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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

McQuigg for Clerk

I am told Del. Michele McQuigg will be running for Clerk of Court of Prince William County. I am assuming she will be vacating her HOD seat, which means the dems have another seat they have a very good shot at winning.

I am still getting info on this...

UPDATE: I still have not been able to get a copy of the press release, but here are the ramifications. First off, this is not new; some people were speculating on this as much as a year ago.
Anyway, the district went for Bush in 2004; but then went for Kaine in 2005 and then Webb in 2006 (54.6% for Webb). This is another district that has largely been protected due to a longer running incumbent who is well liked. Even so, Mcquigg drew a strong candidate in Earnie Porta in 2005 and she only got 54% of the vote. Assuming she does leave the seat; I would imagine Porta would be the frontrunner for the dem nomination and also the general election.

The other interesting situation is that McQuigg ran for this seat from Occoquan District Supervisor. The current Occoquan supervisor was Corey Stewart who just won PWC BOS Chair. He would have been the best positioned to run in her place, but I am not sure he would want to give up chairman of one of the largest counties in Virginia to be in the HOD. This creates a problem for the GOP in that now they have to replace both a HOD seat and Supervisor.

So far I know of no potential candidates, but I am sure they will emerge soon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Advance this Weekend

I basically just put this up to see who all is going to the Advance this weekend.

I'm told that the hospitality suites are as follows:
Friday Night: Tom Davis, Gil Davis, Bill Bolling, Bob McDonnell, RSVP, Scott Lingamfelter and Americans for Prosperity
Saturday Night: Tom Davis, Jim Gilmore, John Cosgrove and Jennifer Byler Institute.

Also, does anyone have or know the schedule? I can't find it anywhere.

UPDATE: Here is the schedule of events:

Friday, December 1

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Chairman’s Advisory Council Luncheon
* For current Advisory Council members only

3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Executive Committee Meeting

3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Sponsor’s Reception
* Not included in Saturday Only registration fee
* Ticket required

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
RPV Welcome Reception
* Not included in Saturday Only registration fee

8:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Champagne and Chocolate Reception in Honor of Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie hosted by the Young Republican Federation of Virginia and the Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans

9:00 p.m.
Hospitality Suites
Americans for Prosperity

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
Gil Davis, Chairman, Center for Law and Accountability
Congressman Tom Davis
Attorney General Bob McDonnell
Republican Senate Victory PAC

Values and Vision for Virginia (V3) Political Action Committee, Delegate L. Scott

Saturday, December 2

7:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Registration

8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.Victory Breakfast Sponsored by Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Congressman Tom Davis
* Not included in Saturday Only registration fee

10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.Seminar – Grassroots and Unit Fundraising
Morton Blackwell, Republican National Committeeman (VA)

10:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
State Central Committee Meeting

11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Seminar – Voter Vault
Chad Barth, Republican National Committee

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
RPV/Attorney General Bob McDonnell Luncheon with U.S. Senator George Allen and newly elected RPV Chairman

2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.Seminar - Membership Advisory Committee Panel

2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Seminar –The Law of Close Elections & Why It Matters
Republican National Lawyers Association

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
6th District Committee Meeting

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
8th District Committee Meeting

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
College Republican Federation of Virginia 2006 Annual Convention

3:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Seminar - Virginia Congressional Delegation Panel Presentation
Congressman Tom Davis (VA-11)
Congressman Eric Cantor (VA - 7)
Congressman Virgil Goode (VA-5)

Congresswoman Thelma Drake (VA-2)

4:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Seminar - 2007 Election Preview
Speaker William Howell
House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith

Senator Brandon Bell
Senator Mark Obenshain

9:00 p.m.
Hospitality Suites
American Council on Reform Policy (ACORP), Chairman Jim Gilmore
Delegate John Cosgrove
Congressman Tom Davis
Vellie Dietrich-Hall for Supervisor ( Fairfax County ) and Members of the Jennifer

Byler Institute 2005 and 2006 Series

Sunday, December 4

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Young Republicans Board Meeting

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hokies Go Bowling

While the wahoos will be staying home.

With our win yesterday, we finish the regular season 10-2 and probably will be headed to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (Peach) in Atlanta. We will play some team from the SEC, most likely Tennessee.

We also finished with the number 1 defense in the country.

Friday, November 24, 2006

2008 Battles

Everyone should go check out SurveyUSA to test all the presidential matchups for 2008. They have polled every matchup in every state to calculate the electoral college results for each of the probable GOP and dem candidates.

