Saturday, January 8, 2011

NRCC Press Release on Shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, Staff

The NRCC has released this statement concerning the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, her staff, and other Americans:

Giffords is not the victim here. Tuscon and Southeast Arizona are the ones who are going to have the bear the burden of increased taxes. What you're seeing is a frustration among her constituents who believe she's not listening to them."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Fightin' 19th!

Want to know more about Robert Hurt's State Senate seat, the Fightin' 19th? Ben Tribbet profiled the seat along with several others back in 2006 as part of his series looking ahead to the 2007 elections. The numbers at the time:

George Bush defeated John Kerry 46,348 (61.2%) to 29,359 (38.8%).

Jerry Kilgore defeated Tim Kaine 26,730 (55.3%) to 21,645 (44.7%).

George Allen defeated Jim Webb 34,056 (61.2%) to 21,624 (38.8%).

At this point, pre-2008, there's far less fluctuation on the Democratic side (just 8,000 votes or so) than on the Republican side (around 20,000 votes). There is a solid base of hard core Democratic voters that consistently turned out, versus a larger mass of Republicans that vary on the election. I'm sure the 2009 election messed with this trend, but I don't want to waste time talking about how horrible Deeds was as a candidate.

And here is 2008, based on my calculations:

John McCain defeated Barack Obama 45,448 (58.05%) to 32,837 (41.95%).

Virgil Goode defeated Tom Perriello 44,398 (57.99%) to 32,170 (42.01%).

We see McCain hitting Bush's numbers, probably representing a ceiling in the district. But Obama pulls in an additional 3,000, primarily African-Americans, to slightly narrow the contest.

And 2010:

Robert Hurt defeated Tom Perriello 35,716 (56.60%) to 25,926 (41.09%).

Hurt's total is not that different from Allen in 2006, but Perriello boosted Democratic turnout from the previous midterm.

In the localities the vote breaks down like this.

Franklin County:

John McCain defeated Barack Obama 15,414 (60.68%) to 9,618 (37.76%).

Virgil Goode defeated Tom Perriello 15,654 (62.27%) to 9,475 (37.69%).

Robert Hurt defeated Tom Perriello 11,247 (60.69%) to 6,629 (35.77%).

Want to know one reason why Goode lost to Perriello? The almost laughable crossover appeal that Virgil Goode had in his home of Franklin County, where every other landmark is named after his father and he's been running for elections since the 1970s.

Jeff Clark received 3.4% in Franklin County, one of his better showings in the 5th District. Perriello ran behind his 2008 percentages in all of Franklin County outside of the following precincts: Hodgesville, Snow Creek, Fork Mountain, Sontag, Henry, Waidsboro, and all of the three Rocky Mount precincts. He ran practically even with his 2008 performance in Dickinson, Ferrum, Callaway, and Gogginsville. What does this all mean? Perriello did best in the parts of the county excluding the precincts around Smith Mountain Lake and the growth south of Roanoke on 220. This makes me question the criticism I've heard that Perriello didn't campaign enough in "real" parts of the 5th and focused too heavily on affluent areas, including Smith Mountain Lake. Across the 5th, the areas that swung against Perriello were very "un-Southside," more affluent suburban areas that are not typical of how pundits and commentators view the district.

For what it's worth, from 2008 the precincts in Franklin County where Perriello improved over his 2008 performance are the precincts most likely to show probable Obama-Goode ticket splitters. Did Goode Democrats come home to Perriello in 2010 only to see stronger turnout among affluent, surbuban, economic conservatives push him out of office?

Campbell County

Only 9 Campbell County precincts are in the 19th. These tend to be the parts of the county farther away from the Lynchburg growth area, but with higher African-American populations.

John McCain defeated Barack Obama 6,690 (65.32%) to 3,552 (34.68%).

Virgil Goode defeated Tom Perriello 6,162 (62.20%) to 3,745 (37.80%).

