature) in order to prove his conservative cred for a possible '08 White House bid, it seems like the good people of Massachusetts are tired of their Governors playing petty political games with the veto button. It will be a pleasure to watch Deval Patrick's campaign in the weeks and months ahead.

VA-Sen (SUSA, likely voters, no trendlines):

Jim Webb (D): 37
George Felix Allen, Jr. (R): 56
Gail Parker (I): 2
MoE: ±4.3%

It's not too surprising, given that Webb just came off a nasty primary that he won by just a few points, and that Allen has already been saturating tthe airwaves with TV ads. Given that Webb has a lot of ground to cover, including introducing himself via TV and radio (his campaign only aired a few radio spots during the final days of the primary due to funding constraints), there's clearly potential for him to make this race a lot tighter, given the proper funding.

GA-Gov: Oh right, there's a race here. (Strategic Vision [R], likely voters, May in parens)

Mark Taylor (D): 44 (39)
Sonny Perdue (R-Inc.): 50 (51)

Cathy Cox (D): 40 (42)
Sonny Perdue (R-Inc.): 53 (50)
MoE: ±3%

Strategic Vision is a Republican polling firm, and I'm not terribly comfortable in treating their work on the same par as SUSA or Gallup. Still, as far as the Georgia Governor's race is concerned, the pickin's is slim. The same poll shows Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor edging Secretary of State Cathy Cox by 46-42, a significant swing from last month's 42-47 margin in Cox's favor. I'm not sure why Taylor has caught a break this month, as I have not been following this race closely, but even the locals are scratching their heads.

Finally, two new polls by Gallup and Pew seem to contradict certain theories bouncing around the blogosphere that Democrats are weary and dispirited, and won't turn up at the polls this November.

First, from Gallup:

Americans are paying unusually close attention to the congressional elections in November, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds. They are more inclined to deliver significant gains to Democrats than in any year since Republicans won control of the House and Senate in 1994.

Those surveyed are more concerned about national issues than local ones — a situation that favors Democrats hoping to tap discontent over the Iraq war and gasoline prices — and prefer Democrats over Republicans on handling every major issue except terrorism.

President Bush looms as a significant drag: 40% of Americans say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Bush. A fifth say they are more likely.


• Democrats are particularly engaged: 56% say they are "more enthusiastic about voting than usual," the highest level recorded since the question was first asked in 1994. Among Republicans, 43% say they are more enthusiastic than usual.

• Americans are increasingly likely to identify themselves as Democrats. Including those who "lean" to one party or the other, 55% call themselves Democrats; 38%, Republicans. That's the biggest edge for Democrats since 1998. By 54%-38%, the registered voters surveyed say they'd vote for a Democratic congressional candidate over a Republican one if the election were held today.

Et cetera. And this comes from a Democratic base that STILL isn't particularly enamored with congressional Democrats.

And, from Pew Research, more of the same:

With less than five months to go before Election Day, Democrats hold two distinct advantages in the midterm campaign that they have not enjoyed for some time. First, Americans continue to say they favor the Democratic candidate in their district, by a 51% to 39% margin. Second, the level of enthusiasm about voting among Democrats is unusually high, and is atypically low among Republicans. In fact, Democrats now hold a voter enthusiasm advantage that is the mirror image of the GOP's edge in voter zeal leading up to the 1994 midterm election. [emphasis added]


The heightened Democratic enthusiasm is particularly notable among liberal Democrats, 53% of whom are more interested in voting this year than usual. The partisan gap in enthusiasm is even visible among independents - those who lean Democratic are considerably more eager to vote than those who lean Republican. Overall, 47% of voters who plan to vote Democratic this fall say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, compared with just 30% of voters who plan to vote Republican.

The higher level of enthusiasm among Democratic voters is linked to two underlying attitudes: anger at the president and optimism about Democrats chances in the fall. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who plan to vote for the Democratic candidate in their district think of their vote this fall as a vote against George W. Bush. These anti-Bush voters are significantly more motivated to vote - 52% say they are more eager to vote this year than usual, compared with 39% among those who say Bush is not a factor in their vote.

There's tons of juicy data and analysis to pore over in both the Gallup and Pew studies. But I'm going to leave the rest up to you night owls.

Posted at 01:51 AM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Georgia, Massachusetts, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Virginia Primary Results

Posted by James L.

VA-SEN: 41.66% 56.22% 59.43% 65.29% 73.53% 85.14% 92.38% of Precincts Reporting

Harris Miller (D): 26,831 (52.60%) 40,916 (49.18%) 43,641 (48.58%) 48,025 (47.68%) 52,148 (47.73%) 59,266 (47.08%) 63,354 (46.75%)
Jim Webb (D): 24,179 (47.40%) 42,276 (50.82%) 46,185 (51.42%) 52,703 (52.32%) 57,117 (52.27%) 66,606 (52.92%) 72,165 (53.25%)

It looks like it's gonna be Webb. It's Jim Webb. Kudos to the VA netroots and the Jim Webb campaign for winning this one despite being heavily outspent.

Posted at 07:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, April 27, 2006

VA-Sen: Holy Moly

Posted by DavidNYC

From Taegan Goddard:

Political Wire received an advance copy of a New Republic profile of Sen. George Allen (R-VA) in which author Ryan Lizza finds many of Allen's high school classmates surprised that he's considering running for president because of the racist tendencies he displayed as a teenager. They say he "plastered the school with confederate flags" and drove a red Mustang with a confederate flag on the front. Then Lizza got a copy of Allen's high school yearbook:

I stared closely at Allen’s smirk in his photo, weighing whether his old classmates were just out to destroy him. And then I noticed something on his collar. It’s hard to make out, but then it becomes obvious. Seventeen-year-old George Allen is wearing a Confederate flag pin.

When confronted with this evidence, Allen sent an email through an aide with this explanation: "When I was in high school in California, I generally bucked authority and the rebel flag was just a way to express that attitude.”

Wow. Just wow. And Allen can't even offer the meager excuse that he was "embracing his heritage" or anything like that - he grew up in California, his dad is from Detroit, and his mother is from Tunisia. If there is any justice in this world, Allen's aspirations for higher office would completely vanish today. Since I'm not that optimistic, I can at least hope that Jim Webb crushes him come November.

Posted at 12:43 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, February 10, 2006

VA-Sen: Webb's Website is Up

Posted by DavidNYC

Get ready for a season of non-stop bad Webb/web puns: James Webb's, uh, website is up. It's a start, but I think they need to start using Media Mezcla's Campaign Engine. All the cool sites are using it!

Posted at 10:37 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

VA-Sen: Webb is In!

Posted by DavidNYC

Oh man, this is exciting news:

Former Navy Secretary James H. Webb Jr. said yesterday that he will file papers this week to seek the Democratic nomination to run for the U.S. Senate this year.

Webb, who lives in Arlington County, would join Harris N. Miller, a Fairfax County computer executive, in seeking the party's nomination.

The nominee will oppose U.S. Sen. George Allen, a Republican who is seeking a second six-year term in the Senate. Allen is a strong favorite.

Webb, who was secretary of the Navy under Republican President Ronald Reagan, resigned in protest of cutbacks in the Navy fleet. He has been a strong critic of the war in Iraq, saying that the Bush administration has never developed an exit strategy.

As I've said repeatedly, I think Webb will make a great candidate with a compelling storyline (former Reagan official turns Dem). As you may also know, Webb is a graduate of Annapolis - perhaps he'll put in a surprise appearance at tomorrow's Band of Brothers event in DC. I'm not hinting - just hoping!

(Thanks to Jambon.)

Posted at 01:08 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Friday, February 03, 2006

VA-Sen: Wait - Webb's Not Out!

Posted by DavidNYC

A few days ago, I passed along an item from Raising Kaine which said that James Webb was out of the running for VA-Sen. But wait, not so fast!

As you all know, earlier this week I reported that James Webb had decided not to run for U.S. Senate from Virginia this year. This was based on direct contact with Webb, and was information that was rock solid at the time. However, times change. Today, I met with James Webb for 3 hours, along with my colleagues Josh Chernila and Lee Diamond, and I am authorized to say the following on Webb’s behalf: “Webb is definitely not out. Stay tuned for an announcement next week.”

This is good news. As I've said in the past, I think Webb is the most attractive candidate we can offer for this race. If you agree with me, you can head over to his website and send a brief friendly note encouraging him to run. You can also fill out the Draft James Webb petition.

(Hat tip to thegools.)

P.S. Speaking of VA-Sen, this man seriously wants to be president?

Indeed, here is what Senator George Allen of Virginia, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said when asked his opinion of the Bernanke nomination.

"For what?"

Told that Mr. Bernanke was up for the Fed chairman's job, Mr. Allen hedged a little, said he had not been focused on it, and wondered aloud when the hearings would be. Told that the Senate Banking Committee hearings had concluded in November, the senator responded: "You mean I missed them all? I paid no attention to them."

We always knew you were a lightweight, Sen. Allen. Thanks for the extra evidence.

(Thanks to HoosADem.)

Posted at 11:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

VA-Lege: Dems Pick Up Another Seat in Special Election

Posted by DavidNYC

Democrat Mark Herring won a special election to VA's state Senate tonight. What makes this especially welcome news is that the seat was formerly held by a Republican, so this counts as a pickup for us. I believe the margin in that chamber is now 23-17. Virginia's on a roll - excellent work, guys!

Posted at 08:50 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Special Elections, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Sen: Is James Webb Out?

Posted by DavidNYC

Lowell at Raising Kaine is reporting that James Webb won't take on George Allen in VA-Sen this year. I have no reason to doubt the folks at RK, but I haven't been able to find an official confirmation from Webb. If true, though, then this is bad news indeed. James Webb is an exciting guy to me - I just can't say the same about Harris Miller, who is a Herb Kohl at best.

Posted at 11:19 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, January 19, 2006

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine to Deliver SOTU Response

Posted by DavidNYC

According to Roll Call (sub. req.), the Dems will ask newly elected Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to deliver our party's response to the State of the Union address. Hamsher of FireDogLake thinks we should be tapping John Murtha, and I'm inclined to agree. I like Tim Kaine, and I think he's certainly a good choice. But I think Murtha is the better choice, because he's associated with an issue we really need to lead with, and because we need to strike while the iron is hot - Murtha was making waves not long ago. It might also give him a chance to (obliquely) hammer the newest round of Swift Boaters. But I'm guessing the decision has been made, and Kaine it will be.

Posted at 12:15 PM in Democrats, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, January 05, 2006

VA-Sen: Allen Takes a Page from the Burns Playbook

Posted by DavidNYC

George Allen then:

In 2000, Sen. George Allen hammered Chuck Robb for accepting campaign contributions in 1994 from a controversial donor tied to Bill Clinton and Al Gore. His campaign manager even chided Robb for not pushing for a federal prosecutor to look into the issue: "It's obvious to us why Chuck Robb won't get involved," said LaCivita. "He's just as guilty as Al Gore." ["Robb Trumpets His Role in Fighting Drugs, Crime," Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 24, 2000.]

