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Beyond the Lovefest: What Democrats Could Have Done If We Controlled the General Assembly

by: lowkell

Thu Mar 05, 2015 at 13:32:12 PM EST

Great stuff from House Minority Leader Del. David Toscano (bolding added by me for emphasis):
Republicans would have you belief that this General Assembly session was one big Lovefest. They even celebrated the fact that we adjourned one day early, as if that fact itself was enough to prove that they should be trusted with governing the Commonwealth. To be sure, the working relationships with Speaker Howell and House leadership are generally civil, far superior to Washington, and a good thing.

There were some measures about which we can all be proud -- passing a budget on time, investing in job creation and workforce development, providing raises to teachers and state employees, educational reform, attacking problems of campus sexual assault. These were enacted by broad bipartisan majorities, and supported by our constituents across the state. And all of these will be used by Republicans as they seek to maintain their majorities in the House and the Senate elections this fall. With the end of the McDonnell ethics trial and no vaginal probes populating late night television, it was a less controversial and more civil session.

But before we get too gushy about our accomplishments, let's dig a little deeper.

First, let's remember that this is an election year and that the Republicans were smart enough not to push a Tea Party agenda that has taken hold of their party nationally and that has so dominated Virginia's legislature in recent years. They could avoid this in 2015 because they did their greatest damage in earlier years, whether it was over transvaginal ultrasounds - a term few of us would have uttered in political discourse a mere two years ago, much less debate in a public forum, TRAP regulations, repealing the one-gun-a-month handgun purchase law, allowing citizens to carry  guns into bars, railing against the children of immigrants, trashing reasonable EPA regulations designed to make air cleaner and our planet more secure, making voting more difficult, or bottling up a way to bring our taxpayer dollars back to Virginia to create jobs, help our hospitals, and provide insurance to 400,000 Virginians by embracing Medicaid expansion.

The Republican leadership had a game-plan from the beginning. It first involved going soft on social wedge issues. For example, the so-called personhood bill, which would have created constitutional rights for unborn fetuses, and sailed out of the House last year, was sent to a subcommittee where it died an unceremonious death.  And Republican bills that would arm teachers and put guns in airports experienced a similar fate. Leadership was even able to derail a darling of a significant segment of the right wing, the proposal to convene a new U.S. constitutional convention, on the House floor without taking an embarrassing vote that would have lead to its defeat.

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Throwback Thursday: Bob Marshall Tried to Ban "Active Homosexuals" from Joining Virginia Nat. Guard

by: lowkell

Thu Mar 05, 2015 at 10:40:35 AM EST

A much better choice than bigoted extremist "Sideshow Bob" -- Don Shaw for Delegate!

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Video: Walter Tejada Gives Fiery Farewell Speech to Arlington Democrats

by: lowkell

Wed Mar 04, 2015 at 22:30:24 PM EST

Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada gives a fiery farewell speech to the Arlington County Democratic Committee.  Tejada emphasizes his commitment to fighting for human and civil rights, for economic justice, and for progressive values generally. Tejada blasted the election of John Vihstadt, a person he (correctly) argues "ran on an anti-government agenda and who does not share our Democratic values." He repeatedly stressed the importance of electing Democrats, that ACDC is a Democratic committee. He defended what has been criticized as "group think" as creating one of the best places to live in the country. "Standing up for progressive values could be at a crossroads in Arlington today...will we continue to make long-term investments and lead with bold and innovative initiatives, or will we become a timid and stagnant community?" He asked whether we would allow Arlington to become "a new Arlington of rich, entitled people lacking in compassion, empathy and sense of community, viscerally opposed to government of any kind, opposed to everything [they allege to be] 'overspending' on every front?" He reiterated his "unequivocal and unapologetic" support for the "modern streetcar system" and affordable housing efforts (also ending homelessness, providing resources for mental health treatment, helping integrate immigrants into the community and fighting xenophobia, among other things). Great stuff, gracias por todo a Walter Tejada!

