Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Senate Redistricting

In 2010, the State Senate map will not have massive changes, but there will be a few line adjustments. For the purposes of this analysis we will assume total GOP control again, due to the unlikely event of total dem control and the only thing that will happen in a divided gov't will be technical adjustments.

As NLS told us, NOVA and its "exurbs" will gain almost 2 seats in the Senate in 2010. These 2 seats will come from no particular area downstate, but the biggest loss areas will be inner hampton roads, southside and southwest.

The first likely seat change will be along the "northern neck". It looks like Chichester's 28th district will lose Stafford County and gain Essex, Middlesex, King William, King & Queen and Glouester Counties along the Bay. This will then push McDougle's 4th district seat back to just Hanover, Caroline, part of Spotsylvania and maybe New Kent and/or Henrico. Ed Houck's 17th will then stay the same (athough the GOP would probably try to draw Houck out of the district), creating a new district anchored by Stafford County with Fredericksburg and a small piece of PWC finishing out the 200k people. This seat will likely go GOP as Stafford County still seems to be a GOP stronghold.

NOVA will be the site of the second new seat, but its hard to say how exactly it will be drawn. Much of this depends on who is in what seats come 2010. Russ Potts' district will probably lose Fauquier County, freeing it up to help prop up other NOVA seats, unless Jill Holtzman-Vogel is the Senator there. If she is the Senator, Loudoun will likely only be a small sliver of the district while most Fauquier would fall into the 27th. If Mark Tate or someone other than Jill is there, Fauquier will probably be eliminated from the district, giving more of Loudoun to the 27th. This then spills over into the rest of the seats.

Loudoun will have to have at least 2 seats partially within the County. If Mark Herring is still in the 33rd, we could see a seat that takes all of Fauquier and most of Leesburg (excluding Herring's house) while the 33rd would basically lose the western part of Leesburg while gaining a small amount of Fairfax. This would hopefully result in another GOP seat. Another possibility is to draw a Leesburg based seat totally in Loudoun County, which would then dump the eastern-most Loudoun precincts into a Fairfax seat. This would probably only happen if a GOP is back in the 33rd, and if they are from Leesburg (or the surrounding area).

In Prince William, if O'Brien is still alive look for the map drawers to give him a bigger portion of PWC as his base and pull him out of his weakest Fairfax precincts. If Cuccinelli is gone, they may destroy the 37th and give O'Brien the strong precincts and make a "new 37th" with the east Loudoun and west Fairfax precincts that would be left over. The other part of PWC will still be a 29th that keeps Manassas and loses the weakest precincts in the south to the new Stafford seat or the 36th. They could even use Fauquier to prop up a PWC seat, but as I mentioned eariler, its all about where everyone is.

In Fairfax, there are alot of scenarios. JeanneMarie, Cooch and O'Brien could all go down in '07, they could all survive, or a combination. If all three survive, the map drawers will just do their best to divy up the strong Fairfax precincts among the three seats. If all three lose, they will probably try to draw a GOP 39th and a dem 34th and 37th. This is also the scenario if only O'Brien survives 2007. Currently, Cuccinelli looks the most vunerable in '07. If only he loses, the 37th will probably be destroyed and give his stronger precincts to the 34th and 39th while his weak ones go into the western Fairfax, east Loudoun seat. If only Jeannemarie loses, her strong precincts will go to Cooch while her weak ones go to all the other dem seats. If only O'Brien loses (which I would say is pretty unlikely), his PWC precincts would be used in the 29th while his Fairfax precincts go to Cooch. Basically, Fairfax will probably be a nightmare for GOP drawers in 2010 unless they only need to draw themselves one seat (most likely O'Brien). Otherwise, the line drawers may have to draw 3 sub-50% districts just to keep them all competitive (depending on future trends here).

As for where the seats will come from, the GOP will likely try to elminate Roscoe Reynolds in SWVA if he is still there. This will be hard to do though, since the districts are already huge. The second downstate seat to be lost will probably be one from the current 3rd congressional district area. Even so, the 2 seats will be spread out over a large area, not pinpointed to 3 or 4 counties.

