This Should Make Things Interesting: Cranwell to Run DPVA

A “top Democratic source” has informed the Washington Post that the Democratic Party of Virginia will announce as early as Monday that former House majority leader C. Richard Cranwell will replace Kerry J. Donley as chairman.

According to the source, who did not want to be named because some key people still were being informed of the change, Donley asked to step down because of a job he is taking. The source said Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) and gubernatorial candidate Timothy M. Kaine support Cranwell as his replacement. Cranwell, a sharp-tongued lawmaker who was considered the party’s top legislative strategist, is popular in Roanoke and other parts of rural southwest Virginia.

Donley has been a predictable, somewhat bland, mouthpiece for the Democratic Party viewpoint. Dickie Cranwell is not only “sharp-tongued,” as the Post describes him, but a Machiavellian genius who, after years in the General Assembly, knows where all the levers of power are. He is the consummate legislative insider. Politics in the Old Dominion will undoubtedly become much more interesting to follow. Whether he can win elections for Democratic Party candidates remains to be seen.

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  1. Laszlo Avatar

    Great news! The Cranwell is back. Look out RPV.

  2. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    I wondered here some time ago if Donley would leave, given his new position athletic director of Alexandria City Schools (T. C. Williams HS). Cranwell will give VA Democrats more of an “edge,” perhaps analagous nationally to Howard Dean.

  3. Salt Lick Avatar
    Salt Lick

    The 2005 campaign “nasty” quotient just doubled.

  4. Steven Avatar

    Salt lick is right. It’s going to get ‘double-ugly’ soon enough…

    Question is, why are Warner Dems abandoning the Tim ‘the choir boy’ Kaine’s campaign ship?

    With transportation guru Philip Shucet exiting stage left, today the public learns Kerry J. Donely is also leaving the party chairmanship. Donely was not the party’s handpicked DPVA chairman, but Governor Mollycoddle’s handpicked best-boy, mouthpiece and sycophant from his Arlington-Alexandria neighborhood.

    As reported in today’s AFP, Viola Baskerville’s campaign manager, BJ Neidhardt noted in last week’s e-mail: “Kaine certainly knows from experience that Democrats can win statewide office even when they don’t agree on everything … or has he forgotten being stiff-armed by running mate Mark Warner the day after his primary victory in 2001?”

    Ouch! What is now required is the 2005 ‘stiff-arm’ salute?

    Tim ‘the choir boy’ Kaine needs a serious suck up at the Democratic Party helm come fall election time, and C. Richard ‘Dickie’ Cranwell, former Delegate from Roanoke, is not that man.

    The ‘Gentleman from Vinton’ Dick Cranwell, has not been drinking from the fountain of youth of late… nor has he ever drank the Koolaid of tax relief…

    Because Big ‘government’ Dick Cranwell is a proponent of higher Virginia motor vehicle fuel taxes.

    Did the Blue Dog just hear a pin drop?

  5. Laszlo Avatar

    Dream on SS.

    The Mountain Man from Southwest is just the right one to take on Ken Hutcheson and his group of troops. Your reaction belies a fear and rightly so.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    Dickey will be more formidable than Donley. Cranwell will focus on rural VA support to try to bring back the D vote.
    The former mayor was in there as chair because his best friend, Delegate Moran was running for AG. When Brian decided not to run, Donley turned to contact sports.

  7. Steven Avatar

    GOP consultant Ken ‘no fear’ Hutcheson is not the challenge for the Dems.

    The ‘point is’ … the appointment of Dick Cranwell plays into the GOP game plan to link Tim Kaine with bigger state government and higher taxes. That’s all I’m saying.

    Veteran House of Delegate member Cranwell will not waste time establishing his Democratic agenda, not Gubernatorial candidate Kaine’s election chances.

    Obviously, Cranwell is there to salvage the Democratic house of delegate races.

    ~ the blue dog

  8. Laszlo Avatar


    Obviously, you don’t Cranwell very well.

    If Cranwell plays into your game plan you have the wrong game plan. Better check with Kenny Boy about this.

