Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tommy Gets Down and Dirty

The first TV ad of the general election in Virginia's 5th:

Rumor has it that there's an unedited version that shows more of Tommy getting down and dirty. It includes money shots of him taking some hard cash from George Soros and Charlie Rangel, and working up a sweat doing some dirty work with fellow Virginia Congressman Glenn Nye. A sneak peak of the ad will be showing at the North Theatre in Danville this weekend.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another Day, Another Victory for Gun Rights, NRA, and Perriello

Last week, the NRA won a crucial exemption for itself and other large grassroots organization from a new campaign disclosure bill that passed the House of Representatives. A lot of liberals were upset because they hate the NRA and gun rights to their very core. Tom Perriello, who's been perfect on gun rights so far in Congress, came out strong in defense of the NRA.

Another day, and another victory for gun rights and the NRA. The Supreme Court has struck down some absurd gun control laws in Chicago that banned the ownership of handguns. And again, we find Perriello applauding the victory.

I questioned Robert Hurt's use of his NRA rating throughout the primary. I am still confused as to why he continues to push the issue. First, it's stupid to use it as a defense against the charge of raising taxes . . .

Tea Partier: Robert Hurt raised my taxes! I don't like him!

Hurtard: But Hurt like guns!

Tea Partier: I didn't complain about his stance on guns, I complained about taxes!

Hurtard: Guns! Abortion! Marriage! Conservative! La la la la la I'm not listening!

Tea Partier: Taxes Taxes Taxes Taxes!!! Why aren't you listening?!

That's pretty much the Republican primary this year.

Now the Hurtards are focusing on gun rights again, against Perriello. But again it's non-starter . . .

Hurtard: Vote for Robert! He likes guns!

Charlottesville Liberal: So does Tommy . . . grumble grumble

Hurtard: I'm still not listening because I cannot acknowledge that Perriello isn't as liberal as Tucker has told me!

If that's the general election I may move.

Hurt spent the primary convincing people that his A rating from the NRA meant he was conservative. He's now moving to the general election where Perriello will get the NRA endorsement. Hurt's primary logic would argue that this makes Perriello conservative. Hurt now has to explain how being conservative is more than just checking off boxes.

Governor McDonnell ran on a platform of positive, forward-thinking conservative proposals like privatizing the ABC stories and offshore drilling. Deeds ran against McDonnell and lost. Kilgore ran against Kaine and lost. Kerry ran against Bush and lost. Run against someone and people know what you're against, but not what you're for. Candidates that run on principles have a better chance at victory. Now is the time for Hurt to tell us what he is for.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Doublethink in Politics

Yesterday, the Charlottesville Daily Progress posted a letter to the editor online criticizing independent candidate Jeffrey Clark. That's all well and good, but the letter started off with:

Congressional candidate Jeffery Clark and his campaign strategist Chris LaCivita are either absurdly uninformed or confirmed egomaniacs, or both. Or maybe just incredibly naive.

There's a clear problem here. Chris LaCivita isn't Clark's campaign strategist. He's Hurt's. This person, a Hurt supporter who is opposed to Clark, is so stupid he doesn't even know that LaCivita is the strategist for his guy, not Clark! Walter F. Johnson of Albemarle County, #FAIL!

But the problem is that the Daily Progress published the letter anyway. This is at least the second time so far this year that the Daily Progress has published a letter that was either critical of Perriello or Clark that didn't get its facts straights. A few months ago they published a letter claiming that the health care bill exempted members and their staff (it doesn't!) and was passed using the "deeming" method (it wasn't in the end!).

This isn't just picking on the Daily Progress. The Danville Register & Bee has had problems with reality too, such as claiming that Perriello would win easily if Goode ran as a third party candidate this year despite a poll showing him tied with Perriello even if Hurt was still in the race.

Why can't these Media General newspapers show even a basic level of competence?

The Daily Progress has corrected the letter to the editor online, but it didn't post a disclaimer or correction. And it begs the question as to who is checking these letters in the first place.