Robert Hurt defeated Tom Perriello 4,803 (62%.12%) to 2,713 (35.03%).

Both Obama and Perriello performed better in these Campbell County precincts than the County as a whole in 2008. Perriello's showing in Campbell County as a whole dropped from 35.59% in 2008 to 31.12% in 2010. In the southern portions of Campbell County in the 19th, Perriello's drop was smaller than the more significant decline his support shows in the more suburban precincts around Lynchburg. This is a very similar trend to what we saw in Franklin County. The areas where Perriello improved from 2008 were outside of the growth around Lynchburg and in the southern portions, such as the town of Altavista.

Pittsylvania County

John McCain defeated Barack Obama to 18,730 (61.55%) to 11,415 (37.51%).

Virgil Goode defeated Tom Perriello 18,184 (62.24%) to 11,022 (37.73%).

Robert Hurt defeated Tom Perriello 13,531 (61.47%) to 8,032 (36.48%).

Seriously Robert? You started your career on the Chatham Town Council, you've been representing Pittsylvania for years, you have a huge Republican wave at your back, and you can't do any better in Pittsylvania than the Republican performance from 2008? Perriello was able to match if not exceed his percenatage from 2008 in many of the county's more African-American precincts, minimizing the drop off he faced in the more white areas that swung slightly to Hurt.

Many people, pundits, and commentators argued that Robert Hurt, through his years of service in Southside, would have an advantage defeating Tom Perriello through name recognition and the like. The more I look at the results, the more I'm convinced that Robert Hurt won because affluent suburban Republicans turned out strongly against the big government schemes of Barack Obama and Tom Perriello. It was the R next to Robert's name that put him over the top.

Danville City:

Barack Obama defeated John McCain 12,352 (59.13%) to 8,361 (40.02%).

Tom Perriello defeated Virgil Goode 11,485 (57.97%) to 8,322 (42.00%).

Tom Perriello defeated Robert Hurt 8,552 (57.56%) to 6,123 (41.29%).

2008 was a big difference from 2004, when John Kerry narrowly defeated George Bush 9,436 (49.37%) to 9,399 (49.18%). McCain is behind Bush in Danville, which may represent four more years of affluent white voters moving away from the economic death spiral that is Danville. Almost all of Obama's improvement over Kerry in the 19th comes from Danville's African-American precincts.

Despite a significant flood of African-Americans turning out to vote for Obama, Perriello kept his total close to Obama's and minimized ballot drop off. Virgil Goode also held the McCain voters very well. It's also worth noting that this is the heart of Danny Marshall's delegate district in the 14th, around 2/3rds overall. The 14th includes all of the city of Danville, 5 precincts in Henry County, and 4 precincts in Pittsylvania County.

In 2007, when Adam Tomer lost to Danny Marshall 48% to 52%, Danville was actually narrowly split between the two candidates: Tomer received 51% and Marshall 49%. A strong Democratic turnout in Danville is a major threat to Marshall, which is something that Republicans will try to address in redistricting.

The problem with Marshall's campaign and almost all Democrats not named Barack Obama has been turning out Danville's African-American base. Tom Perriello in 2010 was able to mobilize this constituency, which if replicated in the future could really worry Marshall and other Southside Republicans. And it's the only hope for Democrats in the upcoming special election.

Worth noting from Ben's analysis is "In the Governor's race, 4,000 of Kilgore's 5,000 vote margin came out of Pittsylvania County." The importance of Pittsylvania County in this district cannot be overstated. And likely Democratic nominee Hank Davis is making sure to bring that point home:

"The next senator needs to come from Pittsylvania County," said Davis, who has made no formal announcement. "We are the largest both in terms of size and population and we're smack dab in the center of the district."

It's going to be difficult, if not impossible, for the Democrats to win the 19th in the special election, but it would start with replicating the strong turnout among African-Americans in Danville and trying to improve their performance in Pittsylvania through Hank Davis's local service and potentially a Republican fumble if they nominate someone from outside Pittsylvania and Danville. Perriello's shown it's possible to turn out African-Americans in Danville, will Hank Davis take the next step?