The most interesting showing is that a McCain-Edwards matchup would yield the closest race, a 272-266 EV win for McCain. This is interesting to me b/c I have heard alot of people say that would be closer than many people expect; so this polling info somewhat proves it.

Obviously this is an imperfect science, but it does shed some light on how the electoral map breaks down.

Also, Virginia is consistently in the GOP column based on this polling in any reasonablly close races (other than Mark Warner who wins Va against anyone).

Monday, November 20, 2006


Mason Conservative has yet again taken the lead on RPV leadership in denoucing the candidacy and presumed coronation of Ed Gillespie as RPV Chair. He points to an old playbook and lack of grassroots connections as the reasons Gillespie is unsuitable for the position.

While I am not ready to say its a disaster in the making; I do think if all he brings to the table is a fundraising machine and a "direct line to the White House", he will probably not help the problems we face.

Hopefully he will be more than those two things, and be able to use his national experience to help RPV turn things around.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Moderate or Liberal?

Our friend Delta Mike has a post over at Virginia Prosgressive showcasing Jim Webb's editorial in the WSJ. He talks about the class system that is developing and how we need to try and change the course of this (although I didn't see a proposal to fix it).
Anyway, DM was using this to downplay thoughts that Webb may be a moderate or even a conservative in the Senate. He pointed out that usually liberals are the ones pointing to class warfare, etc as a political issue.

I have had the same opinion as he about these "moderate" candidates who the dems ran this time around. Everyone is talking about how the democratic party will be changed due to all these new moderate members. First off, it is unclear how moderate they will stay once they arrive in Washington. Second, even if they are; with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid they will have a tough time getting anywhere without some serious changes to their beliefs.

This leads into my question about how long the dem majority can last. I am a firm believer in local politics over national ones; but there is a correlation. More and more I think the parties will use divisive members of the opposite party to showcase why you should vote for them (i.e. saying Jim Webb is ok but a vote for him is a vote for Ted Kennedy; and you don't want that). I expected more of that this cycle, especially in the Montana race, but it didn't happen.

Some of these "moderate/conservative" dems who were elected this year, especially in the House, will have big targets on their backs to see how they perform in their first 2 years. I think some of these seats will be lost anyway as a result of the presidential race having coattail effects in deep red districts like the IN-8, FL-16 and TX-22. Various others may be surrendered by the dems b/c the people don't live up to what they said, or that they just end up being more liberal than the voters thought.

Don't forget folks, most dems this year were elected on a "GOP sucks" mantra; not a plan for anything. I think we could see a 1994 for the GOP again in 2008 due to the base realizing what a mistake was made in the past and being able to turn it around.

I'm not saying the GOP will do this, but I think they will have the opportunity. They have to seize upon it in 2008; or we may find ourselves out of power for the next 40 years.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Some Misconceptions

With the advent of Ed Gillespie seemingly being the new RPV Chair, many are speculating that the RNC and national GOP folks want him here to ensure that Virginia does not turn blue in 2008; which many people seem to think is going to happen.

That simply is not true. While Virginia may be trending blue, it will not meet that threshold by 2008. Also don't forget; elections are about candidates and issue stances; especially in Virginia.

Lets revisit 1992 as the Old Dominion had just elected a democrat Chuck Robb to the Senate in 1988 and Doug Wilder to the governor's mansion in 1989. Virginia must have been "turning blue" then too huh? The dems even had serious control of the General Assembly as well. As it turns out, Virginia again delivered its electoral votes to George H.W. Bush; even with the large Perot vote holding his margins down.

I see the same thing developing right now here in Virginia. The Virginia electorate is very smart and typically votes for the person. That being said, it is still intristically conservative. The problem posed in Virginia is that when a democratic presidential candidate wants to win the state; they have to devote vast resources here (and unlike any other campaigns, presidential ones have limited money) to get us to even. In 2004 everyone thought Virginia might be in play, but it ended up being the usual GOP win b/c the dems can't afford to gamble here when money starts to get tight. They have a much better chance in states like Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida.

Even with the seemingly democratic turn in Northern Virginia (which I am not totally sold on), the downstate areas can still offset when the turnout is jacked up to 65-70%. I think if a dem in 2008 takes aim at Virginia; they will find themselves making a big mistake.

I agree that Virginia could become the next Ohio in the next few years, but we aren't there yet.

