Category Archives: Elections

Election Law Changes: Sept. 17 is Now Key Date

Photo from Henrico Citizen

by Steve Haner

If the current COVID-19 surge continues into the fall, and Governor Ralph Northam once again declares a health emergency, absentee ballots returned by mail will not need a witness signature. Now it will be by General Assembly fiat, not a judge’s order.

That alone ought to motivate a bunch of hesitant Republicans to rush out and get their vaccines to crush this surge. It is probably the same subset of people who continue to simmer over all the election law changes that were pushed through as “temporary” pandemic adjustments, and now are considered sacred and untouchable human rights. Continue reading

What’s Youngkin Afraid Of?

Judy Woodruff
Photo credit: PBS

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for governor has declined to participate in what has become a traditional kick-off for gubernatorial candidates, a debate at the annual meeting of the Virginia Bar Association.  His reason — the moderator gave $250 in 2010 to a Haitian disaster relief fund run by the Clinton Foundation. Never mind that the proposed moderator, Judy Woodruff, is a prize-winning journalist and has moderated Presidential debates, as well as several of the VBA debates.

So far, the two candidates have both agreed to participate in only one debate.  McAuliffe has accepted invitations to four other debates and Youngkin, one other. The McAuliffe campaign says that it has not declined to participate in the one other debate that Youngkin has accepted (sponsored by Liberty University, Hampton University, and the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce). The Youngkin campaign refuses to say whether it has declined any of the other four that McAuliffe has accepted. (For full story see here or here.)

As Steve Haner pointed out recently, it is not that long before early voting starts. Youngkin needs to get out and introduce himself to voters. Or maybe he is hoping that, with all his money, he can rely on advertising.

Youngkin Gets Romneyfied

Glenn A. Youngkin

by James A. Bacon

The Associated Press has just published a story highlighting the plight of newly retired Judy Pavlick in a mobile home park in Sunnyvale, California. When the park was acquired in 2015 by the Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm, “things began to change.” Pavlick’s rent surged 7%. Additional fees followed. The higher costs forced her and her neighbors, “many on fixed incomes and unable to relocate” to “sometimes choose between food and medicine.”

Here’s the kicker:

The deal, one of hundreds Carlyle executed in recent years, could become a political liability for the company’s former co-CEO, Glenn Youngkin, who is now running as the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia and highlighting his experience “building businesses and creating jobs.”

I knew this was coming. It was inevitable. We saw this attack before — in 2012 when Mitt Romney ran for president against Barack Obama. The Obama campaign highlighted Romney’s track record as CEO of Bain Capital, which financed the acquisition and turnaround of dozens of companies, often restructuring businesses and laying off workers in the process.

Youngkin is being Romneyfied. The AP article was just the opening salvo. Continue reading

The Primary Results — Explaining the Obvious

Tuesday’s big winner: Terry McAuliffe. Photo credit: The Washington Post

by Chris Saxman

There is no sense doing a deep dive on Tuesday’s elections results because there is not a lot of depth to explore.

Somethings are just obvious.

In the end:

  • Money talks and bullshit walks.
  • Challengers don’t win – incumbents lose.
  • The leadership of the Democratic Party of Virginia is firmly in control.
  • There was ZERO ideological shift in either party.
  • Base voters want fighters who can win. They are angry and want that anger represented. (Reminder – anger is fear based) Many vote Against rather than For.
  • Legacy media continues to lose influence on voter behavior as they become more partisan.
  • #1 data point from Tuesday? The similarity in Ralph Northam and Terry McAuliffe primary vote totals. 2017: Northam 303,531. 2021: McAuliffe 303,410. That’s the base of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
  • Destiny might be more geography than demography.

And here we go… Continue reading

No Surprises in Democratic Primary

by Kerry Dougherty

Well, it looks like at least half of what the former chair of Virginia’s Republican Party predicted last night has already come true: the GOP slate is more diverse than the Democratic ticket.

In fact, Virginia’s Democratic primary voters shunned African-American candidates for governor and attorney general to nominate two white men. Retreads at that: Terry McAuliffe for governor and Mark Herring for attorney general.

They also nominated a woman for Lt. Gov., Del. Hala Ayala who describes herself as “Afro-Latina, Lebanese and Irish,” making her the lone minority on the Democratic ticket.