George Allen now:

When asked about the $3,000 the senator received from Abramoff and friends, Allen’s spokesman told the Virginian-Pilot yesterday that, "[Allen] will neither refund nor donate to charity a $1,000 gift received from Abramoff during Allen’s 2000 Senate campaign. The money was spent long ago and the campaign account closed, said David Snepp, Allen’s press secretary, so 'the money does not exist to give it back.'"

Of course, the last time a Republican Senator started claiming that he couldn't pay back Abramoff money, he changed his tune in just a matter of days. And in Conrad Burns' case, we were talking about $150 large. George Allen can certainly cough up a meager $1,000, so I'd expect an embarrassing flip-flop sometime soon.

P.S. This whole "the money's been spent" notion seems to be just another part of the Republican War on Analogy. In other words, according to the GOP, if you don't literally have the exact same dollars you were once given, you can't return money. Of course, that's the same as someone saying he can't pay his taxes this year because he's already spent his whole salary.

(Hat tip to the DSCC.)

Posted at 01:26 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

VA-Sen: Harris Miller (D) in Against Allen

Posted by DavidNYC

As mentioned yesterday, via Raising Kaine. From WTOP:

The year is only three days old, but already the political season is heating up in Virginia. WTOP Radio has learned Harris Miller will challenge Republican incumbent George Allen in November.

Miller, an activist in Fairfax County, will formally announce his candidacy next week. He describes himself as "a shorter, and poorer version of [Governor] Mark Warner."

The 54-year-old McLean resident is currently the President of the Information Technology Association of America. He wants to see more done by the Federal government.

I'm sure Mark Warner really appreciates the mention of his wealth (a topic, like George Bush and his Connecticut roots, he assiduously avoids). Miller apparently does have money, though, and his biggest virtue appears to be his willingness to self-fund. Anyhow, I wish Miller the best, though I'd still like to see Webb jump into the race.

Posted at 10:43 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

VA-Sen: Draft James Webb

Posted by DavidNYC

Right now, there are no Dem candidates running against Republican George Allen in this year's VA senate race. Even if Mark Warner were to run (and he won't), it would be a seriously uphill battle - which explains our recruitment difficulties. But there's one possible name in the mix who I'm holding out hope for: former Secretary of the Navy James Webb. And since you're nobody until somebody tries to draft you, the obligatory Draft James Webb website has sprung into existence.

As you may know, Webb was Navy Secretary under Reagan. Switching from working in a Republican administration to running as a Democratic senate candidate is a compelling storyline. It's something the media might latch on to. As much as we hate him, Zell Miller got a lot of play in 2004 because he switched sides. I also think Webb's background would play well in Virginia, with its numerous military bases (plus the Pentagon) - he's a decorated veteran and the first Annapolis grad to become SecNavy. He's also been a cogent critic of the war in Iraq.

An early poll by Rasmussen puts Allen way ahead. Raising Kaine thinks that lobbyist Harris Miller will jump into the race, but his name was not among those polled by Rasmussen. Like I say, I have no illusions about how tough this race would be. But I think Webb's willingness to speak his mind and buck his original party roots could make this one interesting.

Posted at 01:48 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Thursday, December 15, 2005

CA-50: Special Election Dates Set

Posted by DavidNYC

As I expected, Gov. Schwarzenegger decided to consolidate the special election in California's 50th congressional district - necessary because of the resignation of bribe-taking felon Duke Cunningham (R) - with the statewide primary on June 6th. This means that the first round of this election will take place on April 11th. As with CA-48, the top finisher in each party will advance to the general election, unless one person takes 50%. Our candidate is Francine Busby (though some other small-time names might get into the mix), while the GOP side is unsettled:

Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside, former South Bay congressman Brian Bilbray and former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian of San Marcos, all Republicans, have said they intend to seek the 50th District seat.

I would like to know why this news hasn't yet been posted to Busby's website or blog.

Anyhow, there are also some special elections coming up in January for VA state legislature seats as well. Plus, in a few days, the recount for the VA AG race will begin - but it should be a quick, two-day affair. Good luck, Creigh Deeds!

Posted at 07:40 PM in California, Special Elections, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 28, 2005

VA-AG: Republican is Declared Winner, but Recount is Coming

Posted by DavidNYC

Turns out the 2005 Virginia elections aren't quite over. From the Washington Post:

Virginia election officials Monday certified Republican Del. Robert F. McDonnell as the winner of the election for state attorney general with 323 more votes than Democratic Sen. R. Creigh Deeds out of 1.94 million cast.

McDonnell immediately claimed the mantle of attorney general-elect, but aides to Deeds said the senator will ask the courts on Tuesday to conduct a recount in what attorneys and advocates on both sides say is the closest statewide race in Virginia history.

According to the results certified by the state board of elections, McDonnell received 970,886 votes and Deeds received 970,563 in the Nov. 8 election.

The court has to grant a recount because Virginia law permits the (apparently) defeated candidate to seek one when the margin is less than 1%. Eliot Spitzer has demonstrated how important it is to have aggressive, creative attorneys general in office nationwide - AGs who aren't afraid to take on powerful entrenched interests. Republicans are at their wimpiest when it comes to that sort of thing, of course, so it would be a tremendous victory if Deeds can pull this one out.

I am reminded of Christine Gregoire's long recount in Washington state. She started off 261 votes down, but emerged with a 133-vote margin of victory. I actually think that's a pretty sizable hurdle to overcome, even though it sounds small. But with any luck, Deeds does have a chance.

Posted at 05:30 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, November 11, 2005

VA-Gov: Where Kaine Won

Posted by DavidNYC

I always love stuff like this. In case you aren't familiar with the concept, a cartogram is a map which tries to show both geographic location and numeric distribution. Maps of presidential elections, for example, always make the sea of red look enormous, but unfairly so, because so many Republican-voting states are so sparsely populated. Cartograms try to rectify that problem. Take a look here for some examples.

Anyhow, a Democratic consulting outfit called Strategic Telemetry has released a cartogram of the Virginia gubernatorial results, adjusted by county population. This gives you a good sense of where Tim Kaine drew his strength from, especially for folks knowledgeable about VA geography.

You can click on the image to bring you to a clearer full-size version (compressing it to fit on this page distorts the image a bit). Very interesting.

(Via Hotline On Call.)

Posted at 02:48 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

VA-Delegates: Dems Gain a Seat

Posted by DavidNYC

One of Virginia's state legislative bodies, the House of Delegates, was up for re-election this year. (The state Senate is not up until 2007.) The Dems wound up with a net pickup of one seat, changing the makeup from 60 Republicans, 38 Democrats and 2 independents to 58-39-3. One Republican incumbent lost to a Dem, while another (probably has) lost to an independent who was backed by Mark Warner, among others. Meanwhile, the Dems beat one GOP incumbent. The Dems made their pickup because they snagged two GOP open seats, while the Republicans only won one Democratic open seat.

Not exactly a scintillating shift of power. I suppose it allows the GOP to claim that Kilgore's loss was a one-off thing, while the Dems can say they more than held their own in a red (Bush +8) state. DH says that the House of Delegates outcome is the "real" news for those looking to glean meaning from Tuesday's elections, but with such minimal movement, it's hard to draw too many conclusions.

UPDATE: Maybe I spoke too soon. A lot of Delegates races were uncontested, so the broader playing field was quite constricted. Only 49 seats actually had a race. Moreover, this continues a trend over the past two years whereby the Dems have picked up 4 seats (3 in 2003 and one in a special election in 2004). And as Kagro points out, the GOP spent a ton of money to defend their one incumbent who lost, their prime wingnut anti-abortion standard-bearer, Dick Black.

Plus, it looks like the VA results are fast becoming part of the CW. From the first paragraph of today's NYT's story on the VA races:

Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, won the race for governor on Tuesday night, scoring a major political victory for his mentor, Gov. Mark Warner, and sending a powerful message that President Bush's political standing has fallen in this reliably Republican state.

Posted at 01:42 AM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

VA-Gov: WaPo Calls it for Kaine

Posted by DavidNYC

Congrats Tim Kaine:

Democrat Timothy M. Kaine defeated Republican Jerry W. Kilgore in today's election for governor of Virginia, riding the popularity of outgoing Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) and dissatisfaction with the Bush administration in a state that typically votes Republican in national elections.

With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Kaine, Virginia's lieutenant governor, held a lead of 51 percent to 46 percent over Kilgore, the former state attorney general, according to unofficial returns from the State Board of Elections. Independent candidate H. Russell Potts Jr. was running a distant third, with 2 percent.

While the results kept the governor's office in Democratic hands, Republicans were narrowly leading races for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

This is a big win. I hope we can also pull out the Lt. Gov. and AG races.

Posted at 10:02 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Gov: Election Results

Posted by Bob Brigham


Kaine (D): 52.19, 52.14, 51.15, 50.61, 51.31, 51.53% 51.53%
Kilgore (R): 45.65, 45.74, 46.58, 47.13, 46.44, 46.21% 46.20%

30.98%, 39.45%, 63.48%, 70%, 88.13%, 90.52% 94.06% Reporting

Check out the Virginia Bloggers for more: BlogPAC wire -- Lefty Blogs.

Posted at 07:57 PM in Virginia | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

2005 Election Night Coverage

Posted by Bob Brigham

This is the last hurrah for the 2005 Swing State Project team, so we will do everything we can to provide top-notch election night coverage. DavidNYC is in Washington, DC (ready for legal deployment to Virginia if the Tim Kaine vs. Jerry Kilgore race goes into extra innings). Tim Tagaris is on the ground in Ohio, ready to follow through on all he has done to help Reform Ohio Now. And I'm in California with front row seats for Arnold Schwarzenegger's initiatives. In addition to the election results, check out what the local bloggers are writing in the major states. There are now two major wires services for liberal bloggers -- state by state. Keep refreshing Swing State Project, but also visit all of the bloggers on the ground by visiting the wires:

Virginia: BlogPAC wire -- Lefty Blogs

New Jersey: BlogPAC wire -- Lefty Blogs

Ohio: BlogPAC wire -- Lefty Blogs

California: BlogPAC wire -- Lefty Blogs

DISCLAIMER: I've ended up on BlogPAC's reports before, but all I'm trying to do here is direct you to the bloggers with the on the ground knowledge.

Posted at 07:24 PM in 2005 Elections, California, New Jersey, Ohio, Site News, Virginia | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Gov: Machine Problems?

Posted by DavidNYC

Man, you gotta hate hearing stuff like this:

News 7 has received calls from several voters in at least four different precincts who say their votes for Tim Kaine were not recorded or took several attempts to go through.