Also see the comments section for speeches by the two Democrats (Reid Goldstein and Sharon Dorsey) running for Arlington County School Board, and the five Democrats (Peter Fallon, Andrew Schneider, Katie Cristol, Christian Dorsey, James Lander) running for two open seats on the Arlington County Board.

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Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

by: lowkell

Thu Mar 05, 2015 at 06:38:26 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, March 5.

*D.C. area federal offices and many schools are closed today.
*Fossil fuel civil war is good for renewables - and the planet ("David Crane, the CEO of NRG, the largest generation company in the country, has said that centralized fossil fuel generation is essentially dead, and the future lies in decentralised energy, and local generation, solar, wind; battery storage, micro grids and electric vehicles." Hello Dominion, are you paying attention?!?)
*Justices appear divided over health-care law ("Ninety minutes of lopsided argument in favor of the Obama administration's defense cast significant doubt on what had been a plausible challenge to Obamacare's legality. The conservative majority could still knock down the law, of course, but given the ambiguity exposed Wednesday, it would now be a breathtaking surprise for the justices to cause such massive upheaval - taking health-care immediately from 8 million and causing a death spiral for the rest of Obamacare - based on such a slender legal reed.")
*Argument analysis: Setting up the private debate on the ACA ("...the public signs were that the tone could be mostly favorable to the government - that is, the chances seemed greater for a ruling salvaging a nationwide subsidy system that makes the new health care insurance exchanges actually work in an economic sense, thus keeping it alive.")
*The court can't hide ("King v. Burwell arguments favored the White House"
*Netanyahu's damage ("His speech threatens U.S. support for Israel")
*Top Biden backer: Hillary Clinton will 'die by 1,000 cuts' on e-mail story
*Caught Off Guard by Disclosure of Emails, Democrats Rally to Clinton's Defense
*Ferguson Police Official Fired Over Racist Emails, 2 Others on Leave (Disgusting. How many police departments across the country are like this, though?!?)
*Coverage for 300,000 Virginians could hinge on court's ruling ("The outcome of the challenge to President Barack Obama's health care law before the U.S. Supreme Court could affect more than 300,000 Virginians who receive federal tax credits that help them pay for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.")
*Jones to step down as head of state Democratic Party ("Susan Swecker, a longtime state Democratic operative, is said to be among those who could be under consideration for the post, which will play a pivotal role in this year's upcoming state legislative elections and the 2016 presidential campaign.")
*Richmond mayor is set to step down as state Democratic Party chairman (It's about time; clearly, he was an absentee chair, not in any way interested in this job.)
*Va. school boards' anti-discrimination stands can mention sexual orientation (Thank you once again to Attorney General Mark Herring!)
*Virginia's toothless ethics reform ("When the dust settled in the GOP-controlled legislature, the loopholes stayed wide open, and the action turned out to be mostly pantomime.")
*Va. House speaker accused of using hardball tactics to rush ethics measure ("Five people familiar with negotiations - two of them GOP senators - told The Post that Senate Republicans considered walking away from what they called an overly complicated bill unless they had more time to get it right.")

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Short List of Bills Gov. McAulffe Should Amend or Veto

by: lowkell

Wed Mar 04, 2015 at 14:33:21 PM EST

With the Virginia General Assembly (mercifully) done for 2015, I thought I'd list a few bills that are awaiting action by Gov. McAulife. Note that the following is just a short list, I'm sure there are a LOT more bills that Gov. McAuliffe should amend or veto. Also note that a ton of progressive legislation died in subcommittee, or in conference committee, or wherever, many times without even a recorded vote. That's a topic for another diary...

