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.
Yesterday, I showed up to the Paul Ryan rally in Springfield, VA. Turnout was high. I was told that this event was a spur of the moment thing and the event organizers and promoters did a good job setting up the event and getting the word out.
Aside from the excitement that Paul Ryan generates, three speakers during the pregame were able to generate generous applause. Braddock Supervisor John Cook, whose district includes a good portion of Springfield, spoke. The other two notable speakers were former Congressman Artur Davis and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Regarding Artur Davis, a Democrat turned Republican, people seem very quick to embrace him. A major part of it is because it gives Republican activists comfort and confidence when prominent Democrats switch sides during this time. However, I get the sense that a good part of it has to do with the fact that Davis is black and let’s face it. The GOP, which consistently loses the black vote 90%-10% for the past few decades, is dying for national black talent.
Count me among the skeptics. I’m concerned about the amount of political opportunism in Davis’ actions. Granted, Davis lost his bid for Alabama Governor in 2010 as a Democrat, but handled properly, this was a man who, despite bucking the Democratic Party on a handful of issues, was on track for Governor or a major Cabinet post had he done what he was supposed to do. Something doesn’t seem right.
Also, I don’t get why so many people are embracing the idea of Artur Davis running for Congress as a Republican somewhere in Northern Virginia. Don’t we have the campaigns of Chris Perkins, Frank Wolf, and Patrick Murray to be concerned about first? Davis lived in Arlington for quite some time since his days on the Hill so one would assume that if he stayed, he could make a run for the 8th Congressional District, but keep in mind that you don’t have to be a resident of the district to run and represent the district in Congress. Davis could plausibly run in the 8th, 10th, or 11th (most likely) but the future is now.
Finally, Ken Cuccinelli made it out. I mentioned previously that he was a no-show at the Manassas rally last week. His absence was conspicuous as his factional opponents Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and George Allen were part of the hype team. Well, the Cooch came out yesterday and certainly fired up the crowd with his presence.
Someone sent me the video of the event. View it here.
Republicans oppose using public schools for Presidential rallies, unless the candidate is a Republican.
Recently, Barack Obama held a campaign rally at Loudoun County High School. I spoke to my Loudoun Republican friends and they were all incensed about this. I’m not talking about the counter protest that they organized which they are free to do. I am talking about Loudoun Republicans surmising ways in the legal process to prohibit President Obama from using Loudoun County High School as the location for his campaign rally.
The truth is that under the 1st Amendment and its Supreme Court rulings, public schools and other public facilities are allowed to host political events provided that the facility is equally accessible to all viewpoints and that everyone adhere to the same time, place, and manner restrictions that the public facility can reasonably impose. Simply stated, if Democrats are allowed to hold their political event for free, Republicans must be able to hold their event for free as well. If rent is charged, rent must be equal for all parties. If the school district officially closes all business activity after midnight and a political party wants to use a school at 2:00am, this is a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction if it is applied equally to all parties.
Unless a public official is performing official government business at an Loudoun County public school, rent is charged. The Obama campaign paid the rent. They had the privilege of using Loudoun County High School for the political rally. That is the end of the story.
Yet, I am dismayed that my fellow Republicans are pre-programmed to hate everything that Obama does without thinking deeply about the issue at hand and its unintended consequences. My Loudoun Republican friends told me all kinds of crazy rants and ideas on how to stop Obama’s political activities on public school grounds.
Many were concerned that public school teachers and administrators would be able to sit on stage and speak. These Republicans perceive that public school teachers are overwhelmingly Democratic and wondered if there was a way to muzzle them under the Hatch Act (hint: the Hatch Act does not apply to public school teachers, administrators, and staff). Do these same Republicans know that Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader Kirk Cox is a Republican who continues to work as a full-time public school teacher? Are these Republicans willing muzzle one of our own in an effort to broadly silence the opposition? Apparently so. They just hate Democrats that much.
The argument that it was possibly unconstitutional for Obama to campaign on public school grounds was brought up quite a bit by my Loudoun Republican friends.
Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan will hold a campaign rally at West Springfield High School this Friday. I have not heard a single word from Republicans questioning if it is proper for a political candidate to hold a political rally at a public school in this instance. I have not heard a single concern from Republicans about public school teachers sitting on stage and making endorsements for Romney-Ryan (yes, Republican public school teachers do exist). I have not heard a single concern from Republicans about the cost to taxpayers for traffic management and clean up of the facilities after the event.
So here is the summary of the attitudes of the Republican activist base.
Obama speaks at a public high school. Bad. Unconstitutional. Traffic nightmare. Waste of taxpayer dollars to cover externalities not paid for by rent by the Obama campaign.
Paul Ryan speaks at a public high school. Let’s camp outside early in the morning so we can sit up close! Hey, do you have connections to elected officials so we can sit in the VIP section on stage? OMG! OMG! OMG! Paul Ryan is such a heartthrob!
Double standards and hypocrisy. Democrats and Republicans are both guilty.
I will vote Republican, but my advice to Republicans is to tone down the volume, get rid of the blind hatred of Democrats, and reach out to others. Often, it is not Republican principles that people don’t like. It is Republican activists who scare away the people by their behavior.
This is from the Fairfax GOP website.
My best guess is that hard GOP support in Northern Virginia tops off at 30%. Additional soft GOP support will generously add another 5%-10% in Arlington and Alexandria and upwards to 15% in Loudoun and Prince William. Elections are won and lost within the 20% who are independents.
With only a limited number of weekends before Election Day, instead of using the opportunity to talk to normal people about the upcoming election, the hardcore partisans of the Fairfax GOP is wasting an entire Saturday afternoon having a powwow to learn how to talk to normal people. Is this because hardcore partisans blowing smoke up each other’s butts and ranting in cathartic fashion to each other will win the independent vote? How out of touch.
A few weeks ago, there was an ongoing, hilarious debate at Mason Conservative regarding the current state of the new FCRC administration. I did some fact finding and I would like to shed some light into the situation as I have interacted with all the various interest groups and personalities in the FCRC significantly over the past three years.
First, is a disclosure. Jay McConville is a client of mine and I was a consultant on his campaign. I know consultants have a tense relationship with political activists and I am okay with that. However, while I pay the bills by being a political consultant (and public relations consultant to other organizations in the entertainment industry), I am also a citizen. I am a hybrid vendor/consultant due to my numerous talents. While I have been a vendor for candidates I don’t particularly care for (I can owe up to that. It is just business.) I have fortunately, with limited exceptions, only been a consultant for candidates I would still support if I was not on staff.
Whenever possible, I want to work for the people I want to work for. Being an enthusiastic supporter of Candidate A, but getting your paycheck cut by Candidate B running against Candidate A does not seem right to me. Working for people I believe in allows me to put my talents that are in demand to work people who I truly want to see succeed. It is a win-win-win situation. First, I put food on the table. Second, I get to work for people I would vote for anyway. Finally, I do what I believe is my civic duty to put good people in leadership.
It does not matter what your political beliefs are. Good government cannot function without good people. As a result, my client roster and former bosses are very diverse and occupy a wide spectrum on the political continuum. My affiliation with a certain candidate does not give off any cues as to how liberal or conservative that candidate is. It only says that I believe this candidate is of great character and integrity and is therefore worthy of my support.
Jay McConville is a good man and he will do a good job. Period.
I played no role in the transition. I have never been asked nor did I ask for a role. I am not at all privy to any matters pertaining to the current FCRC leadership.
Let us move on to the real issue that has sparked a debate online about the direction of the FCRC. People appear to be upset with certain individuals who are on the transition team. Critics see the situation reeking of cronyism, power grabbing, and puppetry.
I am aware that a certain individual on the transition team is not viewed favorably by a segment of the FCRC and people who are privy to the FCRC (I will use FCRC as a general term throughout for people who are involved and privy to its matters. It does not denote paid membership.). In my past conversations with this segment of the FCRC, this segment perceives the individual in question to be an overeager, overambitious young kid who is waiting, planning, and scripting his life for the opportunity to run for public office well in advance. The individual is perceived to desperately want to be a relevant part of the “Establishment” by strategically kissing up to everyone in a position of authority or on the cusp of authority and by dressing and acting like the individual is twenty years older. The perception this individual gives off to this group is enough for this entire group to vote against everyone this individual openly endorses for any office. Several people of this segment have told me point blank that they would not vote for my clients because this individual’s name was on my clients’ endorsement list.
