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, December 11, 2007

DNC Wants Huckabee?

I didn't have to read this article to think he was a horrible candidate for the GOP, this just reinforces it.
I would feel much better about 2008 if we had someone in our field that everyone had at least a favorable opinion of.
Of course that being said, the dems may still make one of the most colossal mistakes of modern poltics by nominating the former first lady.

How would 2 of the worst candidates in modern history play out?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

40th Senate Update

I have some new information in the 40th Senate district. It appears Wampler will definitely take the job at the SCC, and it widely expected to pass both constitutional and confirmation hurdles. If this does occur, there will obviously be a special election; most likely in April/May.

On the dem side, it appears De. Joe Johnson is going to run and will probably be unopposed for that nomination. Even though his health isn't very good, I guess he wants to be in the majority before he leaves the Assembly.

On the Republican side there is an interesting race that could arise. My expected frontrunner Kevin Triplett has apparently declined to run. Del. Terry Kilgore has also declined, as has Jerry.
A lobbyist for Alpha Natural Resources, Donnie Ratliff, has reportedly sent out an email discussing running and he claims to have spoken with various members of the party about doing so. This should prove helpful to him in that he should be able to garner some endorsements from his position and/or connections.
A quick search on VPAP shows that he has individually given to Kilgore's Governor run, but also given to dem Delegates Dan Bowling and Bud Phillips. The company he works for (and that he essentially hands out checks for) has given over $125,000 in the 2007 elections. 22k of this was to democrats, including Del. Johnson. I have a feeling this will be a strong argument against him in the nomination contest.
The other name I have heard is Israel O'Quinn. He was a political consultant/worker in the SWVA area, most recently as Kilgore's field director. He is now a government relations person for Food City. He too is well connected, and has probably never given to any dem candidates (especially the one he is running against). My guess is, he will have the inside track on the nomination at this point (if he decides to run) b/c he can probably get the endorsement of Jerry Kilgore, and can also attack Ratliff for his dem support.

It will be interesting to see if someone from the business community and/or other non-political field steps forward to carry the GOP banner here. If they do, this nomination could become very interesting.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Campaigns Are The Key?

Our friend Bwana has an interesting take on Sen. Ken Cuccinelli's victory. He argues that we should not discount the value of a perfectly run campaign; and makes the case that ultimately is why Cooch won.

I think we have discounted this same concept in many other races over the past few years. We blame issues, comments and the media; but we rarely blame the campaign itself. I think there is evidence to show that we need to at shoulder at least some of the blame on the campaigns.

Anyone with knowledge of the race will tell you that the campaign was at fault for losing the Paula Miller-Mike Ball special election in 2004.

Kilgore largely lost b/c of the barrage of negative ads, specifically the death penalty ads.

Allen's loss can be at least partially attributable to the campaign's declaration of war on the Washington Post early on in the election; which ultimately bit them in the rear.

Even in 2007, many of our very close races should not have been; but were due to poor campaigns.

I don't mean to bring this up to point fingers, but to show what we really need to focus on. Good candidates can still lose if we don't run good campaigns. The key to this is getting good talent to run our races, and making sure those people are from the area the races are in (if at all possible). One of the biggest liabilities we have seen over the past few years is having campaign managers who don't know the turf they are working in.

Certainly running a great campaign is no substitute for a great candidate, but it sure helps if you have both. If the GOP is going to win in the future, we have run solid campaigns.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Dream Ticket for '09?

In the past, many have argued that statewide candidates have regional strength, and that building a strong regional ticket can be the key to victory. While I do not fully subscribe to this theory, it certainly has its advantages.

I bring this up b/c of a few of our potential candidates for 2009. A ticket of Bob McDonnell-Bill Bolling-Ken Cuccinelli would be a slam dunk for the regional perspective. We would have all 3 major metro areas of the state, and have candidates from the more conservative parts of those three. This would (if you believe in this theory) drive turnout in the conservative areas that have high population. This coupled with the naturally conservative areas like the Valley and SWVA, would seemingly deliver a big victory to the GOP on election night 2009.
With the prospect of Jay O'Brien running for LG, that even further compounds the strength of this potential ticket. Cooch is from the Centreville area in western Fairfax County while O'Brien represented parts of western Fairfax and Prince William County and is from Clifton. These 2 Senate districts are the strongest (relatively) GOP areas of Fairfax County and could potentially prevent the Republicans from getting romped in the county. As an added bonus, McDonnell grew up in the Mount Vernon area, so he could also have some pull too.

The other reason this would be so strong a ticket is the House races downticket. It is likely that the most competitive races in the HOD in 2009 will be the Va Beach seats (new dems and the GOP retirements), the Fairfax seats (Rust, Caputo, Hugo, Albo) and PWC (Marshall, Frederick, Nichols). This ticket would give us a a good regional advantage in all those seats.

Obviously there are alot of holes in this theory, but I would like to see what everyone thinks about this prospect.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

2009 GOP Ticket

Since it appears our 2008 Senate candidate is pretty well set, I thought I would take a look at where the GOP is looking for its 2009 stable. In light of this weekend's Advance, we may be able to guess who may be making some moves.

Governor is probably the most widely known right now. From all indications, Bob McDonnell will run as will George Allen. If Allen chooses not to run, Bill Bolling will likely jump in the race.
The only other potential candidate I see here is Congressman Eric Cantor. He had a suite at the Advance, and his consultant would likely want to have a candidate for governor.

Lt. Governor is also potentially easy. Many expect Bolling to stay put, since he has indicated he will not run against George Allen. I don't see anyone challenging him if he stays.
If he chooses not to run (for whatever reason), there are a couple of candidates. Del. Chris Saxman would seemingly throw his name in the hat, after refusing a Senate run this year. Former Sen. Jay O'Brien also had a suite and is rumored to be running for LG. Gil Davis is also likely to run again, but I don't know if he will gain much traction.

Attorney General is the most wide open right now. Sen. Cuccinelli is likely to be running. Arlington County School Board Chairman Dave Foster is also looking to run for AG as well (even though I can't imagine how he could be a GOP and win in Arlington).
Steve Baril and Paul Harris were once seen as candidates, but both have been largely absent from any party events and apparently are not running. Sen. Mark Obenshain was also rumored to be running, but it appears he will not either.

There may be others that arise for the 3 offices, but this is all I am seeing right now.

It is amazing to me how low key this cycle has been, since 4 years ago we knew of most all the candidates that ultimately ran for statewide office.

Who does everyone else see running?

Orange Bowl Bound

The Hokies are the ACC Champions and are headed to the Orange Bowl to take on Kansas.
VT is ranked #3 in the BCS, largely due to our #1 ranking in the computers.
If we were to win the bowl game, it would be our first 12 win season ever.