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, May 30, 2007

Endorsements in the 22nd

I had meant to get to this a few days ago, but I have been busy dealing with other things.

There has been an interesting development in the race for the 22nd. Sen. Bell has now received the endorsements from many of the local elected GOPs in the district. I know all the electeds in Montgomery County have endorsed Bell, which should ensure he performs very well in that part of the district.
There are a good number of Roanoke Valley electeds, but I don't know if all of them are endorsing Bell or not. Either way this should bode well for him.

The most interesting endorsements are from Congressman Bob Goodlatte and LG Bill Bolling. These two, in my opinion, almost ensure Bell will win this primary. Bob Goodlatte is very well liked by most everyone in the 6th Congressional district, but certainly among GOP circles in the Roanoke area. This combined with Bolling's endorsement (who served in the Senate with Bell) should basically end this race. As far as I know, this is the only Senate race Bolling or Goodlatte has made an endorsement in (and remember Goodlatte represents the 24th as well).

I guess now a question is whether Goodlatte will make an endorsement in the race for the 24th. If he does, I would say he would probably be kingmaker there as well.

I will keep everyone up to date on any more developments in this area.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

I want to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day and also say thank you to all our great veterans, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the Red, White and Blue.

While everyone is having their BBQs and whatever else we do on our day off, take a minute to remember all those who gave their time, health and sometimes lives to keep this country great.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Family Foundation Ratings and the GOP Primaries

The new Virginia Family Foundation ratings are out and here are the ratings for the primaried GOP Senators:
Fred Quayle - 63
Walter Stosch - 73
Marty Williams - 75
Emmett Hanger - 86
Brandon Bell - 89

Before my analysis, I want to remind everyone that one of the VFF's survey votes was the tax vote; so obviously all these guys got docked for that one.

Quayle is very weak for a Republican (he was the second lowest GOP rating in front of Russ Potts). Could this be enough to turn the tide against him in his race?

Stosch's number is somewhat weak. Even so, he represents an area that is probably more business oriented rather than social issues. I doubt this will have a major impact here.

Williams had low number for a Republican; but his district, like Stosch's, is probably more business minded than social issues. The one problem he does face is that he is probably in more trouble than Stosch and this may be one more nail in his coffin.

Hanger's is probably the most interesting. He has a high number (the 7th highest in the Senate), but it still is below the 100s that his fellow delegates Cline, Landes and Saxman received. Look for the Sayre folks to use this in the last few days of the primary cycle as more ammunition for ousting Emmett. Even so, Emmett's only "non-family vote" other than the tax vote was on school choice; so we will see if thats enough to fire up the 24th's primary voters.

Bell is probably in one of the strongest positions with this rating since he has a high rating and his downticket delegates were close by (Fralin had a 100, but Griffith had a 95 and Nutter received an 89 as well). It appears it will be tough for Smith to make much hay out of this, since Bell's numbers look pretty solid here.

I expect other organizations to begin releasing their surveys and ratings soon, so perhaps there will be other effects in these races as well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shakeup in the 27th

As most of you probably already know, Mark Tate was indicted today. This seemingly should be the end of the nomination contest in the 27th, with Jill Holtzman Vogel arising victorious.
Even so, some in the blogosphere seem to think otherwise. Personally, I don't know enough about the situation yet to make a prediction so I will wait until I get a better grasp on whats going on before I try to do any further analysis.

Monday, May 21, 2007

AFP Event

I just wanted to pass along the lunch Americans For Prosperity is having on June 2nd in Richmond at the Marriott.
I hope everyone can make it, as they have a great lineup and some great ideas as well.
Also, it should be a good holdover between the State Central meeting in the morning and the RPV Gala in the evening (SCC is 10-12, AFP lunch is 11:30-3, Gala begins at 5:30/6:30).
Best of all, its free!

You are cordially invited….
To Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s
Defending the American Dream-Virginia Conference
Saturday, June 2nd * 11:30am until 3:00pm

The Richmond Marriott 500 East Broad Street Richmond , VA 23219
Featuring Guest Speakers:Michael Steele, Former Lt. Governor of Maryland & GOPAC Chairman, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, AFP-Virginia Chairman Paul Harris, and Other Virginia State Legislators

Please join us for a free lunch and hear from our featured speakers to learn more about what we can do to promote our shared values of limited government, free markets and fiscal restraint.
President Reagan said the American Dream is “the heart and soul of America ; it’s the promise that keeps our nation forever good and generous, a model and hope to the world.”
That is just as true today as it was when President Reagan spoke those words more than two decades ago, but sadly, the American Dream is still under attack. Now is the time to join your fellow taxpayers to ensure that lawmakers hear our free-market message of limited government and lower taxation.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, May 30th at infova@afphq.org or (804) 622.2578. You may also register online at: www.AFPVA.org.