Just a few days ago, Bruce at Southside Central said that Robert Hurt's campaign "immediately" backtracked from Hurt's statement that he would debate Clark. That was entirely wrong and, after I noted reality, Bruce corrected himself and published an explanation. He was wrong, but after being corrected he not only fixed the mistake but did so in a way that kept public the fact that he was originally wrong. Good man!

The problem seems to be that these "mainstream" newspapers don't want to admit that they were wrong. They are like minions in 1984 going back to "correct" the past with no admission that an error was made.

This Orwellian approach to politics is being replicated by many Hurt supporters online. For example, I notice that Garrett Watson is angry that Jeffrey Clark supports a federal amendment to ban gay marriage. That's a fine position to take, but back in 2008 Virgil Goode attacked Perriello for supporting gay marriage because Perriello opposes a federal amendment for the very same reasons Garrett outlined! Will Garrett bash Hurt when the coming attacks on Perriello's stance on gay marriage hit?

Elsewhere, a Hurt supporter has been claiming that Hurt polls very well against Perriello and we know Perriello is in trouble because he hasn't released a poll he conducted a few weeks back. That's a fine claim to make, but we also know that Hurt conducted a poll a few weeks back too! Hurt has the same polling firm as Rigell in the 2nd, where Rigell is showing a commanding lead against Glenn Nye. Why hasn't Hurt released his poll? How far behind is Hurt?

It's obvious that Perriello should be polling under 50%, which is a sign of vulnerability for an incumbent. No matter how far ahead of Hurt he won't release a poll showing him under 50%. But Hurt should be willing to release any poll that shows him tied or ahead of Perriello. He could even use the margin of error to argue that he's tied even if he's behind a little bit. My only conclusion is that Hurt's own polling shows him significantly behind Perriello. That's just a fact and any Hurt supporter who claims otherwise is full of hot air.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

UVA's Center for Politics Calls VA05 For Jeffrey Clark!!

Big news in the race between Tom Perriello, Robert Hurt, and Jeffrey Clark in Virginia's 5th District:

Isaac Wood, a House race analyst at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, is skeptical of Clark’s candidacy and doubts it will be a significant factor in November.

“After Perriello’s victory by the slimmest of margins in 2008, Republicans are rightly wary of anything which could cost them even a percentage point or two,” Wood said. “Jeff Clark certainly fits into that category, but his opportunity to play a large role in the general election has all but vanished. Without the endorsement of a single defeated GOP candidate or Tea Party group, it is tough to see where he will find the support and money he needs to mount a true campaign.”

Given how badly Larry Sabato's Center for Politics blew the VA-05 race in 2008, totally writing off Tom Perriello despite his growing challenge to Virgil Goode, I think this prediction is enough to call the election for Jeffrey Clark!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What is Robert Hurt Afraid Of?

The Perriello campaign lays the smackdown against Robert Hurt and his refusal to talk to Tea Party members and other independent voices:

Perriello’s campaign manager, Lise Clavel, said Friday that it is “pitiful” Hurt is unwilling to face Clark in a debate.

“Sen. Hurt could not get the majority support of his own party and now wants to silence independent voices that reflect many in this district, including many views of the Tea Party,” Clavel said. “Tom Perriello faced hundreds of Tea Party constituents during his 21 town hall meetings last summer. If Sen. Hurt wants this job so badly, why is he afraid to face just one?”

Tom Perriello isn't afraid to debate Robert Hurt and Jeffrey Clark together. Tom Perriello isn't afraid to spend hundreds of hours listening to constituents. Tom Perriello isn't afraid to meet one on one with Tea Party groups. Tom Perriello isn't afraid of going onto conservative radio to defend his views.

What is Robert Hurt afraid of?

Robert Hurt is afraid of debates and, after ducking several during the Republican primary, is now trying to avoid any debates during the general election.

Robert Hurt is afraid of talking to journalists without Chris LaCivita writing the press releases.

I think the next step for the Perriello campaign is to propose a compromise. LaCivita can stand in for Hurt and debate Clark and Perriello.

Friday, June 18, 2010

How Stupid is Robert Hurt??!