Frankly, I don’t care about the race or ethnicity of public officials. I want good government. It’s Dems who relentlessly use race as a political weapon. Anyone else remember the 2017 gubernatorial race when Ralph Northam was willing to smear a mainstream Republican — Ed Gillespie — as a bigot just because the Republican supported a crackdown on MS-13, a ruthless street gang? Yet all the while, Northam had an ugly secret hiding deep in a copy of his medical school yearbook. Continue reading

Clean Virginia Dissed Again, Dem Takes Dom Cash

An image of Hala Alaya’s answer to a question on Clean Virginia’s candidate questionnaire, released by it in response to her breaking of that pledge.

by Steve Haner

Prince William Democrat Hala Ayala, who had pledged not to accept campaign contributions from Dominion Energy Virginia and took money instead from its opponents, has now accepted $100,000 from the regulated monopoly. Heads are exploding.

Del. Haya Ayala, D-Prince William

The anti-Dominion activist group Clean Virginia had given her $25,000 in her bid for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.  Now is has announced it will dump $125,000 into a last-ditch digital campaign to defeat her in the June 8 primary. Early voting in the primary has been underway for weeks, however. Early voters upset by this cannot call their ballots back.

Final pre-primary finance reports were released early in the week and word of the contribution quickly hit the Twitterverse, then sparked stories in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch and Virginia Mercury. Continue reading

Democrats Fight Back as Boss Bills Cracks Whip

Michael Bills

by Steve Haner

Two Virginia Democrats who have been loyal soldiers in the army to turn Virginia green as well as blue are under attack in the June 8 primary for the sin of accepting campaign donations from Dominion Energy. It doesn’t matter to the attacker – our old friend Clean Virginia — that Dominion is moving in lockstep with the Democrats to undermine Virginia’s reliable generation mix and replace it with expensive and unreliable renewable power.

The House Democratic Caucus is responding by attacking the “dark money billionaires” who are going after their colleagues. Who? By that they would have to mean that same Clean Virginia, funded mainly by the personal fortune of hedge fund mogul Michael Bills and his wife. The same two people who did more than anybody to give Democrats that majority in the first place.

More proof, in case you needed it, that it is not your enemies you need to watch in politics but your friends. The Democrats started to lose their grip on this state 20-30 years ago because in their lust for power they fell out among themselves, and here we go again. Bring popcorn.

The basics: Delegates Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth and Candi Mundon King, D-Prince William, face primary challengers. The primary challengers have received major funding from something new called Commonwealth Forward PAC. But as The Virginia Star reported this morning, its money actually comes from Bills and Clean Virginia.  Continue reading

Ranked Republicans Recapped: Round 2

by Chris Saxman

Having recapped the gubernatorial contestants in the Republican Ranked Choice Unassembled Convention, let’s review what happened for the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General nominations.

These two contests, like the top of the ticket, seemed to pivot on the outsider vs. insider narrative. Whereas we saw two successful outsider businessmen plow millions of their own money into their relatively brief campaigns for governor, the down-ballot candidates ran their campaigns the traditional way — get in and grind.

But first you have to Lose Yourself

Look/If you had One shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment/Would you capture it
Or just let it slip?

Continue reading

Change Coming to Virginia Beach Politics

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

A recent federal court decision could fundamentally change the  politics of Virginia Beach, the Commonwealth’s largest city.

Some background is needed first. Virginia Beach has an unusual method of electing its council. All 11 members of the council are elected by all the voters in the city. However, seven of the council members must live in the district they represent, while three members and the mayor are truly at-large, meaning they can live anywhere in the city. For example, Mary Doe may run for council as the member from District 7, which includes Sandbridge where she lives, but she must get a majority of the citywide votes for the seat.

The electoral arrangement has been in place since 1966  It has its origins in the conditions established for the consolidation of the small city of Virginia Beach and the large county of Princess Anne in 1963. Continue reading

Glenn Youngkin’s Good Vibes

by Chris Saxman

Over the last week and a half, I attended three Glenn Youngkin campaign events with three different women — my wife Michele and our two daughters, Mary Kathryn and Nora. It wasn’t intentional that I went to separate events with each of them, it just worked out that way. All three are college-educated suburban women.

While you might think that in our house we talk politics a lot and always vote the same way, I can assure you — we do not. Never have. I have always told our kids to vote for the person you think is best for the job. We compare notes afterwards. Michele and I have been the same way since our first political conversations thirty years ago. “Who did you vote for?” “Oh, okay.” “How about you?” “Oh, okay.”