Monday, November 13, 2006

New RPV Chair

Since Kate is resigning, 1st Vice-Chair Mike Thomas will be acting Chairman until the State Central Meeting at the Advance on Dec. 1-2, where they will elect a new chairman.

My sources tell me former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie will be throwing his hat into the ring for the job.

7th District Chair Linwood Cobb is also rumored to make a run. I know him personally and believe he would do a good job. He has great business creditials and also has worked his way through the ranks of the party; so he knows the "nuts-and-bolts" of how things work.

Several others being mentioned are 1st District Chair Russ Moulton, former Delegate Jack Rust and Delegate John Cosgrove.

I don't see a clear leader right now, although Gillespie's name ID should give him the early edge.

UPDATE: Looks like my sources were correct. The RTD is reporting that Gillespie is Allen's pick for RPV Chair.

Kate Resigns, Gets "Win Bonus"

This evening Kate Obenshain Griffin has officially resigned RPV Chair to take a job as George Allen's Chief of Staff for the remainder of his term.

According to Senate rules, she will be able to draw compensation after Allen's term ends as long as she is still operating under the office doing the transition. At $160,000 a year; that works out to be about $40,000-$50,000 in compensation she will receive as a result of her new position.

Some are speculating that its a move to not only beef up her pocketbook, but to give her more creditials to make a statewide run (is Chief of Staff for 3 months really that valuable?).

I will have more info later, but right now I am going to see what I need to do to get such a sweet deal like this.

How Did He Get It Wrong?

That's what Karl Rove is asking himself. According to Newsweek via Drudge, Karl Rove was still optomistic on election night until around 11 PM when he informed the President that the GOP would lose the House.

Rove had been adamant about the fact that he believed (and all his metrics told him) that the GOP would hold both houses of Congress due to microtargeting, money advantage and other factors.

According to the article, he is going to convene a study by GOP strategists to see why his metrics were wrong this time around.

One suggestion I have for him is that he was dead wrong about pressing the war as an issue; it was a losing one for the GOP. It worked in 2004 b/c it wasn't viewed nearly as bad as it is now. Continuing to focus on the war probably hurt us more than anything (waiting to fire Rummy after the election was stupid as well).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Direction at RPV

Our friend Mason Conservative has a scathing post on RPV Chair Kate Griffin. He points to continued losses in NOVA as well as a general loss of direction and leadership in the party as grounds for her removal.

On my preceding post, a few people have made arguements that she should be axed as well (although they may be democrats for all I know).

I have often wondered what effect these recent elections will have on Kate. I don't think she can be directly to blame for most of the losses (she didnt tell George to say macaca); but politicos usually want a scalp when they lose.

I was just wondering what everyone's feelings on this topic are; b/c this is important. Getting our party on the right track is key to keeping it red in 2008 and beyond. The RPV chair will be one of the main players in whether that happens or not.

UPDATE: I have heard a rumor that a majority of the district chairs will be opposing Kate for party chair (and this nothing more than a rumor at this point). I must admit these same rumors were present last year, so it may not be correct. James Atticus Bowen makes a great point that the State Central Committee and the other party leaders will make the decision on whether Kate stays or goes, not the grassroots people like us bloggers. That being the case, if this rumor is true I would say the situation gets much more complicated.

UPDATE2: Bearing Drift has some thoughts up here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Now the question is whether the GOP will view this loss as that they lost or that the dems won.

In Virginia the question is whether our party will see this loss as a result of Allen's statement or general problems within the party.

Later I will have a list of some things we can try to fix the next time around.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Projected Winner

Based on preliminary data I can project that George Allen will win the election for U.S. Senate in Virginia.

UPDATE: My intial projections have fallen shot. Absentee ballots were too strong in NOVA. Jim Webb is the next Senator from Virginia.


It looks like Loudoun County will be around 46-48% turnout.
Hardly a blowout.
I have heard Fairfax looks like about 55-58% and PWC is around 43%.

Hopefully more to come. Anyone got any solid numbers?

Monday, November 06, 2006

New Weather Forecast

Its looks like rain in the morning in SWVa and in the noon/afternoon time in the rest of Virginia.
It also looks like NOVA might miss the rain almost altogether.

I of course was hoping for 2 feet of snow, that way only SUV owners could vote (who are overwhelmingly GOP).

Looks like the weather forecast probably marginally favors Webb.

Senate Race and Predictions

I think the key number is Fairfax County. If Allen loses Fairfax County by 60,000 votes or less he can probably win. If he loses by more than that; he is going to have a very tough time winning.

