An End to “Business As Usual” Republicanism?

Another “Business As Usual” Republican, Sen. Marty Williams, R-Newport News, has picked up a primary challenger. Patricia Stall, a long-time Republican Party activist, is emphasizing her tax-cutting credentials.

In announcing her candidacy, Stall noted that she had served as the Newport News “KNOW” Campaign” and “Ax the Tax” coordinator that defeated the Sales Tax Referendum in 202. She also served as Executive Director of the Hampton Roads Taxpayer Coalition, an umbrella organization for all Taxpayer Alliances in Hampton Roads. More recently, she has worked to reduce the “skyrocketing real estate tax rate burden” on Newport News citizens.

Says Stall: “I will be a faithful Public Servant to the voters and taxpayers of the 1st Senate District of Virginia and protect them from unfair higher taxes and regional government run by unaccountable bureaucrats.”

I don’t keep close tabs on local races, but the backlash against free-spending “Business As Usual” Republicans seems to have some traction. Even here in Richmond, I’ve been hearing a lot about Scott Sayre running in the Valley against incumbent Sen. Emmett Hanger. The RightsideVA blog has a good profile of Sayre. A zealous advocate of market principles and limited government, Sayre is running a very strong race and could well unseat Hanger.

In my back yard, Henrico County, Joe Blackburn is waging a spirited campaign against Sen. Walter Stosch. Stosch, of course, is an institution in the state senate and will be very hard to unseat. But Henrico is an interesting county. There’s a vibrant small-government impulse here. That applies both to keeping government’s hand off our wallets and its nose out of our bedrooms. Blackburn is pounding hard on the state budget, which has swelled to enormous size during Stosch’s watch in the General Assembly. I don’t hear a lot of specifics coming from Blackburn, but I do believe him when he says he’s committed to setting priorities, making tough spending decisions and advocating the interests of taxpayers as opposed to the special interests that swarm the halls of the state Capitol — something that Stosch appeared reluctant to do.

Meanwhile, the departure of Sen. John H. Chichester, R-Northumberland, and Sen. Russell Potts, R-Winchester, will dramatically change the tone of the Republican caucus in the General Assembly. If GOP voters throw out a couple of “Business As Usual” senators — Hanger and Stosch are possibilities — other Business As Usual players will get the message.

Assuming Republicans can hang onto control of the state Senate, the 2008 General Assembly could see a permanent end of the intra-party deadlock that paralyzed Republican governance for years until the passage of The Comprehensive Transportation Funding and Reform Act of 2007.

But will a less fractious GOP caucus make any difference? Will a Republican Party dedicated to smaller state government display more innovative thinking and fresh approaches to long-standing problems? Will Republicans work to transform the outmoded institutions of governance, land use, transportation, education and health care to meet the needs of the 21st century? Or will they simply continue the politics Business As Usual on a smaller budget?

The future of Virginia hinges upon the answer.

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7 responses to “An End to “Business As Usual” Republicanism?”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    ABOUT TIME! Good to see a REAL REPUBLICAN take on the RINO’s like Williams. I hope everyone that complains and posts here, sends her money and helps her throw Williams out on his bum!

    Mr. Bacon, there is an error in the first sentence:
    Another “Business As Usual” Republican, Sen. Marty Williams, R-Newport News, has picked up a primary challenger. Patricia Small,(SHOULD BE STALL) a long-time Republican Party activist, is emphasizing her tax-cutting credentials.

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Thanks, anonymous, typo duly noted and corrected.

  3. Norman Leahy Avatar
    Norman Leahy


    I think the latter option is more likely — business as usual, but with a smaller budget.

    No, I take that back.

    It will be business as usual with a bigger budget, but with even more inventive rationalizations for the increases.

  4. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    The ideological cleavages in the GOP caucus won’t be settled by this election.

    What is cool in Tidewater is that the same teams are suiting up in the GOP as they did for the 02 Tax Scam.

    If that continues it bodes well for the challengers. Yet, it’s incredibly tough to unseat incumbents, even more so in the Tidewater political culture.

    It’s the fat cats who get rich off of state and local government vs The People. Same teams as ’02.

    Full Disclosure: I support Tricia Stall to win the nomination and be elected as my state Senator from our First District.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Comments I’ve heard about Stall from residents of the area are not positive and she carries her own baggage into this race — not that Williams lacks baggage of his own.

    One of the better bellweather races will be Jimmie Massie vs. Jimmy Wheat in the vacant Reid seat. No incumbency, both clearly qualified and able, both with gobs of personal money — that will be an ideological bloodbath.

    I’m all for having these battles in open seats — and deeply worried that this relentless assault on incumbents will be be the end of the party’s majority. Lacking a leader who can unite the tribes the party will tear itself apart, to the benefit of the Democrats. It is really easy to maintain discipline in a minority party with no responsibility to govern, and it’s amazing how many long to return to those good old days.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

  7. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    What is Stall’s baggage? No candidate is perfect, but baggage? Name it. She challenged Diamondstein. She helped the kNOw Campaign in 02. She lost to Oder for the nomination to the HoD. She is against the Tax Panic and Regional Government of 07. Where’s the baggage?

    Is it true that Wheat actually helped a group of GOP and Moderates for Kaine? Now, that is baggage.

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