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.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day Column

Thanks to Nova Town Hall blog for pointing out this column by Wade Zirkle, founder of Vets for Freedom.
Check it out.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Allen/Bush Numbers from 2000

NLS has started a series of posts looking at Bush and Allen numbers from 2000. He points out how there was only a 0.2% difference in their statewide numbers, but that does not correlate to each locality. He is starting out looking at the 1st congressional district and seeing what differences there are.
The biggest thing I noticed was that Allen outperformed Bush mainly in the northern neck areas of Caroline, King & Queen and Richmond Counties, whereas Bush outperformed Allen in Gloucester, James City and York Counties and Poquoson, Hampton and Newport News.

My hunch is this is due to the rural and military citizens of this area. The areas Allen outperformed Bush were the very rural bay counties which Allen's southern twang and cowboy boots would play well in. Don't forget, in 2000 the NOVA migration had not extended into these areas yet.
Conversely, the counties where Bush outperformed had high military voting blocks which vote heavily GOP but not 100%. Gore was viewed as an anti-military candidate like Clinton and so Bush garnered an even higher military vote than Republicans typically receive. Robb was not perceived as such an anti-military candidate so he performed in line with typical democrats in the military community. Keep in mind, a large number of voters in this area not only are members of the armed forces, but are employed in the defense industry and are very concerned with job security.

This may play into the strategy in 2006, especially if Jim Webb is the dem nominee. Webb's vast military creditials would seemingly help him actually cut into the decidely GOP base that military voters typically represent. I would assume this would be the cornerstone of Webb's political strategy, in concert with seemingly lower numbers for Allen in NOVA.

If we look closer, these trends mirror our 2005 races. Bolling ran 5% ahead of Kilgore in Gloucester County and Newport News, 7% ahead in James City County and 8% in Poquoson.
At least in the 1st district, Webb's (or Miller's) strategy should be the Kaine strategy.

Happy Memorial Day

This day is to remember those who gave their lives so we can be here today blogging without the threat of being arrested or silenced.
Today we remember them.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Blog Conference

Just to give my take on the upcoming blog conference, I will say it sounds like it will be a failure.
Since the main 4 blogs in Virginia (from both sides of the aisle no less) will not be in attendance, I am not sure the event will end up being very successful.
Here is the list of attendees. I also am wondering how many of those on the list even have a blog. I do not recognize a good number of the names.

Hopefully next year the organizers will try to work with more bloggers to ensure there is a good group in attendance, instead of having only one or two people working on it and hoping it fits everyone else's schedule.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Primary Challenges

In light of the new Senate vote on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see how it changes the primary challenge situation.
Certainly Russ Potts will still be challenged for running against Kilgore. Other than him, who else might be on the list?
Chichester, Stosch, and Stolle all voted for the new budget that does not include tax increases. Even a few dems voted for it.
As for the House, there should be no challanges there either.

One of my friends said back when the budget battle started that the Senate would think twice this time around since they are up for election in 2 years just like the House. Does that mean they will then return to their tax raising ways in 2008?

The Senate ringleaders may still face challengers, but my guess is that very few if any of the accomplices will be challenged in '07.

One good thing from this is that hopefully it will make the GOP base happy and they be sure to vote in 2007. If Ken Cuccinelli was right about that being our problem in 2005, that might be enough to save him and his friend Jay O'Brien.

Has anyone seen or heard any possible challenges, in light of the new vote?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Building Support

Today I attended an "appreciation luncheon" for Bill Bolling in Harrisonburg. It was a nice, small group of some of his supporters from 2005 that got together to hear what happened in the general assembly session and also get an update or what is currently going on.
A few weeks ago I attended a similar event for Bob McDonnell in Roanoke.

It seems to me that this may be a great strategy on both gentlemen's parts in trying to build support for 2009 run for governor. From what I understand, both Bolling and McDonnell have been having these type of gatherings across the state. The two I have been to have very small; 30-40 people. This allows the attendees to actually get a chance to sit at the same table and talk with these guys one on one.

Another added bonus is alot of the attendees haven't ever met the candidates. When I was at the McDonnell dinner, only about 5 of the 35 in attendance had ever met Bob. It seems this may be very successful in building support for their candidacy.