This will all result in a likely net change of zero. If the GOP loses all three Fairfax seats in 2007, they may be able to get the 39th back under this scenario. They also may be able to get the 17th and 20th into their column by drawing out the long running incumbents in those areas. Other than that, there probably won't be any major changes. Even so, just one seat may be the difference in who holds the majority after the 2011 elections.

NFL Draft

A few Hokies have been chosen in the NFL Draft this weekend. This are:
Jimmy Williams to Atlanta Falcons (2nd round)
Darryl Tapp to Seattle Seahawks (2nd round)
James Anderson to Carolina Panthers (3rd round)
Jeff King to Carolina Panthers (5th round)
Jonathan Lewis to Arizona Cardinals (6th round)

The 7th round is still going.
The best part is that the Atlanta Falcons now have basically an entirely Hokie secondary with Keion Carpenter and DeAngelo Hall already there and now adding Jimmy Williams.

Also congratulations to D'Brickashaw Ferguson of UVA who was picked 4th overall in the draft.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Roanoke City Council Races

NLS beat me to the punch, but this year should have an interesting one in the Roanoke City council elections. There are 10 people running for 3 seats. The 2 GOP candidates are Stuart Revercomb and Mark McConnell who seem to have the support of at least part of the Roanoke business community. They are running as the pro-business ticket.

Anyway, its my understanding that the dems actually have 2 slates of candidates. Bowers, MacFarlane and White are the official ticket; but apparently a few of the other independents are being supported by prominent dems. The GOP sees an opportunity here to take advantage of the perceived rift in the Roanoke democratic party.

At a recent GOP meeting, the statement was made that they have "a historic chance to take back city council". The Revercomb/McConnell ticket has raised a good bit of money (61k to be exact) which was largely financed by the Via family and the candidates' families. They have also been actively campaigning for awhile now.

Beyond this, I have no idea what the outlook is. Certainly the GOP thinks they have a great shot at winning here, but I am still skeptical. If the GOP base can be mobilized in the city, I think the GOP ticket will win. With such a diluted slate of candidates, even a GOP minority could win in this situation. I will be surprised if this slate can garner crossover support like Ralph Smith did a few years ago.
The thing that concerns me if that it seems the strategy hasn't been run correctly. In a race like this, the GOP should be telling their people to vote ONLY for Revercomb/McConnell in order to lessen the votes for a third candidate who could eventually be the one who beats one of the GOP ticket.
Should be an interesting race.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Biggest Day Ever

Thanks to NLS for linking to the site and making today the biggest day ever.
The last time he linked here it made it the biggest day upto that point as well.
I guess an NLS link is worth alot, maybe he should up his reference rates.

Monday, April 24, 2006

10th and 11th Redraws

As the population of NOVA continues to explode, more and more congressional power will continue to be concentrated in the areas of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. For example, Frank Wolf's 10th district in 1990 ran from Rockingham County to Fairfax. In 2000 it lost Shenandoah, Page, Rappahannock, and Rockingham Counties; as well as a good portion of PWC. This trend will continue even more in 2010.

In 2010 Loudoun, PWC and Fairfax will have just over 3 congressional districts. This will create a quandary for the map drawers. With NOVA seemingly turning democratic it will be interesting to see how districts are drawn.
If Davis and Wolf are still in their seats (or other GOPs), the likely strategy will be to anchor the 10th with Loudoun County and the 11th with PWC and dilute the remaining Fairfax precincts not in the 8th between the 10th and 11th. The 8th district will grow some, so some of the weakest GOP precincts in the current 10th and 11th will be dumped into the 8th.
Currently Fairfax makes up about 66% of the 11th. Under the new 11th, Fairfax would only constitute about 57% of the district. If PWC can stay Republican, the 11th would be strengthened.
The 10th will undoubtably lose Frederick/Winchester, Warren and Clarke Counties; so it will lose its strong GOP areas. No matter what, the 10th will be a weaker GOP seat. With the recent losses in Loudoun County, it remains to be seen how long the GOP can count on that area as a stronghold. Either way, Loudoun would be 1/2 of the new 10th under this scenario.