They contend the electronic touch screens repeatedly indicated they were voting for Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore instead of registering their intended vote for his Democratic opponent Tim Kaine.

Roanoke Co. Registrar Judy Stokes says she doesn't want to say the problem is operator error on the part of the voters, but she points out the touch screens are sensitive. She says anyone who is having difficulty voting should ask one of the poll workers for assistance.

I really hope it is voter error - and only a handful of voters at that. If you fuck up your vote on one of those clunking dinosaur NYC voting machines, you are totally out of luck unless you go get an order from a judge. (Yeah, right.) I can't imagine you get much sympathy if you mess up your vote elsewhere. But if the machines are fouling up, then it's a lot easier to blame voters, no?

(Via Taegan Goddard.)

Posted at 04:35 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Gov: Recount Watch

Posted by DavidNYC

Hotline tells us to be on the alert for a possible recount in Virginia. This is what VA law - which is mercifully clear - says about recounts:

When there is between any candidate apparently nominated or elected and any candidate apparently defeated a difference of not more than one percent of the total vote cast for the two such candidates as determined by the State Board or the electoral board, the defeated candidate may appeal from the determination of the State Board or the electoral board for a recount of the vote as set forth in this article. (Emphasis added.)

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-800.B (2005). The wording here is interesting, though. It talks about the total vote cast between two candidates - the putative winner and the aggrieved challenger. It does NOT look at the entire vote cast in the election. This adds a wrinkle because of Russell Potts.

Let's say the final tally is 48.5 Kaine, 47.5 Kilgore, 4 to Potts and other candidates. The final margin is 1%, so that means Kilgore can ask for a recount, right? Not so fast. As between Kaine and Kilgore, the margin is actually 50.52 to 49.48. Ouch! Kilgore misses a chance at a recount by four-hundredths of a percent. Granted, this is a pretty unlikely scenario, and this twist is only likely to come into play if you have a serious third-party challenger pulling in double digits.

I don't think it'll come to a recount anyhow - at least, I sure as hell hope it doesn't. But if it does, I'm sure I'll wind up heading over the river into VA with a whole passel of other law students and lawyers.

Posted at 04:13 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 07, 2005

VA-Gov: SUSA Late Day Update Knocks Kaine Back to +5

Posted by DavidNYC

This is a new one by me. Earlier today, SUSA released a new poll showing Tim Kaine up 9. Seemed like quite an outlier, but there it was. (Roanoke did show him +8 a few days ago, so it wasn't completely nuts.) Anyhow, check this out (reformatted for clarity):

UNUSUAL VOLATILITY IN VA AS VOTERS GO TO BED ON ELECTION EVE: Interviews in the Virginia governor's race conducted by SurveyUSA tonight Monday 11/7 (but before President Bush appeared in Richmond) show a swing back towards Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore, causing SurveyUSA to now update its final projection in the Virginia Governor's Contest.

This morning, based on interviews conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday (11/4/05 through 11/6/05), SurveyUSA released data that showed Democrat Tim Kaine 9 points ahead of Kilgore. However, because of intra-day volatility in that data, SurveyUSA continued to poll throughout the afternoon and evening today Monday 11/7.

• When interviews from the most recent 3 days -- Saturday, Sunday and today Monday -- are averaged, Kaine's lead shrinks now to 5 points.

• When interviews from just the past two days -- Sunday and today Monday -- are averaged, the contest is closer yet.

• When interviews from Monday only are considered, the contest is tied, but the Margin of Sampling error from just the one day of interviewing is high enough, and the results aberrant enough, that SurveyUSA is uncomfortable reporting just Monday-only data.

For the record, SurveyUSA goes into the clubhouse with its final projection (based on Saturday, Sunday and Monday polling): Kaine 50%, Kilgore 45%. A closer outcome still is possible.

So, a little extra polling after you're done with your polling? I dunno - polling during the afternoon seems inherently suspect. Aren't many, if not most, adults at work at that point?Anyhow, I'm guessing that the whole "aberrant Monday data" stuff means that Kilgore had a rockin' day. So yeah, maybe it was aberrant, or maybe this race is just gonna be super-tight - like we've been expecting all along.

Posted at 09:48 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Gov: Republican Governor's Association Misleads for Jerry Kilgore

Posted by Bob Brigham

UPDATE (David): An MP3 of the call is available here. (Thanks for hosting it, Markos.) The sound quality isn't exactly great, so make sure you check out the transcript while you listen.

UPDATE (David): Folks, do NOT contact VPAP (the site we link to which has the Honest Leadership/RGA information). VPAP is just a campaign info database, like or They have nothing to do with this.

In the final days of the Virginia gubernatorial campaign, the Republican Governor's Association is resorting to disgusting tactics in their support of Jerry Kilgore, even going so far as use robo-calls pretending to come from Tim Kaine.

These Republican Governors' Association prerecorded telephone calls are misleading and violate Federal law intended to prevent such political dirty tricks. Consider that "The Honest Leadership for Virginia PAC" is not just a front group, it is the Republican Governors Association's Virginia political committee. The "Honest" Leadership for Virginia PAC received just three contributions totaling $1,860,000 in 2005 – all from one donor, the Republican Governors Association.

RGA's Pre-Recorded Telephone call misleads recipients by implying that it is sponsored by Tim Kaine and fails to disclose the actual entity paying for the call – the Republican Governors Association. Using Tim Kaine's voice implies that he sponsored the call. Using a misleading name, like Honest Leadership for Virginia PAC, for their Virginia political committee, the RGA further misleads recipients that this entity is something other than what it is – an arm of the RGA. In fact, just check the contact info, the Treasurer's email ends in

Here is a transcript of the ad:

[Voice of Tim Kaine] I am running for Governor and I am not afraid to tell you where I stand.

I am conservative on issues of personal responsibility. As a former Christian missionary, faith is central to my life. I oppose gay marriage. I support restrictions on abortion: No public funding and parental consent. And I've worked to pass a state law banning partial birth abortion.

Paid for and authorized by Honest Leadership for Virginia PAC.

Registration number 05-034.

Now I'm no big city lawyer, but a former Hill staffer sent me an email that lays out a convincing case against the RGA:

Federal law requires disclosure of the entity that is responsible for initiating a pre-recorded telephone call to disclose its true identify at the beginning of the message. 47 CFR Sec. 64.1200(b)(1).

• The Federal regulation states: "All artificial or prerecorded telephone messages shall:

(1) At the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for the call. 47 CFR Sec. 64.1200(b)(1).

• Neither the RGA, nor its shadow organization, Honest Leadership for Virginia PAC, is identified at the beginning of the prerecorded message.

• RGA violated Federal Communication Commission regulations by failing to identify the entity responsible for initiating the prerecorded message.

4. Federal law requires the entity making prerecorded telephone calls to provide a telephone number in the message. 47 CFR Sec. 64.1200(b)(2).

• The FCC regulation states: "All artificial or prerecorded telephone messages shall:

(2) During or after the message, state clearly the telephone number (other than that of the autodialer or prerecorded message player that placed the call) of such business, other entity, or individual. The telephone number provided may not be a 900 number or any other number for which charges exceed local or long distance transmission charges. For telemarketing messages to residential telephone subscribers, such telephone number must permit any individual to make a don-not-call request during regular business hours for the duration of the telemarketing campaign. 47 CFR Sec. 64.1200(b)(2).

• No telephone number is provided in the RGA's prerecorded message for the RGA or its shadow organization, Honest Leadership for Virginia PAC.

• RGA violated Federal Communication Commission regulations by failing to clearly state telephone number during or after the prerecorded message.

Lies and distortion, the Kilgore campaign is clearly desperate.

Posted at 04:45 PM in 2005 Elections, Culture of Corruption, Republicans, Scandals, Virginia | Comments (13) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

VA-Gov: SUSA Poll Due Out Today

Posted by DavidNYC

Survey USA, in conjunction with News Channel 10 out of Roanoke, will be releasing a new poll on the VA gubernatorial race today. From the article, it looks like it won't get released until the evening (late afternoon?) news at 5pm today. This will probably be the last poll on the race, so it will get some scrutiny. (Nothing like having the last word, is there?)

SUSA's last poll a few weeks ago showed Kaine up two. As I noted below, seven of ten recent polls show Kaine up. So keep your eye on the SUSA trendlines.

UPDATE: Poll came out earlier than expected. And damn, that's some freakin' mo! 52-43 for Kaine - +9, or +7 ahead of the last SUSA poll. I doubt Kaine will win by that much, but I think I could hear the sounds of multiple jaws dropping at Camp Kilgore all the way here in DC.

(Thanks to reader Raf for alerting me that the poll was available.)

Posted at 02:15 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, November 06, 2005

VA-Gov: Dirty Tricks Are a Sign of Desperation

Posted by DavidNYC

Seven of ten polls taken since October have put Tim Kaine up in the VA gov race. One of them put Kaine up 8 points - surely wrong - but must have given the Kilgore people fits anyhow. So with defeat looming, the Kilgore camp has put forth this shit:

Yep, you heard me right - this is from the Kilgore camp. To me, the biggest give-away is the fact that even when pretending to be Dems, Republicans still use the intentionally harsher-sounding word "Democrat" as an adjective instead of the proper form "Democratic."

(Inside is some crap about how "true progressives" should really be voting for independent candidate Russell Potts. Weak.)

Anyhow, this wasn't even some hack job by some anonymous dirty-tricks group from whom the campaign could distance itself. This came straight from the campaign itself:


Now Kilgore can waste the last days of the campaign answering questions about this flyer. Already the story is surfacing in the traditional media. Just like the despicable Hitler ads, this will backfire on Jerry Kilgore. Desperation moves have a way of doing that.

(Via mlk's diary.)

Posted at 02:18 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, October 30, 2005

VA-Gov: Big Mo' for Kaine in WaPo Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

I always like to wake up to news like this on a Sunday morning (or afternoon, as the case may be). The Washington Post has a new poll out on the VA Gov race, and it's good news for Tim Kaine (likely voters, early Sept. in parens):

Kaine: 47 (44)
Kilgore: 44 (51)
Potts: 4 (4)
Undecided: 5 (2)
(MoE: ±3%)

Now, on one hand, it's been a long time since the WaPo has polled this race (why so lazy, guys?). But on the other hand, this poll has a big sample size and in fact has an MoE a full point lower than the last poll. And I don't think it's an outlier, either, because the race has undoubtedly tightened a lot and a bunch of recent polls have been giving Kaine small leads of late.