Just though I would see if anyone else has had these type of functions in their neck of the woods.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Jim Rich Wins

Congratulations to Jim Rich on winning the 10th District Chairman's race.
Hopefully that part of the state can now circle the wagons and get George Allen and Frank Wolf elected. It is very important these people let by-gones be by-gones and work together to try and unite the party. I am not holding my breath though.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Marcus Vick

In case anyone missed it, Marcus Vick has a job with the Miami Dolphins.
Wonder how long his employment will last?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mothers Day

Thanks for all the great things our moms do for us.
This day is for you all.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Case for Low Taxes

From the opinion page of the DNR:

At first glance, there is seemingly no connection between the $70 billion tax break bill House Republicans are backing and the story of East Asians in England but there are economic lessons from the latter that can shape views of the former.
The House legislation wants to extend the reduced 15 percent tax rate for capital gains and dividends, currently set to expire at the end of 2008, and shield 15 million families from being hit with the alternative minimum tax. The tax was designed to make sure the wealthy paid taxes but is ensnaring more middle-income families because it is not indexed for inflation
Columnist Val MacQueen of TCS (Technology, Commerce Science) Daily recently told the remarkable story of the East Asian immigrants. About 40,000 were thrown out of Uganda in 1972 by the power-mad and fiscally stupid Idi Amin. Since they were Commonwealth citizens, the British gave them passports and allowed them to come to England. The Asians were wealth-creators but Amin did not allow them to take their assets with them. Most arrived in London with only a suitcase.
Today, the East Asians are among the most productive and wealthy citizens in England.
As Mr. MacQueen writes, "How does one account for a group of people who came from the Third World to the First World with nothing but a suitcase, and within three generations overtook 99.5 percent of the natives in terms of wealth?
"Like the Chinese, the East Asians have a reputation for shrewd commercial instincts and a willingness to sacrifice short term advantage in the service of the long-term goal. The entire family stays focused."
"Another key to ethnic Indians’ success is they do not look to banks for money – they look within the family or extended family, offering a part of the business as repayment."
What also helped was the drop in British tax rates after Margaret Thatcher was elected prime minister. There’s very little money left for families — and no initiative — when the government has a 90 percent — or even 50 percent — tax rate.
Critics of the tax legislation will gripe that it only helps the wealthy. But at one time, the East Asians were not wealthy. Their entrepreneurship allowed them to both gain and create wealth, which benefits vast number of other people and their nation.

This is about the best case for lower taxes that I have seen in quite a while.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kaine Favors Vouchers

Sort of. The RTD has this story on Kaine's 4-year old program. Apparently, he has realized how tough it will be to impliment, so he is proposing basically offering vouchers to parents to send their children to private 4-year old programs not run by the public schools.
He is not in favor of this type of practice for K-12 schools though.

I have always been against this stupid 4-year old program. I think 13 years of school should be more than enough. This is only another situation where the state is trying to pay to babysit our children.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Blogger Heavyweight Leaving?

NLS is reporting that Chad Dotson will be taking a judgeship and will therefore be retiring from the blog world. If this is true, it would result in one of the preminent bloggers leaving. That coupled with the SST retirement, the GOP blogs will have a large gap in that 2 of the original bloggers will be gone.
Even so, congratulations to Chad for his new job. I am happy for him.

Also if this is true, it could signal a few things about 2009. More on that later.

Blogger Conference

Since I did not attend the blogger conference last year, I cannot say much to its value or usefulness. Even so, it sounds like a good setup and a very good tool to use for our bloggers across the Commonwealth.
Since it was Charlottesville last year, it seems to me it should be held in a different location every year. Its not really fair to make the SWVA guys drive 4 hours every year and keep us Valley folks an hour away all the time. We should move it around the state to allow everyone to come and be a part of it.
That is why I am in favor of holding it in Martinsville. In light of Will Vehrs comment, it would be valuable to make a statement by holding our conference in Martinsville (and maybe even build some support to oust Roscoe Reynolds and Ward Armstrong). We should also hold it here to make it more available to SWVA bloggers. Many may not realize it, but we have quite a few in this part of the state. Bringing their input to the conference would be invaluable to our success.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dem Congressional Challengers

Some democrats throughout the blogosphere have complained that no one running against Bob Goodlatte, Randy Forbes or maybe Eric Cantor. I am not sure I understand their concern. Apparently these dems think any seat can be won by any party at any time. WRONG!
Those 3 seats (along with JoAnn Davis in the 1st) are virtually unbeatable. The districts are conservative enough that nothing short of an arrest would cause these people to lose.

Anyway, from a strategic prospective running someone here is stupid as well. If Harris Miller or Jim Webb is going to beat George Allen, they are going to do it in NOVA and Tidewater. They will need huge margins in those areas and need Allen to get small margins (and turnout) in the more conservative rural areas and the Richmond suburbs. In order to do this, they will need to prevent high turnout in those areas by not challenging the congressmen there. No one is going to beat Goodlatte, but if someone runs against him, the district will vote in droves to ensure he wins. Most all extra votes in the 6th will likely be George Allen voters. Same goes for the 7th and the 4th. I would even argue that not challenging Tom Davis and Frank Wolf would be a good idea. That way GOPs wouldn't go vote to ensure those guys won, but dems would be voting for Miller/Webb.