Robert Hurt (Or is it campaign manager Sean Harrison?) continues to run a half-ass campaign in which the only hope he has is that Chris LaCivita locks him up in a cave for the next few months. LaCivita must have been on vacation over the last week and only returned to check his e-mails today. On Sunday, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported that Robert Hurt, while being directly interviewed by Brian McNeil, said that he would "absolutely" be willing to debate both Tom Perriello and Jeffrey Clark during the campaign.

Monday passed.

Tuesday passed.

On Wednesday, Jeffrey Clark was certified as a candidate on the ballot. Robert Hurt's campaign still had done nothing to clarify that Hurt's definition of "absolutely" depends on the meaning of the word "is."

Tom Perriello looked at the situation and did the logical thing. Jeffrey Clark had been certified on the ballot. Robert Hurt had said he would "absolutely" debate Clark and Perriello. So Perriello sent out a press release saying he would also debate both of the challengers.

This was a big move by Perriello as it ensures that he will be put out there to face off against TWO challengers. It also would elevate Robert Hurt's profile in the district, as he is woefully underfunded against Perriello's war machine.

Thursday passed.

Suddenly, on Friday, Robert Hurt sent out an e-mail. Well, actually, LaCivita returned from his vacation and bitch slapped Sean Harrison for being an incompetent little punk. An e-mail was quickly put together that blames all of this on Tom Perriello!!

Yes, seriously. Hurt's campaign is trying to blame Perriello for the fact that they left virtually unchallenged for a week the claim by Brian McNeil that Hurt had agreed to debates with Clark and Perriello.

On top of that, they are trying to weasel their way out of the fact that Hurt was specifically asked about debates with both Clark and Perriello and, after trying to duck the question, told McNeil "absolutely" when pushed a second time.

If Hurt was confused by McNeil's question, no wonder he was so confused he voted for the largest tax increase in Virginia's history!

Hurt looks like a total idiot after this episode.

His campaign left unchallenged the Charlottesville Daily Progress for several days.

If he had been misquoted, Sean Harrison should have called Brian McNeil the same day to demand a correction.

This campaign is a total joke right now.

Oh, and also this week, Perriello inched closer to the coveted NRA endorsement in the 5th District.

Drip . . . Drip . . . Drip . . .

Monday, June 14, 2010


I was re-reading this story of the DCCC pointing out how divergent Robert Hurt's views are from the rest of the late 5th District Republican primary field and noticed this quote:

But National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain points out that Hurt's primary opponents -- as well as the former GOP congressman Perriello defeated in '08, Virgil Goode -- are now backing Hurt.

Spain responds: “This is clearly Tom Perriello’s and the Democrats’ final card they have left to play. After voting for the failed stimulus, job-killing cap-and-trade legislation, and a government takeover, Perriello’s political obituary has already written itself: He was a congressman who was more interested in representing President Obama’s and Speaker Pelosi’s values than those of his Virginia constituents.”


Were was Andy Sere? Why wasn't he quoted in the story? Was Andy Sere on vacation with his shirtless friends up in the mountains? I NEED TO KNOW!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Truth HURTS

Anyone who is now getting in line behind Robert Hurt despite their past statements criticizing his votes for higher taxes and lackluster record as a career politician have to be questioned for their honor and integrity.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Hope McKelvey is a man of his Word!

Good News for Liberty!

Jim McKelvey has formed a political action committee to help return citizen-legislators to office and restore our Republic. Let's cast out the career politicians! Here is his press release:

Today I'm announcing that I am filing the necessary paperwork for the formation of a Political Action Committee. The name of our PAC is the "Take Our Country Back PAC".

