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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Few Things

First off, Joe Leming will not be challenging Riley Ingram in the 62nd.

Second, I have heard that Eric Ferguson has competition for the dem nomination in 9th HOD, but I have not confirmed that yet.

Third, the RTD's Jeff Schapiro and Michael Hardy seem to think Tim Kaine is the "solution governor" after their article on the transportation plan yesterday entitled "Kaine Solves Road Block". I didn't realize that sitting on your rocking chair and never proposing any form of solution lets you "solve a roadblock"just by making some amendments, but apparently these two guys seem to think that way. And you guys say there is no media bias.

Lastly, it appears there may be several more retirements in the general assmbly, but I do not have confirmation on them yet; but I will let you know as soon as I do.

Monday, March 26, 2007

New RPV Site

Head over to the RPV Site and check out the new look.

No major overall changes, it just looks a little different and should be easier to navigate.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Stosch God?

NLS has an interesting excerpt from a Walter Stosch email or something.

Now I don't think this is a campaign changing statement, but any bad PR in a race like this cannot be good.

Keep an eye on this race if more things like this arise.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tomer vs Target?

The Danville Register & Bee has an interesting article today about a proposed Target store that the city of Danville wants to partially finance to get it. City Council member and dem candidate for the 14th HOD district Adam Tomer was the major opposition to the plan.

I bring this up b/c this could become an issue in the race in the 14th, if for no other reason it will raise the name ID of Tomer. Whether that ID is good or bad remains to be seen.

The basic background is that the city of Danville wants to give Target an incentive package of around $8 million to get Target to open a store in their city. The majority of the council voted in favor of this measure, but Tomer and 2 others opposed the plan. Tomer argues they should only give financial incentives for industrial employers and not commercial/retail establishments.

This could be good for him in the local business community, b/c I suspect many local business owners would be hurt by a Target store. He may be able to garner some support this way.

The flip side is he could lose support as people want the increased employment and tax benefits this plan could bring. I obviously do not know the details so I will not speculate on how good the plan is; but I have a feeling some believe it is a good thing (and in politics, perception and reality might as well be the same thing). If people in Danville feel Tomer has tried to block an economic development effort; he could be in deep trouble.

Just for info's sake, currently the web poll on the paper's website shows 47 votes against the plan and 43 in favor.

This is just one issue that could create an interesting dynamic in an already interesting HOD race for 2007.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Why All the Retirements?

Anyone know why this is magical year for GOPs to retire?

My only guess is that with all the special sessions lately, alot of people are getting sick of this. Many of these people have businesses and families that they don't want to be away from for 3-5 months out of the year. They ran assuming 45-60 days and then they get that many more.

Any other ideas?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Reid Retiring

As many of you have probably seen, Del. Jack Reid is retiring. He is supposed to have a press conference at the Capitol tomorrow to make his formal announcement.

It appears that Jimmie Massie III will be the GOP nominee for the seat. I don't know very much about him other than he owns some type of consulting business (James Massie III Inc) and is a local Republican activist. The GOP local leadership is going to get behind Massie so it appears a shoo-in for the nomination.

Its a solid GOP district, so I cannot imagine the dems having much of a chance here. We will see if they even run anybody.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dudley Retires, Others May Follow

The Roanoke Times has the official announcement that Del. Allen Dudley will retire from his seat. The funniest part of the article at the beginning it talks about a "democratic district held for the GOP". The 9th may have been democratic in the past, but since redistricting not a single democrat has carried it. This is typical of the RT though.

This article also claims that local GOPs say Franklin County supervisor Charles Poindexter is the frontrunner for the nomination (I have heard this as well).

It appears Dudley's son may not get into this race, so Poindexter may have an easy path to the nomination. If there is no nomination fight and Dudley dumps his $97k into Poindexter's account; we should be off to a good start.

I am still hearing Sen. Charles Hawkins is likely to retire; but it sounds that some people in the region are trying to get him to stay. This is mainly due to Chichester's retirement, which now kicks Hawkins to number two in Senate GOP leadership. Many believe he could really help out his area by being in the Senate on more term.

The word still is that if Hawkins retires, Del. Robert Hurt will run to replace him and win the nomination (Hawkins will endorse him and ensure he wins). I have not heard any potential candidates for Hurt's seat yet; but obviously it hasn't be vacated either (I am told there are some names floating already though).

As I said in an eariler post, Dudley's retirement should give us a better shot of defending the seat. Nominating a Franklin County supervisor should make our chances even better.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Primaries Galore

As you all know, there a pretty good number of Senate GOP primaries coming this year.

Today, Not Virgil Goode at Virginia Political Wire is reporting that Del. Riley Ingram will be primaried from the right as well. They cite his support of the Warner tax increase as the key reason. NVG also claims that Ingram will run as an indy if he is defeated in the primary. We will see if his challenger gets much traction in this relatively solid GOP district.

It should be interesting to see if anymore House challenges arise as well. The only other one I have heard rumored is Bob Tata. I have heard he will primaried over his vote against Bob Marshall's abortion bill. We will see if that materializes or not.