My prediction is Allen wins the election by 6000 votes.
Marriage Amendment passes with more than 60%.

Post your predictions here if you want.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Congressional Indicators

On election night, Virginia will be one of the first states to close the polls (7 PM here, 8 or later most everywhere else). For this reason, many people will be looking to our races for guidance on how the night will go for each party.

The Senate race is pretty cut and dried since an Allen victory would almost guarantee that the GOP holds the Senate.

The race we have that could dictate Congressional outcomes is the 2nd district. A 58% Bush district and won by Drake with 55% in 2004; the numbers here could give us some insight into what will happen the rest of the night.

First and foremost, I think if Drake loses it is likely the GOP will lose the bulk of the competitive races. Her losing, even against a great candidate, would probably signal a "wave".

Predicting the mrgins if she wins is much tougher. The latest poll shows her with a 51-43 lead, but another recent poll actually has her trailing. This would indicate she will have a hard time getting more than her previous 55%, and maybe a hard time even getting to 52%.

I think if she can break 55%, it will be a major signal that things may go much better for the GOP than expected. I can't promise they will hold the majority if she breaks that number, but the democratic margins will probably be low. For the purposes of this analysis, we will assume if she gets 55% the GOP will lose 15 seats giving the dems 218. For every % point Drake is under 55, I think the dems probably gain 3-5 additional seats. So for instance, if Drake gets 52 then the dems will have 227-233 seats.

Obviously this is not an exact science by any stretch, but I think we will probably be able to pretty accurately tell how the election will go by Drake's margin.

Weather Forecast and Effects

According to weather.com, they are calling for rain showers all up and down the eastern seaboard on election day. Obviously this is a few days away (and we know how accurate long term weather forecasts are), but we will try to analyize what this forecast may cause in some elections.

First off for Virginia; it appears the system will be in deep southwest Va on Monday and be gone from the state by Wednesday, so depending on how fast this storm system is moving we could see rain in the morning in western Va and rain in the evening in the surburban areas of NOVA, Richmond and Tidewater. This probably has a net benefit of nothing since suburban voters typically vote in the morning; especially in NOVA whereas rural voters don't really care as much what time they vote. If however there is rain statewide all day or even just in the morning in NOVA, that should favor Allen (since people won't vote b/c they don't want to get out in the rain).
Rain in general should favor Allen since his strengths are the more rural areas that typically don't have long wait lines outside. Suburban areas on the other hand have long lines that people will not wait in; especially in bad weather.
The other dynamic here is age of voters. Most polls I have seen show Webb leading among the 65+ demographic, which will probably be the most unlikely to vote if there is bad weather (they aren't going to work, don't want to get out in the weather and get sick, etc). This bad weather should also benefit Allen is that way.
The third thing is overall turnout. With bad weather usually comes an overall lower turnout. The Allen people feel they are better off the lower the turnout is. Even so, the dems are more motivated so I think lower turnout statewide could actually hurt Allen in this race.
Best case scenario for Allen is rain in NOVA in the morning and nothing in Richmond or the Valley. Best case for Webb is basically the opposite; rain in the Valley and Richmond and clear skies in NOVA.

For Tennessee; it appears rain is only expected in the eastern part of the state while Memphis is clear. This could hurt Bob Corker in the Senate race as Memphis is a democratic stronghold and the GOP stronghold areas are the border counties in the easternmost part of the state.

In the northeast, rain could push turnout lower in many competitive House races in OH, PA, NY and CT. I still believe lower turnout favors democrats in this environment b/c they are more fired up and more likely to vote anyway. If these races are close, this weather could tip the balance (and the bulk of the competitive seats are on the east coast).

In Maryland, the same theory applies as Virginia. If rain comes in the morning in the DC suburbs; look for that to benefit Steele and Ehrlich in the statewide races there. If however the rain is only in the western part of the state; it could be bad news for the GOP candidates.

We will continue to monitor the weather forecasts and see if anything changes.

Friday, November 03, 2006


As we are only 4 days until the election, I am just letting you folks know I am working on a couple of things for predicting the elections this year. I think we are going to be able to project the House majority from our friend Thelma Drake's race. I also think that the Allen race will be able to be predicted pretty early based on a couple of factors. I will hopefully have them Sunday or Monday.

Now this weekend all I want is the Hokies to beat the Hurricanes.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Early Voting

I have heard early voting in Roanoke indicates presidential year turnout.
What is everyone hearing around the state on early voting?