Special Election in Southside!

Pittsylvania County Supervisor Hank Davis is set to announce his bid for the State Senate seat vacated by Congressman-elect Robert Hurt. The State Party has already announced they won't do anything to help him. This isn't going to be pretty . . .

Monday, November 8, 2010

Virginia Uranium Just Bought a State Senate Seat

Ben has some breaking news about the downfall of the DPVA and the quest to put Brian Moran into power, but let's not forget about more bad news for Virginia Democrats. They will not be challenging, at all, the contest to replace now Congressman-elect Robert Hurt in the Virginia State Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw said Monday that Democrats do not plan to field a candidate to replace state Sen. Robert Hurt in his largely Republican district because Saslaw doesn't want to "waste our money."

"I know what we can do and what we can't do,'' said Saslaw (D-Fairfax).

Now I'm sure that Saslaw has every reason not to contest this seat, which is almost certain to vote Republican. But there was an outside chance that likely nomination of Franklin County lawyer and 5th District Republican Party Chair Bill Stanley could set up a dynamic in which Democrats can play the geography card and argue that the state senate seat needs to be kept in Pittsylvania-Danville hands. The best candidate to do this? Pittsylvania Supervisor Hank Davis.

Why isn't Saslaw even playing with the idea of putting his weight behind Hank Davis in the special election?

As with any election, the leaders of the state party turn to "trusted" sources to determine if a candidate has a shot at the election. Years of local service are unlikely to get the attention of Richmond. No, what gets the attention of Richmond are lobbyists and money. And when it comes to Southside Virginia, no one speaks louder in the state party than former Danville Delegate turned Richmond Lobbyist Witt Clement.

Clement, who among his clients counts Virginia Uranium, was dismissive of Hank Davis as a potential candidate when the big dogs in Richmond started to ask around about the special election. Why? Is it because he doesn't think Davis, who's manage to win election in one of Virginia's most Republican counties, isn't electable? Or because Clement doesn't want an opponent of uranium mining in the Virginia State Senate?

Virginia Uranium just purchased a State Senate seat thanks to the good work of Witt Clement. Are they about to purchase the Chairmanship of the DPVA too?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Robert Hurt's Special Election

Why would all three of the big name Delegates in Robert Hurt's old State Senate seat back away from running in the upcoming special election?

Why would the Republican establishment clear the field for an unelected partisan with no legislative experience?

What's going on in Southside right now?

More to come . . .

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Look Ahead . . .

In just a day days, voters will go to the polls across the Old Dominion and elect a slate of Congressmen (Yes, Congressmen, sorry Krystal!) who will represent Virginia for the next two years. It will also heavily influence the next round of redistricting that the 2011 General Assembly will have to deal with. While most people are focusing on the fight between the Republican House and the Democrat Senate in redistricting, we can't forget the influence members of Congress will have.

Let's take a quick glance, district by district. I will be following up on the races after the election.

1st: The question everyone has been asking is if Krystal Ball's Halloween outfit will hurt her campaign with the district's voters, or if it's gotten the attention of every red blooded male and angry feminist. After holding off a challenge from his right in the primary (did that pathetic showing by Crazy Crabill even qualify as a challenge?) Wittman has easily locked this seat down after his 2007 special election win. In an ideal world (Republican gerrymandering), Wittman would look to get rid of the Democrat-leaning portions of Prince William County in the 1st (which even supported Deeds in 2009!) and avoid picking up any more of the expensive and Democrat-leaning areas of Northern Virginia. Wittman is well positioned for higher office. This district has a lot of smaller components (Northern Virginia suburbs, Fredericksburg, rural exurbs from Richmond through the Northern Neck, Republican portions of the Peninsula, college city of Williamsburg and its swing suburbs of James City County, etc.) and I think Wittman will be willing to be a team player and adjust parts of the district to shore up Republicans elsewhere.