These are the words of the individual’s critics, not mine. I can’t speak for the individual’s quality of work due to my limited interactions with the individual. It doesn’t mean I think it is good or bad. I just won’t vouch for that which I have not seen up close.
Let us flip this around. The segment I am talking about contains, but is not limited to, individuals who are perceived by others to be perpetually angry and extremist in their views. This segment prides itself in being “anti-establishment” and “grassroots”. This segment was activated and inspired by then-Senator Ken Cuccinelli back in the days when individual candidates had to build standalone operations because the FCRC was so unreliable. The funny thing is that this segment was solidly behind John Cook along with the people they deride as “Establishment” and the two groups worked together at a grassroots level to get Cook elected and reelected. It was on this campaign that some of the establishment/anti-establishment beef still seen today at the local level had its roots in early 2009. Other aspects of the feud go back way longer.
These are the words of the critics and their opposition colored by my perceptions.
I have heard of the history between these two camps and I don’t care. One of the many reasons why I am no longer a dues paying member to any political party is because of silly high school beefs like this. Only in American political parties can factions be allowed to thrive antagonistically against one another for decades on end and play nice just for the cameras. If this was a business or a sports team, internal disputes would be handled in an orderly manner and if disagreements still surface, one or both parties would be cut. However, in politics, due to the institutionalized two party system in America, antagonistic factions don’t splinter into separate parties. They co-exist and thrive even as they plot for one another’s destruction within the party. If normal people really knew the amount of high school-ish drama, favoritism, and beefs that are involved among a small core of rabid activists who control the nomination process for public offices, they would revolt.
Does the individual in question come across as a young, square fuddy duddy? Yes. Does the antagonistic segment contain people who really need to smile more and stop blaming Democrats for every misfortune they personally experience or that the nation experiences? Yes. Have both sides contributed their time and talents to the GOP? Yes, countless hours on behalf of the FCRC and many candidates. Do both sides need to hug it out? By all means, yes.
Finally, the FCRC is organizing door knocking campaigns every weekend and staffing the phone banks in the basement every day. I have seen it with my own eyes. Other than aesthetic changes to the facility, it is business as usual.
9:35am – I am here, registered, and swagged out. All red everything, baby. Yes sir.
9:36am – U.S. Senate candidates are speaking. Wake me up when they say something new.
9:53am – Ken Cuccinelli is on stage.
9:59am – “Does that mean you want me to finish?” – KC. Yes!
10:00am – “Short speeches make long friendships.” I think Coach Don Shula of the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins said that.
10:01am – “Ladies and gentleman, that concludes our pregame festivities.” – Mike Thompson, Jr.
10:02am – That pregame show was not crunk.
10:03am – I can think of 100 other things I would rather be doing this morning than to be in this circus.
10:05am – I think #99 on the list is wearing a chicken suit on M Street NW amidst heavy traffic.
10:08am – Irrational, unhinged conservative #18372939: An announcement was made for people to move their cars out of the fire lane or get towed. One extremist conservative said that was stupid because taxpayers fund the school where the convention is being held and can do anything they want. This is from a supposed “law and order” conservative. Come on, son.
10:10am – I want to go home.
10:13am – Some nice church ladies asked me yesterday why a nice, upstanding gentleman like me is involved in politics. I don’t have a good answer.
10:17am – The anger in the building is just too much for me.
10:37am – Voting has commenced.
10:38am – A friend of mine just sent me a text message asking the question, “no red shoes?”
10:39am – Sadly, no, but black goes with everything.
10:40am – Correction: All red everything from the ankle up with gold jewelry.
10:43am – It is real. My man Anthony Bedell is stepping down from FCRC Chairman after four years of supreme leadership and swagger. He is so excited and happy to return to a life of normalcy. I strongly relate.
10:59am – “How could anyone miss you?!!” – A Very Important Person commenting on my very loud, team-spirited outfit
11:01am – Voting has closed.