HB 1318 Absentee ballots; photo identification required for submission of application. : Was opposed by almost every Democrat, and for good reason. This is simply a bill aimed at making it more difficult for people to vote, for absolutely no good reason, other than the mythical "voter fraud" the Republicans keep talking about, but never providing evidence it actually exists. Recommendation: VETO

HB 1400 Budget Bill: How aggressive does Gov. McAuliffe want to be in improving a bill, that as Del. Scott Surovell explained, does "not include enough money for pre-kindergarten programs, teacher raises or health care for the mentally ill." Nor does it expand Medicaid, of course. Recommendation: AMEND or VETO

HB 1752 SOL; Bd. of Education prohibited from adopting revisions that implement Common Core State Standards: 15 Democrats voted against this in the State Senate, and two others (Dance and Puller) likely would have, but they were not present for the vote. Bottom line, this is a crazy bill by a far-right-wing legislator (Dave LaRock) and should be deep-sixed by Gov. McAuliffe. Recommendation: VETO

lots more on the "flip"

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Thanks to Sen. Kaine for Voting to Uphold Pres. Obama's Keystone Veto. As for Mark Warner...

by: lowkell

Wed Mar 04, 2015 at 17:38:40 PM EST

The Senate voted earlier this afternoon and failed to override President Obama's veto of the "ram-filthy-Canadian-tar-sands-down-our-throats" bill. Thank you to Tim Kaine, and to the 36 others, who voted against overriding. As for Democrats who voted to override the veto, including Virginia's own Mark Warner, to put it mildly I'm not pleased. What is it about the science of global warming, and the dire/urgent need to get off of fossil fuels ASAP, don't they understand? Also, what don't they understand about the fact that Keystone XL would only produce at most a few dozen permanent jobs, while encouraging production of some of the dirtiest, nastiest fossil fuels on earth? Are these people 100% bought-and-paid-for or what?

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Six Democratic Delegates Send Letter to Gov. McAuliffe on Strengthening non-"adequate" Ethics Bill

by: lowkell

Wed Mar 04, 2015 at 16:05:10 PM EST

March 4, 2015

The Honorable Terence R. McAuliffe
Governor of Virginia
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Dear Governor McAuliffe:

The undersigned members of the Virginia House of Delegates have serious concerns about the Conference Report for HB 2070 State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, General Assembly Conflicts of Interests Act (the "Ethics Reform Bill") approved in the waning hours of our abbreviated regular session on February 27, 2015.

The unanimous vote on the matter should not be taken as a sign that there was universal agreement that the legislation was adequate. Many of us were in the queue to speak to the report and ask questions of the conferees when Republican lawmakers abruptly ended debate. The Speaker further refused to acknowledge any debate whatsoever on the Senate version of the legislation. Had we had the opportunity to more thoroughly discuss our concerns, we believe the House would have rejected the Conference Report and requested a second committee of conference with the Senate to correct some glaring deficiencies in this legislation, given that session wasn't scheduled to adjourn until the following day.  

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RPV Chair John Whitbeck: Virginia Has/Has Not Changed...or Something

by: lowkell

Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 15:40:23 PM EST

Some Tuewsday afternoon gibberish and idiocy from an interview in the Washington Post with new RPV Chair, anti-Semitic "joke" dude John Whitbeck. Note that in the first quote, Whitbeck first says that Virginia's "changed a lot" demographically, then a breath later says "although things haven't changed much." Translation?  Then, in the second quote, he basically says the Republican Party of Virginia is NOT going to change from the disastrous convention nominating process which in 2013 brought us the "Extreme Team" (Ken Kookinelli, EW Jackson, Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain). Hey, as a Democrat, that works great for me -- keep nominating unlectable extremists, and keep losing more statewide elections in Virginia. In other words, to put it a way John Whitbeck might (or might not) understand: Virginia Republicans, please don't ever CHANGE! Hahaha.
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Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

by: lowkell

Wed Mar 04, 2015 at 06:28:14 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, March 4.