Americans for Prosperity Foundation is the nation's premier grassroots organization fighting for free-market policies that promote free enterprise and, in a very real way, the pursuit of the American Dream.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

28th Results

The Stafford GOP Committee has a blog and they have a post up on the results from the 28th's firehouse primary over the weekend. Unfortunately they only have the Stafford results and the overall, but the info is pretty good.

It appears what I predicted in this post pretty much came to fruition in this race. Stuart crushed in the northern neck and still won votes in Stafford while the 3 Stafford candidates each drew a good piece of the pie in that county, thereby diluting Stafford's influence in the nomination contest.

Hopefully my analysis will continue correctly into the general election.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I'm Back

Just letting everyone know I am back from Vegas, and I am not entirely broke.

Just from an early cruise around, it appears Patricia Phillips has won the GOP nod in the 33rd and Richard Stuart has won the nod in the 28th.
If this is in fact the case, I would say Mark Herring is an almost guaranteed dem hold on that seat and Stuart is probably the smart money to win in the 28th.

We will take a look at everything once we get the numbers.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Graduation Tomorrow

I haven't been very active with the blog lately as I have been finishing up school and planning my Vegas trip.
Graduation is tomorrow and Saturday and I will be going to Las Vegas from Monday-Thursday.

Don't be surprised if I don't have any posts for at least the next week.

Congrats to everyone graduating from VT!

Friday, May 04, 2007

27th Update

The saga in the Mark Tate campaign finance disclosures has hit the Northern Virginia Daily today. Most all the info is pretty repetitive from whats been in the blogs; but two major statements in the article are of interest:

"This type of error calls into question all record keeping," Radtke, VCAP's political director, wrote on the blog. "Tate has either misrepresented the amount received or the number of donors is falsely reported. In either case, he has not properly disclosed donor information"...
But records maintained by the Virginia State Board of Elections don't bear out that complaint. Tate didn't file the form, but wasn't required to, according to other documents filed by the campaign, because there were no donors to identify for the six-month period in question.

Holtzman Vogel said no one from her campaign is involved with the attack on Tate in any way. "That's just ridiculous," she said. Tate's campaign finance problems have been public knowledge for some time, but "you don't hear me talking about it, ever"...
However, the VCAP post is identical to opposition research given to reporters by Holtzman Vogel supporters in recent months.

This could be a key element in this situation if in fact this information does not lead to any charges to be filed. Now Jill is on record saying she was not behind this, but this newspaper is already disputing her statement.

In light of this situation; I have heard a few Holtzman-Vogel endorsers may now withdraw their endorsements (although I have not confirmed any yet).

This story is far from over folks.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

24th Update

Things are finally heating up in the 24th Senate seat. On top of the new radio ads, there have been a good number of endorsements in the race.

As you have probably seen elsewhere; Sen. Hanger has the endorsements of a good number of the elected officials in the district, while Scott Sayre has the endorsement of most of the GOP committee chairs and other party leaders.

This begs the question, which ones are more important? Obviously, the party faithful/volunteers will certainly be a boon for Sayre in getting his message out and building support; but Hanger's elected officials have their own group of supporters that usually reaches beyond the "party faithful" and could provide a good base for him as well.

On a different front, the biggest question I have had (and perhaps one or more of our SWACers can help me with this) is whether there will be a backlash among the GOP committees/etc against these constitutional officers and supervisors who are behind Hanger; since most all the committee members are behind Sayre.

What makes this even more interesting is that the constitutional officers are actually putting their livelihood on the line for Hanger if there is potential for a backlash. Obviously there is already a pretty solid contingent of people in this area that are willing to try and oust an incumbent that they don't agree with; so I often wonder if they will try the same thing against the local electeds. One advantage they have is their elections are this year too; so it would be 4 years before primary challenges or the like would be levied against them; but it still is an interesting dynamic.

One of my biggest concerns surrounding this primary is that it could have lastly ramifications and could potentially divide the local parties. In the other primary races, you have not seen this level of activism and draw battle lines like this one. In most other primaries, most of the local electeds and party leaders are staying neutral; while this one has seen nearly everyone make an endorsement. I just hope the party arises from this unscathed.