The purpose of this PAC is to seek out, support, educate, train and elect conservative candidates on the local and state level in the fifth district and throughout Virginia. Our PAC will be seeking to find candidates who have never run for public office before, but who share our conservative values and desire to serve our country in its time of need. Also, this Political Action Committee will urge lawmakers to sponsor and support legislation that I proposed during my campaign

During my time on the campaign trail, I had the opportunity to meet so many people who, like me, love their country but also fear the direction the government has taken it. There are so many wonderful Virginians who possess the necessary passion and ability to lead us, if we would just give them the chance. I'm establishing this PAC so they will have the opportunity to step forward and heed the call of service for our state and nation at the time when we need them the most. The purpose of this PAC is not to support career politicians, but rather it shall be the platform for everyday Americans to become our next leaders at every level of government.

Today, I funded the PAC with my own money, in order to plant the seed that will grow "citizen-legislators" within our society who will return our Republic back into the hands of the people.

I invite every Virginian who believes, like I do, in fiscal responsibility, the sanctity of human life, traditional family values, limited government, preserving and protecting our second amendment rights and returning to the principles of our Founding Fathers, of government of "By the people, For the people," to join me in the cause to Take Our Country Back from those career politicians who have corrupted our Founder's vision. The future of our children and our nation depend upon us stepping forward and making a difference so that we can return our nation to its position in the world as the beacon of freedom, the champion of liberty and the defender of the American Dream.

Go Jim!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What’s Next?

I couldn't have said it better myself:

So what is next. The prevailing wisdom is to “get behind the winner, so we can beat Perriello”. If by “get behind” they mean vote against Perriello then that is what most people will do. But you don’t win hard races with that tactic. Robert Hurt needs to give people reasons to get excited about him and to vote FOR him, not against the other guy.The concern I and others have, is that its going to be really hard to get people to go door to door for Robert Hurt in an effort to defeat Tom Perriello. TP has access to 5 Billion dollars of George Sorros money if he needs it. He can flood the district with calls,ads, and boots on the ground to topple his opponent.

How can we compete with that? Give us a reason to vote for you Robert.

A lot of people, including Hurt supporters, were critical of the host of non-Hurt candidates for running against Robert Hurt and not offering up a strong reason to be in support of them. That was an entirely valid criticism, but one that also holds true in November.

Robert Hurt has to give conservatives a reason to get excited about voting for him. He can't just run as the non-Tom Perriello.

The ball is in your court Robert.

Post-Primary Thoughts

Nothing deep, just some observations.

First, with 35,307 total voters coming out for a turnout of just about 8%, I have to say that this primary had lower turnout than expected based on past competitive House primaries in Virginia. AND the turnout was lower than originally projected by the Hurt campaign. But if you look at other primaries in Virginia, including the crazy challenge to Wittman in the 1st, it's about the same. Which tells me that this is what you'd expect from any primary, even a low profile one like the 1st.

Conclusion: For all of the talk about the Tea Partiers bringing in lots of new voters there was . . . nothing. #Fail. Your usual set of folks came out and voted for your usual guy. State Senator Robert Hurt. Who won with just under 50% of the vote.

Second, with 17,104 voters coming out for Robert Hurt, just over a third of them were cast in Danville and Pittsylvania, Hurt's backyard. To give you a comparison, 20% of all votes in the primary were cast in Danville and Pittsylvania. And in 2008, 16% of voters in the 5th were in Danville and Pittsylvania.

Talking about people voting for their local candidate. Boyd won Albemarle and Morton won Fluvanna. But Hurt managed to pull off victory in Charlottesville and run second in both Albemarle and Fluvanna. So I'm revoking what I said earlier about lower expectations for Hurt in the northern end. He totally showed his ability to bring home some voters in the north. Anyone who voted against him in the north had a fair opportunity to hear about him and make the decision to vote against him.

McKelvey won Greene, Cumberland, Buckingham, Bedford County and City, and Franklin (essentially a tie with Hurt). And I'll throw in that he practically tied Hurt in Campbell County!

