April 24, 2014

Jill Holtzman Vogel, Susan Allen, or Caren Merrick for U.S. Senate

In this age of the perpetual campaign and multi-million dollar campaign fundraising, it is now the norm to declare your candidacy for office at least one and a half years in advance of the election before the current year’s election has even concluded. U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is up for reelection in 2014. Unknown to all but the political junkies, one Republican declared his candidacy for U.S. Senate two weeks ago on a Friday during “take out the trash day,” thus receiving limited media and public attention. His name is Howie Lind, the former 10th Congressional District Republican Party of Virginia Chair.

I believe that we have much stronger, accomplished, appealing, approachable, attractive, charismatic, dynamic, electable, and unifying candidates on the Republican side for U.S. Senate. Plus, I believe with religious fervor that we need more women in elected office so that we can have a government that looks like America (The Washington Post recently illustrated the stark gender gap in government.). The following ladies will not run for U.S. Senate and I have no other inside knowledge despite my very friendly professional and personal relationships, but they deserve recognition as legitimate possible U.S. Senate candidates nonetheless.

Disclaimer: Among other things, I build political websites, create advertisements, work fundraising events, and do political consulting. I have worked with all the fine ladies below in the past. I have the luxury to choose my clients and my client roster reflects my priorities: class, character, and competence.

Jill Holtzman Vogel

Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel of Fauquier County is the strongest candidate the RPV has to win the U.S. Senate seat for Virginia in 2014. Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley with a professional background in national politics based in DC, Vogel effortlessly possesses the enviable cross-cultural appeal required for candidates to compete effectively inside and outside the western and southern border of Fairfax County. She is down home with the important “Real Virginia” constituency where many popular, beloved Northern Virginia politicians have received rude receptions because of their inability to relate on a personal level despite honest efforts to do so. Simultaneously, she has the charm, sophistication, and high-powered connections in the DC metropolitan area to appeal to the wine-and-cheese cocktail circuit of Washington insiders and transplants in Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax. Such connections are crucial for votes and fundraising in the dense and diverse Northern Virginia region. Everywhere Vogel goes in the Commonwealth, she is your hometown candidate!

An inspiration for working moms, Jill proves that women can indeed have it all. She is a mother of five children. She is an accomplished and nationally recognized attorney. She is a businesswoman. As a State Senator, she puts men in their place in the Senate during the legislative session in Richmond and still finds the time and energy to go home to Fauquier County at night to play with her kids. Jill can be role model for girls all across America as a U.S. Senator.

Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel (R- 27th Senate District)

Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel (R- 27th Senate District)

Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel with Delegate Barbara Comstock

Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel with Delegate Barbara Comstock

Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel with 2011 State Senate candidate Caren Merrick.

Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel with 2011 State Senate candidate Caren Merrick.

Susan Allen

Susan Allen, the former First Lady of Virginia, is the epitome of class, grace, and style. Behind every great man is an even greater woman. Since Susan Allen’s husband George was the Governor of Virginia and U.S. Senator for Virginia, that means Susan Allen should be President of the United States. However, I’ll take U.S. Senator Susan Allen for now!

In addition to having active experience and knowledge of how successful statewide campaigns are conducted, Susan Allen will be an effective unifying voice for all Virginians. I know George Allen personally and he is a down-to-earth good guy with a great family and a large, diverse, and loyal fan base. However, there are factions of the Republican Party of Virginia that just doesn’t like George for some strange reason.

Susan Allen has no enemies in the RPV or in the greater Commonwealth. She can adeptly and adroitly communicate in an appealing way to hardcore GOP partisans and independent-minded people alike without compromising the core of her message and always with a smile. For various reasons, George Allen polled behind the GOP Presidential candidate in Virginia in 2000 and 2012. Susan Allen can poll ahead of the top of the ticket.

Former First Lady of Virginia Susan Allen.

Former First Lady of Virginia Susan Allen.

Susan Allen on the night of George Allen's primary election victory for the U.S. Senate nomination in 2012.

Susan Allen on the night of George Allen’s primary election victory for the U.S. Senate nomination in 2012.

Caren Merrick

I am swinging for the fences here, but former State Senate candidate Caren Merrick deserves consideration for U.S. Senate. While it is customary for successful U.S. Senate candidates to have previous experience in public office, that is not always the case. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is the most recent example as he went from private business straight to the U.S. Senate.

Therefore, it is not outside the realm of possibility to see Merrick succeed in a U.S. Senate race because successful business people have shown that they can skip the lower offices and head straight to the upper chamber of the U.S. Capitol. Caren Merrick certainly does qualify as a successful business person. Merrick and her husband built a software company from humble beginnings into a successful business that they sold for half a billion dollars several years ago. The Merricks’ story is a model for up and coming tech-driven entrepreneurs in today’s freelance, information-based economy.

Though she was an underdog in her State Senate race in 2011, she performed beyond expectations in galvanizing independent and even crossover Democratic support. Merrick knows the needs of the Northern Virginia business community and she is perfectly at ease with the titans of business in Arlington, Alexandria, and Tysons Corner.

What remains unknown is her ability to build rapport with the “rest of Virginia.” Judging by the Mark Warner example however, this is certainly doable. Mark Warner of Alexandria ascended to the U.S. Senate by building a power base in rural Virginia. However, this was a six year long process that started one year before his unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid in 1996 and culminated with his election as Governor of Virginia in 2001. Caren Merrick can be ready for a successful U.S. Senate race in 2018 if she lays the foundation today, but running right now would be swinging for the fences. She is a very attractive, accomplished, and intriguing candidate though. We shall see.

Caren Merrick, entrepreneur from McLean and former State Senate candidate.

Caren Merrick, entrepreneur from McLean and former State Senate candidate.

Caren Merrick with Loudoun County School Board Member Debbie Rose and Delegate Barbara Comstock.

Caren Merrick with Loudoun County School Board Member Debbie Rose and Delegate Barbara Comstock.


This article is endorsed by no one but me. Opinions stated herein do not reflect the views of my friends and clients.

About Phil Tran

Phil Tran is the premier political consultant and web developer for pro-life female candidates and elected officials in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. He is a political independent.