The bottom line is that the WaPo shows Kilgore nose-diving a full 10 points in some six weeks. The Kilgore campaign surely must be suffering from some agita right now. A couple points, though. First is that the WaPo claims that Kilgore's obscene death penalty ads backfired on him - 65% of those surveyed said they thought the ads were unfair. However, it's impossible to know how much of an effect those ads had, because the WaPo didn't ask a simple question: "Did these ads makes you more or less likely to vote for Jerry Kilgore." I'd like to believe the ad campaign backfired, but then again, there are people who, when polled, say that litterbugs should get the death penalty. How you feel about something isn't as important as how important that thing is to you.

The other observation (not mine) is more unsettling. Unnamed Dems in VA (grr, could you really not go on record about this?) are saying that Kaine has to be up at least 5 in the polls by election day in order to win. They point out that Mark Warner was up by 10 points in many polls right before he was elected in 2001, but only won by 5. I decided to check this claim out, and it's only sorta true. Here are all the independent polls I could find in the last month of the race:

11/1 Times-Dispatch +13
10/30 Mason-Dixon +6
10/30 Roanoke +9
10/25 WaPo +10
10/17 Mason-Dixon +3

I pulled this data together from the subscriber's section of Polling Report and the National Journal, so it should be pretty comprehensive. Anyhow, there are two conclusions you can draw from this. One is that Mark Warner was hitting above his weight and somehow crashed down from 5 to 8 points by election day. The other is that Mason-Dixon was a lot more accurate than the other pollsters.

Hard to know which view is right. In 1997, Republican Jim Gilmore beat Democrat Don Beyer by a hefty 13 points. Mason-Dixon's last poll that year showed Gilmore with a nine-point lead, so they were about 50% off the final tally. However, they did seem to sense a huge late Gilmore surge - their prior poll had him at +7, and the poll before that (taken at the beginning of October) showed the race tied. All of M-D's earlier polls also showed a one-or-two point gap. (This info is all taken from the National Journal.)

On the flip-side, two of the pollsters who got the 2001 race so wrong were much more accurate in 1997. Roanoke had Gilmore at +12, as did the Times-Dispatch. The WaPo only had Gilmore at +7, which makes you wonder: If they were so off for two VA Gov races in a row, maybe we shouldn't be paying them too much attention this time around, either. (The key difference this year is that there are no outliers at all.)

So where does this leave us? We can say that Mason-Dixon was pretty much spot-on in 2001 and got things sorta-right in 1997. We can say that the Times-Dispatch and Roanoke College were good in 1997 but had an off-year in 2001. And the Wapo - well, we've already complained about them. So whom to believe?

If you were paying attention to M-D last time around, then this CW that Kaine needs a five-point buffer is bunk. M-D showed Warner up 6, he won by 5 - pretty good. But if you think M-D just got lucky, and you think Warner truly did collapse from his Roanoke/Times-Dispatch/WaPo highs, then here's one very, very salient factor for you:

Bush currently has a 41-56 approval rating in Virginia. I don't have state approval ratings for George Bush in 2001, but his nationwide approval had hit 90% right after 9/11. If any voters were going into their polling places undecided that year, Bush's utterly untarnished halo would probably have been the deciding factor.

This year, of course, no dice. Bush may have dragged Warner down 5 points last time, but there's no way he's doing the same to Kaine this time. If anything, he'll drag Kilgore down a bit. So I'm cautiously optimistic.

(Thanks to reader UVA08.)

Posted at 02:37 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 27, 2005

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine Ad Controversy

Posted by Bob Brigham

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine has found himself at the center of a scandal for bowing to right-wing racists and cancelling ads on an African American blog:

So now the Kaine campaign is in the silly position of responding to a racist while withdrawing support from an African-American. Which could have been avoided if they had talked before running scared. [...]

But what really and truly bothers me is not the ad pull. You play football, you wake up sore. But the responsiveness to the opposition.

The Kaine campaign has never been responsible for the content on this site. They just buy space. They have probably disagreed with my stands. But they respond to people who will not vote for them, want them to lose and uses anything to pressure them.

And in the end, hurts them more than if they blew it off. The campaign didn't need me to go after them, but I am, because they are cowards. [...]

Cowardice should not be rewarded.

Tim Kaine is running a cowardly campaign, from the get-go he has been running scared, trying to offend as few people as possible.

But this scandal highlights a larger misconception about blogs, blogads, and netroots support.

It is important for people to realize that advertising on a blog doesn't mean the advertiser endorses the content of the site, all it means is that a decision has been made that the advertiser is interested in individuals who may read a particular blog.

Likewise, a blog running an ad doesn't mean that the blogger(s) endorse the product being advertised.

This shouldn't be a hard concept to grasp.

For example, Tim Kaine is advertising on the Swing State Project right now, yet here I am calling him a coward. Earlier in the year, Tim Tagaris didn't hold back his thoughts on Bob Casey, Jr. when Casey advertised here. In fact, if memory serves me right, both Tim and I wrote some hard hitting posts while the ad was running.

Look at the other two ads running. One is for Steve Westly, who is running against Phil Angelides in California's Democratic gubernatorial primary. As the lone SSP writer who votes in California, I'll still be voting for Angelides and plan on devoting a good deal of posts next year to why Angelides inspires me with his campaign. As for the final ad, you all know it is a long story but we still approved the ad and it hasn't changed any of our thoughts on the issue.

When you see an ad in a newspaper, you don't assume that the editorial board supports the advertiser so don't make the same mistake with blogs. Likewise, you don't assume that advertisers support the view of the editorial page.

Politicians who think they can buy support by running ads are just as misguided as politicians who pull ads for what the blog posts.

UPDATE: (Bob) Now this is on the front page of Daily Kos. Kaine is going to lose a great deal of support and volunteers because of this fuckup. Even more, now he won't have blogosphere support for rapid response during the home stretch of the campaign. Tim Kaine's cowardice may have just cost him the election.

Posted at 01:56 PM in 2005 Elections, Netroots, Scandals, Virginia | Comments (10) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

VA-Gov: Kilgore Runs Away From Bush

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah, this is fun:

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore has decided not to attend President Bush's appearance in Norfolk on Friday, saying it is not a campaign-related event and that he has other plans 11 days before the election.


The decision highlights some concerns among Virginia Republicans, who have watched nervously in recent weeks as Bush's popularity has waned and as scandals involving presidential aides and congressional leaders have dominated news coverage. Although it is unclear how the national political environment affects voters choosing who should lead their state, even small shifts are important in races that are as close as the Virginia contest.

That Diageo/Hotline poll (PDF) from ten days ago gave Bush just a 49-49 job approval rating in the state. And SUSA's poll from the same time was loads worse: 41-56. No matter whom you believe, Bush ain't popular in VA. Keep on runnin', Jerry.

Posted at 12:23 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

VA-Gov: No Surprises in New Hotline Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Hotline & Diageo have a new poll out on VA-Gov today, and it's pretty much as you'd expect (likely voters, no trendlines):

Kaine: 41
Kilgore: 40
Potts: 6
Undecided: 14
(MoE: ±4.7%)

Among RVs, Kaine leads 40-38. With "extremely" likely voters (a formulation I haven't seen before), Kilgore leads by 42-41.

Actually, I shouldn't speak so quickly - this poll is a bit different from others. The number of undecideds seems to be quite high. Even with the ELVs, that number is still 13% - and we're just three weeks away from election day. I don't necessarily disbelieve that figure. I think polling firms often push leaners or word questions so as to minimize "undecided" answers - it makes for "cleaner" data, but I think it comes at the expense of accuracy. Without an incumbent in this race, it's hard to say who might ultimately benefit from these undecideds, but with momentum clearly in Kaine's favor, things might tilt his way.

One detail I liked seeing: Kaine has much stronger partisan support than Kilgore. Kaine is at 86-5 among Dems, while Kilgore is just 70-13 among Republicans. Potts, incidentally, appears to be drawing almost equally from both major-party candidates - 4% of GOPers and 3% of Dems back him. But of course, it may come down to just that one percentage point.

P.S. I thought Diageo was a drinks company. What gives?

Posted at 08:56 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 17, 2005

VA-Gov: SUSA Puts Kaine at +2

Posted by DavidNYC

SUSA shows, like everyone else, a super-tight race in the Virginia gub race, which is just three weeks away (likely voters, mid-Sept. in parens):

Kaine: 47 (43)
Kilgore: 45 (46)
Potts: 4 (4)
Other: 2 (3)
Undecided: 2 (4)
(MoE: ±3.7%)
One set of trendlines doesn't tell the whole story, though. Jerome lists all five SUSA polls on the race here. Or look at it in table form:

Month Lead
Mar. Kilgore +10
June Kilgore +10
Aug. Kilgore +5
Sept. Kilgore +3
Oct. Kaine +2

That looks like some Bad News Bears for Kilgore right there. I hope this trend keeps up.

P.S. Check out this website to learn more about the real Jerry Kilgore. And here is Tim Kaine.

Posted at 07:38 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Gov: Despicable: Jerry Kilgore Trivializes the Holocaust

Posted by DavidNYC

I am angry beyond words right now:

The Republican candidate for Virginia governor is drawing fire for campaign ads that suggest his Democratic opponent is so averse to the death penalty he would have spared Adolf Hitler from execution.


A commercial featuring death penalty proponent Stanley Rosenbluth has him looking into the camera and saying: "Tim Kaine says Adolf Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty. This was one of the worst mass murderers in modern times."

Tim wrote about this absolutely despicable ad last week, but I didn't realize Kilgore was such a wretched human being that he'd stoop to invoking Hitler in such a grotesque way.

The Holocaust is one of the most serious, tragic and defining events in living memory, if not the most. Using it for political gains is beyond unacceptable. This isn't some freshman philosophy class where TAs toss half-baked hypotheticals at their students. This is the public arena, and we are dealing with the most sensitive parts of history. Jerry Kilgore insults the memories of millions, living and dead, when he goes on the air with trash like this.

And he certainly knows better. I'd say he should act better, too, and withdraw this ad - but someone whose judgment is so impaired that they greenlighted this ad in the first place probably would never heed such advice.

Posted at 01:57 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

VA-Gov: Kilgore Still Pals with Rove Despite No-Show

Posted by DavidNYC

Karl Rove was supposed to headline a fundraiser for Jerry Kilgore. Why Kilgore wanted Rove to show up in the first place is a bit mystifying: Even in Republican Virginia, Bush has a mere 40-58 approval rating. I dunno about you, but I usually don't want the top aides of guys who are 18 points in the hole anywhere near my campaigns.

So maybe Jerry Kilgore got wise, because Rove failed to show this weekend. Of course, Kilgore is claiming otherwise. He says that didn't know why Rove bailed, and he's also saying (perhaps with a metaphorical gun pointed at his head) that he wishes Rove could have been there:

Still, he said he would have had no qualms about sharing the spotlight with Rove or embracing close aides to President Bush.


Kilgore disputed the notion that the problems of the Bush administration could hurt his chances, citing Virginia's election four years ago.