  9. I think I’ll sign this one. It will be interesting to watch the Repblicans and the blue running dog lackey (I guess I should say our blue running dog lackey) whistling past this graveyard. This is the first really smart move I’ve seen on the D side in a while, and anyone who doubts Cranwell’s ability to pump some life into that effort from Kaine on down to the county supervisors has a very short memory. His success is far from guaranteed, but smart and tough are just the first two adjectives that come to mind. And I can show you the scars.

  10. Steven Avatar

    Laszlo: You requested, I delivered the goods.

    ‘Pub friend, Hutch commented: “The appointment of Cranwell is a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are few Dems. with sharper knives in their drawer but as you astutely point out, Cranwell and Kaine are not on the same page issues wise. Everything from the life issue, taxes, to the gun issue to the estate tax issue and on down the line the two diverge philosophically. Cranwell is going to lose a lot of credibility if he goes out there defending Kaine. I predict his role will be that of an attack dog, but he will be fairly silent on the Kaine platform.”

    “On another note, how desperate does Barnie Day sound in his most recent column encouraging Dems. to vote for Fitch in the GOP Primary?”

    Thank you, Ken! This will definitely start a fire with Cranwell lovers. And state party Dems love to sandbag the Blue Dog for having ‘Pub friends. I agree with the crossover primary comment. But predict 4-percent at the most.

    Better luck next time, Chap! Because this advice will ensure a Baskerville victory on Tuesday.

    ~ the blue dog

  11. Steve:

    Are there any Republican candidates out there that disagree on major issues? Hmmm…

    Are you pushing the “Democratic Party is split!!!” meme now?

    It’s not much of a split, actually. It’s the Blue Dog/the rest of the party.

  12. Steven Avatar

    The ‘Pubs candidates are split on taxes and transportation. The Dems are candidates for life support.

    I’m enjoying the show.

    ~ the blue dog

  13. Laszlo Avatar

    Delivered Goods,

    Thanks for carrying the word for rusty knife Kenny Boy. I find it amusing that Kenny Boy can talk about credibilty when he won’t let JK out to debate the issues with Fitch, Potts or Kaine. Just putting JK in the RTD in black tie is not going to do it, didn’t know they had them in SW. Cranwell is your worse nightmare come true and don’t forget Barnie Dog. He bites.

  14. Steven Avatar

    Laszlo: Hutch and I attended the Sorensen Institute together.

    Not sure about the current debate controversy, but I’m sure the VA public will have several opportunities to witness a few rousing VA Gubernatorial debates once the primaries are a done deal.

    Perhaps some groundbreaking opportunities.

    ~ the blue dog

  15. Ken Hutchinson’s a good guy.

    Steve – life support? Ha, you mean abortion/death penalty?

    We’re pretty united on abortion…at least I think. Of course, there are various degrees of purity on that issue, but you’ll rarely find a democrat who supports outlawing abortion (even George Bush doesn’t support that). And that puts us all in relatively the same camp. Some want more restrictions and some want less.

    On the death penalty issue…this might play into the current campaign, but it doesn’t split the Democratic party. I’m pro-death penalty (luke warm) but I could care less about anti-death penalty Democrats. They’re free to have their opinion on the matter. It’s the Republicans who try to make anti-death penalty people out to be wimps…most pro-death penalty Democrats are lukewarm on the subject and could go either way.

    That being said, there are real fractures in the Democratic party…but they exist between the pragmatic wing and the Dean wing.

    The pragmatic wing simply wants to win. But they’re also divorced from paleo-liberal obsession with bigger government. Don’t get me wrong – they like government and think it’s a good thing. But they’re open to reforming old programs. They search out moderate candidates to run for office to peel away Republicans and build the party. I’d say that many of these “pragmatic democrats” are liberals running as moderates. But many are legit moderates. Either way, they usually govern like moderates. They’re more likely to work with the Republicans once in office.