2nd: Glenn Nye is in a tough election with Scott Rigell, but you'll notice that Obama isn't coming to town for him. And no one is mentioning Glenn for DPVA Chair after the election. Nye's career is toast. Even if he wins, I can't see him surviving a challenge from the left in 2012. He'll be stuck between wanting a safer seat through redistricting and worrying about adding too many liberal Democrat voters to the district. Rigell will also be worried. His district is a swing district and is about to throw out the second incumbent in two elections. He'll need to find a way to pick up Republican voters from neighboring district. I expect Rigell to win on election day, but he'll have to start thinking about 2012 soon.

3rd: Bobby Scott helped cut a deal in 2000 that made most of the representatives in Tidewater happy. Could he sit down with Wittman, Rigell, and Forbes and do it again? The problem is that all three are looking to unload Democrat voters and it's hard to put them all into Scott's district. Also, Scott is young at heart but is already 63. This may be the last redistricting he sees and he might be thinking about a successor. Is there anyone in the General Assembly who could replace Scott and not become a national laughing stock? I'm looking at you, Lionell Spruill and Louise Lucas.

4th: Like Wittman, Forbes is well positioned for a statewide run, if he were to want it. In looking ahead, his only concern in redistricting is that his district surprisingly went to Obama in 2008. Now you can say this was a fluke, but Forbes isn't the type to risk any chances. He'll want to shore up Republican support in his district and avoid the Democrats recruiting a top tier and well funded challenger in 2012 when Obama will be back on the ticket.

5th: The outcome in the 5th District is going to be close, too close for the comfort of likely winner Robert Hurt. I think he'll end up with less than 53% of the vote in what should be an easy walk for Republicans this year against one of the most liberal Democrats in the country. This will send a message loud and clear to Robert Hurt: Get Charlottesville the f'ck out of the 5th. There are two main ways to do this: more all of Charlottesville into another district or split the area up into two or three districts. Which would they prefer? A Perriello win will leave Republicans in a no win situation. If the 5th is made more Republican somehow, Perriello is well positioned for a state wide run. If they make it more Democrat, they'll be stuck with Perriello around for years to come. Which would they prefer?

Here's the irony of a Perriello win: Just like 2008, it will be attributed entirely to Barack Obama. Perriello is going to get almost no credit amount the pundits predicting his defeat if he wins, they will just say it was due to a surge in Democrat voters from Obama's visit. That Perriello had to wage a campaign that kept him close enough to justify an Obama visit will be overlooked. Perriello has been consistently underestimated, which could influence how afraid Republicans are of him during redistricting.

6th: Bob Goodlatte is, along with Wittman and Forbes, one of the solid conservative voices in Virginia. The only problem facing Goodlatte is the delicate situation facing the Roanoke area when Morgan Griffith is elected in the neighboring 9th. Griffith will want to add Salem and his old base, and the 9th will also have to grow to pick up more voters. Goodlatte will want to keep as much of the Roanoke area intact as possible, which may force the 9th into the 5th. But Hurt will want to keep the conservative voters of Franklin County and his historic base in Martinsville and Henry County. It's going to be a complicated situation, much like the dance in Tidewater, but one they should be able to sort out. Hopefully.

7th: Cantor's district is so overwhelmingly Republican he has little to worry about, but there's the possibility that Charlottesville could be pushed into the district. How much is Cantor willing to do to water down the Republican strength in his district to benefit fellow Republicans like Robert Hurt? You have to wonder what a well funded Democrat could do if Charlottesville and its suburbs were combined with the other counties in the Charlottesville media market: Madison, Orange, Louisa. This could be a nuisance that Cantor won't want to deal with, he'd rather be focusing on fundraising for other Republicans and campaigning to support them than putting up with challengers in his own back yard.