On the dem side, I have heard Onzlee Ware is likely to be primaried as well; but I have not heard if that is definite or not yet either. This would be over his support for the "independent" candidates for Roanoke City Council last year after the incumbents failed to get the dem nomination and the dems effectively ran two slates of candidates in the race. Ware supported the incumbents and now has made some in dem circles mad at him. It should be an interesting race if it happens.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tradesports Predictor?

I was looking at Tradesports.com last night and noticed you can now bet on what party will win a state in 2008.

Virginia is a 75% likelihood of a GOP win. For those of you dems out there who honestly believe Virginia will go blue in 2008; here is your chance to make some cash. You can buy a contract at 30 to pay 100; so you can more than triple your money in a year and a half.

Obviously this isn't an exact science, but the best predictor of anything is usually something that people have wagered money on.

Monday, March 12, 2007

With Retirement, Where Will All the Money Go?

This morning John Chichester officially announced his retirement from the State Senate. There are various names floating already, but its hard to say how all that will shake out in the coming weeks.

My big question right now is what will happen to all the money? Chichester has around $360k in his campaign account and controls another $565k in the Senate Leadership Trust. Theoretically he could give his campaign account to whoever he wants to replace him in the Senate, especially if the rumor that his brother Dan will be running for the seat is true.

The Trust he could either liquidate to his remaining Senate allies or just give control to new Pro Tempe Bill Wampler (new Pro Tempe assuming we hold the majority).

The reason I bring this up is because if Chichester decides to give his entire warchest (over $900k) to the primaried Senators; the effort to unseat them just alot tougher.

I will try and get more info on this; but I thought I would try to start a dialogue on this topic from the get go.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Who Else Will Retire?

Over the past few days there has been considerable discussion over the seemingly likely possibility that Sen. John Chichester will be retiring after this year. The 28th is still a very strong GOP district and I expect the Republicans to hold the seat whether he retires or not.

That got me thinking about who else may retire in the Assembly, but more especially the Senate. One name that's possible is Sen. Charles Hawkins from the Danville area. That would be an interesting dynamic if he retired b/c it would create open seat races for both House and Senate in Franklin and Pittsylvania Counties, as Del. Dudley has retired and Del. Hurt would likely run to replace Hawkins. If this occurs, it would potentially help the GOP candidate in the 9th; as it would ensure GOPs go to the polls to support the Senate candidate as well as the House race. I have heard nothing to suspect this will occur; but Hawkins is a major Chichester ally and would probably retire when Chichester does due to his age and close relationship.

The other race I have heard nothing out of is Sen. Emmett Hanger. As you know, he has a primary challenger this year and would seemingly be out starting to campaign and ask for money by now. I have seen or heard nothing from or of his campaign. I have even heard that he hasn't decided if he will seek re-election this year. Many of you know that Sen. Hanger can sometimes decide things at the last minute (remember his LG run in 2005?) but this would seemingly indicate he is at least contemplating not running. If he chooses not to run, look for several others to enter the GOP nomination race with Sayre; since it would now be an open seat with no chance of making any enemies. I will have more on that if and when it happens.

The last potential retirement is Sen. Chuck Colgan. I have heard many rumors on what he will do and right now I am hearing he is about 75% likely to retire. Even so, I imagine the dems will be pushing super hard to keep him in the race for one more term to try and make the push for the majority. The GOP will almost undoubtably win the seat if he retires; and may have a shot even if he doesn't. As has been discussed elsewhere in past posts throughout the blogosphere; Colgan will have some major obstacles in his race this year that he has not had in past elections. Those issues along with his age may finally convince him to hang it up.

Are there any other retirements anyone is hearing about?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

With Dudley Retiring, What Happens Now?

As reported yesterday by NLS, Del. Allen Dudley will be retiring. This comes in the wake of a very tough race in 2005 and that same challenger Eric Ferguson deciding to run for the seat again in 2007.

I assume that Ferguson will still remain the democratic frontrunner for the that nomination; but others may arise with the seat now being an open contest.

On the GOP side, I am hearing Dudley's son AJ looks to be the early frontrunner for the nomination. AJ was rumored to be interested in running this year if Ferguson defeated his father in 2005; so it looks like he may get that matchup.

The GOP will start with 2 advantages in this race now. The first is that the district is Republican leaning, and is drawn where it very tough for a dem to run to be able to win it. This results from the example from our 2005 race; where the dem won conservative Franklin County; but was unable to parlay that crossover into conservative Floyd and Pittsylvania Counties. Ferguson's major obstacle against any opponent will be building support in these two counties to hold down the losses that Franklin will need to offset for him.

The second is money. Dudley has almost $100k on hand, which will undoubtably goto his son's campaign fund. In a district like this one; thats a great start. Ferguson will have the advantage that the dems know he can perform well, and will probably send a good chunk of change his way.

I personally think this development helps GOP chances of retaining the seat b/c Dudley's problems won't be an issue now. The big question mark is whether his son will be punished for some of his father's business decisions and stupid mistakes.

I felt that with Dudley barely winning even with a gubentorial election to drive turnout, he would be a very precarious situation in an off year election. Now a new candidate can hopefully fight their own battle, and make the election about issues instead of personal problems. That should favor the GOP here.

We will keep an eye on this race to see what happens next; but I think this should be good for the Republican house majority.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Whats Goin On?

Sorry I haven't posted anything for a week folks, but I haven't seen anything major going on.
What have I missed?