*Boehner blinks on DHS funding, riles hard-liners (This was inevitable, the question is why he didn't "blink" weeks ago.)
*House Democrats seethe after address
*White House says Clinton did not heed e-mail policy ("Hillary Clinton's e-mail habits once again draw attention to her penchant for secrecy - a trait that has created political problems since her years as first lady.")
*Netanyahu's speech may have done his allies more harm than good ("In a high-profile arena, he showed just how bizarre his position on the Iran negotiations is.")
*Netanyahu's dangerous zero-sum game on Iran
*Another GOP meltdown bodes ill for 2016
*Mr. Netanyahu's Speech to Congress ("The prime minister of Israel offered no new reasons to reject the agreement being negotiated to constrain Iran's nuclear program.")
*Obamacare Goes to the Supreme Court (This is utterly insane.)
*Netanyahu's Deadly Gambit ("The Israeli prime minister is insincere. The only outcomes that would please him are Iranian regime change or outright war.")
*Schapiro: Bibi's speech ripples through Virginia politics ("...Kaine, who has broad Jewish support and whose kitchen cabinet includes several prominent Virginia Jews, had been endorsed by J Street, a pro-Israel lobbying group that has criticized Netanyahu's policies as needlessly bellicose and destabilizing.")
*Critics decry perceived loopholes in newly approved ethics bill ("A donor could ostensibly give lawmakers $99 worth of gifts over and over." As I said, this is a bad joke.)
*Legislative session a mixed bag for McAuliffe ("McAuliffe...saw many of the liberal causes he championed, as well as his renewed push for expansion of Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, go nowhere in the Republican-controlled legislature." And the ethics "reform" they did was a bad joke.)
*A budget that clears a low bar ("The public will get a budget that, while better than previous years', fails to reach its potential." Yep, it's a failure, no matter how much happy talk we hear from the governor's office.)
*McAuliffe takes post-session victory lap, thanks assembly for bipartisanship (This is just embarrassing.)
*Hampton Roads is a hot spot for ocean acidification (Ocean acidification is a potentially existenial threat to life in the ocean, and to humanity. This should be a Code Red emergency -- stop emitting greenhouse gases NOW!)
*Torres: Fight climate change; boost the Virginia economy ("83 percent of Virginians - across all party lines, age groups and demographics - want the commonwealth to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - not against it - to craft its own plan to meet the requirements of the agency's Clean Power Plan")
*Veteran Fairfax supervisor Gross faces challenger in Democratic primary
*Diminishing supply of execution drugs puts Virginia in legal limbo
*Opposition to pipeline organizes in Craig County
*County attorney's office in Fairfax will change as a result of John Geer case
*Editorial: Richmond must get the basics right first
*Sweet Briar College's decision to close stuns students
*Fairfax board votes to increase salaries for county supervisors ("Board members approved measure to raise salaries to $95,000 per year from $75,000")
*Balmy temperatures today ahead of snowstorm expected overnight (Tonight's models favor moderate to substantial snowstorm for D.C. area on Thursday)

Discuss :: (17 Comments)

ProgressVA: New Virginia "Ethics" Bill "really one step forward and two steps back"

by: lowkell

Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 14:40:36 PM EST

From our friends at Progress Virginia, thanks as always for the great work you do trying to make Virginia a more progressive place! :)

ProgressVA Education Fund today released a new report examining the impact of HB2070 on gifts to legislators and the loopholes in the bill. The report is available online at

“This bill is really one step forward and two steps back,” said ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. “On the surface a new, lower gift limit is progress but the devil is in the details and the details of HB2070 allow for multiple exemptions and loopholes from gift rules.”

According to ProgressVA Education Fund’s analysis, 79% of gifts reported by legislators in 2014 would not be impacted by the bill, including 69% of gifts from lobbyists. ProgressVA Education Fund could not determine the legality of approximately 10% of lobbyist gifts without additional information.

The report identifies a significant new loophole that would exclude some travel, such as to conferences hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, from regulation and disclosure. “This loophole essentially allows the Speaker and Senate Rules Committee to exempt gifts from regulation or disclosure by approving attendance at a conference,” said Scholl. “The public's business should be conducted in the light of day.”