Outside of his home base of Danville and Pittsylvania, Hurt did worst in the localities where Perriello performed the best relative to typical Democratic performance in 2008. In other words, in localities where Perriello was picking up his largest numbers of McCain voters, the Republican primary voters yesterday backed someone other than Robert Hurt. In localities where McCain voters were more solid for Virgil Goode, the Republican primary voters backed Robert Hurt.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The strongest Hurt supporters I've encountered online tend to view Perriello as a Pelosi clone and they refuse to accept that he may have any appeal to independent voters. The strongest Hurt opponents I've encountered online will admit that Perriello is an impressive Representative who stands up for what he thinks is right and has some appeal to people who aren't card carrying Communists in the People's Republic of Charlottesville.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tuesday Predictions . . . And An Endorsement!!

By this time tomorrow the polls will have closed across Virginia and we'll be starting to wait for election returns to come in from the Old Dominion. Here in the 5th District of Virginia we've had the privilege, or curse, of watching a spirited and sometimes dirty primary among seven Republicans trying to win opportunity, or misfortune, of taking on Democrat Tom Perriello. This past Saturday, the Democrat Party officially nominated Tom Perriello to be their party's candidate for the 5th District of Virginia. Over the past year and a half, Perriello has raised almost $2 million and is sitting on a pile of cash worth almost $1.7 million.

Perriello is well positioned for the general election. Last week I gave some tough love to Robert Hurt by pointing out that he has voted to raise (some) taxes, not just the 2004 budget deal. He's not a liberal Democrat, he's a moderate Republican with some conservative credentials. But he's no Rand Paul or Sarah Palin.

Here is my tough love for my fellow Republicans about Perriello. Talk all you want about how he is a Pelosi clone, the real voters of the 5th District know he's not a knee-jerk Democrat. Take a look at the record. Yes, Perriello voter for the pork-filled stimulus, cap and tax, and the government take over of health care. But he's been very blunt about his support for these policies and hasn't tried to hide from them. Just a little bit to the east, Glenn Nye is running as a Democrat but doing everything possible to distance himself from Pelosi. He claims to oppose cap and tax and socialist health care, but in his letters to constituents he talked about how great cap and tax is. Politician insiders like Glenn Nye will tell you exactly what you want to hear, which is why you can't trust them. At least Perriello tells you what he believes.

And so when Perriello votes against his own party I believe he actually is doing what he thinks is right, not a political stunt to win voters for reelection. When he votes to defend the 2nd Amendment I believe that he really is pro-gun rights. When he votes against federal funding of abortion I believe him that he really does oppose federal funding of abortion. When he votes for a permanent bailout fund for Wall Street executives at the expense of the taxpayers I think he's doing what he thinks is right.

So this is going to be a tough reelection fight. I think Perriello has done everything possible to keep his Democrat base happy. And I think he's set himself up to win over the moderate voters that first put him into office. And maybe even pick up a few more.

When Robert Hurt first threw his hat into the ring I was distrustful. And here is my first Tuesday prediction. Tomorrow night an establishment Republican will fall short of the majority in his Republican primary. No, I'm not talking about Robert Hurt. I'm talking about South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis, who I first blogged about last year. Bob Inglis will go into a runoff, where he will almost certainly be defeated for the GOP nomination.

Congressman Bob Inglis is what Robert Hurt could be in the future. No one can fault Inglis for being a liberal. He's just a career politician who, despite being a Republican, has some moderate and left-leaning instincts. He voted for TARP. He's not comfortable with the grassroots conservatives in the Tea Parties. He's the type of Republican who doesn't attract much notice until the going gets tough. And then he buckles and votes for bigger government. Just like Robert Hurt, who was virtually unimportant until his 2004 vote for higher taxes.

I don't want to put someone like Inglis into office if I can stop it from happening. The problem with Inglis is that he doesn't care that his vote for TARP doomed his reelection chances. He knows that the establishment will take care of him. He's got a nice retirement, maybe a job as a lobbyist, or a political appointee. There's no accountability when members like Inglis don't care if they vote for bigger government. Hurt could do the same. Get elected, serve for years, and then vote for another bailout. Sure, we'd get angry and vote him out, but would that really punish him when he's just going to go to K Street and get a cushy job?

So that's been my biggest concern for Hurt. My other concern is his hire of a ruthless mudslinging political operative who I won't mention here. I don't like negative personal campaigns. I don't want Perriello to win, but I will be voting for Jeff Clark if Hurt runs a negative campaign against Perriello that focuses on him personality and not politically.

