Just 13 days ago, Virginia went “blue” for the second straight presidential election cycle, this time going for Barack Obama (D) over Willard “Mitt” Romney (R) by 4 points, and for Tim Kaine (D) over George Allen (R) by 6 points. In the process, Obama and Kaine carried many of the largest Virginia localities – Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Henrico County, Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News, Albemarle County, Portsmouth, Roanoke, Suffolk, etc. (also Virginia Beach in the case of Kaine; Obama came very close but didn’t quite win it).
In many of these places, Obama’s and Kaine’s victories weren’t even close, but were by wide margins (e.g., 20 points in Fairfax County, 16 points in Prince William County, 12-16 points in Henrico). Yet what’s striking is that, despite the “blue” dominance of most large Virginia localities during presidential years, there are an awful lot of Republicans in power in these same places on county boards and in the Virginia General Assembly. Two localities in particular jumped right out at me for their glaring discrepancies between how they voted in 2012 and who represents them at the county and state levels the rest of the time.
Loudoun County: The Board of Supervisors is ALL Republican (including the rabid homophobic wackjob Eugene Delgaudio), despite the county going by 5 points for Obama and 6 points for Kaine this November. At the state level, it’s not so hot either, with one total nutjob Republican (State Sen. Dick Black) and another right winger (State Sen. Jill Vogel), plus a slew of Republicans in the House of Delegates (Thomas “Tag” Greason, Joe May, Jim LeMunyon, Tom Rust, Randy Minchew, David Ramadan). That leaves just two Democrats representing Loudoun County – State Senator Mark Herring, who’s running for Attorney General in 2013; and State Senator Barbara Favola, who represents just a tiny sliver of Loudoun County. What on earth is going on here?!?
Prince William County: It’s 6-2 Republican on the County Board of Supervisors, despite Prince William County going by a landslide (16 points each) for Barack Obama and Tim Kaine in November 2012. That board is headed up by Corey Stewart, notorious for his “illegal” immigrant bashing, even though Prince William County is now a “majority-minority” county. WTF? And as if that’s not absurd enough, Prince William County also has a bunch of Republicans (mis)representing it in Richmond (7 of 8 Republicans in the House of Delegates, including some truly godawful ones like “Sideshow” Bob Marshall (see NLS’ excellent analysis of his district), David Ramadan and Jackson Miller; 2 of 5 Republicans in the State Senate, including the extremist nutjob Dick Black).
Fairfax County: The County Board’s in pretty good shape, and the State Senate delegation is all-“blue,” so that’s fine. Still, given that this county went by 20 points or so for Obama/Kaine, Fairfax definitely needs to be a LOT “bluer” than it currently is in the House of Delegates. A few Republicans who badly need to say “sayonara” in 2013 include: Barbara Comstock, Tim Hugo, Dave Albo, Jim LeMunyon, and Tom Rust. So, who do we have challenging these people?
Obviously, this situation needs to change, and it needs to change starting next year! How to do this? First of all, the Democratic “powers that be” all should be busting their butts right now recruiting top-notch candidate to run in every single “Obama/Kaine” House of Delegates district in these three counties. Second, the Democratic “powers that be” need to provide whatever help those candidates need next year. Third, the Democratic “powers that be” need to be developing a plan right away aimed at getting out “Obama coalition” voters (young, Latino, African American, Asian American, women) in “odd-year” elections such as 2013, not just when a presidential or top-notch U.S. Senate campaign like Tim Kaine’s swings into town (or in this case, county). Is any of this being done? Got me. Can we win without it? Highly unlikely. Can we win WITH it? Seems like a no-brainer to me. So, what am I missing here?