I may be way of base here, but I just wanted to see what everyone thought of this situation that seems to be developing in the 24th.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

27th Senate GOP Primary is Over: Results Pending

Charges have now been levied that "Mark Tate is under intense criminal investigation for serious campaign finance fraud", which was first reported on VCAP's blog Conservative V.O.I.C.E. As you probably already know, VCAP has endorsed Tate's opponent; Jill Holtzman-Vogel in the 27th District. Jill is also a board member of VCAP.

Then today NLS linked the VCAP story and told us that Va GOP Chair Ed Gillespie called Tate and asked him to withdraw from the race "If these charges were true". NLS also says the charges were levied by a Holtzman-Vogel supporter to State Board of Elections and was then referred to the Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney (who is also a Holtzman-Vogel supporter).

If Tate is actually found guilty of these charges; it is safe to say that Holtzman-Vogel will win the nomination (in fact Tate will likely withdraw). Conversely, if Tate is found to be innocent of these charges; there will be serious questions then levied on Holtzman-Vogel's campaign, who look to be at every turn in this saga. I am not suggesting Jill planted or had anything to do with this story, but alot of the facts will point to her.
From what I see, if Tate is exonerated of these charges or they do not exist; Holtzman-Vogel will likely face the brunt of a massive backfire that will probably doom her candidacy.

What Will Happen in the Senate?

With the retirement of 3 top GOP Senators, the Senate will look much different next year. There are 3 committee chairmanships up for grabs and also 3 seats on Senate Finance.

Obviously there is at least a decent chance of the dems taking control, but for the purposes of this analysis we will assume the GOP keeps control of the Senate (b/c if the dems take control, all the chairmanships will change).

Currently, 11 of the top 12 GOP Senators in senority are committee chairmen (Steve Newman being the lone Senator without one). The next 3 in line on the senority list would be Steve Newman, John Watkins, and Nick Rerras/Frank Ruff. We will assume these 3 will get chairmanships; but the next question is how will the chairmanships change?

Chichester will be vacating Finance, which will likely go to Wampler; the new Pro Tempe. That would then open up Wampler's Commerce & Labor cmte. Also up for grabs is Hawkins' Agriculture cmte and Potts' Education & Health.
The simple way to do this would be Frank Ruff for Ag, Newman for C&L and Watkins for Education & Health. Even so, you could see someone like Hanger get Ag, which would then open up Rehabilition & Social Services. As you can see, there is potential for a huge turnover here.

Another contengency is that Hanger and/or Stosch get knocked off in the primaries. Since their successors would be freshman, that would open up 2 more chairmanships; likely for Rerras/Ruff and Frank Wagner/Harry Blevins.
Related to this, who will get majority leader if Stosch is knocked off? My guess would be Stolle or Norment, but time will tell.

The last contengency is what will happen to the "Trust", especially if the RSVP group gains control of the caucus. Currently the caucus has 23 members, which would require 12 "conservatives" to gain the majority of the caucus.
Currently there are 5 members of RSVP, plus McDougle, Rerras and Wagner that most would consider "conservatives". The Potts seat will be replaced with a conservative in either Tate or Holtzman-Vogel. It also appears Robert Hurt will win Hawkins' seat (although Hurt did vote for the tax increase in 2004). If Van Hoy or another Stafford conservative wins in the 28th that would give the conservatives 11. Their magic 12th seat would come if either Bob Fitzsimmons knocks off Sen. Chuck Colgan or if Stall, Smith, Sayre or Blackburn can win their primary. This of course is also predicated on all the conservative members being re-elected.

What would happen next is anyone's guess. Most certainly one of this group would be named majority leader. Wampler would still likely be Pro Tempe b/c the entire Senate votes on that. The whole Senate also votes for committee chairmanships. The big question here is how this would all play out. Since the RSVP group would still have a grave minority of the Senate, you could potentially see the remnants of the "Trust" ally with the dems to gain all the committee chairmanships (basically stripping Martin of P&E and barring Rerras, Wagner or Newman from getting one).

Conversely, will Stolle/Norment/et al join the RSVP crowd and try to hold their status in the Senate? Would RSVP let them? Would a deal be struck where a bigger number of RSVPers get chairmanships in return for keeping some of the Trust members in theirs?

I have no hard evidence to predict any of this; but I think there could be one hellacious battle if the conservatives manage to gain control of the GOP Senate caucus.