11:07am – Bedell speaks. People listen.
11:10am – “It has been an honor and a privilege to be your Chairman.” – Chairman Anthony Bedell
11:11am – Mr. Chairman, it has been an honor and a privilege to be your most loyal subject.
11:11am – “Anthony kicked some [butt].” – Mike Thompson, Jr.
11:35am – “What percentage of the vote do you think Mickey Mouse gets in Florida every year?”
11:36am – Hey now. Mickey Mouse is a credible candidate in Florida. He has Orlando locked up.
11:50am – Jay McConville has been elected FCRC Chairman.
12:05pm – Convention is adjourned.
A full write up will come soon.
Disclosures: Anthony Bedell is my former boss and Jay McConville a client of mine.
The candidates for 10th District RPV State Central Committee are updated as follows.
- Kay Gunter (Clarke County GOP Chair)*
- Gary Lofton (Back Creek Supervisor, Frederick County Board of Supervisors)*
- Eve Marie Barner-Gleason (Senator Ken Cuccinelli’s longtime aide, former Blue Ridge District GOP Chair – Loudoun County, graduate of Patrick Henry College – Purcellville, VA)
- Gerrie Smith (Dranesville District GOP Chair, Fairfax County)
- Mark Berg (Frederick County GOP Vice-Chair for Correspondence and Issues)
- Tom Whitmore (Prince William County GOP Vice-Chair and Tea Party leader)
My friend Cara Townsend withdrew from the race because she just found out recently that she is pregnant!
Please join me in congratulating her on this wonderful news.
With the field as it is currently set, Kay and Eve are locks to win in my opinion. However, the race for 3rd place is wide open. Mark Berg is running on a ticket with Kay and Eve and is hoping that Kay and Eve will give him a coattail effect. Considering the remaining challengers, I would say that Mark has the inside track to win 3rd place, but his awkward and weird public persona will hold him back. He lost a GOP primary for Back Creek Supervisor on the Frederick County Board in 2011 to the current incumbent Gary Lofton who is running for reelection for the State Central Committee. If Mark Berg was not running on a ticket with Kay Gunter and Eve Barner, I would give the advantage to Gary Lofton.
Gerrie Smith from McLean, VA is marketing herself as the only Fairfax candidate in the race. She will need heavy turnout from Fairfax County in order to win as she is not well known out west, even in Loudoun County.
Tom Whitmore should have Prince William County locked and his Tea Party credentials give him a wider penetration than Gerrie. Perhaps a united ticket with Gerrie Smith and Tom Whitmore would be mutually beneficial in order to maximize the population advantage of Fairfax and Prince William in order to turnout more delegates in their favor.
As I have always observed, there is an east-west divide in the 10th Congressional District that runs down Route 15. The convention will be held at Tuscarora High School on Route 15 in Leesburg on May 19th, perfectly symbolizing this east-west divide and balancing the disparate regional interests, cultures, and attitudes. I anticipate that there might very well be 3 RPV State Central Committee members elected in the 10th CD from the west.
Despite having less western geography after redistricting with the removal of Warren County and Fauquier County, a political contender in the 10th Congressional District still needs an ability to connect and relate to a western region that will continue to be just as influential as the more populous east.
The top three finishers win.
1. Kay Gunter (Clarke County)* – Safe
2. Eve Marie Barner-Gleason (Western Loudoun County) – Likely Win
3. Gary Lofton (Frederick County)* – Toss Up
4. Mark Berg (Frederick County) – Toss Up
5. Tom Whitmore (Prince William County) – Toss Up
6. Gerrie Smith (Fairfax County) – Dark Horse
Reliable sources have informed me that 10th Congressional District RPV Chairman Howie Lind will not seek reelection to his post. Lind cites increasing family and job obligations as the reasons why he will step down after the 10th District Convention tentatively scheduled for May 19, 2012.
Howie Lind has drafted John Whitbeck, a family lawyer based in Leesburg and former candidate for the House of Delegates for the 10th House District in 2011, to run for Chairman of the 10th District Republican Committee. Whitbeck has agreed to do so and will begin to actively campaign for this position.