The other possibility is that Davis and/or Wolf is no longer in congress and then a new 11th would be drawn as a relatively safe dem seat, in order to save the other seat. This would result in a 11th district that has the rest of Fairfax not in the 8th and the weakest GOP precincts in east Loudoun and PWC. The 10th would then have Manassas, and the rest of Loudoun and PWC (and maybe some of Fauquier depending on whether the 1st has some of PWC).
If the '05 governor's race is a trend this would still result in a competitive 10th and strong dem seat in the 11th. If '04 numbers are used, the 10th would be a relatively safe GOP seat while the 11th would be a moderately safe dem seat.
Those trends probably won't be very clear until at least the 2008 presidential election.

As you can see, congressional redrawing should lend some support to the belief the dems will gain from redistricting. With the 2nd district getting weakened, the likely loss of the 11th and maybe even the 10th, the GOP should have reason for concern. Their only hope for a congressional pickup is the 9th, which will happen eventually; but who knows when (hopefully this year).
A worst case scenario could see the dems actually take 6 of Virginia's 11 congressional districts (holding the 3 current ones and gaining the 2nd, 10th and 11th). The best scenario for the GOP is essentially a tradeoff of the 9th for the 11th.

If the '05 governor's race results were a trend and not an anomoly, it could be bad news for the GOP's congressional hopes going forward.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Fightin' Ninth

Probably the most interesting district redraw in 2010 will likely be the 9th district. As a result of a stagnant population the 9th could growth substantially in size in 2010. It all depends on the strategy of the map drawers.

If the GOP is in total control and Boucher (or another dem) is the congressman, some have proposed drawing Goodlatte or Goode into Boucher's district to defeat him. I personally think this is unlikely due to the fact that both of those guys have very stable districts and wouldnt likely want to have a tough race if it wasnt necessary. Even so, if this was the chosen path the 9th district would probably look much different than its current state.
Drawing Goodlatte in would probably result in the district gaining all of Roanoke City/County and Botetourt while losing the eastern areas of Grayson, Carroll and Henry Counties. This is risky b/c Roanoke city has tradionally been a democratic stronghold and might be enough to give Boucher the race. Also the areas that would be lost are some of the strongest GOP localities in the current 9th district.
Drawing Goode into the district would likely result in the 9th being drawn through Franklin, Pittsylvania and Halifax Counties and losing Montgomery, Roanoke and maybe Pulaski Counties. This too is risky b/c it would still only gain marginally GOP areas and lose marginally dem areas. Both is these strategies still likely have a 9th that has significantly more Boucher constituents than the GOP challenger.

The other strategy here is to have the 9th gain more of Henry and Roanoke Counties and keep everyone in their current seats (or Franklin County if Virgil Goode is no longer the congressman in the 5th). This the more likely scenario, but it too has its pitfalls.
As I referred to in my 6th district post, every redistricting sees the Roanoke area continue to lose power in their congressional district. Based on current projections, under this scenario Roanoke County would be 60% in the 9th with the other 40% plus Salem and Roanoke city in the 6th. This combined with the loss of Bedford/Lynchburg and the gain of Page, Warren and Frederick Counties; the new 6th's power-center would be in the northern Shenandoah Valley, not Roanoke. Roanoke may or may not like this, but my guess is they would like to see a district where the Roanoke metro area is not diluted so they can retain power of a congressional district.

A third thing to remember is that the Shenandoah Valley loves Goodlatte. Some people I talk to say that Valley delegates Gilbert, Saxman, Lohr, Landes and Cline may fight very hard to keep Goodlatte representing the Valley areas b/c everyone likes him so much. This too could play into where the 9th gets drawn come 2010.

All these concerns could make for a very interesting redrawing of the 9th in 2010.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

8th District

The 8th district will still be a very democratic seat in 2010. Due to low growth in the current district, it will probably need to gain a few more Fairfax County precincts in the next redistricting. You can bet these will be the most heavily democratic ones in the County that aren't already in the 8th now. Tom Davis' and Frank Wolf's seats will need to lose all the weak precincts they can lose.