Bush "has been a big help to me in this campaign," Kilgore said.

Keep on repeating that to yourself, Jerry.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Bushco demands loyalty tests - ie, you'll appear with our guys whether you like it or not. I think Kilgore escaped on a technicality - Rove probably is too embroiled with the ongoing Plame investigation to do campaign appearances. But given that Bush prizes loyalty above all other traits, I hardly think they'd permit disloyalty just because it might win the Republicans a few campaigns.

Posted at 01:41 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 13, 2005

VA-Gov: Close

Posted by DavidNYC

Rasmussen's latest in the VA gubernatorial race (likely voters, late Sept. in parens):

Kaine: 44 (45)
Kilgore: 46 (45)
Potts: 1 (5)
(MoE: ±4.5%)

I'm guessing the balance consists of undecideds. This is clearly going to come down to the wire. I'm hoping that anyone who walks into the voting booth on election day without their mind already made up thinks of Mark Warner and his 66% approval rating (sixth-best in the nation) before pulling the lever. That might be just enough to put Kaine over the top.

P.S. The Big Dog is coming to town to help Kaine raise some dough. I'm sure tickets cost $2,100 - anyone got a spare for me?

UPDATE: Heh. It's a state race, so tix are $5,000 a pop, as Fran reminds us in comments. Still lookin' for extras here. :)

Posted at 09:04 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (9) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

VA-Gov: Absolutely Despicable

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Absolutely despicable.

That's the only way to describe the new attack ads Jerry Kilgore is running against Tim Kaine in Virginia. Set against a black back-drop, the father of a man whose son and daughter-in-law were murdered, speaks passionately about how Tim Kaine "voluntarily" defended the murderer. Forget the fact that Tim Kaine was court-appointed, forget about the fact that the two were apparently murdered in a drug deal gone bad, these type of ads represent the worst of our political process.

You can watch the ad here.

Unfortunately, I am not quite sure the Kaine campaign is up to the battle. The Kaine campaign released its response to the ad, and the piece is embarassing. You can watch it here. It almost made me throw up in my mouth.

Jerry Kilgore's campaign needs to be exposed for this, and I hope someone fights back. Whether it's the Kaine campaign, the press, or a handful of reasonable conservatives in Virginia. The Walshington Post called the ad a "smear." Well no kidding. But that editorial will ultimately ring hollow as Virginians listen to the echo of gun shots over the top of serene sounds and a somber story. I don't have to tell any of the progressive audience that reads this blog, but this is a pattern of behavior, the attacking of public servants, for their service, that must be retaliated against. And it's just another example of a poltical party that wants to govern, but has no respect at all for government. After watching Tim Kaine's rebutal, his discussion of Christian values moved me to pray tonight... pray that he scraps that terrible rebuttal ad and recognizes he can't win by bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Posted at 01:26 AM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (8) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Friday, October 07, 2005

VA-Gov: Jerry Kilgore a Porn Star?

Posted by Bob Brigham

jerry kilgore Jerry Kilgore is running for Governor of Virginia, but looks a helluva lot like a former porn star. I'm not one who usually makes generalizations from a photo, but the Republican candidate really does look like a vintage porn star.

Anyway, I'm guessing the voters of Virginia are far more concerned about the issues then the fact the GOP nominee looks like an old-school porn star. I mean, voters decide on the issues, don't they?

If voters do decide on the issues, then Jerry Kilgore has a bigger problems then the fact he looks like a seventies porn star. Go watch the video the pic is taken from, it is Kilgore back when he ran the prisons. He is bragging about going an entire day without a prison break.

I'm not making this up, he actually brags about this. If you look at the hard numbers, prison escapes jumped 300% under Jerry Kilgore.

Now I'm not saying that somebody who looks like a third-rate porn star can't run a prison system. And I'm not saying that somebody who looks like a dirty porn star can't run an entire state. But Jerry Kilgore both looks like a pervert porn star and the way he ran the prison system suggests he would be an awful Governor.

Me, I hope the voters decide on the issues rather than the fact Jerry Kilgore sported a porn star mustache. Because somebody who is both incompetent and sets the bar that low has no business running Virginia.

Go check out the video at

Posted at 04:52 PM in 2005 Elections, Republicans, Scandals, Virginia | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

VA-Sen: Ben Affleck Should Challenge George Allen

Posted by Bob Brigham

As blogosphere junkies know, Swing State Project has a very special relationship with MyDD. We're all friends and see eye-to-eye on most issues. But, I have to disagree with Chris Bowers when it comes to the 2006 Virginia Senate Race.

When rumors first surfaced that Ben Affleck was considering mounting a challenge to Republican Senator George Allen, Chris Bowers wrote:

Someone like Affleck would be a horrible, media sucking distraction from the 2006 campaign. This would be the equivalent media circus of the 2003 California recall election. It would destroy the generic advantage Democrats are poised to hold in 2006, and from which they will reap huge benefits if Bush's approval rating stays low.

So, please God, no, don't let Affleck run.

While I appreciate where Bowers is coming from, I disagree and think Affleck should seriously consider running for a number of reasons...

First, the (subscription only) National Journal had a great column by Chuck Todd today, via Daily Kos:

Democrats could have nine or 10 races in their crosshairs instead of just seven (one over the bare minimum to win back control).

The reality is that if one were to handicap the current Senate battle race-by-race, a 0-2 Democratic pickup would be very realistic. But as Charlie Cook has pointed out, Senate races never break evenly for both parties.

The key for the party that's got that little breeze at the end is putting enough races in play to win all those toss-ups. In a neutral climate, the 0-2 Democratic pickup prediction would make sense. But it's hard to foresee a neutral 2006 environment.

The makings for a Democratic advantage are brewing. There's no difference between netting three Senate seats and netting six or seven. Once the Democrats are in a position to net a third, it probably means all those slightly-leaning GOP seats are going their way and the gain will be closer to six than to two.

The amount Affleck makes on a single movie is enough for a serious ante and his name recognition, good looks, wife, future baby, and access to political support would instantly make the race competitive. According to Todd's analysis, this race could then easily become a pick-up, helping Democrats win the Senate and ending George Allen's 2008 presidential ambitions.

As for Bowers concerns that Affleck would hurt the Democratic message, I think the following indicates Affleck understands the dynamics, but wants to participate in democracy:

"I seem lately to bring to with me, whether I want to or not, a certain amount of media attention," the 31-year-old actor told reporters Tuesday before a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser at a bar outside Fenway.

"But I think you have to be smart and you have to be judicious and you have to be tasteful and you have to be respectful and you have to know your place," he added later. "I am not an elected official. I am not a political expert. I perceive my capacity here mostly in terms of being somebody who grew up here and wanting to be an ambassador for this city."

When a television reporter suggested that being good-looking, articulate and famous would make him a natural candidate for office, Affleck responded: "Uh, you know, that's a nice idea and I'm very flattered that you say it, but it's a tough fight, you know? I mean, if I think that the entertainment press is tough on me now, I can't imagine what it would be like to have a political agenda, as well."

It's not as if this talk comes out of nowhere. In an interview for the May 2001 issue of GQ magazine, Affleck said: "My fantasy is that someday I'm independently wealthy enough that I'm not beholden to anybody, so I can run for Congress on the grounds that everyday people - be they singers or poets or bankers or lawyers or teachers - should be in government."

While Affleck received a great ton of ink for his work to help John Kerry during last year's senate race, Affleck also stumped hard for Al Gore:

In the final hectic weeks of Campaign 2000, Affleck spent his time passionately campaigning for the Democratic ticket, supporting Al Gore, repeatedly delivering a get-out-the-vote plea: "It's very important to vote. The president will appoint three or four Supreme Court justices."

During the final week of the race, Affleck stumped for Gore in California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. During a stop in Pittsburgh, the star--along with Helen Hunt, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner and other actors--spent an hour at a phone bank calling registered Democrats. "People in my generation have a low voter turnout. One of the reasons that I'm here is to demonstrate that no matter who you are going to vote for... I think it's important to get involved and get out and vote," Affleck told reporters. "But I'm going to tell people to vote for Gore."

On October 28, 2000, Affleck flew with the First Lady (Hillary Clinton) to Ithaca, New York, where he introduced her at a Cornell University rally. Affleck told the college crowd that Clinton had been advocating for women and working families since "Rick Lazio was running around the frat house in his underwear." Lazio, then a Long Island congressman, was Clinton's Republican opponent.

On Monday, November 6, the final day of the campaign, Affleck was one of several A-list celebrities summoned to Miami Beach by Miramax Films boss Harvey Weinstein for a late-night Gore rally, just hours before polls opened nationwide. The Gore campaign's last event, a final effort to energize South Beach voters, didn't end until about 1 AM, but Affleck flew back to New York that morning and made a surprise live appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. It was 10:15 when he made his final public pitch from a Rockefeller Center studio, noting that he was "a little bit tired...I've been out getting involved, doing stuff and trying to get people to vote. And that's why I came by here." Also, "Today is the get-out-the-vote day and...I think this is the time to get involved, especially the young folks who are here ... I'm about to go vote," Affleck then said, adding later, "I am personally gonna vote for Al Gore."

Affleck has some political experience, I healthy respect for democracy, strong Democratic beliefs, and the ability to instantly make the race competitive. While Virginia Governor Mark Warner was my first choice to challenge Senator Allen, I think it is important that we put the seat in play. If Ben Affleck is interested, I think he should file.

UPDATE: Bowers joins the bandwagon, meaning Affleck could have the makings of some blogosphere backing if he decides to run:

I now think Ben Affleck should run for Senate in Virginia. Here is why.

The Jack Carter announcement today increased the number of competitive Democratic challenges to Republican-held Senate seats to eight (Arizona, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee). Over the past week, with Hoeven bowing out in North Dakota and Capito bowing out in West Virginia, the number of potentially competitive Republican challenges to Democratic-held Senate seats has been reduced to seven (Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey and Washington). Thus, for the first time, in the 2005-2006 cycle, Democrats have actually pulled ahead in the number of potentially competitive seats they are challenging in the Senate. [...]

Apart from a decided monetary advantage, one key for Republicans in 2002 and 2004 in the Senate was to create more competitive challenges to Democratic-held seats than Democrats created to Republican held seats. In the final weeks of the campaign, this stretched Democratic resources very thin, and allowed Republicans to pick up almost all of the close Senate races in both years. For example, ion 2004, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania never emerged as highly competitive Democratic challenges to Republican held seats, while Washington and Wisconsin become, if not truly competitive, a lot closer than most people expected. The DSCC was forced to help defend Murray and Feingold, while the NRSC wasn't forced to do much of anything to help Bond, Specter and Voinovich. Democrats managed to do this to Republicans in 2000 as well, when they scored a net gain of five seats.

