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Well I'm a member of the Dranesville Democratic Committee and FCDC, and I'm sorry to hear of it if there's acrimony in the Chair's race. FWIW, I for one have always highly regarded both Cesar and Sue since I met them, and while I plan to support Cesar as an incumbent with a great track record in his first stint, I'm genuinely sad that either has to "lose" because neither deserves to. I'm usually tuned out of the gossip circuit since I've got young kids and that limits my amount of engagement with fellow committee members. So this really is the first I've heard of this, although I privately wondered if this wouldn't get contentious with what I knew from the start were two A-list choices in this very major jurisdiction. The county party has always worked together well regardless of internal rivalry, and I hope that continues this next cycle regardless of the Chair election outcome.
I know and like both Murphy and Boysko a lot (I live in 34 & am active in that campaign), and I hope they both win, but I'm seeing Murphy with a bit better chance than Boysko. Rust is just very, very well-liked and tough.
Also, I'm not sure how reliable it is to assume the Loudoun precincts will outperform Fairfax for us. Danner two years ago performed less than one-quarter of one percent better in Loudoun than in Fairfax, which is to say a trivial difference.
Ben, re HD-34 & Callahan, the '95 election was before the two shutdowns. The first 5-day shutdown started in mid-November. The long one started a month later, in mid-December. We (I was affected and paying close attention) weren't so sure a shutdown was going to happen as of early November).
I know, I'm saying I'm stunned it was EVER high single-digits.
I had heard that McAuliffe was actually running surprisingly close in HD-6, and I figured McGrady must be doing OK, but up high-single digits is stunning.
Wow, I knew McGrady was competitive, I know a guy who worked field for him for awhile and shared that with me, but I had no idea he held a clear lead. I never would've guessed that as the Dems' "most likely" pickup.
I've been a small bit nervous about Kincaid, not that she'll lose, but that it will be closer than some expect. There is no party label on the Sheriff's line on the ballot. Both candidates have zero name recognition. And, from what I've seen canvassing a bunch, a lot of people have no idea there is a special election for Sheriff on the ballot. This being a Governor's election, there also will be more low-information voters than in an off-off year, and those people, too, can be prone to vote against their preference if they knew the candidates. The biggest thing Kincaid has going for her in my mind is Democratic volunteers handing out sample ballots at the polling place. This is the one race in Fairfax County where those pieces of paper can really matter.
I shudder at the thought of Northam as the Gov nominee in '17. He is a sequel to Deeds. Herring better win tomorrow.
It's a no-brainer that Northam is an awful joke, and he shouldn't be allowed on a statewide ticket ever again. Northam = Deeds. I'm skeptical of letting him run for reelection, I think any competent GOPer would knock him off in 2017 unless the top of the GOP ticket is as big a disaster as this year. Herring, if he wins this year, is the anointed successor to McAuliffe for the Democratic nomination for Governor. There's no reason to even think once, let alone twice, about this.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2013 on Lt. Governor's Race Over As Well at Not Larry Sabato
Ben's last sentence is ironic, after the two new polls out tonight showing TMac not only leading, but with his best favorability numbers ever that are positive by a good margin. He's +12 in WaPo and +7 in Marist. This after some supposed bad publicity over the summer and early fall and of course, attack ads against him. It's pretty clear that GOP attacks have been completely ineffective, and what's instructive is for the 2nd year in a row GOP-aligned independent support group ads are failing miserably. That McAuliffe's image is only improving really makes Cooch's latest attacks look desperate. I think he's had some recent TV ads that are better, but it's probably too late. Meanwhile, Cooch is attacking TMac in radio ads for...Obamacare. Yes, really. I heard it on WTOP on my evening commute late last week, hitting TMac as allied with Obama and supporting Obamacare. Eye-rollingly dumb. And demonstrating how different TMac's campaign views Obama's image in Virginia (at least NoVA), I saw this past weekend a local staffer in McLean putting up a poster in a restaurant owned by Dem supporters with TMac and...Obama. So TMac directly ties himself to him up here.
Good work again, Ben. But no one internally is deliberately sabotaging Cooch. They're just incompetent. They're still not as incompetent as Deeds and his team 4 years ago! But this crew just isn't very good, that's all. And losing tends to make people worse. Like a good shooter who misses a few and just can't find his groove, sometimes in a campaign you're struggling and you just stumble into more mistakes than you might normally make.
Very smart commentary, Ben. That's a nice job explaining Ken's strengths and weaknesses.