New Va Senate Poll

Rasmussen has its new George Allen-Miller/Webb poll out. They find Miller trailing 51-34 and Webb trailing 50-30. Last month Miller trailed 56-27 and Webb trailed 54-30. While George Allen's support has slipped some, it looks like he still has a very solid lead.

The interesting thing about this poll is that its the first one I have seen that shows Harris Miller leading Jim Webb (Miller trails by 17, Webb trails by 20). Also, Miller has the momentum gaining 7 while Webb gained none. It should be interesting to see if this has any effect on the dem race. I still think Webb will get the nomination, but more polls like this could change that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

7th District 2010

The 7th district runs from Page County in the Valley through Culpeper and Spotsylvania to Richmond. With the current population growth in the area, it will likely shrink, or at least stay the same. Most likely the areas in the western part of the district will be pushed into the Valley district (be it the 6th or a new 5th) leaving the 7th as an almost total Richmond seat. It may also gain Albemarle if it not put into a new 5th Valley district to dilute the democratic stronghold that seems to be forming there.
Either way, nothing here should have a drastic change on the congressional landscape.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Abortion Statistics

USAToday has an interesting article today. They show the states that would most likely "significantly restrict abortion access" if Roe v. Wade were overturned. They list Virginia in that category.
There weren't too many surprises, but the ones that were interesting to me were Alaska, Colorado, and Montana which were listed as "likely to protect abortion access". In these typically conservative states, that just struck me as odd.

Also, the article has lots of statistics on abortion for each state.
Virginia has 46 abortion providers, had 28,780 abortions (I assume last year) which is 20% of the total pregnancies. It is also 2.2% of the total abortions nationwide. By my calculations, that means well over 1 million abortions are committed every year.

I had no idea the % of pregnancies that end in abortion was so high.
D.C. had the highest rate at 37%. South Dakota had the lowest at 8%.

I am still not very confident Roe v. Wade will ever be overturned, but I do think abortion restrictions like parental notification and late-term abortion bans will continue to gain traction nationwide. Hopefully this will help curb the numbers of abortions we see in Virginia and also America as a whole.

Redrawing the 6th

The 6th district will probably see a few changes in 2010 due to slow population growth in adjoining districts. With the 5th district gaining more of Bedford and Lynchburg and the 9th gaining more of Roanoke County the 6th will likely move north.

The most likely scenario I see playing out is Goodlatte will pick up Page County from the 7th and Frederick/Winchester, Clarke, and Warren Counties from the 10th. The one cautionary note on this scenario is that in each redistricting the Roanoke area has been more and more diluted in its congressional pull. I mention this b/c in 1982 the Roanoke area refused to support Kevin Miller of Harrisonburg after he secured the GOP nod from the Roanoke candidate and led to the victory of democrat Jim Olin. If the area still is adamant about the 6th district being a Roanoke seat, there could be problems. With a new district like this one, whenever Goodlatte retires; the GOP nominee would undoubtably be from the north-central Valley. With the GOP powerhouses of Frederick south to Augusta, the Roanoke area would little hope of getting their guy (or gal) on the ballot.

In light of this, some have proposed that Goodlatte will be drawn into Rick Boucher's district to beat him and perserve Roanoke's power in a congressional district. Under this scenario, all of Roanoke County, Salem and Roanoke City would be put into the 9th along with a good portion of Botetourt. Then the 5th would pickup the 9th counties along the NC border from Galax to Martinsville therefore dumping more of Boucher's former constituents into the 5th.
Even so, this scenario has risks as well. First off, if Boucher was able to make inroads in Goodlatte's base in Roanoke City, it could spell disaster for Goodlatte. Also, the counties that would be drawn into the 5th are some of the most conservative in the district while the weaker counties like Montgomery, Pulaski and Buchanan would still be present in the 9th. Also, this new 9th would probably be much more moderate in an open seat contest than it currently would be.