Over the last week I've been preparing for the general election by setting mental benchmarks for Hurt. If he campaigns dirty, he won't get my vote. If he campaigns as the true conservative he isn't, he won't get my vote. If he's honest about who he is, he'll get my vote.

I was getting ready to type up a post tonight endorsing the most viable opponent to Hurt, Jim McKelvey. That was until I heard about his pre-primary antics of having a recording of Virgil Goode talk him up, despite the lack of a Goode endorsement. That's the lack of honor and integrity I worried Hurt's adviser would bring and it has totally alienated me. So, here is my endorsement, based on my fears that Hurt will betray the conservative base of the GOP and my belief that McKelvey has run a dirty campaign.

I will be writing in Virgil Goode.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Radio Ad Hurt Doesn't Want You To Hear!!

Robert Hurt Likes To Raise (Some) Taxes

The dust hasn't even settled on the Republican primary and the Democrats are already going after State Senator Robert Hurt for his record to raise (some) taxes.

The Democratic committee has listed 28 different taxes and fees that it says Hurt supported in addition to the 2004 tax increase. All told, the Democrats say, the tax and fee increases total upwards of $2 billion.

“The truth is that Hurt can’t be trusted to keep his pledge not to raise taxes or his word on anything else,” committee spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement. “Rather than run from his record, Hurt should start standing up and explaining his record of support for tax increases on everything from driving a car to filling up a gas tank to going hunting with your kids. Hurt might have signed a pledge to not raise taxes but his record makes it clear that the pledge isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.”

Ferguson pointed out that Hurt voted in favor of Virginia’s 2003 budget that included items such as a 5 percent increase on the sale price of liquor, a $5 additional fee for driver’s licenses, a mandatory $1 fee on license plates to pay for the Jamestown quadricentennial celebration in 2007 and a $4 additional fee for traffic offenses.

Robert Hurt has also voted to raise diesel fuel and vehicle registration as part of the unconstitutional 2007 transportation package. So now we're starting to get a clear record of Hurt's stance on taxes. Hurt has voted to raise (some) taxes. Hurt has voted against raising (some) taxes. Hurt has voted in support of cutting (some) taxes.

State Senator Robert Hurt is just your run of the mill Republican.

This Democrat attack is just removing the curtain that shields most Republicans who claim to have a consistent ideological opposition to any and all new taxes. The truth is that they don't.

Sometimes, Hurt and other Republicans support raising taxes to fund things they like. Sometimes they oppose taxes because they don't like what is being funded.

The same is true of Tom Perriello.

Perriello has voted to raise (some) taxes. Perriello has voted against raising (some) taxes. Perriello has voted in support of cutting (some) taxes.

Perriello and Hurt are both situationally pro-government.

The difference?

Hurt likes spending money on things Republicans like. Perriello likes spending money on things Democrats like.

I'm the same way! I like a strong military. I like investing in nuclear energy. I don't like funding ACORN and the SEIU. I don't like funding abortions.

Unless you are an ANARCHIST, you like some government programs.

Don't believe me. Let Hurt speak for himself.

Del. Robert Hurt, R-Chatham, also voted for the tax increase in 2004.

“At the end of the day, I felt it was important to support a compromise that kept the state funded,” Hurt said, adding that in 2004 he was afraid of a possible government shutdown and that Virginia would lose its coveted AAA bond rating.

“I just don’t see the need to do that in 2006,” he said, pointing to the state’s $1.4 billion surplus this year. “People in Southside Virginia are adamantly opposed to raising the gas tax.”

In other words, Hurt believed we needed higher taxes to pay for stuff he liked in 2004. He didn't feel the same way in 2006.

That's just reality. This is not meant to be an attack on Robert Hurt.

My problem with Hurt is that he's now trying to be something he's not, a strict ideological conservative who opposes any and all tax increases. Please. Just be authentic. Be like Tom Perriello, who at least is honest and where he stands. The only people who believe Hurt are die-hard Republicans who are fiercely loyal to the party and to Hurt. His promises of being a ideological conservative ring hollow to independent conservatives who take consistent principled stances on the issues, not party.

