Congratulations to former Alexandria City Council Member Rob Krupicka (D) for winning the 45th House District special election yesterday. Krupicka, an advocate for mass transit and smart growth, will work to secure much needed support and funds for rail and other transportation projects for Northern Virginia from Richmond in order to help small businesses, create jobs, increase worker productivity, and enhance the quality of life in Northern Virginia.
Tonight, Arlington County Board candidate Mark Kelly delivered his first public address in front of the Arlington County Republican Committee since he announced his candidacy for the County Board. Kelly is running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and sustainability, term limits, and openness and transparency in the budget process.
The special election to elect a new Arlington County Board member is on March 27, 2012. Kelly is the Republican nominee. His opponent is Libby Garvey, the Democratic nominee who was recently selected in a party caucus.
Mark Kelly is stepping down from his Chairmanship of the ACRC to focus on his campaign. ACRC Vice Chairman Charles Hokanson declared his candidacy for ACRC Chairman tonight.
Dave Foster declines run for Attorney General, will seek the Presidency…of the State Board of Education
This morning, in a letter to supporters, Dave Foster announced that he will not run for Attorney General in 2013. Many of Foster’s supporters encouraged him to consider another run for Attorney General after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced that he will be seeking the Governor’s office in 2013. Instead, Foster announced that he will seek the position of President of the State Board of Education when current President Eleanor Saslaw retires.
Dave Foster is a former Arlington County School Board member, 2009 Attorney General candidate, and current Vice President of the State Board of Education.
Arlington County Republican Committee Chairman Mark Kelly will file paperwork to run for a seat on the Arlington County Board vacated by State Senator Barbara Favola. The special election for this County Board seat is scheduled for Tuesday, March 27, 2012.
There will be a special election to replace outgoing Arlington County Board Member Barbara Favola who recently won a seat in the Senate of Virginia. The only question is when. If Favola resigns from the Arlington County Board right now, the special election will take place in January 2012. If she serves out her term before taking her seat in the Senate, the special election will take place in April 2012. With important business facing the upcoming Board, the Arlington County Republican Committee is calling on Senator-Elect Favola to resign so that the people can elect a new Board Member as soon as possible.
Regardless of her decision, the Arlington County Republican Committee must recruit a strong challenger for an open seat on the County Board. Only one name surfaces. That person is Dave Foster.
Dave Foster is the only Republican in recent memory who has served in elected office in Arlington County. As a member of the Arlington County School Board, his work garnered praise from both sides of the aisle and he won reelection with 62% of the vote. He also served once as Chairman of the Arlington County School Board. Foster was officially an independent as School Board races are non-partisan, but he received the endorsement of the ACRC in all of his races and half of his supporters are Democrats. Foster has statewide name recognition from his 2009 campaign for Attorney General. He currently is an appointee of the McDonnell Administration serving as the Vice President of the Virginia Board of Education. Foster, a native of Arlington County with deep Virginia roots, is a graduate of the University of Virginia and is a partner in a major DC-based law firm.
With Dave Foster, the ACRC will have a well-respected, hard-working, likable, and determined candidate who knows how to win elections as a Republican in Arlington County. The ACRC will meet tonight at 7:30pm at the NRECA Center located at 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA (across from Ballston Common Mall). I will be there and I encourage everyone who cares about the future of Arlington County to be there as well and urge Mr. Foster to consider running for the County Board.
With the November elections behind us, attention has already shifted to next year’s federal races. Patrick Murray, who took on Jim Moran in 2010, announced Friday his intention to go for a rematch.
This will be an uphill battle, especially with the President at the top of the ticket, but I’m glad to see that Patrick is willing to take a second shot at this seat.
The text of the Murray announcement is after the jump, and it’s also available on his website, listed under the 2012 Candidates blogroll to your left.
1. John Cook
The real winner is actually Braddock District (and all of Fairfax County), which did the right thing in returning the independent leadership of John Cook to the Board, to continue in the tradition of excellent constituent services and to keep at least 3 seats on the Board who are committed to protecting Fairfax County taxpayers. Beating John Cook was the one of the top priorities of Fairfax Democrats, and they launched their biggest weapons (Chap!, Bulova) to try and drag a rubber stamp across the finish line. Thankfully, the voters of Braddock chose otherwise.
2. Democrats: Fairfax County & Inward
As jubilant as the John Cook victory party was, there was a somber attitude in Northern Virginia last night thanks to the strong performance of the Democrats. I almost labeled this entry “incumbents”, as no challenger in Fairfax County or further inside the Beltway won. But that would take away from the big victory the Democrats scored on the School Board, sweeping all three at-large and holding all their open seats as well. Throw in the losses by Marston and Merrick in Arlington, and the four State Senate races in Fairfax, and there was little reason to celebrate up here beyond John Cook.
