Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Feda Kidd Morton = Jo Ann Davis?

Months ago, I wrote that it was difficult to rule anyone out of the Republican primary because the low turnout will give some candidates a chance despite their poor fundraising.

Cantor spent around $800,000 and won by a nose, 263 votes, against State Senator Martin in a primary that was practically 50%-50%. Martin barely raised $200,000 in the primary and Eric Cantor also had the support of the Republican establishment with the backing of then Governor Jim Gilmore. And he barely, just barely, won.

The story is similar but slightly different in the 1st District that same year, when Jo Ann Davis defeated Paul Jost for the Republican nomination. Jost dropped almost $1 million into the primary, Davis barely spent $100,000. Jost also had the support of Jim Gilmore. But Davis pulled out a victory and went on to serve in Congress.

I also noted why this would particularly help Feda Kidd Morton as the leading candidate of the social conservatives.

Anyone who has worked in local politics knows the difference that social conservatives can make for the Republican Party. I remember talking to my few liberal friends back in the 1990s when social conservatives were making a strong effort to win at the local level on school boards and boards of supervisors. My liberal friends were shocked that such "extremists" were somehow winning by strong margins.

Social conservatives matter because they are active members of their community. They go to church, they are involved in the PTA, their kids play baseball or soccer. They are the neighbor you depend on when you go away and you need someone to feed the cats or just watch the house. When they run for local office everyone knows them. Liberals aren't active in their communities, they don't volunteer, they don't go to church, they don't have families and kids.

With her experience on the school board, Feda Morton knows what it takes to get conservatives involved at the grassroots level. For all of the talk about the Tea Party movement, there's also a wing of the Republican Party that's just as scared by Obama's proposal to allow gays in the military. Or to pass a huge socialist health care package that will fund abortions with your taxpayer dollars. The 5th District has these hard working conservatives, like Tim Boyer over in Campbell County.

Now others are making comparisons to Jo Ann Davis when talking about Feda's campaign. State Delegate Brenda Pogge compared Feda to the former Congresswoman in her endorsement. And I think there is a compelling case to compare how Jo Ann Davis won in her primary by focusing on positive conservative values while two well funded candidates destroyed each other.

Feda may not have the money that other candidates have. She hasn't been a wealthy real estate developer, she's a simple but dedicated teacher. But that may be the difference in the primary. Having the support of dedicated church goers and community members in this low turnout primary could be enough. I don't expect more than the 40,000 to 50,000 voters that came out in the 1st and 7th during similar circumstances. I think victory could come around 15,000 votes or so. Does Feda have that? We'll soon find out.


  1. both of the above mentioned campaigns took place in more compact districts meaning perhaps just one/two sources of big media covered the entire area.

    the fact that the 5th is so far flung & has so many media markets which will soak up those ad dollars may make this race different from those highlighted in your post.

    also, all of these candidates are pro-life which is the #1 issue for social conservatives.

  2. NAS, I monitor the media in the mid-to-southern portion of the 5th District and, believe me, no one, not even the most conservative of social conservatives, has even heard of her. I also call on 9 to 10 conservative business people a day in the course of my employment.

    Those same social conservatives in the mid to southern portion of our district nearly unanimously support Robert Hurt as the carrier of their banner on social conservatism!

    I wish YOU and HER good luck but her campaign is going nowhere!

  3. Kelly,

    I don't deny that VA05 is LARGER than VA01 or VA07, but you can't say that VA05 is more diverse with all of its media markets in comparison to VA01, which ranges from the Tidewater area of Newport News up through college town Williamsburg, along the Richmond exurbs into the Northern Neck, and ends in the Fredericksburg area with some slivers of Prince William County.

    Or VA07 which has two distinct suburbs of Richmond, with Hanover very very very culturally different than Chesterfield, all the way out to the far Charlottesville exurbs of Madison and Orange.

    I don't know if I consider McPadden pro-life, frankly.

  4. VaPatriot- Feda is well known all over 5th- the fact you don't know that says more about you then it does her. The Boyer's are backing her and they had a bunch of people at the convention. The convention showed me that there are 4 people that are fighting for the nomination among republican activist. Hurt, Boyd, McKelvey, and Feda.

    Social conservatives are NOT supporting Hurt in droves and the undercurrent is clear. Feda's true test is can she get any cross over other than her social conservative base.
    That remains to be seen.

  5. Not Andy Sere - How can you say that about McPadden when he has been staunchly Pro-Life for this entire campaign?

    He has said on his website:
    Life begins at conception. I believe that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life. I will always vote for legislation that moves us closer to ending abortion.

    Republicans have got to put an end to negativity in this primary. We need to remember that the end goal is to beat Perriello.

  6. NAS,
    How can you not consider McPadden Pro-life? He has been from day one. Read his website listen to him talk. He has never wavered. The ONLY argument anyone can make is that he supports the Life at Conception Act rather than an amendment. This is both practically and constitutionally more sound. The Act has more nationwide support and with only a 50% vote needed, it actually has a chance of passing.
    Please, if you want to have a problem with McPadden, find it with a position he actually holds. Setting up straw men doesn't advance the discussion. It tears us all down and convolutes this race. The people deserve to pick their candidate without having to wade through this misinformation.

  7. NAS: its not the 5th's "diversity" that I'm speaking of--its the 5th's "vastness" as it relates to how many media markets serve it.

    you mentioned the 7th--90% (or higher) of those people are served by Richmond TV. Yes, those in Orange & Madison get C-ville TV, too (if their TV is set up that way).

    but in the 5th, we are served by Richmond TV, some by Raleigh TV (parts of the southern district), Lynchburg TV, Roanoke TV in the western part & C-ville TV.

    the same is somewhat true of the larger print media.

    I don't know how much/many of the campaigns will use TV or print for primary election day advertising. But they will certainly have to use in for the general.

  8. Paul I have heard why McPadden doesn't want to have amendments for protecting life and not allowing gay marriage. I think that in a race of 7 people, social conservatives want someone who says they will support these changes vs. someone who will give other than their full throated support. There is a line in the sand and in the view of many social conservatives McPadden won't cross it.

  9. I understand your point, EC. And I agree that there is a line that McPadden won't cross on a great many things he believes strongly in.

    Stating that he does not support a federal amendment defining life at conception is correct. Saying he is not pro-life is a lie. He has stated that abortion is taking of a human life and is 100% morally wrong. He believes that life should be defined at conception through federal law.

    If a federal amendment is a requirement for an individual's vote, McPadden may not be the right candidate for them. But writing that he is not pro-life is libel. We merely disagree on the method of implementation, not the core principles.

    So in the interest of accuracy and honesty, lets debate the merits of acts, amendments and the proper method of protecting unborn lives. Let people decide who's plans and beliefs will lead our district best.

    Falsely projecting beliefs on opponents is the strategy of demagogues. If we degrade ourselves to that, we are not trying to improve our nation and our party. We're just playing politics.

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  11. I think it's clear that McPadden is pro-life and if he were running for local office his stance might be fine for some. However it is very hard for most social conservatives to square being 100% against abortion but against a constitutionally amendment. If it's 100% morally wrong, why not. It seems to some that McPadden finds the constitution to be more sacred then the unborn.

    I'm not saying McPadden is a bad guy at all but he's just not strong enough to many on social issues like the marriage amendment to represent the 5th. I guess we will find out on June 8th what the people think- that's all that matters in the end