the easiest, cheapest way for the Democratic Party
of Virginia to hold onto the governor’s
mansion in November? Stop the Kilgore campaign on
June 14. Dead. Cold. In its tracks. And there is a
way to do it. A way that would be so, so easy.
do it, though, the state’s Democrats must finally
and definitively confront what has been their worst
enemy over and over again—the way they think. You
see, the question is not the clarity with which one
sees the trees. That has never been the question in
politics. The question is whether one can see the
this case, the forest is what happens on June
14—primary election day here in the Commonwealth.
Virginia Democrats will never have a better
opportunity to throw a wrench into Republican Party
politics than on June 14. How so? They can choose
who they run against in the November election. For
real. I’m not making this up.
Virginia does not require voters to register by
party affiliation, Democrats can vote in the
Republican primary that will choose the GOP’s
slate of statewide candidates. Here’s the deal.
Virginia is holding two primaries on June 14, two
simultaneous primaries, a Democratic primary and a
time, same polling places, same poll workers, same
everything—except for the ballots. When you show
up at your regular polling place, you’re going to
be asked which primary you want to vote in. And
you’re only going to be given one ballot, or, in
the case of machine voting, you’re going to be
allowed to go behind the curtain in only one of
Democratic ticket is largely set for November. Only
the lieutenant governor’s slot is being contested
in the primary. Tim Kaine is going to be on the
ballot for the top job in November. Same with Creigh
Deeds, seeking the job of Virginia Attorney General.
in matters of perhaps ego, there is nothing you can
do on June 14 to help or hurt either one of them.
The reality is that the primary does not matter to
either of them, and, of course, they’d both be
fools to admit that.
what about the lieutenant governor’s slot? Of
course, the primary is do or die for them. I’m
going to come back to that. Until I get back,
remember the earlier trees vs. forest discussion.
Republican primary on the 14th is another matter
altogether. That ticket is not set. Two names will
appear on the Republican ballot for governor—Jerry
Kilgore and George Fitch.
is obviously the choice for most of the out-of-state
Republicans, those pouring bushels money into his
campaign, and he may be the choice for most Virginia
Republicans, but that is not quite so obvious.
all, he is being challenged by Fitch, a member of
his own party, but also by Russ Potts, the
disaffected Republican running as an Independent.
won’t be affected either way by what happens on
June 14th. He’s on the November ballot no matter
and Fitch speak the same centrist, common sense
language that is these days so anathema to the
both, for example, hold the outlandish view that
things like roads and schools cost money.
has to scare the be-Jesus out of the Kilgore
campaign is the possibility that enough Virginia
Democrats realize that they could deny Kilgore the
Republican nomination simply by voting for Fitch in
the Republican primary.
it happen? Let me answer that one this way: If we
knew for certain what was going to happen in
elections we wouldn’t have to hold them.
stopping Kilgore on June 14 is the easiest way for
Virginia Democrats to prevail in November, what
would be second easiest, second best? Making sure
Bill Bolling is on the Republican ticket come June
15. What about the four Democratic candidates
running for lieutenant governor? One of them will be
the nominee. And what will determine the success or
failure of that nominee in November? Nothing so much
as the top of the ticket.
June 6 2005