Blackburn Poses Credible Challenge to Stosch

Sen. Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico, a certified member of the Axis of Taxes, will face a nomination challenge in June from a seemingly credible opponent — Joseph E. Blackburn Jr., an attorney and former chair of the Henrico Republican Committee.

The article by Jeff Schapiro and Tyler Whitley does little to illluminate Blackburn’s motives in running, offering only one brief quote: “My opponent proposed to place a 5 percent tax on gasoline, even as it was reaching $3 per gallon. He wanted you to pay another 15 cents per gallon.”

Stosch argued that Blackburn’s challenge is a distraction to the larger challenge of beating Democrats: “Our time could be better spent in preparing for the fall general election. Unfortunately, some folks do not see it that way. They want to engage us in an intraparty nomination battle that will drain precious resources.”

Pretty lame. Stosch has done so little to distinguish himself from his Democratic colleagues in the state Senate that many Republicans don’t see much difference. Blackburn will garner some support simply by inveighing against tax hikes. What remains to be seen is whether he offers a positive vision of governance. If he doesn’t want tax hikes, how does he propose addressing the very real challenges in transportation, education, Medicaid, the environment, tax reform, etc. etc.?

Tax hikes are unpopular in Henrico. But “Just say no to taxes” won’t get you elected. I will be most interested to see if Blackburn can develop a platform as strong as his party credentials.

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4 responses to “Blackburn Poses Credible Challenge to Stosch”

  1. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Hooah. Looking for others too. I believe the voters will be presented with a platform on why to vote for the Conservative Republicans.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Walter Stosch was my state senator until I moved a couple of years ago. As I recall, during his long career he has led a number of successful fights to reduce personal and business taxes and, as chairman of the General Laws Committee, has been a moving force to reduce regulation and generally improve the business climate, things that are all good.

    More than that, I was impressed with his common sense, serious approach to issues, which in a different day might have been described as “sober.”

    It strikes me as somewhat sad that this blog, which I had counted as among the most “sober” in Virginia, would be so quick to throw him into the “Axis of Taxes” category.

    I understand your fixation on transportation, but as a body of work Stosch’s career seems to be among those most singulary focused on the core functions of governing — being light-handed, pro-market, Libertarian on social issues — on the whole something that seems more Jeffersonian than the momentary obsession with hot-button social issues designed to drive wedges in the electorate.

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I Know this is about Henrico – but I wonder if the perspective below is related….

    “Richmond – Democratic gains in Northern Virginia could lead state Republicans to drop their opposition to using state funds to ease the transportation problems of the traffic-clogged counties around Washington, observers and lawmakers tell The Examiner.

    The GOP’s desire to boost its popularity could force Republicans leaders in the state Legislature — who have been steadfast in their opposition to state funding for years — to reverse their stance.

    “What would be different [in 2007] would be the election we just had,” said Jack Rollison, a Republican who represented Prince William County in the House for the 17 years prior to 2001 and chaired the chamber’s Transportation Committee. “Northern Virginia voted solidly Democratic. That might cause the Republicans to re-evaluate their positions.”

    Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, agreed that the new political climate in Richmond will help Northern Virginia’s cause.

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Anonymous 9:57, I agree that Stosch does come across as sober and thoughtful. And he has filed some good legislation, as I have pointed to on this blog on more than one occasion. But Stosch supported the Warner tax increase in 2004 and he supports another round of tax increases for transportation. I read his op-eds whenever I can, and I read the reporting on his speeches. Judging by his public pronouncements, he has put far more of his political capital since 20004 behind the effort to raise taxes than to restructure, re-engineer or re-think state/local government. Given his prominence and seniority in the legislature, he is indisputably a key member of the Axis of Taxes.

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