Home 2014 Races Updating My 8 Top Criteria Rankings for the 8th CD Democratic Primary...

Updating My 8 Top Criteria Rankings for the 8th CD Democratic Primary Candidates

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Back on February 1, I listed by “Top 8 Criteria We Should Use in Selecting the 8th CD’s Next Congressperson”. They were:

1. The next Representative from the 8th CD should be a strong, rock-solid progressive.

2. More than just the progressive scores, I want to see a tenacious, indefatigable FIGHTER for progressive values

3. We need a Representative who will fight for the 8th CD.

4. Need to build back seniority lost due to Rep. Moran’s retirement.

5. We want, need, and deserve a Representative who has the highest ethical standards and who makes us proud every day.

6. A superb, impressive track record of accomplishment over the years, in whatever field(s) the candidate has been involved.

7. Someone who will do a great job on “constituent services.”

8. I want to see a “heavyweight” in this job.

I reviewed all the candidates through the prism of these criteria, and on February 13, listed the rankings that ensued. Now, with just under two weeks to go in the primary race, I wanted to revisit my rankings in light of what we’ve learned about the candidates during the campaign. As you’ll see, there have been a few changes, up and down.

Mark Levine: Moves up from A/A- to a solid A, having proven that he has a deep and broad knowledge of both foreign policy and domestic policy, as well as being a super-strong progressive. He’s also shown that he’s not just an “entertainer” but is a serious candidate running a serious campaign.

Adam Ebbin: No real surprises, has maintained his A-/B+ rating as a strong progressive with high ethical standards and a serious, if not “flashy” or “exciting,” policy wonk.

Patrick Hope: Slips a bit from A/A- to a B+ due to questions about his “heavyweight” status on foreign policy (and disagreement on his overall thrust, which appears to be away from active engagement with the rest of the world), as well as on areas outside of his core expertise – healthcare. I’m also disappointed that he hasn’t emphasized climate change – by far the most important issue facing humanity – more in his campaign, including on his mailers.

Don Beyer: A significant move upwards, from C+/C to a B+, due to the consistently, strongly progressive and environmentalist (e.g., advocates for a national carbon tax, which I STRONGLY agree with!) campaign he’s run since I first saw him speak at the Brigades meeting back in February. The ONLY reason I don’t have Beyer even higher, in the “A” range, is that I still have some lingering difficulties completely reconciling his more “moderate” record as a statewide Virginia Democratic politician in the 1990s (e.g., his role in welfare reform, which the Hope campaign in particular has attacked, such as in this video), as well as a couple of quotes in the 2000s (about ending the “death tax” and a supporting a national sales tax), with the super-strong progressive we see today. (note: I asked him about these reports, and he said he couldn’t imagine why he was quoted that way, as he doesn’t think this way at all, that these views are antithetical to his progressive values, etc.) Of course, Beyer’s now firmly and repeatedly on the record about a wide range of issues, so if  – or more likely when – he’s elected on June 10, it could be problematic for him to back off of those positions, even if he wants to.

Bill Euille: Slips slightly, from a B+/B to a B/B- for the campaign, mainly due to little evidence of serious foreign policy expertise, his response in one debate that he was open to the Keystone XL pipeline, and his funding from Sheila Johnson (who gave $50,000 to Bob McDonnell and who disgustingly mocked Creigh Deeds’ stutter during the 2009 Virginia governor’s campaign). Other than that, I maintain my evaluation that Euille appears to be a “strong progressive, but he’s been involved overwhelmingly at the local level so it’s hard to know how that would translate to the national stage.” As for “whether or not he puts together a serious campaign,” it seems that he has for the most part.

Derek Hyra: Goes from unranked to a C-. Hasn’t run an impressive campaign (e.g., almost no money raised, little sign of any grassroots support), also has a top policy advisor who spends his days flacking for the fossil fuel industry and against the environment. Other than that, I haven’t been impressed with Hyra on foreign policy, and I’ve disagreed with him on things like raising the Social Security retirement age (which he supports doing). On numerous occasions, at debates, I’ve had the thought, “this guy sounds like a Republican in some ways.” Mostly, though, his focus has been on the urban planning issues he’s an expert on, which is fine but not particularly broad-based for someone who would have to deal with every issue under the sun in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lavern Chatman: Goes from “Incomplete” to “Disqualified” due to a huge problem with criterion #5 (see Chatman for Congress Campaign Issues Statement on “Fraudulent Conveyance” Appeal She Lost in 2003) and also serious doubts about criterion #1 (see Video: Lavern Chatman Spoke Positively About, Donated to NC Gov. Pat McCrory (R)). Finally, Chatman would have lost ground anyway, due to her weak performance on criterion #8 (during debates, her answers on foreign policy were shaky at best, and on many domestic policy issues were general and/or vague – mostly style, little substance seems to sum it up).