3. Republicans: PWC and Loudoun
PWC had a decent night, overwhelmingly returning Corey Stewart, electing Peter Candland, holding its House and Senate seats, picking up HD 2, and giving the senior Chuck Colgan the race of his life from a candidate who got in late over the summer. But this entry is justified mostly by the oustanding performance of Loudoun Republicans, sweeping every race including total control on the Board of Supervisors, as well as pickups in HD 10 and HD 87. Even with the last-minute missteps, they had a huge night.
4. George Barker
One final NoVa note: George Barker’s victory was perhaps the most cathartic of any Virginia politician. The premature mockery started weeks ago: that George Barker drew the lines and couldn’t even draw himself a winning district; that “Barker not Baker” and “George Lincoln Barker” were ridiculous; that of ALL the Senate races in Northern Virginia, most had Barker as the most likely loss. I didn’t enjoy the outcome of this race, but its tough not to tip your cap to Barker with so many people so prepared to spit on his grave.
5. House Republicans (plus Howell and Hugo)
Fifth on the list is about right in terms of the impact this victory will have, but I truthfully believe this is one of the biggest wins of the night. I’ve been following the House races since the lines were redrawn, and after things started to settle, it became clear that the House drew themselves a good map, poised to expand on their majority over the next decade. I didn’t realize they would get it all done in one night. The House picked up an astounding SEVEN seats, expanding their majority to 68-32. Even in the event of another disastrous cycle like 2007, there is no chance Democrats will take control of the House this decade.
6. Bob McDonnell
I don’t have a “mixed” category, which is ultimately where the Governor probably belongs, but I’ll tell you why I count this as a win. It’s true McDonnell put in $5 million and only came away with two seats when a dozen were on the table. It’s true that, even with a 70% approval rating, he couldn’t throw his weight around more and nudge some of these close races over the top, even in favorable regions. But here’s the benefit of a 20/20 Senate: Bolling has the tiebreaker, but Senate committees will be split, which means there were will be at least some check on Republican power. I think that check will help ensure that some of the more outlandish legislation, sure to be introduced by some of the more outlandish Republican members, get sent to the dustbin. That can only protect McDonnell as he increases his national exposure.
1. Ward Armstrong
2. House Democrats
These are tied together, but it wouldn’t be right not not give Ward Armstrong his own specific mention. We all know the House Caucus did a miserable job recruiting candidates. They also did a miserable job supporting the candidates they did have. Competitive races have been the norm for Dave Albo; he barely broke a sweat. Comstock/Danner was supposed to be a marquee match-up; it was over at least three weeks ago. Ron Villanueva won by 21 votes two years ago; his opponent this time around was underfunded. Joseph Yost is a 25-year-old recent college graduate with a scant resume; thanks to a huge (and unmatched) investment, he’ll be heading to the House of Delegates to replace Jim Shuler. Dave Ramadan was vulnerable in the open 87th; he won by 50 votes. Bill Barlow and Robin Abbott could only look around hopelessly for help, wondering when the cavalry was coming.
Well the calvary, along with virtually all of the Caucus’s money, was redirected to the 9th District, which Bob McDonnell won with 70% of the vote, and the home of long-term incumbent Charlie Poindexter. With Armstrong in charge of the House Caucus, and with his statewide ambitions on the line, he put everything on the line in one of the most uphill challenges anyone could face. Credit where it’s due, he came close. But ultimately, he lost, and as a result of his hoarding Democrats lost seven seats along with him, setting them back at least a decade and likely more.
3. Bill Janis
Here’s an underreported race: Bill Janis, the powerful member of the House, suddenly announced his retirement to run for Henrico County’s Commonwealth Attorney, after the Republican nominee was involved in a sex scandal. It should have been open-and-shut: Janis had the support of the entire Republican establishment, from Bill Howell to Eric Cantor and Ken Cuccinelli. His years of service should have allowed him to waltz in. Instead, they split the vote and the Democrat won. If it wasn’t for Joe Paterno, it would be the saddest ending to a long career we’ve seen this week.
4. Barack Obama
Obama won Virginia in 2008. Then Bob McDonnell won it with 58% in 2009, Republicans won 3 Congressional seats in 2010, and in 2011 the State Senate vote was 61% GOP to 39% DEM. Granted, the results are skewed due to many uncontested Senate races, but the fact that there’s a 20/20 split in the Senate is a testament to the line drawers, and not at all any indication that Virginia voters are prepared to vote Democrat any time soon.
5. Straight ticket voting
One thing about low turnout elections in off-off cycles is that the people that do turn out tend to be very engaged. Which means that they make their own determinations on who to vote for, and don’t just simply vote down the line. As a result, Dennis Husch and Louise Epstein weren’t carried to victory in Dranesville, despite the good performance of Comstock and Merrick there. Sheila Ratnam didn’t win in Sully, even as Mike Frey, Jim LeMunyon, and Tim Hugo did. John Cook won in Braddock, but most people that shared a ballot with him (Flanary, Schoeneman, Hurley) lost. People crossing over party lines to support a candidate is good for democracy, but its also a useful lesson to keep in mind when we try to decipher the “downballot” or “upballot” effect in these types of local elections.
