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, February 06, 2007

Potential Primary in the 10th

Incumbent Sen. John Watkins is another "moderate" Senator who may be targeted in this year's round of GOP primaries. The only potential name I have heard is David Johnson, who works in the AG's office. This is not certain yet, so it may not even happen.

Watkins' seat is a suburban Richmond seat on the west end, and encompasses alot of the same type of people as Walter Stosch's 12th. For this reason, a potential primary here would see the same issues and developments as the 12th's race. Again, this area is very heavily GOP and those GOPs are probably more fiscally conservative than socially (that is, their motivation is fiscal issues). Yet again, there would also be almost no concern for GOPs that the seat would be lost if a new candidate got the nomination.

This gives a potential challenger ammunition since the arguement against these "moderates" is their tax/fiscal stance as opposed to social issues. Watkins supported the '04 tax increase and was probably an original supporter of Chichester's tax plan last year.

The obviously major difference between this race and the Stosch-Blackburn race is that it would not involve a member of the Senate leadership.

Remember that Watkins is the other GOP who just voted against both transportation proposals in the Finance committee. This will allow him to argue that he has voted against not one, but two tax/fee increase proposals recently and that he is actually a very fiscally conservative Senator. Much like Hanger, his district does not suffer from massive traffic problems and therefore will probably not be held in contempt for voting No on proposals that raise taxes/fees but generate relatively little money for his district. Obviously there will be more concern for transportation here than in Hanger's district; but it is still not viewed as a major problem.

Lastly, Watkins has $156,272 on hand. Johnson may decide not to enter the race since Watkins already has a good start and would be tough to match this late in the game.

Obviously there is no rating until there is a formal decision to challenge; but Watkins would begin as the favorite if a primary battle develops.


  • At 2/07/2007 2:20 PM, Anonymous George Templeton said…

    I see your point about Hanger and Watkins voting against both proposals, but isn't that a case of doing something not because they believe it but because they need the political cover. Chichester is no dummy and he knows that he needs guys like Watkins and Hanger to survive to hang on to his own power.
    So they vote against the compromise (making Chichester happy) and then vote against Chichester's proposal to save their own skin.

  • At 2/07/2007 3:27 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    GT, that is certainly a possibility and is the arguement you will see most from the challenge crowd.


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