    Meanwhile, the Dean wing thinks we can’t win without being “strong” (see: liberal). We need to stand up for our values or else the swing voters will think we’re wimps without convictions and go for the Republicans. This argument has been proven wrong again and again as the Democratic primary process produces liberal after liberal (Dukakis, Mondale, Kerry, nearly Dean). They also think we can win by “turning out our base”. Hmmm. We turned out our base in 2004…all 48% of it. And we lost.

    This is the wing of the party that will nominate Baskerville or Byrne, who will then receive 40% or less of the vote. Chap probably screwed himself over by mismanaging a few votes…but he’ll get mine.

    Personally? I think we need charismatic NONPARTISAN candidates. Forget ideology…as long as they’re to the right of Kerry…

  16. I don’t mean this as a knock on DfV or DfA. They’ve done a great job organizing the grassroots…

    I’m not terribly fond of Dean as an organizer, but the people he’s brought in are quite good at that.

  17. Salt Lick Avatar
    Salt Lick

    Cranwell is Howard Dean with brains and focus.

  18. Steven Avatar

    I’m NOT voting for Chap! – the one-term wonderboy with a bow tie.

    More to come with Thursday’s Blue Dog Tales…

    Another Pub friend, the Red Dog wrote, “Cranwell heading DPVA? Has Anthem agreed to this? He will help fire up the Dems, which will mean more gays, lesbians, union workers and leftists who are excited and working. Even a really smart guy like AnthemMan does not cure the problem, the Dem’s problems are that they spend too much time hating Republicans and not enough time solving the problems. He is fighting a generational, cultural and ideological divide that is 20-30 years away.”

    Yikes! It’s not even football preseason and the Pub’s are gang tackling Cranwell in the dog pound.

    Do I smell fear…

    ~ the blue dog

  19. Steve: That raises an interesting question. Do Republicans hate democrats?

    They call us socialists. They accuse us of destroying the moral fabric of society. They trash our war heroes’ military service. Etc.

  20. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Actually, Virginia politics just got more fun. Give Dickie credit: he’s gonna be a lot more interesting than his predecessor.

    But calling him “Howard Dean with brains and focus” is kinda insulting … to Cranwell.

    And Paul, you’re wrong to suggest that Republicans hate Democrats. We don’t hate you; we oppose your socialist, licentious, irresponsible agenda, and have the guts to call it what it is. And please don’t persist in this notion that Republicans “trash [y]our war heroes’ military service” as though this strategy were endemic to the GOP. First, some Republicans questioned specific claims made by John Kerry (my favorite was Christmas in Cambodia), questions which might have been laid to rest had Kerry (before last month) authorized release of all of his military records. And gee. I thought questioning the veracity of a candidate’s claims was legitimate political discourse. And Democrats, far Lefties, the MSM, and a lot of people who were NOT there trashed GWB’s military service.

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    Sure James… you don’t hate us. Your vicious attacks in your post proved you wrong. Well, your agenda is the most radical, facist piece of crap agenda I have ever seen. The public isn’t buying it. Why else are Dubya’s numers falling like a stone? Well… I don’t hate all republicans, just the most radical.

  22. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Anon, anon…

    “Vicious attacks”? Please identify one, rather than just making a blunderbuss “attack” with no specifics.

    Let’s see if I can help you by running down the specifics. Democrats within the last 15 years have supported a government takeover of one-seventh of the national economy (health care), a move spearheaded by the odds-on favorite for the 2008 Dem presidential nod. That’s “socialism.” If you call truth-in-labeling a “vicious attack,” then color me guilty.
    Democrats and liberal judges support equating homosexual couplings with marriage. By the standards of most civilized societies in history, that’s licentious. If you call truth-in-labeling a “vicious attack,” then color me guilty.
    Democrats (mostly) support abortion on demand, a government school monopoly, reverse discrimination, and the notion that the government knows better how to spend the money earned by the citizens than do the citizens themselves. That breeds irresponsibility. If you call truth-in-labeling a “vicious attack,” then color me guilty.
    A “vicious attack” would have been calling it a totalitarian agenda which, while arguably accurate, is also arguably over the top.

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