Well on the environmental front we have Thomas Steyer now parachuting in. The Politico story about him left me with the impression that he's very knowledgeable and smart about campaign politics. But his is a high-cost, low-return investment, even if it's an important piece of the puzzle. That's why cobbling together a coalition of sporadic voters is so hard, these are all niche groups of voters who will make this or that thing a priority, and it's very difficult to identify and cater to them in a cost-effective way. But if we can get these people voting a couple times in Governor's elections, their natural turnout rate will be at a higher baseline than before, based on the reality that many people who vote a couple times become chronic voters.
Ben, do you have voter file access? I thought in a comment thread on a different blog post some weeks ago you had implied that you do? You say Sites has never voted in a primary, but do you know his entire voter file record, and do you know Kincaid's voting and other voter file history?
Obvious ones are trial heats for Gov, LG, and AG, and candidate favorables for all of them. Also McDonnell favorables and job approvals SEPARATELY, b/c i can picture his ethics problems hurting favorables but not job approvals (I can picture also both or neither being hurt...I'm not sure how much he's really bleeding yet). And Obama favorables and job approvals, again separately, are useful as gauge of general environment. Favorables also for "Democratic Party" and "Republican Party" help the same way. You guys do great work, thanks for being a great public service to the political community!
There wasn't any "fail" by Todd on this particular issue. This was supposed to be a comprehensive interview about a lot of things, and the mechanics of the state GOP convention and Cuccinelli's voting in it were a rabbit hole not worth exploring any further than Todd did. If Todd failed in any way, one can argue that failing to bring up Cuccinelli's track record of inflammatory rhetoric on cultural matters was a fail. I was surprised if Todd never challenged him on that. But on the convention voting, that really wasn't worth pushback in this kind of interview.
Toggle Commented Jun 24, 2013 on "I keep my votes to myself" at Not Larry Sabato
Ben, while I agree with you on the underlying principle of democratic process, your suggestion to Daniel is a major folly. Your presumption that there is any kind of "cloud" over her nomination is wrong because no one cares about this. The pool of people potentially concerned is limited to local Democratic activists, and even among that very small group of individuals it's unlikely very many care. But for Daniel to open up the process just puts a spotlight on an issue that can only hurt her candidacy. She won't be vindicated by doing such a thing, she'll just make people notice an apparently undemocratic process that they otherwise never would have noticed. Voters almost certainly still won't care, but it's at least a temporary distraction from her message in a difficult race where she cannot afford any distractions. These types of things are best handled by local activists quietly.
I worked the polling place at Langley High much of the day, serving Langley and Chain Bridge precincts, and Aneesh lost both, Langley by a big margin and Chain Bridge narrowly. Every single voter I saw in the hours I was there was 30something or older. Now, McLean voters are older anyway, but that no one at all who looked under 30 voted over so many hours is quite something. His campaign obviously wasn't in touch with what seniors wanted in a candidate. I can imagine the technology focus doesn't appeal outside younger voters who don't vote in primaries. And I'm guessing the campaign followed the CW of targeting usual primary voters, thus missing completely most Asians and younger whites. Lessons to learn for everyone going forward. As for Aneesh, he is a friend and of course I supported him strongly, and I was depressed Tuesday night and much of Wednesday. But I thought way back last year that he might be biting off a bit much with L.G. as his first run for office, and I hope he targets an office more gettable next time, if there's a next time.
Well I've posted comments twice asking for Ben's basis for thinking Jackson will drop out, and either they've disappeared or been deliberately deleted. Since I don't know which, I'll try a third time. Is this based on reporting or just speculation? It matters.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2013 on Interstate 66 at Not Larry Sabato
I'm as hostile as anyone to GOP voter suppression tactics, but are you sure this particular instance was "voter suppression"? Do you really have all the relevant facts? Did the elections officer know who Fairfax was, that he was one of the candidates? Or was he possibly a clueless employee who was just trying to enforce the law's intent and didn't realize he was talking to the candidate himself? Or, a third option, was he an overzealous employee who wasn't part of any effort to keep someone from voting but just being a jerk? This reminds me of a time when I submitted a flexible spending account reimbursement request for a child's child care expense for one week a couple years ago. The form requires a signature from child care center managerial staff. Of course, many people's signatures are illegible, you can't actually sound out someone's name from it, but such signatures are accepted. But I got one reimbursement rejected because the assistant principal's signature "didn't look like a signature," I was told on the phone, because it wasn't legible. I ended up getting a more legible signature from her to resubmit, but it really came down to one single person in that spending account office being a jerk (and not the person on the phone with me, it was whoever the guy checked in with to find out why my request was rejected). So I wonder if Justin's experience was similarly just one guy or lady being a jerk.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2013 on Fairfax v. Fairfax at Not Larry Sabato
Kyle, Dick Saslaw and others in the Dem caucus haven't always demonstrated the best judgement on these things. Normally, in most states with most party caucuses, you'd be right, but our Virginia state legislators have a track record of screwing up important political choices. If Ben's version of events at the debate are accurate, then Northam is clearly unreliable.
