Category Archives: Politics

Agriculture in Great Falls?

Youngkin stables
Photo credit: Fairfax County Planning Commission

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Well, it seems as if rich folks in leftist-leaning Albemarle are not the only rich folks availing themselves of real estate tax breaks. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports today that Glenn Youngkin and his wife have saved 95% of their real estate taxes on their horse “farm” in Great Falls, the posh area of Fairfax County.

Rather than get conservation easements, which often are perpetual, the Youngkins got their property designated as an “agricultural district” by Fairfax County. Such designation lowered the real estate taxes on the property by 95%, saving them over $150,000 over the last two years. One of the conditions for the designation is that the Youngkins agreed not to develop the property for eight years. 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.

Terry McAuliffe — Call Him Crazy

by Kerry Dougherty

OK, Terry, you asked for it. We’re going to call you crazy because the notion that it’s easier to buy a gun in Virginia than it is to vote is insane. And clearly that’s what you’re implying with your silly Tweet. So here’s a little quiz to test your knowledge of Virginia gun and voting laws:

Do you have to be 21 to vote? (You have to be 21 to purchase a handgun.) Nope.

Do you have to pass a criminal background check to vote? Nope.

Can you vote if you’re insane? Yep.

Can you vote if you have a history of domestic violence? Yep.

Can you vote if there’s a protective order against you involving a spouse or former spouse? Yep.

Can you vote if you’ve been convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery of a family member? Yep.

I could go on. Continue reading

The Louise Lucas Recall Attempt

Louise Lucas

by Kerry Dougherty

This may come as a shock, but I don’t like what’s happening to State Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth.

No, this isn’t a coded message to signal that I’m being held somewhere against my will. I honestly believe that attempts to get the courts to remove her from office are misguided.

Make that court.

With the proper number of signatures, citizens in Virginia may ask a circuit court judge to decide if a public official should get the boot.

The threshold number of signatures is relatively small, too. Just 10% of the number of voters in the last election, which in this case comes to 4,651. The Virginian-Pilot reports that the petitioners claim to have thousands more names than needed. Continue reading

Virginia Ratifies!

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

On this date, 233 years ago, June 25, 1788, Virginia ratified the United States Constitution.

The stakes could not have been higher. Ratification by nine states was required for the Constitution to go into effect. When the delegates to the ratifying convention began their deliberations on June 2, they knew that eight states had ratified the Constitution. Being the largest state, the actions of Virginia would likely influence the remaining holdouts: New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. As it turned out, New Hampshire ratified the Constitution four days before Virginia on June 21, thus making it the state that provided the ninth, decisive vote. However, the delegates in Richmond could not have known that. And, without Virginia’s ratification, the new nation would have likely been doomed. 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

The One-Sided Decision in the Reversion of Martinsville – the Start of a Trend?

by James C. Sherlock

The Martinsville Bulletin, perhaps the best remaining newspaper in the state for local coverage, published a must-read article on the reversion of Martinsville from city to town and joining Henry County.


Martinsville’s current city logo, above, was perhaps prescient. Martinsville has been hemorrhaging population, losing more than 18% in the past 10 years, and was financially stressed before that loss.

Reversion in Virginia is a one-handed game. The small cities hold all of the cards.

Henry County is vocally opposed but feels helpless to stop it. The Henry County Supervisors voted to skip the legal process to avoid the costs. They called the reversion MOU “the best we could hope for and voted for it to avoid years of court battles”.

They are right  What they avoided was the special court that would have overseen the reversion under Virginia law had they not come to an agreement. The county would have been a defendant in a trial.

The rules for that court specified in that law give the small cities every advantage in a trial. That same special court would have overseen the transition for a decade. Every decision.

The changes reversion portends for city and county residents are massive. Now that his has happened, does anyone think this will be the last reversion? Continue reading

John Warner’s Verse of Manner and Deed

by Chris Saxman

It’s not so much what you do, but the manner in which you do it.

John Warner has shown us, once again, that we really are better than we let on. The praise of Warner’s tenure as our United States Senator has been universal and consistent – John Warner was a great politician.

A statesman.

Virginia’s gentle man.

There have been many wonderful remembrances of him. Read them all.

After the news broke yesterday, I recounted my own with fondness, many smiles, and several laughs. That was a great trip down Memory Lane, but it wasn’t sad.

Then I remembered that I was having lunch with Frank Atkinson in just a few hours and that we would be nerding out on the life and times of John Warner. I mean Atkinson literally wrote the books about modern Virginia politics. 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

John Warner, Virginian

by Kerry Dougherty

John Warner, who died Tuesday at the age of 94, was an accidental senator.

Had it not been for the plane crash that killed Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Richard Obenshain in August of 1978, Warner would have simply been a former Secretary of the Navy who came in second in a bid to get the GOP nomination that year.

When the small plane went down with the candidate on board, Warner found himself the party’s nominee.

He was an outsider. But it turned out the man from Middleburg held a trump card:

Elizabeth Taylor. 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

Ranked Choice Republican Recap

Image credit: The UP Lab

by Chris Saxman

Well, the Republican Party of Virginia actually pulled it off. Their Ranked Choice Voting Unassembled Convention Through the Legs off the Backboard with Twist (which lasted lemme see…one… two…three…no, FOUR days) finally ended and ended well.

Not only did RPV manage to pull it off, but their statewide ticket of Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares is the most diverse in the history of the Commonwealth. National Republicans are thrilled, but more importantly for the GOP, Virginia Republicans are united, well-funded, and energized for the 2021 campaign season. They also have a month head start on their Democratic opponents.

Since I attended the Phillies/Nationals game in DC yesterday, you’re probably going to read more than a couple baseball references. But since politics and baseball are so similar the references usually work, I offer no apology.

Like the movie Mr. Baseball starring Tom Selleck pointed out – every batter has a “hole in their swing.” That’s the place in the strike zone a pitcher looks to throw the ball because, for some reason or another, the batter just can’t hit a ball thrown there. Swing mechanics, stance, hands, hips, shoulders …. all create holes. The problem Selleck’s character had was not just a hole in his swing, but more importantly he had a hole in his attitude. His Japanese manager and the Japanese culture, filled those holes. It’s a fun movie with a nice storyline.
Anyway… Continue reading

Do Not Discount the Anger Over School Shutdowns

by James A. Bacon

Arlington County is one of the “bluest” localities in Virginia, exceeded in its propensity to vote Democratic (81% in the 2020 election) only by black-majority cities like Richmond and Petersburg and the Berkeley of the East Coast also known as Charlottesville. (The way things are heading, I soon may be compelled to refer to Berkeley as the Charlottesville of the West Coast.) But the level of dissatisfaction with the Arlington County School Board’s handling of the COVID-19 school shutdown has many Arlington parents up in arms.

I have issues with mainstreaming autistic children with major behavioral problems, but I think it’s a good thing to try if the children can exhibit a modicum of self control. Whatever one’s view of the matter, it is heart-breaking to hear what happened to Reade Bush’s autistic son when deprived of social interaction during Arlington’s fling with distance learning.

As Bush testified to the U.S. House Labor and Education Committee last week, the social isolation was devastating. His son lost sleep, lost social skills, lost his love of learning, and lost his grip on reality. He created an imaginary world with 52 friends. On his ninth birthday, he asked his father, “Daddy, can I die for my birthday?” In November Arlington schools began providing partial in-person learning for students with disabilities, and the lad’s situation has stabilized. But Bush says his son is a full year behind in reading, reports ArlNow.  Continue reading