The dems now think they are world beaters and can win every race, and that mentality may be what prevents them from winning some big races this year.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Roanoke Rumble

An interesting situation is beginning to form in Roanoke with Senator Brandon Bell.
Rumor has it Sen. Bell will be having a fundraiser in Richmond with John Chichester as the special guest. He then will have another fundraiser in Roanoke with LG Bill Bolling. This may cause quite a stir in the Roanoke area GOP.

A few weeks ago, Sen. Bell was one of the speakers at the Roanoke GOP luncheon. While there he was chided by a few of the attendees for supporting the new budget plan that included a tax increase. There were even flyers that were passed out at the entrance calling Bell a RINO. One of the members raising concern for Bell's vote pointed to Chichester's $6,000 donation that Bell received in the last cycle as evidence as to why he may be "indebted" to Chichester. This new fundraiser may not set well either.

Could Bell be another addition to the list of possible primary challenges in 2007?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Back at VT

I just want to thank Nic Andrews at Fox News Radio 810 AM here in Blacksburg for having me on his radio show yesterday morning. I enjoyed our discussion on the life sentence for Mousaoui and the local elections (as well as Marcus Vick's future). I look forward to being on the show again in the future.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

GOPHokie On the Radio

I will be on Fox News Radio 810 AM here in Blacksburg tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM.
If you are in the area, tune in to listen.
Leave any topics you might like to hear in the comments. We will see what we can do.

Town Elections

Ron Rordam defeated environmentalist Don Langrehr for the mayor's seat.
On city council, 2 dems and one GOP were elected. Thats about as good as we can hope.
There will now be a special election for Rordam's council seat. No word on when that will be. Hopefully another GOP can win in that special election.

Galax: All dems were elected to city council.

Harrisonburg: Mayor Larry Rogers was handily booted off city council and was replaced by former mayor Carolyn Frank and Ted Byrd was also elected (indys).

Lynchburg: 2 dems and one GOP elected to city council.

Roanoke: The GOP finished 6th and 7th here. All 3 elected were the "independents" endorsed by the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce (they were dems in reality as well).

Staunton: Del. Chris Saxman's challenger from last year, Bruce Elder won a seat on city council here.

Monday, May 01, 2006

House of Delegates 2010

2010 will bring about some major changes in the HOD landscape. NOVA will continue to gain seats while the rural areas of Southwest and Southside continue to lose seats. As before, my analysis will assume total GOP control of the redistricting process.

There will be about 5 new seats created in 2010, all of them being in NOVA or the "exurbs".
First off, Loudoun County will gain 2 seats within its borders. This will probably be accomplished through cutting Joe May's 33rd district in half, leaving Joe with his home base of Leesburg, and creating a new district in west Loudoun and Clarke (and Frederick if needed). The second seat will be the Loudoun sections of Bob Marshall and Chuck Caputo's seats (and maybe Rust's as well). The other strategy will be to have more border jumper districts to dilute Fairfax precincts as much as possible. I don't see that happening since east Loudoun is trending about the same as the Sully and Springfield precincts in Fairfax County.

Next, PWC will gain almost 2 seats. This will probably be accomplished by making Lingamfelter's PWC section as a new district and splitting off part of Bob Marshall's district into a new district as well. Here too we may see border jumper districts into Fauquier from PWC like Lingamfelter's current district if we see a weakening of the GOP there. If not, some have expected Albo's district to move into Frederick's to strengthen that seat.

Spotsylvania/Stafford will gain a seat. This will likely be done by shrinking Cole's district and then pushing Orrock's district north and creating a new seat in southern Spotsylvania. Peace can lose his section of Spotsy b/c of growth in Hanover and Caroline Counties.

Where will the seats come from? Most likely the GOP will try to draw the 2nd and 3rd districts in the SWVA coal fields into one district to gain a seat there. The GOP will then lose a seat in southside, which will basically be diluted over the whole area.
Some have proposed Paula Miller's 87th in Tidewater will be eliminated and will give her district's precincts to all the adjacent districts. That seems probable.
The 4th seat will come out of Fairfax/Arlington. My guess is the 67th will be eliminated if Caputo is still there in order to strengthen Rust and Hugo's districts. Another possibility is the 41st to strengthen Hugo and Albo. We will have to see.
The 5th seat will come out of the 3rd congressional district. It is anyone's guess which district will be eliminated to do that.

There a few other downstate seats the GOP may try to redraw in order to strengthen them, or eliminate entreached democratic incumbents. The most likely ones would be Joe Johnson and Ward Armstrong (and maybe even Jim Shuler). This could be done a host of ways, but if they are no longer in their seats by 2010, those seats will likely be in GOP hands anyway.
Another redrawing job will be the 23rd district in Lynchburg. It seems probable that they may give Ben Cline a portion of Lynchburg in order to dilute the city making a new 23rd that is more like 30-35% from Bedford County. This would all be seal this seat for the GOP.