A third possible scenario for the 6th is to completely destroy the 5th district and start over. This would involve giving the 6th all of Roanoke, Montgomery, Bedford, Campbell, Lynchburg and east to Lunenberg County. The 9th district would then run along the NC border from Martinsville to Mecklenburg County. Franklin County would likely be drawn into the 9th if Goode still had the seat, or into the 6th if he was not. This would leave the new 5th as a Shenandoah Valley seat of Frederick south to Rockbridge and over to Fauquier and Culpeper. This would setup a Valley seat, Roanoke seat, and a conservative 9th.
This scenario sounds the most logical, but Goode probably wouldn't want his district destroyed either. Also claims of gerrymandering would likely come into play with this third setup.

Friday, April 14, 2006

5th District Redrawing

The 5th district is one of the districts that will probably see a sizable change in 2010. Due to continued manufacturing job losses, the population is stagnant at best. The only area of the district seeing growth is the Albemarle area, which is also the democratic stronghold in the district. Due to the 9th district having to enlarge as well, the lines for the 5th could be draw a few different ways.

Almost any scenario will probably result in the 5th gaining more of Bedford County and Lynchburg City from the 6th. That would be an addition of around 80k people, so that is the most likely setup. It would also be a relatively conservative area being brought into a weak district.

Some have proposed that if Bob Goodlatte is for some reason not the congressman in the 6th come 2010, they may draw a Valley district that can dilute Albemarle/Charlottesville and thereby protect the 5th. That would push the entire Roanoke area into the 9th and then allow the 5th to pickup a good portion of the current 9th (Henry, Carroll, Floyd, Patrick and Grayson Counties). This would also allow Boucher to lose a good portion of his district enabling the Roanoke area to command more power in the district. This scenario is highly unlikely though, b/c it would require the retirement of Goodlatte in the next 4-6 years.

The third and most obscure possibility is that the dems control the process in 2010 which would likely result in Roanoke City and Franklin County being drawn into the 9th to draw Goode and Goodlatte in Boucher's district with virtually none of their former districts. This is even more unlikely since the dems would need to gain control of the House by 2010 which is unlikely.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Budget Proposal Dies

Yesterday the House proposed a bill to break the impasse over the budget and allow the Senate to vote on it. Naturally, the Senate spiked it and refused to vote on the bill; so now nothing can get done until next Wednesday after the veto session.

Thanks to all the Delegates who voted to try to get the budget moving, and a special thanks to the 9 democrats who supposed this measure as well. They were: Ken Alexander, Mamye BaCote, Dan Bowling, Rosalyn Dance, Algie Howell, Johnny Joannou, Bud Phillips, Jim Scott and Onzlee Ware.

This also brings up a new question. Of these 9 dems voting for the proposal, how many will stand firm til the end? If very many do, the budget battle could be even tougher to resolve without the House getting its way.

Great Editorial

The WSJ has a great editorial ripping House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis for not curtailing spending and costly the GOP the majority. The author argues that the recent move to prevent spending cuts and blocking a line-item veto may cause GOP voters to set at home in November and cost the GOP the House majority.
Its a great read and shows some of the problems within our party at the national level.

Redistricting the 4th

The 4th congressional district was one that was changed in 2000 to give the GOP an advantage. The city of Portsmouth was draw into the 3rd and was replaced by part of Chesterfield County. This resulted in delivering the district to the GOP in 2002.

The district is anchored by part of Chesterfield County in Richmond Metro and Chesapeake City in Tidewater. The rest of the district is GOP leaning, but these 2 localities ensure GOP victory here. Even so, the 4th is faced with the same dilemma as the 2nd in that Kilgore lost Chesapeake. If that is a trend and not an anomoly, this may become another competitive seat.

Because of the growth of Chesapeake, Suffolk and Chesterfield; the 4th district lines will likely stay close to the same unless the dems control the process. Under that scenario, they would likely draw the district the old way with Portsmouth in the 4th and put more of Chesterfield in the 7th. Otherwise, the district should stay relatively the same.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Redistricting the 3rd

The 3rd Congressional District runs along the James River picking up most every democratic stronghold from Richmond to Tidewater. While the political leanings of the district are not likely to change in the upcoming redistricting, the 3rd will have to gain some more territory. Since most every locality in the district is experiencing stagnant or decreasing growth, they will need to expand. This coupled with the 2nd's expansion could make for an interesting task. Most likely the 3rd will gain more of Newport News city as well as Prince George County.