This is a strategy that should have been obvious to me from day one, since it is exactly the sort of strategy I have been advocating in the House for quite some time. Challenge every seat, aim for the leadership, and reduce the number of minimal challenges as much as possible, thus draining Republican resources away from the swing seats during the campaign as much as possible. It makes sense for the Senate as well.

Thus, no matter how much of a media circus an Affleck candidacy might become, it seems to me that he would be an excellent bonus to Democratic chances in the Senate in 2006. He is already very well known, has good looks and good politics, is a strong speaker, and could easily self-finance his run against Allen, who pretty close the the under-50 incumbent tipping point. Thus, Affleck would instantly increase the number of competitive Democratic challenges to nine seats, further stretching the Democratic advantage in this area. If Lott retires, that could potentially make ten serious challenges to Republican-held seats. And who knows, maybe we will continue to experience good news in places like Maryland, Nebraska and New Jersey, pushing Democrats out to a huge edge in seats we are seriously challenging. [...]

Humble and tasteful, well-spoken and smart, liberal and instantly competitive--Affleck suddenly looks very good to me. With the way things are going, over the past three months 2006 has looked better than better for Democrats all the time. Let's keep that roll going. Run Ben, run.

MyDD also has a poll, go vote.

Posted at 03:11 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Democrats, Netroots, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Hackett Effect: Six Veterans Running as Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hiding from the Iraq issue, individuals are stepping up to fill the DC Establishment leadership void. In fact, there are already 6 veterans ready to serve again -- in Congress:

While fighting in Iraq, a private asked then-Capt. Patrick Murphy why U.S. forces were in the Persian Gulf nation and was told it didn't matter; there was a job to do and just try to return home safely.

"That wasn't the time to question our government," Murphy recalled.

Now, however, Murphy and five other veterans of the war are asking questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader Democratic campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Given their experience in Iraq, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are in line with the American people:

Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concern about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll indicated only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving.

This summer, Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran, nearly defeated Republican Jean Schmidt in a special election in an Ohio district considered a GOP stronghold. Hackett focused on his wartime experience and his opposition to Bush's policies.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are doing their duty:

"Some guys don't think it's time to question our government, but the fact is I love my country," said Murphy, 31, a lawyer who fought in the 82nd Airborne Division. "We need to have an exit strategy now."

Murphy is challenging first-term Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a Republican in the northern Philadelphia suburbs of the 8th District.

Another Iraq war veteran, Texas Republican Van Taylor, is also running for a House seat, but he backs President Bush.

It's too soon to measure the impact of the war on the 2006 elections, but the handful of veterans pursuing seats in the House of Representatives is an early indicator.

The press thinks this is a story, the veterans know first-hand how high the stakes are, and it is clear that individuals are stepping up to fill the leadership vacuum created by wimpy Washington Establishment Democrats.

Please use the comments to let us know what you know about this six Democrats.

Posted at 02:17 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Democrats, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, September 18, 2005

VA-Gov: Mason-Dixon Shows a Tight Race

Posted by DavidNYC

A new Mason-Dixon poll take for the Richmond Times-Dispatch shows a very tight race in the Virginia gubernatorial campaign (likely voters, July in parens):

Kaine (D): 40 (38)
Kilgore (R): 41 (37)
Potts (I): 6 (9)
Undecided: 13 (16)
(MoE: ±4%)

But while this poll is close, the trendlines are uninspiring. However, when you look at the other polling outfits, it does appear that the race is tightening.

SUSA had Kilgore leading 49-39 at the end of June - but that lead had slipped to 48-43 by start of August. (They haven't done any more recent surveys.) The WaPo poll showing Kilgore with a seven-point lead a week ago doesn't have any trendlines, so it's harder to glean anything from it.

Rasmussen, meanwhile, had Kilgore leading by just 43-40 a few days ago. They had showed Kilgore with consistent six-point leads in August, July and June, so I'm willing to believe that their recent poll shows some genuine movement for Kaine. And with a month-and-a-half left in the race, a lot more can - and will - happen.

(Thanks to Jerome.)

Posted at 01:32 PM in Virginia | Comments (3) | Technorati

Friday, September 16, 2005

VA-Gov: Kaine Closing the Gap

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Beginning to peak at just the right time?

Rasmussen - 500 Likely Voters - MoE +/- 4.5% - 39% of survey respondents were Republican, 35% Democrat, and 26% unaffiliated.

Tim Kaine (D): 40%
Jerry Kilgore (R): 43%
Russell Potts (I): 5%
Other: 2%

Big Mo' for Kaine who has trailed from the jump. The poll also found that the economy, health care, and education are the most important issues for voters in Virgina; this also bodes well for Kaine, as the issue of "taxes" falls into fourth position on the list. It would be great to steal this one along with NJ-Gov and Reform Ohio Now's Issues 2-5 this November (which is probably the most important election in 2005).

Posted at 07:34 AM in Virginia | Comments (3) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

VA-Gov: Kilgore Embrassed on Live TV

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Tim Kaine has Jerry Kilgore on the run a mere month and a half before election day. At last night's debate, the crowd shared several laughs at the expense of the Republican nominee for governor in Virginia:

"But, Mr. Kilgore, it's a simple question," debate moderator Tim Russert said, demanding a yes or no answer to whether he would outlaw abortion except for cases of rape, incest or the mother's life.

Kilgore replied that the question was "a hypothetical. You don't know what any Supreme Court in the future is going to do."

"If the Virginia legislature passed a tax increase, would you veto it or sign it?" Russert persisted.

"I would veto it," Kilgore answered.

"That's a hypothetical question," the NBC "Meet The Press" host interjected, cutting Kilgore off as a crowd of about 500 business leaders and politicians - most of them sympathetic to Kaine - broke into laughter at Kilgore's expense.

Temporarily overlooking Kilgore's gaffe, refusing to answer that question on choice is ridiculous. Where are we at in the current climate of political campaigns where candidates feel comfortable refusing to answer questions fundamental to the office they seek? Even the king of all answer evaders, Bob Casey Jr, answered the same question (unsatisfactorily--he would sign a law outlawing abortion) when running for governor of Pennsylvania in his blowout loss 3 years ago. Ted Strickland is answering the question (satisfactorily) in his current gubernatorial campaign in Ohio.

Posted at 10:32 AM in Virginia | Comments (2) | Technorati

Thursday, September 01, 2005

VA-Gov: Katrina - Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore

Posted by Bob Brigham

We've already looked at the Katrina Contrast between Jon Tester and John Morrison (Montana Senate primary), the DLC on Katrina, and New Jersey and Katrina. So how about Virgina's gubernatorial election?

Republican Jerry Kilgore

Image hosted by

Democrat Tim Kaine

Image hosted by

Ah, contrast...

Posted at 09:15 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (6) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

VA-Sen: Candidate TBD

Posted by Bob Brigham

IMHO, Virginia's 2006 senate race is more important than this year's gubernatorial race. Next year is shaping up to be a great year for Democratic challengers, but we can only take advantage of the backlash if we have good Democrats running. That is why I was glad to see this mention from the AP:

RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Mark R. Warner pledged Tuesday to find a strong Democrat to oppose Republican Sen. George Allen next year after removing the most formidable Democratic challenger — himself — from consideration.

Every district in 2006, especially Virginia.

Posted at 11:32 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, July 24, 2005

VA-Gov: Dead Heat

Posted by DavidNYC

Mason-Dixon has a new poll out in the Virginia Governor's race (likely voters, no trendlines):

Timothy Kaine (D): 38
Jerry Kilgore (R): 37
Russell Potts (I): 9
Undecided: 16
(MoE: ±4%)

Mason-Dixon did poll this race once before, but the poll is so old (Sept. 2004) that I don't think you can properly call it a trendline (plus it didn't include Potts). But for your edification, it showed Kilgore on top, 40-35, with 25% undecided at the time.

Russell Potts is a Republican-turned-independent who is pissed at the wingnut's seizure of his own party. He's clearly biting into Kilgore's support. However, this is the first poll I've seen which shows the race this tight, and also the first in which Potts has really shown up on the radar. That's not to say it's wrong - just that it's an outlier and bears close watching.

For example, SUSA had the race at 49-39-5 (Kilgore-Kaine-Potts) at the end of June. And Rasmussen had it at 47-41-4 (Kilgore-Kaine-Other) just ten days ago. As always, you can't directly compare polls from different outfits, given that every firm uses a different methodology and asks different questions. However, two out of three recent polls show Kilgore with a decent-to-sizable lead - as lawyers would say, this fact goes to the weight of the evidence.

Posted at 05:39 PM in Virginia | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

VA-2005: General Election Ballot

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

The Republican and Democratic tickets were set yesterday for the Nov. 8 general election.

State Sen. Bill Bolling of Hanover County and Del. Robert F. McDonnell of Virginia Beach won the Republican nominations to run for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Former U.S. Rep. Leslie L. Byrne won a four-way Democratic primary contest for lieutenant governor.

Bolling and McDonnell will join former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore on a GOP ticket with an especially conservative bent. As expected, Kilgore brushed aside Warrenton Mayor George B. Fitch for the gubernatorial nomination.

Because he was unopposed for the Democratic nomination, Timothy M. Kaine of Richmond is the Democratic nominee for governor. His name was not on the ballot yesterday. Also unopposed was State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County, the Democratic standard-bearer for attorney general.

With New Jersey the only other state with important state-wide offices on the ballot, Virginia is going to see an infusion of out-of-state money and people that will have significant impacts on all of the races. Nationally, both sides want to do well, and will be spending accordingly. Democrats are in better position, with a likely win in New Jersey, Democrats worst case scenario is a split with a best case being a sweep.

Posted at 11:07 AM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Technorati

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

VA-Gov: Jerry Kilgore a Tom DeLay Republican

Posted by Bob Brigham

Everyone knew Republicans running in 2006 would be hauling Tom DeLay's baggage across their districts, but it looks like we're going to see how it could play out this year, in the Virginia gubernatorial campaign.

Posted at 01:05 PM in Virginia | Technorati

Monday, May 23, 2005

Nuclear Option: NE, PA, OH, VI Calls

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you live in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Virginia -- pick up your phone right now and help save the Senate. Details after the jump...

From NHC1978 on Daily Kos:

Arlen Specter: (Pennsylvania)
DC Office:

Philadelphia Office:

Pittsburgh Office:

John Warner: (Virginia)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2023

Richmond Office:
(804) 739-0247

Norfolk Office:
(757) 441-3079

Mike Dewine: (Ohio)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2315

Cleveland office:
(216) 522-7272

Columbus office:
(614) 469-5186

Chuck Hagel: (Nebraska)
DC Office:
(202) 224-4224

Omaha Office:
(402) 758-8981

Posted at 03:25 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nebraska, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Technorati

Monday, May 09, 2005

VA-Gov: Kaine Supporters' Misguided Agenda

Posted by Bob Brigham

I was reading a misguided praise for the DLC because Blair didn't do that much worse than expected, when I stumbled across something that told me my gut was right in rejecting Tim Kaine. Don't get me wrong, I understand you campaign for the state you're running in, but there is an important difference between that and running a triangulation campaign against Democrats as part of a scheme to let the extreme right-wing take over the Democratic Party as they have the GOP. From Raising Kaine:

First we create a New Centrist Democrat success model in Virginia, then we extend it to the rest of America in 2008.