The first event was at a local restaurant the Henrico GOP uses for its meetings in Innsbrook called Atlas 42. Good size. Clean. Plenty of room without being cavernous. Mary Kathryn and I went to check out the campaign of Glenn Youngkin. Continue reading

Seven GOP House Primaries on June 8

by Steve Haner

Virginia Republicans in seven of the 100 House of Delegate districts still have House nominees to pick in the June 8 primary. The focus on last Saturday’s unassembled convention for statewide candidates has overshadowed these races.

They will also be overshadowed by the Democratic nomination contests on the same date. But some of these Republican contests are showing signs of being heated, and with strong candidates picked for November could be some of the seats which determine control of the House.

In the three western Virginia contests, Republican incumbents seeking new terms face internal challenges. Three other contests have more than one Republican seeking to challenge an incumbent Democrat. One seat, House District 51 in Prince William, will have no incumbent on the ballot (Democratic Del. Hala Ayala surrendered it to run statewide).

For those of you Republicans or Independents who consider yourselves done voting until November, peruse the list and watch your email or snail mail for signs you are in one of these contested districts. Democrats, you’re all getting pushed to show up anyway by your statewide races.  Continue reading

GOP Is Dead Serious About Retaking Governor’s Mansion

by Kerry Dougherty

Wow. They’re serious. The Republicans really want to win in November and they set aside their predictable losing behavior to do it by nominating outsider multi-millionaire Glenn Youngkin to be the next governor of Virginia.

This gambit might not work, but in an unusual election year, it could. The Democrats and Gov. Ralph Northam have made so many mistakes that there are rich issues to mine that may resonate with Northern Virginia’s liberal wine moms.

Virginia’s schools, for instance: The desultory rate of reopening, thanks to Dems being in bed with the militant teacher’s unions is a scandal. So is the dumbing down of education due to DOE’s policies that are headed toward eliminating advanced math before 11th grade and advanced diplomas when students graduate.

Then there’s public safety and the Parole Board’s shenanigans as they set killers loose. Continue reading

Send in the Clowns

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

So, the party that is so concerned about election “integrity” leaves its primary ballots overnight in a hotel ballroom, which a housekeeper is able to enter undetected until later.  So much for the credibility of this group.

Virginia Needs a Constitutional Amendment to Elect the Board of Education

by James C. Sherlock

The Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) is by far the most powerful and consequential public board in Virginia. It is the only one whose Powers and Duties are defined in the Virginia Constitution.

It was a mistake not to make the members of the Board with such vast and unconstrained powers constitutional officers who stand for election.

We are now seeing what the Board, once appointed and confirmed, can do. It has transformed Virginia’s educational system into a Marxist indoctrination system.  Board members know what they are doing is not only radically transformational, but intensely political and fiercely opposed.

Their work is not only dogmatic, but sloppy. Their use of the English language has been demonstrated here to be severely challenged. Not exactly a trait most look for in a Board of Education.

And they do not care. There is no constitutional reason they should.

The current Board has demonstrated like no other before it that it needs to face the electorate. Virginia will need a constitutional amendment to make the VBOE, who are together more constitutionally powerful than any elected official but the governor, constitutional officials elected by the people.

It is time. Continue reading

Youngkin: Liberal Wolf or Reaganesque Happy Warrior?

Glenn Youngkin — Reagan-like optimist?

Virginia Republicans embark today upon their bizarre, COVID-safe, convention-like proceedings to select candidates for statewide office. Bruce Majors, an active Republican, writes how he has experienced the run-up to this unorthodox event. — JAB

by Bruce Majors

Back in March, I listened to Virginia conservative talk radio from John Reid’s excellent morning show in Richmond to Larry O’Connor’s afternoon show in northern Virginia and D.C., and I got the impression that this Glenn Youngkin fellow was a left-“liberal” wolf in GOP sheepskin.

Coverage focused in particular on Youngkin’s donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which, beyond its far left politics, is charged with being a con game to enrich its founders while (paradoxically) discriminating against some of its African-American employees.

Right-of-center folk also were not so happy with Youngkin’s long career with the Carlyle Group, an investment firm usually described as a Beltway Bandit, a cog in the political class, and even as an arms merchant or a funder of arms merchants.

Back then I hoped these exposures had done in Mr. Glenn Youngkin. Continue reading