In the unlikely event that the democrats control the process in 2010, they may choose to put Portsmouth into the 4th like in 1990 to strengthen the democratic base there. This would leave the 3rd looking for an additional 100k people which would probably have to be found in James City County as well as giving the 2nd all of Norfolk City and giving the 3rd all of Hampton City.

Either way, the 3rd will still be an overwhelmingly democratic seat; so Bobby Scott has nothing to worry about.

Bolling's Leadership Committee

VPAP has up the new leadership committee filings and our friend Bill Bolling has started one. Building a Better Virginia was started at the end of March. The interesting thing is the contact email: nocartax@yahoo.com. Could this be an indication of the Bolling gubentorial strategy? Looks like Gilmore II to me (and his campaign people are Gilmore people, don't forget that).
It could get interesting in the next few years as the 09 races start shaping up.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Redrawing the 2nd

The next in our redistricting posts is the 2nd congressional district in Tidewater. This seat has traditionally been GOP but is now showing signs of weakness. The 2nd is expected to be the closest race this year in Virginia, but some of that is due to geographical factors. Even so, some people point to a Kilgore loss in Va Beach as a signal of a shift in political leanings for the area.

Currently Va Beach comprizes 65% of the district. The other 35% is made up of the eastern shore and the more GOP areas of Norfolk and Hampton. In the new district, Va Beach will only comprise of 62%. The eastern shore isnt seeing much growth, so the district will have to extend further into Norfolk or Hampton city. The key here is that the new precincts are overwhelmingly democratic. For every 4 new voters draw into the district, 3 will likely be democrats. With the threat of changing political winds in the Beach combined with this large gain in dem voters, the 2nd district could become very competitive in the future (even though a new district would possibily favor the Norfolk resident Drake more).

Another problem is that a high number of voters here are military. Military voters have been reliably GOP for a long time, so no demographic shifts here can help boost the GOP base.

The only way to stem this would be to push Poquoson and York County from the 1st and into the 2nd to strengthen the GOP base (the 1st is still largely conservative and seems to be gaining GOPs with the recent political turns of Caroline County). This is highly unlikely except in total GOP control of the process, and even then may be met with some concerns. Even so, it may be what is necessary to keep the 2nd in GOP hands.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Conference Call with LG

Thanks to Norm at OMT for arranging the conference call with Bill Bolling tonight. I thought it was informative, even though he didnt really say anything no one had heard yet. Two things of note were that he pointed out his opposition to a tax increase and his belief that spending needs to be reined in (my question was what he thought the end result of the budget battle would be); and his comment regarding Vince Thoms' question.

Vince asked about Tom Davis' saying that you need to nominate candidates who are a good fit for their districts. He then asked LG Bolling if he agreed. Bolling's response was that he somewhat agreed that you need people who understand the needs and issues of the district in which they run, but they shouldn't compromise their principles to run. He also said that we need to run politics like a business, where we offer products people want. He said politics is no different from selling washing machines, you have to sell what people want.

That is a great example of his business background and one of the reasons that I like Bill Bolling.

Overall I thought the conference call was good, but as expected, it didn't really give any info that we didn't already know.

Bolling also made it very clear he intends to run for governor, just not when he will do it.

1st District in 2010

The 1st Disrict is the one district that will probably not see a massive change in district lines in 2010. The areas of Stafford & Spotsylvania as well as Caroline and Fauquier are seeing decent growth, but overall the district is growing at about the same rate as the state. As a result, most of the district lines should not see major changes. The four pivot areas are Newport News, Spotsylvania, Fauquier, and Prince William. These are the 4 localities where lines move to set the district. It is likely the 1st will lose some of Newport News, but thats the only move from current projections.

The 2nd will be put up tomorrow. That will be interesting.

