Would Bobby Scott Really Run Against Tim Kaine?


    Since Doug Wilder claimed that Rep. Bobby Scott “had not ruled out running for [Jim Webb’s U.S. Senate] seat– even possibly mounting a primary challenge to Kaine, should the former governor run,” I’ve been asking around to see what Democratic insiders think of this.

    First off, I hear that Rep. Scott feels disrespected, in that he’s a senior member of the Virginia Congressional delegation, yet the establshment has only been talking seriously about Tom Perriello and Tim Kaine as potential candidates. In particular, I’m told that the talk about Perriello, who only served 1 term in Congress, particularly “infuriates” Scott — or at least some of his top supporters — who may feel “taken for granted.” Could this sense of grievance, if true, drive Bobby Scott to primary Tim Kaine for the nomination? It seems like a plausible motivation, but we’ll see if it’s strong enough.

    Second, I’ve heard from several different people about how this was more about Doug Wilder, and his own issues/agenda. Along those lines, one person told me that Wilder is just trying to “stoke a fire and keep his name in the press.” Now that I can believe, because from what I’ve seen of Wilder the past few years, it’s always all about him.

    Third, I’m told that Bobby Scott hates raising money, doesn’t like to campaign, and always seems happier being talked about for higher office than actually running for higher office.

    Finally, one Democratic insider made the argument to me that Bobby Scott would lose handily to Tim Kaine. Why? Because Scott’s “never run a tough race, doesn’t have the statewide name ID and can’t raise the money.”

    So, what do you think? Personally, I’d be happy to see Bobby Scott run in a primary for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, as I see Scott as a strong progressive (which Kaine clearly is not). However, I have absolutely no idea if Scott would be interested in doing that (and no, someone with as little credibility as Doug Wilder saying Scott might be interested is not anything I take seriously).

    Finally, I have no idea whether Scott would be effective in a tough, knock-down-drag-out fight against George Allen. And, as much as I would love to see a progressive champion representing Virginia in the U.S. Senate, my #1 priority is to make sure that a Republican – George Allen, Jamie Radtke, or whoever – isn’t.

    • pontoon

      comment about whether he could win in a primary against Tim Kaine.  However, I would love to see those who are interested in being our Senator throw their hats into the ring.  There is, IMHO, every reason to allow the voters to choose who our candidates will be, whether they be Dems or Repubs.  I have a real problem with the current coronation of Tim Kaine as our Senate candidate.

    • FreeDem

      The article is all about Wilder projecting his own sense of being passed over by the party onto Bobby Scott. Scott is a team player and not the type to hold a grudge against folks like Perriello. Particularly sense the two got along well in the delegation, unlike Scott and neighboring Tidewater “Democrat” Glenn Nye.

      But Scott has said several times that he wouldn’t decide on running until the summer and that the attention on having a nominee now is premature. There may be something else going on in his mind right now, perhaps redistricting?

      The problem with listening to Democratic insiders today is that they have the memory of a goldfish. This would not be Scott’s first rodeo. He won a moderate, white State Senate seat in the 1980s when Herb Batemen won election to Congress. Scott went on to run against Bateman in 1986 and won 44% in a district where Mondale got 37% the election before and Dukakis later won 38%.

      Scott’s star diminished in the 1990s when I think the average Democratic insider decided to write him off as just a liberal Democrat who was only in politics because of representing a minority-majority district. This totally writes off his career up to his 1992 election to the House. Part of this is Scott’s fault, he arguably should have ran statewide in 1997 although that ended up being a bad year. His bankruptcy also attracted some negative attention.

      In many ways the Democratic Party of Virginia has regressed from the 1980s. Folks like Wilder no longer have the clout to block conservative Democrats from consideration for office like he did with Owen Pickett running statewide. I don’t know the last time a black candidate running outside of a minority-majority district was taken seriously by the party’s insiders. That says more about Warner and Kaine than it does about Wilder though.  

    • The Richmonder

      His district (CD-3) was created in 1992 to be the only African-American majority congressional district in Virginia.  In his re-election campaigns Scott has routinely polled above 75%.  The lowest he has ever polled in the 3rd in 69% in 2004.  Scott has not faced serious competition in 18 years.

