by Paul Goldman
After reviewing the circumstances surrounding the defeat of Tracy Thorne-Begland’s nomination to be a judge on the Richmond General District Court, two names stand out as profiles in political courage: Republican Delegates Terry Kilgore from Wise County and Manoli Loupassi from Richmond. His nomination to be the state’s first openly gay jurist seemed a “done deal” a few days ago, only to go down in a very emotional early morning defeat in the House of Delegates
Of the two, Kilgore’s vote in favor of Begland stands out the most, when you analyze all the ballots in terms of the state’s geography. Basically, those supporting former Navy Pilot Thorne-Begland came from NOVA, the Richmond area and Tidewater areas, not surprisingly in terms of electoral politics on this particular issue.
The stand-out exception: Delegate Kilgore, from the far Southwest, brother of highly regarded former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. Indeed, they are twins.
Anyone looking at the map of the vote has to marvel at Kilgore’s vote in terms of the geographical vote allocation.
This is particularly true since he could have done what roughly 2/5 of the House of Delegates did: not vote, or claim a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest? On a judicial nomination? 10% claimed such a conflict, surely the highest ever.
Please! Still, Kilgore could have ducked the vote, he knew the nomination would fail. But he didn’t. He sits on the Courts Committee. I got to respect him here.
You got to admire the man’s vote, it comes with a cost in terms of his standing in other parts of the state.
Which is why I give Manoli Loupassi a Profile in Courage. I call them like I see them: and in this case, everyone in Richmond politics knows Loupassi wants to run statewide for Attorney General. So he had to know his being the key sponsor of Mr. Thorne-Begland’s judicial nomination could prove to be very dicey in a GOP primary/convention for the AG’s nomination in the future.
But “Loop” stuck his neck out anyway since there is no question of legal qualifications here, the man is a highly respected prosecutor, a most usual way one gets to be a judge. Loupassi also once served in the Richmond’s Commonwealth Attorney’s Office where Thorne-Begland is chief deputy.
When Loupassi does run for the GOP nomination for AG, this issue will come back to hurt him don’t let anyone kid you. Loupassi knew that. But he did it anyway.
So he gets a Profile in Courage here.
Kilgore # 1, Loupassi # 2.