Toggle Commented Jun 2, 2013 on Vote For Aneesh Chopra at Not Larry Sabato
Ben, your own blog post commentary, while professing neutrality in the bottom line, makes Northam look a helluva lot worse than Aneesh. I'm not familiar with the incident you describe with the disabled woman and won't defend Aneesh. It sounds like he fell into people-pleasing mode, which some people are errantly prone to do and then find themselves having overpromised and overcommitted. Not an excuse, but not at all uncommon and not necessarily indicative of a severe lack of personal integrity. The disconnect in Aneesh's campaign message is a mistake, but not a fatal one, and not really a liability at all, if your opponents are peculiarly weak and not indicative of how he'd perform as L.G. Northam has been pretty quiet compared to Aneesh from what I've seen, and Jackson is unelectable. But Northam's sins as a state Senator are pretty damning, and now that you remind me of all the sordid details it's even worse than I remembered...and what I had remembered already was unflattering. It suggests he's largely self-serving and unreliable as a Democrat, and those are big things to worry about in a L.G., not just in campaign mode. I've said here before and will repeat in full disclosure that Aneesh is a longtime personal friend, albeit not one of my closer ones, and I support him significantly for that reason (combined with the fact that there's nothing disqualifying about him or compelling about Northam). But on the merits of your own commentary, it's hard to see how anyone who relies on it to make a decision would choose Northam.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2013 on Endorsement for Lt. Governor at Not Larry Sabato
Some of the claims in the comments here are LOL. This Shapiro character says this mailer is "race-baiting"? LOL, what did Aneesh do, whiten Ralph's face? Meanwhile, Gail is upset because there is somehow something dirty about attacking Northam's gun voting record? Huh? And I don't follow VirginiaLib's claim that Terry is sending out attack mail against Perriello, who isn't running, announced very long ago he wasn't running, and never filed with the filing deadline now long passed. I see nothing objectionable about this piece, unless one can argue that the claims therein are somehow dishonest or misleading. Saying that Aneesh doesn't have a voting record is a nothingburger of a criticism, and pretending he would've voted the same way is sour grapes before the primary has even happened.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2013 on CHOPRA GOES NEGATIVE FIRST at Not Larry Sabato
Ben, SCOTUS ruling as you speculate to require states to recognize out-of-state gay marriages is not among the realistic outcomes in these cases. The most realistic pro-gay outcome is simply that DOMA is struck down, so that the federal government is required to recognize gay marriages in the states that recognize them. So, for example, a gay couple in Maryland or D.C. can file as a married couple on their federal taxes, but a gay couple in Virginia cannot. SCOTUS isn't going to require Virginia to recognize a gay marriage from elsewhere. If you want to speculate what national issue could have traction in some way or another in Virginia this fall, immigration reform is much more likely. It's likely to keep progressing in Congress, too many GOPers se too much self-interest now in supporting it for the thing to die easily. So one can picture one or more turns of events that energize the conservative rurals you speak of, or on the flip side Hispanics and other communities of color on our side...or who knows who else? Absent that, there doesn't look to be a national issue that will matter in Virginia. The SCOTUS cases are not going to be decided in a way that hurts us this fall. The federal budget stuff is at a standoff and will be settled on appropriations without anyone satisfied but with no fanfare. The debt ceiling looks like it could get pushed past the election now, based on unexpectedly improved bursts of federal revenue...and even if it comes up before November, Boehner will cave. These "scandals" will go nowhere and will peter out as news stories without any plausible implication of Administration wrongdoing. Democrats mostly should be well-positioned to attack the GOP for its hard right cultural conservatism, notably the extreme chauvenism in their party. Jackson will suck up some oxygen as long as he keeps talking, reporters will never stop printing and airing his commentary.