Hurt is a career politician. Let's not hold him to the standard of being a political philosopher. He is what he is.

Hurt has two options should he make it to the general. One is to try to campaign as someone he is not, the second coming of Ron Paul. The other is to be honest about himself and focus on issues where he can have credibility, such as cracking down on illegal immigration and defending America from the liberal pro-UN agenda pushed by Perriello and his puppetmaster George Soros.

George W. Bush was President under a Republican Congress and a reckless increase of government spending. It's an embarrassment. But he crushed John Kerry in 2004 with almost no defections from conservatives. Why? Because he campaigned as the real deal, not a phony. He focused on keeping America safe. A lot of conservatives, myself included, weren't happy with his record on spending. But we voted for him because he was honest about where he stood and focused on conservative issues that I agreed with him on.

That's something Hurt can learn from.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2010 5th District Republican Primary Watch

The 2010 5th District Republican primary is just days away. Finally, after the months of drama and sitting on the edge of our seats we'll get the answers we've been looking for. This is going to be the biggest Tuesday night since the end of LOST! Is Robert Hurt the big smoke monster? Are the seven candidates actually living in purgatory or hell? I don't know . . . but I do know a few things . . .

Throughout this primary I've been accused of being a paid shill for Verga AND as a cheerleading blogger for Morton. All along I've just done the best I can to be a principled conservative voice. As we go down the home stretch here are a few things to watch on primary night . . . and a few predictions.

Watch Hurt's old Delegate district and his current State Senate district. We've all been expecting him to do well in Pittsylvania and Danville (Nigel Coleman's endorsement of Morton aside), but it will be interesting to watch how other territory Hurt has represented votes. Parts of Campbell County, where local activists have been particularly heated in opposing Hurt, and Franklin County, where I've heard some complaints that Hurt "neglects" the county, will show just how much anger there is against Hurt among people who know him versus opposition to Hurt among groups that just don't know him (the Northern end of the district).

I don't expect Hurt to do well in the Northern end of the district, but he should be able to grab a respectable portion of the vote. I think there are a lot of folks up there who will be voting for Boyd or even Morton not as an anti-Hurt vote but as a pro-My local politician vote. That's why I'll be looking to Franklin and Campbell to figure out just how strong the opposition to Hurt is among conservative activists. Hurt has a perfectly good chance at winning back conservatives in the northern end who vote for Boyd. I'm not as sure about winning over conservatives in his own backyard who vote for McKelvey or someone else.

The rural parts of the district running from Cumberland to Prince Edward to Halifax will be interesting to watch. Will Hurt's direct mail campaign and under the radar approach pay off? Or will McKelvey's own negative mail strategy and sprinkling of TV ads push voters to him?

Finally, I will watch closely to see what Hurt's first steps are after the primary should he win. The only public poll of a Hurt-Perriello contest put the two tied, but Hurt significantly behind should a third party candidate run. I think that clearly describes the dynamic of the 5th District this year. Perriello has the money, the work ethic, and the drive to fight Hurt to the bitter end. A straight Hurt-Perriello race will be close, very close. Hurt cannot afford defections to a conservative third party. In effect, this makes the independent conservatives in the district the swing voters in the campaign, not the mushy centrists that pundits like to claim. If Hurt runs a convincing conservative campaign he wins. If he tries to run to the center as a moderate he will be defeated. That's the perfect scenario for conservatives in the 5th District. It puts the pressure on Hurt to come out swinging on strong conservative issues, instead of being a cautious centrist. Some ideas-

- Supporting the Fair Tax.
- Promising not to request earmarks.
- Reinforcing his no new taxes pledge and focusing on the taxes Perriello has voted to raise.
- Supporting term limits or making a term limits pledge.
- Supporting Arizona's new anti-illegal law and working to secure our borders and impose a moratorium on immigration, as supported by former Congressman Goode.