8th: How much longer will we have to put up with Jim Moran? Please. Can someone defeat him? Either in the general election (unlikely) or a Democrat primary (anyone have the balls?) Will he ever go to jail where he belongs, or just die in office?

9th: Morgan Griffith is surging in the polls right now and is posed to defeat Rick Boucher over his role in the cap and tax legislation. This is the perfect end to Boucher's career and a warning shot to the remaining Democrats in the Southwest like Roscoe Reynolds and Phil Puckett. You're next. Griffith will want to take Salem and his old legislative district, but I don't think that's enough to match the slow population growth of the 9th. He'll need to pick up more voters and run into the same problem facing Republicans in 2000. Hurt in the 5th won't want to give up his conservative voters in Franklin, Henry, and Martinsville. Goodlatte won't want to give up too much of his home of Roanoke. We'll watch some interesting deals made here.

10th: Frank Wolf has been an elusive target for Democrats, but I wouldn't be surprised if they finally get organized in 2012 to finally mount a real challenge. Wolf's district will need to shrink dramatically to get down to size. It will be difficult to figure out how Wolf can make his district more Republican leaning, or at least not as more Democratic, with the changes across Northern Virginia.

11th: Finally, the 11th. This district kicked out liberal Leslie Byrne in 1994 and it's a good race to watch to see how well Republicans will do in 2010. I think Connolly has the advantage here, but it's one to watch. The Democrats are afraid as shown by their $1 million investment into Gerry at the last second. The outcome could heavily influence the outcome of redistricting and determine who is making the deals. A Connolly win could produce an easy trade between Wolf and Connolly, shore up Connolly, shore up Wolf. A Fimian win would give Republicans headache as they try to negotiate to protect another rookie Republican.

Here are some other issues to consider.

George Allen: A George Allen come back in 2012 is getting a surprising level of Tea Party opposition. Will Bob Marshall be the benefactor or someone else? A lot of establishment types opposed Marshall's 2008 Senate bid because they thought Jim Gilmore was the stronger candidate--HA! If the establishment feels the heat from the Tea Party over George Allen and keeps its concerns about Bob Marshall, look for them to put the pressure on one of Virginia's conservative trio (Wittman, Forbes, and Goodlatte) to run. That could reduce the constraints on Republicans in cutting deals, like Forbes wanting to keep Chesapeake or Goodlatte focused on Roanoke.

Retirements? Will Wolf retire before 2012? What about Goodlatte? Some scenarios are likely, others less so, but a retirement could produce the same result as George Allen not running: an open House seat that the Republicans are free to draw without the concerns of an incumbent. Some scenarios-

Goodlatte Out? A Goodlatte retirement or Senate run (both low likelihood in my book) could allow the 9th to take on more of the Roanoke area, giving up Craig, Covington, and Alleghey to the 6th and Patrick and Henry to the 5th. The 6th would expand to the north to take the western portions of the 10th and take in parts of Charlottesville and Albemarle. The 5th would keep a third or so of the Charlottesville and Albemarle area, but pick up Lynchburg, Amherst, and more of Bedford. The 7th would pick up the remaining portions of the Charlottesville area, probably giving up more of Hanover and the Richmond areas to Wittman in the 1st.

Forbes Out? A Forbes retirement or Senate run (I'd like to see a Senate race focused on Webb's failure to stand up to Obama's anti-military policies) could free the Republicans to give more of Chesapeake to the 2nd to beef up Rigell. The 4th would then need to pick up more of the Richmond suburbs from the 7th, and the 1st could probably benefit from parts as well. This doesn't touch on fixing the 5th, but could be compatible with parts of the Goodlatte scenario as well.

Perriello Wins- Accept It A Perriello victory and the Democrat Senate could force the Republicans to accept a deal that gerrymanders the 5th to Perriello's favor. He'd pick up more of the suburbs in Louisia and Orange. While not exactly deep blue, they are liberal bastions compared to the Southside parts of the 5th right now. He could pick up more African-American voters from the 4th, a relief for Forbes and the Republicans. Look for the Republican portions of the 5th to go to the 9th.