No other candidates have announced their intention to enter the race.
Fun Fact: John Whitbeck played college football for Occidental College. Other famous Occidental football players include NFL coach Jim Mora Sr. (BA Physical Education – ’57) and Buffalo Bills quarterback and Congressman Jack Kemp (BA Physical Education – ’57).
The Virginia General Assembly, County Board, and School Board sessions are underway. After talking with various elected officials, staff, and citizens on both sides of the aisle and observing two recent town hall meetings in different counties, I would like to provide an unscientific sampling and summary of what I have heard the legislative priorities of the people are in Fairfax County and Loudoun County.
A majority of the people I encountered and heard in town hall meetings are against raising taxes to help pay for essential services or make up for a budget shortfall. They want government to rein in spending and find ways to cut costs.
Budget cuts are looming and while most people want state and local governments to cut spending, no one wants spending cut on their favorite programs. Often, people hold contradictory opinions on complementary and supplemental issues which is certainly fine and acceptable since most people judge each issue on an individualized basis. This will make the jobs of our elected officials challenging as they work to represent all people, balance competing interests, and even the competing viewpoints that an individual can express.
Most people I have interacted with would like to see Metro to Dulles completed. A good number of people want the government to do “whatever it takes” to get the job done. While I have found Fairfax County residents excited and overwhelmingly in favor of Metro to Dulles, I have found Loudoun County residents to be split more evenly on the issue with a slight edge to Metro supporters.
While on the whole, Northern Virginia residents seem to support Metro, they also seem to support right-to-work laws. As a result, a project labor agreement for the construction of Metro could complicate the situation. Some of the people who support right-to-work laws are the same people who want to see the completion of Metro as a priority. This will make the work of the legislators challenging.
In education policy, the movement to repeal of the “Kings Dominion Law” seems to have a lot of momentum. I have heard many people express that they would like local school districts to have the authority to start school earlier without getting a waiver from the State.
Education spending is a hot-button issue especially when the budget is tight. Some people want it increased. Other people want it decreased. Still, some people are fine with current spending levels. Regardless of where they stand, they are all passionate about their position. My unscientific estimate is that the people are evenly split on the debate over state and local education spending.
Despite the split among the people over education spending levels, in Loudoun County, full day kindergarten seems to be a popular issue to support. I surmise that there may be people out there who want education spending cut, but would like to see full day kindergarten implemented from my unscientific observation.
In more political matters, I have found that Republicans are overwhelmingly in favor of party registration and closed primaries. The energy behind these issues is even more pronounced in the wake of the controversies surrounding the GOP Presidential primary ballot and proposed loyalty pledge. I have not talked to Democrats about the open primary vs. closed primary issue specifically.
Editor’s Take: The above was my unscientific analysis from the standpoint of a neutral observer. I took pains to emphasize “unscientific” because I am only one person and I can’t ask 2,000 random people the same question with +/- 3% sampling error.
Certain pieces of legislation on the docket are of particular interest to me. The repeal of the “Kings Dominion Law” is quite intriguing and I will write a future article here on that topic.
A very arcane, local issue I am very passionate about is the issue of natural grass vs. artificial turf fields for high school stadiums. I have only heard one person ask that question in a town hall meeting or a debate and that question certainly made me take notice. I even waved frantically to my friend on stage indicating how to answer, but my friend did not see me! My policy paper on this issue has already been privately circulated. I just have not had the time to polish it to publish it here. Look for that paper here in the near future. This issue has a lot of ramifications for the health and well-being of the athlete and for the pocketbook of the taxpayer and the results might not be what you expected.
Furthermore, I am not one to be satisfied to support a position just because it has overwhelming momentum and support and seems reasonable at face value without giving the opposing argument a fair shake. I have not heard any arguments against full day kindergarten. Also, among Republicans, I have not heard any impassioned defenses of the open primary process.
Since no one has stepped up to the plate to advocate for the other side, for the sake of honest discussion, I will be researching the benefits of traditional half day kindergarten and the benefits of open primaries to present in future articles for thoughtful, scholarly discussion.
Feel free to add your thoughts below. Keep it positive and friendly!