Disclosure: I wrote this article three weeks ago, but tabled it because I was insanely busy with work and I did not have time to proofread it. In the interim, I worked my first fundraising event for State Senate candidate Patrick Forrest. My colleague Stephen Spiker also beat me to the punch in expressing his sentiments on the situation. Nevertheless, I have more to add to the discourse. This article exists independent of my working relationship with Mr. Forrest and reflects my deeply held belief that all law-abiding individuals have inherent dignity as human beings, deserve protection of their life, liberty, and property, and should be able to pursue the American Dream free from discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, background, ethnicity, origin, class, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, etc.
Johnson, Chris (2011, October 14). “Gay Republican accuses Dem of gay-baiting in VA”. Washington Blade. Retrieved from
Democratic State Senator Janet Howell has been an advocate for LGBT issues during her time in the Senate of Virginia. How do her supporters react when they face a formidable challenge from Patrick Forrest, an openly-gay Republican?
They engage in gay-baiting in hypocritical fashion. The Washington Blade, the region’s largest newspaper focused on LGBT issues, has obtained a recording from the Forrest campaign of a Democratic precinct captain in Reston alleging that Republicans are racist and homophobic and that Republican voters would want to know that Forrest is gay. The report indicates that Democratic volunteers have been reaching out to conservative Republicans in the 32nd Senate District to tell them that Forrest is gay in an effort to depress voter turnout among Forrest’s supporters. The Howell campaign has denied any ties to such volunteers and has denied that they have engaged in such tactics. Such activities still reflect badly on the Democratic Party, a party that has been at the forefront of LGBT issues for decades.
If the GOP has a sizable anti-gay base as some Democratic activists allege, why would they nominate an openly-gay Republican who supports gay rights? Democrats in Northern Virginia are apparently confused by this one question and are trying to score political points at the expense of their principles. This is deplorable.
First, homophobia is wrong and has no place in polite discourse. The Republican Party has a minority of supporters who, unfortunately, exercise discrimination against gays and will never vote for a gay conservative candidate. This is wrong. I also reiterate that while the Democratic Party has been a leader in extending equal rights and equal opportunity to gays that for Democrats to engage in gay-baiting to win a political election as reported by the Washington Blade right here does just as much harm to the cause of freedom and tolerance.
Additionally, the Republican Party as a whole, is not as “racist” and “homophobic” as some Democrats allege. The GOP’s frontrunner for the Presidential nomination according to some polls is Herman Cain, an African-American whose campaign is based on business experience and innovative ideas to get the economy moving. Congressman Allen West, an African-American, is a leading voice in the Tea Party movement. The 2011 slate of Fairfax County School Board candidates endorsed by the Fairfax GOP is an all-female slate of candidates that includes women of Hispanic and Asian descent. In the 2010 8th Congressional District GOP primary election, I, and many others, supported Matthew Berry, a pro-life, pro-business, openly-gay Republican. In 2009, I did some work on the side for Eric Brescia, a candidate for Delegate in the 47th District who is straight, fiscally conservative, pro-life, and pro-gay marriage. Forrest’s campaign has built a grassroots network with a large number of high school, college, and young professional conservative activists energized by his vision. I personally know many liberty-minded Republicans who quietly or vocally believe that it is imperative for the GOP to reach out to the gay community because it is the right thing to do.
The gay community has the same needs as any other community and, at the same time, are not a monolithic group. It is a free country. People can judge each individual issue on its own merits and hold a variety of issue positions independent of each other. There is no rule stating that if a person is gay, that person must also be pro-choice, economically progressive, and Democratic. (and vice-versa)
If you are a Republican and refuse to support Patrick Forrest based on his sexuality alone, you are wrong. The fact that you are also undermining your own political cause in the long run is far secondary to the fact that you are just wrong.
If you are a Democrat and support gay rights, Patrick Forrest’s sexuality should be a non-factor and his participation in the political process should be celebrated even though you disagree with most of his positions on the issues. Saying you support gay rights as a Democrat and then using a political opponent’s sexuality against him to drive up homophobia among his supporters is hypocritical fear-mongering that undermines the progress of the LGBT community.
I have worked on both sides of the aisle and I know that sadly, varying degrees of racism and homophobia still exist among certain groups on both sides. Racism and homophobia are wrong and has no place in our society. It is long overdue, but racism and homophobia must be stamped out for good all across the political spectrum.
When a gay individual can run for office in any political party and be judged on his or her issues and character alone, that is progress for the gay community. Right now, some Democratic activists are standing in the way of that progress in the name of political expediency because they are afraid to lose control of the Senate of Virginia. That is unacceptable.
Our schools and workplaces have worked hard to foster a safe environment free of bullying, harassment, and intimidation against anyone. It is time that our political arena follows suit.