Now I don't feel bad at all about checking Kaine when he's been out of line. Like here, here, and here. Who says blogs don't influence who people support in elections, this blog post has convinced me that the Kaine supporters are more concerned about the long-term message implications of running a rightwinger for the Democrats -- so I shall be equally concerned.

Posted at 12:40 AM in 2005 Elections, 2008 Election - President, Democrats, Netroots, Virginia | Technorati

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine Trailing by 8

Posted by Bob Brigham


April 16, 2005--In the race to become Virginia's next Governor, Republican Jerry Kilgore leads Democrat Tim Kaine by eight percentage points, 44% to 36%.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of Virginia have a favorable opinion of Kilgore while 33% have an unfavorable opinion. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure.

For Kaine, the numbers are 44% favorable, 31% unfavorable, and 25% not sure. [...]

The telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted Thursday night, April 14, 2005. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points, with a 95% level of confidence.

If Kaine's strategy isn't working, at what point would the campaign make the necessary adjustments?

Posted at 06:36 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (2) | Technorati

Saturday, April 16, 2005

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine Supporting Theocracy

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Raising Kaine:

The GOP, under the leadership of the Far Right, is now attacking Democrats for lacking Christian Faith. This is deplorable politics, and quite frightening to see. These sorts of attacks should not surprise us though. The GOP has found that the best way for them to win has been to attack Democrat’s patriotism (as in the case of both Max Cleland and Tom Daschle), and now they are just upping the ante. If they are successful here in Virginia, this will only encourage them to escalate these attacks further.

Agreed. So what does Tim Kaine do? Does he blast the Theocrats like Sen. Majority Leader Reid or make theocracy a campaign issue like DNC Chair Howard Dean? No, he joins the religious war by trying to triangulate himself as being holy enough to be part of the theocracy.

Tim Kaine has gone a great distance to try to undermine the GOP’s strategy. He’s been ahead of the game, putting up radio ads all across Virginia, but most especially in the rural areas of the state, talking about how his religious faith has guided his life.

Instead of criticizing the theocrats for starting a Holy War, Tim Kaine is helping them by joining their Holy War. This selfishness is actually undermining Democrat's national effort to stop the Holy War.

Here are some more resources:

Tim Kaine: Virginia: Tim Kaine campaign rejects reason; rejected by voters

Tim Kaine: 2005 Virginia Governor, who is running Kaine's campaign?

MyDD Tim Kaine: More Self-Hating Democrats

Posted at 02:12 PM in 2005 Elections, Democrats, Virginia | Comments (11) | Technorati

Thursday, April 14, 2005

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine, Jerry Kilgore Warchests

Posted by Bob Brigham

Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Gubernatorial candidates Timothy M. Kaine and Jerry W. Kilgore have raised more than $15 million combined, an unprecedented amount of money for an election that is still seven months away.

Kaine, the Democratic lieutenant governor, brought in slightly more than $8 million as of March 31, according to campaign reports that are due tomorrow at the state Board of Elections.

Kilgore, the leading Republican candidate who stepped down as attorney general on Feb. 1 to focus on the Nov. 8 election, will report collecting more than $7 million, his campaign said yesterday.

Kaine brought in more than $2.6 million between Jan. 1 and March 31, according to the latest campaign reports. That includes a January gift of $1.5 million from the Democratic National Committee. He entered April with $5 million in cash. [...]

Kilgore received about $1.7 million during the first three months of the year and lists $4 million in cash. His campaign contended that it actually raised more money from donors when the DNC infusion is removed from Kaine's report.

It was irresponsible for Terry McAuliffe to blow $5 million on his way out the door. It would have been prudent for McAuliffe to let the incoming Chair direct the money and give if it was actually in the best interests of the Party's future as part of a long-term plan. IMHO, giving Kaine more money to lecture Democrats is a self-defeating strategy.

Posted at 12:07 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Technorati

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Virginia: Tim Kaine campaign rejects reason; rejected by voters

Posted by Bob Brigham

Tim Kaine is on track to get spanked in Virginia's gubernatorial campaign. The latest numbers I'v seen show Republican Jerry Kilgore up by 10 and the blundering Kaine campaign is only making things worse.

Luckily, it is not too late for Kaine to turn things around, but the campaign shake-up and message re-write need to happen now. Kaine is getting advice so bad it would be called political malpractice, but by definition it isn't based in reality, it isn't based in reason.

The Kaine campaign has lost touch with reality and it is playing out in the papers. It would be one thing to lose the Governor's seat in Virginia, but Kaine seems hell-bent on taking down the Democratic Party in the process.

This isn't the first time I've written on the self-destructing Kaine campaign. And unless Kaine gets smart and fires his faith-based campaign staff, it won't be the last.

You see, there is a science to political campaigns. Tactics can be quantified and evaluated. Cognitive scientists who study the issue can demonstrate that Kaine's strategy backfires and will hurt the campaign with both swing voters and the base.

Yet Tim Kaine has rejected science and instead chose to embrace a faith-based campaign strategy. When the right does this, it makes strategic sense as cognitive scientists have proven. When the left does it the candidate is going to lose.

The great thing about a reality based understanding of campaigns is that by learning the results for different actions, you can avoid poor decision making. Even though he is 10 pts down, the Kaine for Governor campaign seems to think such an advantage is unnecessary.

The worst part is the way the Kaine campaign seeks to impose their disproven zealotry on the rest of the Democratic Party.

From today's Washington Post:

In February, Kaine took his message to the Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

"Sometimes our candidates have trashed the religious right, when what we meant to trash is a bad idea," he said, prompting more than a few hard-core Democrats to squirm in their seats. "We should never, never label people who are from the religious right."

It is one thing for Kaine to make an ass of himself and lose his gubernatorial campaign. It is another when he says the word "never" twice in reference to Democrats living in a reality based world.

Posted at 12:30 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Virginia | Technorati

Saturday, April 02, 2005

U.S. Senate "Nuclear Option" and 2006 midterm elections

Posted by Bob Brigham

Over at DailyKos, Kargo X has kickstarted a conversation on the coming "Nuclear Option" -- the Republican scheme to end the filibuster and gain absolute power.

If the GOP pushes forward with this power grab, it will force a major backlash against Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections. During the Schiavo usurpation, Bush dropped 10 pts in the time it took for Santorum to permanently tie himself to the issue.

If the GOP continues their quest for absolute power, the backlash will be severe. Already, Democrats have 12 Republican Senators (facing re-election in 2006) on record with their Social Security vote.

It has become conventional wisdom that Americans oppose the GOP plan to privatize Social Security. If the GOP moves for absolute control of the Senate while Bush forces privatization then the storyline gets a villian in a potent way. Add Tom DeLay as the public face of Republicans in Congress, a splintering of the conservative coalition, and a united Democratic Party. Together, this could result in a major restructuring of party perception in a nationalized 2006 midterm election cycle.

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) wants to be President so he needs to protect his record. In addition, the following Republican Senators need to worry about running for re-election in 2006:

  • Senator George Allen (R-VA)*
  • Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)*
  • Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)*
  • Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
  • Senator John Ensign (R-NV)*
  • Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)*
  • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)*
  • Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)*
  • Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)*
  • Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)*
  • Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)*
  • Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
  • Senator Jim Talent (R-MO)*
  • Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)*

* Social Security: on record voting in favor of "deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."

In addition, such a move would allow the following Democrats a hero vote to bolster their 2006 re-elections:

  • Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
  • Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
  • Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
  • Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)
  • Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
  • Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN)
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
  • Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)
  • Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
  • Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Posted at 06:36 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming | Technorati

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Virginia AG: R. Creigh Deeds launches campaign

Posted by Bob Brigham

Richmond Times Dispatch:

State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County formally launched his bid yesterday as the Democratic candidate for attorney general, vowing to keep a post-Sept. 11 Virginia "safe and secure."

At a Capitol news conference yesterday afternoon, Deeds touched on a wide range of issues he promised to pursue if elected to the state's No. 3 job and said he wanted to protect Virginia families and consumers.

Deeds appeared with Gov. Mark R. Warner and several Richmond-area legislators.

Warner called him "the best candidate for the job" and said, "It's going to be great for Governor Tim Kaine to have Attorney General Creigh Deeds."

Deeds became the only Democratic attorney general candidate when state Sen. John S. Edwards of Roanoke stepped aside this month. In the November election, Deeds will face either Republican Steve Baril of Richmond or Del. Robert. F. McDonnell, R-Virginia Beach. The two Republicans will square off in a June 14 primary.

Also yesterday, two statewide candidates became the first to file petitions to place their name on the primary ballot. Sean Connaughton, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors filed his for the GOP nod for lieutenant governor. He was followed by McDonnell. The petition deadline is April 15.

Posted at 08:07 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Technorati

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

2005 Virginia Governor, who is running Kaine's campaign?

Posted by Bob Brigham

"Democrat" Tim Kaine's campaign for Governor of Virginia is self-destructing. It is ugly, Kaine appears to be going out of his way to embarrass himself and the Democratic Party.

Last week, Kaine gave an interview lecturing Democrats on religion by employing a self-hating strategy of trying to build himself up by attacking fellow Democrats.

It failed miserably.

When I say failed miserably, I mean failing in every quantifiable manner. So let us look at this academically:

Professor George Lakoff has this to say about swing voters:

Fallacy: Progressives can gain more voters by moving to the Right.

There is a myth that voters are lined up in a left-to-right line, and that to gain the support of swing voters, you must move to the center. When progressives move to the right, they lose in two ways, setting up a self-defeating double-whammy:

1. Moving to the right alienates your progressive base.

2. It actually helps conservatives because it activates their model in swing voters.

Notice that conservatives do not gain more voters by moving to the Left. What they do is stick to their strict ideology to activate their model in swing voters by being clear and consistent in policies and messages framed in terms of conservative values.

Moral: Voters are not on a left-to-right line. Stick with your ideals, frame what you believe effectively, and say what you believe. Say it well, strongly, and with moral conviction.

Kaine has provided the textbook example.

1. Moving to the right alienates your progressive base.

I covered this yesterday on my post about the backlash documented by Chris Bowers and the Gadflyer. The Kaine campaigned excelled at proving this rule. It appears they are going out of their way to keep Democrats from supporting the campaign.