Tax Census Numbers

Virginia has been ranked 26th in per capita taxes. For John Chichester's info, Maryland is 14th.
I guess we need another tax increase to get ourselves closer to them.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


NLS has up a post about what will likely happen in 2010 with the HOD in redistricting based on who controls the process. He says total GOP control will result in a 6 seat pickup for the GOP whereas a divided government will bring about only a 2 seat gain for the GOP.
I think the more likely scenario is +4 with total GOP control, and I agree with the 2 for a divided government. The other +2 will occur under either scenario as a result of delegate retirement in the 4th and 10th districts. The only difference is if the GOP controls the process in 2010, they may go on and redistrict John Johnson and Ward Armstrong out of their seats (although I doubt it).

The way I will approach the redistricting is I will do a post each day on a different congressional district and what will likely happen with it under a few different scenarios. After all 11 congressional seats are done, I will look at what the targets will be for the HOD redraws. The senate I will probably address later, but I don't see a tremedous change there.

I will have my post on the 1st congressional district tomorrow.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

George Allen Challengers Hate Black People

At least, according to NLS they do.

Sen Marsh slams Webb
Miller Donates More to White GOPs than Minority Dems

My question is, will African-Americans still vote in general election; and if so, for who (Miller/Webb or Allen)?

Its great to see Dems fighting over something they accuse us of all the time.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New Budget Plan

The House Republicans have proposed agreeing to a budget without a transportation package, that would allow the transportation package to be debated and agreed to in a fall special session, which would allow the local governments to make their budgets.

I doubt the Senate will want to do this because it would lessen their leverage, but this may be the only way to avoid a government shutdown. It sounds like both sides are strongly entreached in their positions (the House GOP certain wants us to believe they are).

In the end, I still see some type of increase in taxes. That will not be good for the Republican party, but its probably going to happen anyway. John Chichester doesn;t typically do what is best for the party. Tim Kaine probably won't help us out either.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

SST Closes Up Shop

Our friends at SST have called it quits as of yesterday. I am sure their insight and analysis will be missed, not to mention the VT-UVA battling on the site.
On that note, I am now the lone "GOP Hokie" in the blogosphere and will now have to pull double duty to make up for Old Zach's loss.

I wish the SST crew best of luck in their future endeavors.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

My Thoughts on Blogs

Old Zach at SST has up a post regarding his opinion of the blogosphere. He basically makes two points: that blogs are not a forum for lots of people but more for the activists, and that "gossip" sites are not as useful as "thoughtful" sites because they have an agenda.

I will agree with the first point. Almost all blogs are run by political activists giving their opinions, and most of the readership is from that group of people. This is partially because blogs have become so streamlined with their thinking. Originally, people did blogs b/c they could be anonymous and give their true feeling of a situation at hand. Now, very few bloggers are truly anonymous and therefore cannot necessarily give their opinion without sounding like they are bashing their party. For example, I did not see one single blog that thought the governor's race would be won by the opposite party. Why? B/c most bloggers are political activists within their parties and want to be viewed as team players. Going against the grain would only hinder their ability to make a difference in their party.

On the second note, I am in less agreement. Every site has an agenda, the key is knowing what that agenda is. Not Larry Sabato's Ben Tribbett is well known for disliking Dave Marsden and Gerry Connolly. Even so, readers know this and take his commentary on those issues with a grain of salt. Same goes for Too Conservative's Vince Thoms opinions of Sean Connaughton, Tom Davis and Jeff Frederick; as well as Republitarian's opinion of Matt Lohr and Mark Obenshain. If you want to read these blogs because you agree or disagree with them, fine. At least you know where they stand and why they have an iron in the fire (for example Ben Tribbett ran against Dave Marsden, or Republitarian supporting Matt Tedrick). This is no different than Shaun Kenney writing about tax increases or "RINOs" (after all, Kenney was a VCAP challenger). We know where he stands as well. Any of these blogs are good and bring useful information to the table, they just have to be viewed through the prism of their own personal biases toward certain individuals as well as their political ideology in general.

I think blogs can be a useful tool for activists to use to gauge what others think about the candidates and/or issues, but I doubt they will ever become a "mainstream media outlet" that a vast majority of the public uses to determine their votes upon.