      From PPP:

      “Given a laundry list of names to choose from 53% of primary voters in Virginia say Kaine is their first choice to 9% each for Tom Perriello, Rick Boucher, and Bobby Scott, 8% for Doug Wilder, 3% for Gerry Connolly, and 1% for Glenn Nye.”

      With numbers like these, would Bobby Scott really mount a spoiler campaign?  I doubt it.  It’s precisely the kind of fantasy that would be thrown out by Wilder–an old friend of Allen’s–in order to stir up dissension among Democrats.

    • Say What

      and wildly IRRELEVANT.

      He gets to be heard because of a “pioneering” past (kudos for that) … but these days he relishes a would be “spoiler” role in throwing about divisive statements.

      That man represents NOBODY but himself.

      When he represented the “Slavery Museum” (what a treat) to be built  in Fredericksburg … well let’s just say it died a slow death (thankfully). In fact it was a venture he supported because it represented an opportunity for him to get paid well as a leader of the venture.

      What you’re left with in Wilder is a bitter old man, who at his best was just another careerist politician … at his worst a smack mouth racist…. in the mold of George Allen?? … Now there’s a pair … or is it birds of feather who flock together?

    • George Jefferson Davis

      1- yes, Wilder has an insatiable need to see his name in the papers.

      2- Bobby Scott would certainly be a very unique voice in the Senate, and one the Senate could badly use. But he has 18 years of seniority in the House and I don’t think he’d throw it away to be Senator number 97. He’s in the top quarter of most tenured members right now. If he sticks around and Dems get the majority back he’s in a strong position for some choice gigs.  

    • DanielK

      It is because of his non-endorsement that we had to deal with Attorney General Bob McDonnell which spring boarded him to Governor.  Once more politicians followed after him he pretty much became irrelevant in Virginia politics but for whatever reason people still talk to him for what he once was.  Most, not all Virginians are beyond him.  He won’t go down in history due to what he did as a Governor but rather what he did recently in hurting Democrats presently.

      I agree with Lowell’s assessment about Wilder’s intentions here.  First, his dislike for Tim Kaine is very evident and unlike most progressives here it is more personal that anything.  Many progressives disagree with him based on policy and his votes, Wilder doesn’t like him because if people are talking about Kaine they aren’t talking about Dougie.  Plain and simple.  Secondly, this is more to fan the flames against Tim Kaine and stir up crap.  I’m not sure if Bobby Scott would do well in a primary but polling data is used by all politicians and running for a major office like that requires a lot of time and investment and unless you’re 100% in then it isn’t worth it.  For me, if Wilder is supporting Bobby Scott I’d really have to force myself to get behind Scott simply for the reason that Wilder is supporting him.  I know that is juvenile BUT my dislike for Wilder and his putting his own self interests ahead of what is best for progressives and most importantly Virginians makes me steadfast in that dislike.

      Mark my words……George Allen will be endorsed by Doug Wilder if Kaine is the nominee! Unlike, progressives like Lowell and others who aren’t on the Kaine-WarTrain 100% Wilder will not support Kaine simply because it would give him less pretty and media interest instead of an endorsement based on a close study of issues and everything else.  Unfortunately, a non-endorsement of a Democrat by Wilder is viewed as an endorsement for the Republican in the race.  Wilder knows that and that helps keep his name in the press and people interested in what he is doing, or lack there of.  I know that there are many politicians who only care about their own self interests but Wilder doesn’t even care to hide it.

      As for the race statewide, I think Bobby Scott would be at a disadvantage because unlike Allen and Kaine he doesn’t have the statewide name appeal that the two former Governors have.  Kaine’s proven he can win tough races as evidenced by his last run for Governor and I think the coattails of Obama would help put him over the edge.  However, I don’t think Obama’s coattails could help Bobby Scott enough to put him over the edge and more of a split ticket could happen with him than would Tim Kaine.  

    • FreeDem

      Obama wins Virginia, Allen defeats Tim Kaine, and Wilder jumps in front of every reporter to blame it on Kaine’s problems with the black community stemming from the wider disrespect of Wilder, Scott, and other black Democrats in the party. The lesson will be the need to reach out to the black community more in 2013. It may not be the real reason why Tim Kaine is defeated, but it’s a good suggestion for the party. Right now the slate in 2013 looks like a Republican country club: all white men.