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Virginia House Minority Leader Del. Toscano's General Assembly Wrapup

by: lowkell

Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 11:52:05 AM EST

From Virginia House Minority Leader David Toscano:


The General Assembly adjourned on Friday, February 27, 2015, at approximately 9:00 p.m.In most sessions, the last minute negotiations surround the budget. This year, it involved ethics reform. As you may have noticed from numerous news reports, Senate Republicans threatened to block any ethics bill from being passed. At the last moment, however, they relented, and we were able to pass modest ethics reform that improves the law somewhat on what had previously been in place. While this law goes farther than previous efforts, it does not tackle the critical issues related to campaign finance reform, including the role of major contributions in election campaigns. That being said, the bill lowers from $250 to $100 the value of gifts, meals, and travel that an elected official can receive from a lobbyist or a person seeking a contract with the state. It also includes any dependents living in the official’s home, such as a spouse, child, or other relative. The bill clearly could have gone farther; the Ethics Advisory Council does not have much enforcement power and there are certain exemptions to the gift ban for legislators’ travel to “widely attended” events such as conferences. I voted for the bill because it is better than our laws were two years ago, but I believe there is still much to be done.  

The last days of the session saw a number of measures passed that I had proposed and strongly supported. Included in these were the expansion of the DNA database, a campus sexual assault reporting bill that protects survivors while providing increased encouragement to them to report perpetrators of these crimes, and a bill that requires notations be placed on college transcripts when students are discharged for violations of the codes of conduct. These measures were proposed as a result of The Rolling Stone article on UVa and the Hannah Graham case, and I believe that they will bring a higher level of protection for our citizens while encouraging more reporting of sexual assault on campuses.

During the final days, we also passed:

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Blast from the Past: 1990s "Clintonian Triangulation" Returns to 2015 Virginia?

by: lowkell

Mon Mar 02, 2015 at 14:18:50 PM EST

I've now seen Terry McAuliffe use the same messaging too many times to write it off as a mistake, a fluke, a slip of the tongue, whatever. What messaging is that, you ask?  See here and here, for instance. The key messaging points:

*"'It's a lovefest here in Richmond,' McAuliffe declared during his "Ask the Governor" segment Thursday morning on WRVA-AM."
*"'We all put Virginia first,' McAuliffe said, praising Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; and Sens. Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico and Charles J. Colgan, D-Prince Williams, the chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee."
*"I enjoy working with the legislature."
*"Gov. Terry McAuliffe praised lawmakers for working with him in a bipartisan fashion to produce a budget that safeguarded mutual priorities and serves the best interests of the commonwealth."
*"McAuliffe also said he was satisfied with the last-minute agreement on ethics reform and reiterated his position that the $100 cap on all gifts 'is a big deal.'"
*"'It's been a great session,' the governor said Friday night to a delegation of House and Senate members that included eight retiring lawmakers.
'We've all worked together. We put the partisan politics aside. ... It was great teamwork,; he added."
*"This is the model - we can work together."

Does this not-at-all-subtle happy talk of bipartisanship and how (supposedly) great it is to work across the aisle by a Democrat, coming after said Democrat got his (political) butt seriously kicked last year on Medicaid expansion and other issues, remind you of anything? How about McAuliffe's BFF Bill Clinton, following the 1994 "Republican Revolution"/"Gingrich Revolution," in which Republicans saw a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives and eight seats in the Senate? Before that, Bill Clinton had governed basically as a strong progressive, pushing for universal health care (aka, "Hillarycare"); a tax package that, among other things, helped balance the budget by raising tax rates on the wealthy; signing the Brady Bill into law; implementing the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, which at the time was considered progressive (believe it or not); etc. No, it wasn't all progressive prior to the Gingrich Revolution (e.g., NAFTA anyone?), but for the most part Clinton pushed for progressive policies in 1993 and 1994, until...cue scary music!

After the 1994 wipeout, of course, Clinton was forced to work with a Republican Congress for the rest of his term in office. That meant scaling back...well, pretty much anything and everthing remotely progressive, and instead turning to advisors like Republican strategist (and all-around right wingnut, as it turns out) Dick Morris to figure out how to "triangulate" himself back to relevance. Here's what I'm talking about.

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Virginia News Headlines: Tuesday Morning

by: lowkell

Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 06:25:39 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, March 3. Also, check out Jon Stewart mocking the "unstoppable tag team" of "turtle and carrot" (McConnell and Boehner).

*Netanyahu says it's his duty to warn Congress (I agree 100% that a nuclear Iran would be a threat to Israel and to the world, but the way Boehner and Bibi have botched this speech has only been a distraction to that core issue. That's my main concern here; that this entire episode is hurting Israel not enhancing its security.)
*Clinton used private e-mail for State Dept. business (So...maybe not a major deal in the end, but let's just say, hypothetically, that Hillary Clinton doesn't run for president after all. Then what?)
*An alliance in danger ("Netanyahu has made matters worse." Yep, that's my point exactly.)
*The real reason Netanyahu is willing to risk Israel's relationship with the U.S. ("To put it bluntly, every day in which Netanyahu manages to deflect conversation away from the economy is a good day for him.")
*Boehner's spectacle ("The DHS situation is beyond ridiculous.")
*Centrist Dems ready strike against Warren wing ("The New Democrat Coalition (NDC), a caucus of moderate Democrats in the House, plans to unveil an economic policy platform as soon as this week in an attempt to chart a different course." Note that Reps. Connolly and Beyer are in the NDC.)
*Warner, Kaine vote against GOP motion to negotiate Homeland Security funding (Good. Now it's back where it should be, in Boehner's lap.)
*Exclusive: Obama says Iran must halt key nuclear work for at least a decade ("Iran must commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached, but the odds are still against sealing a final agreement, U.S. President Barack Obama told Reuters on Monday.")
*Small steps ("Measured from where Virginia stood a couple of years ago, the ethics reforms passed by the General Assembly - the second in a row - qualify as another modest step forward. Measured from the ideal, they fall far short.")
*Feds shirk duties on roads (Title is wildly misleading; it's not the "feds," it's Bob Goodlatte and his merry band of Teahadists running the House of Representatives blocking the "Marketplace Fairness Act.")
*Del. Scott Surovell: Budget Tweaks, Execution Secrecy and Ethics ("Stronger ethics laws are essentially meaningless if they cannot be enforced." Also, "although the bill lowered Virginia's gift cap to $100, it deleted the $250 aggregate gift cap, so now elected officials can accept an unlimited number of gifts under $100 from the same donor.")
*McDonnell launches bid to have corruption conviction thrown out
*Maureen McDonnell appeals corruption convictions
*Reeves' legislation reflects an unnecessary desire to strengthen his position
*Va. cabdriver on FBI's 'Most Wanted Terrorists' list detained in Somalia
*Robert Hurt talks about security, Israel at Liberty University (The stuffed shirt speaks! LOL)
*Council votes unanimously to keep brewery deal alive
*Virginia Peninsula Schools officials trying to catch up on makeup plans for snow days
*Fairfax County to create commission in wake of Geer shooting controversy
*Snow and rain mix later today with temperatures hovering near freezing ("The precipitation should develop between 1 and 3 p.m. and taper off before 7 p.m.")

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

How Many Seats Could Virginia Dems Gain in the House of Delegates in 2015?

by: lowkell

Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 16:16:41 PM EST

I made a graph (broken into two parts because it's so wide; click on each to "embiggen") of the 100 Virginia House of Delegates seats, with their performance in 2013 measured by the percentage that Mark Herring received. Out of these districts, which could be possible pickup opportunities for Democrats this year? By far and away, that would be district 86, held by retiring incumbent Tom Rust and a great pickup opportunty for Democrat Jennifer Boysko, who lost by just 32 votes in 2013. Other than that one, in descending order of Mark Herring 2013 percentages down to 50%, Democratic pickup opportunties would be: David Ramadan (87th), Jim LeMunyon (67th), Tag Greason (32nd), Dave Albo (42nd), Scott Lingamfelter (31st), Bob Marshall (13th), Randy Minchew (10th), Joseph Yost (12th), Ron Villanueva (21st), Jackson Miller (50th) and Rich Anderson (51st). Of course, Democrats would need strong candidates in those districts, with enough resources to compete.

A few other districts that COULD potentially be competitive include 49% Herring 2013 performance districts in the 94th (David Yancey) and 100th (Rob Bloxom), and 48% Herring districts in the 28th (Bill Howell) and 68th (Manoli Loupassi). Beyond that, it's really getting to be a longshot in an odd-year, low-turnout election, but the next two would be Tim Hugo (40th) and Glenn Davis (84th), both in 47% Herring 2013 districts.

As for Democratic incumbents' most vulnerable seats, those would be the 34th (a 55% Mark Herring 2013 district held by Kathleen Murphy), the 93rd (a 56% Mark Herring district held by Monty Mason), and possibly the 2nd (a 56% Mark Herring district being vacated by Michael Futrell). Hopefully, we'll be fine in all of those, though. Anything else I missed?

Bottom line: Democrats should certainly pick up one seat in 2015 (Jennifer Boysko in the 86th), with the potential for several more, depending on how strong our recruiting is, how well funded Democratic House candidates are this year, what the national mood is looking like this fall, etc.

Discuss :: (11 Comments)

Virginia News Headlines: Monday Morning

by: lowkell

Mon Mar 02, 2015 at 06:16:05 AM EST

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, March 2. It's still icy out there -- be careful!

*Weather Alert: Federal agencies on delay; many schools closed or delayed
*GOP discord undercuts efforts to fund DHS
*The party of 'no' ("The GOP still can't get to 'yes.'")
*A snowball's chance ("Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee - and he seems determined to make that fact a national embarrassment." How can lunatics like this ever get elected to anything in our country?)
*Retired Israeli veterans warn against speech ("...a group of 180 retired Israeli generals and former top security officials warned that his upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress on Iran's nuclear program will cause more harm than good....Rather than slowing down Iran's nuclear project, the former security officials said, Netanyahu's speech Tuesday will bring the Islamic republic closer to developing a nuclear bomb.")
*Kerry Pushes for Agreement in Nuclear Talks With Iran
*CPAC: Hackneyed and Hollow ("There remains in the Republican Party, as evidenced by the speakers at this event, a breathtaking narrowness of vision and deficit of creative thought.")
*GOP infighting in Va. may harm the party's White House bid in 2016 (Who are these "centrist conservatives" exactly? As far as I can tell, it's a party of right-wing conservatives and far-right-wing extremists.)
*With GOP in control of Virginia's legislature, McAuliffe agenda sunk ("They canned his name for a health-care initiative, changed the name of his economic development fund, whacked his effort to expand pre-school - all in all, the governor had a tough time in the General Assembly this year." Right, TMac can spin it however he wants with happy talk, but this session was not good.)
*McAuliffe praises bipartisan model as session ends (What I was just talking about - mindless happy talk about this being a "great session," which it most definitely wasn't. Also, this is wildly off message for the 2015 elections, as the argument is de facto "things are going great with Republicans in control of the General Assembly, so no need to change anything." Bad politics, bad policy.)
*Virginia Port Authority faces a bottleneck of problems
*Private police carry guns, badges, can make arrests ("The number of "special conservators of the peace" - or SCOPs, as they are known - has doubled in Virginia over the past decade to roughly 750, according to state records." Hmmmm.)
*Portsmouth's latest political embarrassment
*Plans underway to expand Prince William's compost facility
*In Arlington, growth threatens a building some view as historic ("The Wilson School is targeted for demolition, and officials intend to build a much larger facility there.")
*Council to decide fate of Stone Brewing deal in property vote
*Fairfax law enforcement resorts again to stonewalling
*Lots of ice early before area temperatures begin to warm

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