Perriello Wins- Reject It Another outcome of a Perriello victory could be a logjam between Democrats and Republicans over the Congressional redistricting. Instead of cutting a deal, Republicans might decide they are fine with the current boundaries, for the most part, and are willing to let a judge slightly redraw them for population. I don't think that most of the Republican members like Wittman, Rigell, Forbes, and Griffith would be happy, they have particular agendas that a judge would likely ignore. But maybe it's worth it if the 5th stays moderately Republican?

These are just a few things to consider as you're watching election returns on Tuesday night. Good luck to the conservatives running!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Does Robert Hurt Have a Cocaine Problem?

After reflection, soul searching, and prayer, I have decided to bring forward information on Senator Hurt's past that, so far, the press has either been ignorant of or has decided to ignore. In either scenario, lackluster reporters like Catherine Amos and Janelle Rucker have let down the public by failing to reveal important facts about Senator Hurt, the man and his character.

Hurtards like to think that Senator Hurt is just a local Southside boy. They ignore that he was born into wealth and spent most of his early childhood either in New York City or at one of the nation's most elite and privileged boarding schools. After attending a series of safety private schools to satisfy the claim that he has a degree, he began to practice law in Pittsylvania County. But with his background of power and privilege, how much work does Senator Hurt actually do at his law firm? And who does he work for?

In at least two cases, Senator Hurt served as the attorney for criminals involved in crack cocaine dealing. This supposed man of character and integrity decided that defense of drug dealers in Southside Virginia was the best use of his talent and resources.

The first is related to a large drug bust of a crack cocaine ring in the New River Valley. Senator Hurt represented one of the men involved in this ring, Gregory Smith, who was eventually sentence to 13 years in prison for his role. And what was part of Smith's role?

Ashley Nicole "Red" Franklin's boyfriend, Gregory Douglas "Binky" Smith, introduced her to cocaine when she was 16. Franklin, 19, later became an addict and a distributor.

Interestingly, the original article from the Roanoke Times outlining Senator Hurt's role in defending Smith is no longer available through their website, while the original outlining about the cocaine ring from an earlier date is still up. Here is the transcript of the article linking Senator Hurt to a drug dealer who addicted a young teenage girl to crack cocaine.


A federal judge sentenced a Radford man to more than 13 years in prison in connection with his participation in a large crack cocaine ring in the New River Valley.

Judge Samuel Wilson said that he took Gregory Smith's extensive criminal history into account as part of the sentence. Smith, 31, is the first of 11 defendants to be sentenced in connection with thering. Federal authorities have argued that at its height, the ring trafficked 1 to 5 kilograms of crack and powder cocaine per month into the New River Valley.

All of the defendants in the case have pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges, except the alleged ringleader, Richard Lamont Lighty.

Wilson also said he took into consideration the argument by Smith's attorney, Robert Hurt of Chatham, that Smith was a minor player in the drug conspiracy.

Smith, already in custody on state charges, will have to serve his federal sentence consecutively, Wilson said. He also fined Smith $1,000.

Does Senator Hurt still believe that addicting young girls to crack cocaine is a "minor" part of the drug trade? The only thing "minor" here was the age of the girl when her life was ruined by illegal drugs.

In a second case, decided earlier this year, Robert Hurt represented a convicted criminal, Alpheus Spencer Adams, involved in the cocaine trade. Here Senator Hurt was representing a criminal attempting to use the appeals system to get his conviction overturned on a technicality, and the courts rightly ruled against these shenanigans.

I am disgusting that the media in the 5th District has been unable to perform its minimal task of looking into the background of candidates for public office. Jeff Clark's name has been dragged through the mud, but no one has even touched Robert Hurt's record. This is just the first step in revealing the true Robert Hurt.