2. It actually helps conservatives because it activates their model in swing voters.

Now that Kaine has begun activating the GOP model in Swing Voters, Jerry Kilgore is piling on:

Kaine said Kilgore had questioned the authenticity of his religious beliefs. Kilgore said he was misquoted, that he was discussing Kaine's professed opposition to the death penalty.

The latest dustup in the campaign between the Democrat and Republican flared after the Washington Examiner, a daily newspaper in the Washington area, quoted Kilgore as saying in an interview Friday that Kaine never mentioned his faith in connection with the death penalty until Kaine's opposition to capital punishment became politically unpopular.

Not only did Kaine activate the conservative model in the minds of Swing Voters, but he came off as an opportunist in the process. And if that wasn't enough harm for one week, here's Kaine's spin:

Kaine likened the criticism to a "jihad," a religious holy war, but later backed away from that analogy.

Textbook indeed.

Posted at 06:22 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (8) | Technorati

Monday, March 28, 2005

2005 Virginia Governor, Tim Kaine?

Posted by Bob Brigham

I had been planning on closely following Virginia's gubernatorial race with Democrat Tim Kaine. But that was before I found out Kaine is a self-hating Democrat.

Hopefully, Kaine be enough of a leader to fire whoever is giving this awful advice. Here is his website, somebody drop me an email if Kaine decides to grow up and stop triangulating.

Posted at 11:57 AM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (12) | Technorati

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Vote on Social Security

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yesterday, the Senate gave the following statement an up or down vote:

"It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should reject any Social Security plan that requires deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."

Here are the 12 Senators (standing for re-election in 2006) who voted for deep social security cuts and massive debt:

Allen, George VA
Burns, Conrad MT
Chafee, Lincoln RI
Ensign, John NV
Hatch, Orrin UT
Hutchison, Kay Bailey TX
Kyl, Jon AZ
Lott, Trent MS
Lugar, Richard IN
Santorum, Rick PA
Talent, Jim MO
Thomas, Craig WY

Here is the link to the vote.

Posted at 09:24 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming | Technorati

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

VA-07: Eric Cantor in Serious Trouble

Posted by Bob Brigham

Raw Story has the exclusive. If you're wondering how our candidate did against Cantor last year, sorry, but we didn't have a candidate.

Posted at 11:55 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Virginia | Technorati

Monday, October 04, 2004

So We're Leaving Virginia

Posted by DavidNYC

According to the Washington Post, Team Kerry is sending its top VA campaign staff to other, hotter battlegrounds. I can't blame them - this move makes sense. I've always been bullish on Virginia, but for the longer term. People like Maura Keany and her group, Democracy for Virginia, are laying the groundwork to, as she puts it, Turn Virginia Blue. This state will be ours one day, in the foreseeable future.

I still think we're better off spending money in VA than in LA, though a stronger Dem presence in Louisiana may help us with the Senate race there. (There aren't any major statewide races in VA this year.) But in any case, I'm glad we played some offense and made a serious push into Virginia this year.

(Via Race 2004.)

UPDATE: Hoya90 - who agrees with this move - has some thoughts on what Democrats in Virginia ought to do.

Posted at 03:57 PM in Virginia | Comments (13) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Virginia as a Possible Pick-Up

Posted by Chris Bowers

The polling to come out of Virginia has been surprisingly static:

Firm / Date / Bush / Kerry
SUSA / 8/23 / 49 / 45
Rass / 7/31 / 49 / 46
SUSA / 7/8 / 50 / 45
Rass / 6/31 / 48 / 45
Rass / 5/31 / 47 / 45

The most recent Survey USA poll is particularly interesting, since Bush is massively over performing among blacks, where he manages 22% of the vote. If Kerry can win 90% of the African-American vote in Virginia and hold his ground among other demographics, he will win the state. Overall, Kerry looks to be in a solid position for a challenger, as he hits 45 every single poll and Bush hits 50 only once. While Kerry would need to take almost all of the undecideds and the typically soft "other" vote in order to win the state, Bush's position here is anything but dominating. A swing of just two percent of the vote from Bush to Kerry would actually make Kerry the favorite in Virginia. This seems to confirm that Virginia's slow, long-term trend toward Democrats in continuing in this cycle. At this pace, in 2008 Virginia could be a true toss-up.

Posted at 04:48 PM in Virginia | Comments (16) | Technorati

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Nader Dinged in Two Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

According to this AP piece, Nader has failed to get on the ballot in two swing states: Big-time MO and up-and-coming VA. (He also got dinged in IL and MD - sort of an Alan Keyes special.) The NYT map Chris posted a while back showed MO as a "likely" state for Nader.

Elsewhere, it looks like Nader is struggling in OR as well. His campaign says they have 20,000 sigs - they need over 15K valid ones, and the deadline is this Tuesday. I say he has no chance.

Nader is vowing to fight on in a lot of these states, but he's stretched incredibly thin. His campaign says they are fighting adverse rulings in AZ, MI and TX. But not only that, the Dems are training big guns on him. In PA, for instance, a team of ten attorneys from Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith - the thirty-third biggest law firm in America - is working pro bono to keep Nader off the ballot. I don't think Ralph is going to get on the ballot in too many more states.

Posted at 08:24 PM in Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Four New Swing States

Posted by Chris Bowers

Zogby has declared that four new states--Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia--are now swing states and will be included in future Zogby Interactive Battleground polls.

Sweet! Not only does this show weakness in Bush's base, we will all be treated to regular polls from these four states. This will also help to reinforce the emerging conventional wisdom that Bush is in a lot of trouble in this campaign.

As a testament to David's determination, he had never given up on these states, listing them as swing all along. It is forward thinking people like that who will be the backbone of a more aggressive Democratic Party in the years to come.

Georgia and Louisiana remain the final frontiers.

Posted at 04:29 PM in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia | Comments (22) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

A Quick Note on Rasmussen

Posted by DavidNYC

Rasmussen has by far the most annoying - and quite possibly silly - polling methodology out there. In fact, I'd almost say Zogby's "interactive" polling is prima facie more sound. Rasmussen polls over the course of a month which, as someone cleverly observed, is not a snapshot but rather a daguerreotype. I'll quickly mention the swing state results he released today, but since the vast majority of the polling was done before the convention, I think they are even more useless this month than in the past.

�Ģ Missouri: 50-46-4 Bush (May: 44-43-13 Bush)
�Ģ North Carolina: 50-45-6 Bush (June: 49-42-8 Bush)
�Ģ Virginia: 49-46-5 Bush (June: 48-45-6 Bush)

I just want to re-iterate: I'm giving these polls short shrift not because they show Kerry losing, but because I have deep reservations about Rasmussen's methodology. If a more traditional pollster showed results like these for NC and VA, I'd actually be quite happy.

(Thanks to glibfidget.)

Posted at 08:30 AM in Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Kerry Just Five Points Back in VA

Posted by DavidNYC

SUSA released a new poll (PDF) last week for Virginia. Read it & groan, G-Dub (no trendlines):

Kerry: 45
Bush: 50
Other: 3
Undecided: 2
(MoE: 3.8%)

These are the kinds of numbers which have to make Karl Rove go ape, especially since they seem to echo the 48-45 Rasmussen had in his June poll. Virginia just shouldn't be this close for Bush. The too-small number of undecideds here suggests that SUSA's methodology pushes "leaners" very hard - though I must admit, I'm not sure exactly what consequences that has.

Anyhow, I wonder if Kerry's unexpected advertising had any effect, especially since, as far as I know, Bush was not on the airwaves in VA during the month of June. Also note that this poll was taken almost immediately post-Edwards, so that could well have had something of an effect. (But the pollsters did not include either Edwards' or Cheney's names in their questions.)

And speaking of ad buys, Bush is still refusing to go on the air in Virginia - perhaps due to a shortage of campaign cash, perhaps because he doesn't want to admit weakness. (Or perhaps because the GOP really does think VA is not in play - and maybe they're right.)

Oh, and the Two Johns are also on the air in NC now (same article), once again getting up before Team Bush does, just as we did in LA and CO. I suppose another pretty reasonable (if slightly narrow) way to define a swing state is, Are either of the campaigns advertising there? If the answer is "Yes, both," then you probably have a bona fide contest on your hands - as we do now in North Carolina.

Posted at 01:04 AM in North Carolina, Virginia | Comments (8) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Yes, Virginia, There is a John Kerry

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm surprised I missed this one last week: John Kerry, who boldly put up ads in CO & LA, is going on the airwaves in Virginia to the tune of $750 grand. So far, Team Bush isn't up in VA... and how do ya like this: Bush has gone off the air in LA! So Kerry is advertising in 20 states, while Bush is only running ads in 18. Now that's a headline I'd like to see. (This, by the way, is part of a new $17 million June ad blitz, now that the $25+ million May extravaganza has wrapped up.)

VA is winnable this year - if we have our Bowers-projected landslide. But more realistically, I think VA is headed in our direction for good, due to demographic shifts and the growth of the more liberal northern VA suburbs around DC. Chris's chart shows a consistent narrowing of VA's pro-GOP partisan index over the last four elections (with just a slight uptick in 2000). In a few more elections (say, one or two), I think the Republicans will have decidedly lost their lock on Virginia. Seeing as the state is fast-growing enough to add two EVs over the last half-century, this would be an especially good development for us.

On a related note (though this is more Luke's area of expertise than mine), I'm very pleased that Kerry is going to be unveiling ads targeted toward black and Latino voters. Though the NDN has already begun airing ads aimed toward Hispanics, it's important for Kerry to make his own outreach efforts. I think the minority vote will be crucial in certain swing states, such as PA and FL.

One topic I'd like to see in such an ad: the draft. I think the odds of the draft being brought back are still quite low, just because it's such a political poison pill. But it's still possible - and more importantly, the idea is being talked about and written about in the press. As we know, poor, young minority men were vastly over-represented in the ranks of Vietnam draftees. Let's make sure this never happens again.

A friend tells me that KRS-ONE recently spoke about the draft at a hip-hop/political event - in short, the idea has currency. John Kerry ought to run with it, and considering he served so honorably it Vietnam, he's got the cred to do so.

P.S. The "Larry Sabato is clueless" watch continues:

"I find it odd," Sabato said. "I can think of a half-dozen states that Bush won [in 2000] where this would make more sense than in Virginia."

So can I, dimwit - and John Kerry is already up on the air in each of those states. In fact, he's on the air in 10 of them. Does he mean that Kerry should spend his $750K in Ohio instead of VA? That's hardly worth it. First off, Kerry gets tons of free media simply for going up in Virginia. Second, it's a "gesture of strength," as Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill explains. And third, it shows that Kerry isn't "writing off the South," which is important in keeping local political machines interested in supporting Kerry and in helping the downticket races.

Larry Sabato, get a clue.

Posted at 03:32 AM in Virginia | Comments (8) | Technorati

Virginia Archive: