What a surprise awaited me today when I read in the Augusta Free Press that Marshall Pattie, assistant professor of management at JMU, is announcing his intention today to challenge Emmett Hanger for the Republican nomination in the 24th State Senate District. What amazed me so much? Well, for starters, Pattie was chair of the Augusta County Democratic Committee until 2011, when he resigned to run successfully as an independent in a three-way race for a seat on the Augusta County Board of Supervisors.
I distinctly remember when a much younger and less conflicted Marshall Pattie, just returned to Virginia after finishing his education, appeared before the 6th Congressional Democratic Committee to express his interest in running against Bob Goodlatte for Congress. Then, he seemed to have no problem with running as a Democrat. As I recall, he quickly lost interest when it was pointed out to him that, as an untenured instructor at JMU, his superiors would not look too kindly on his taking off from his teaching duties the amount of time required for a congressional run.
Pattie’s “conversion” from activist Democratic leader in Augusta to independent county board member to full-fledged GOPer ready to challenge an incumbent first elected in 1996 must have heads spinning, to say nothing of the difficulty of explaining his “road to Damascus right-wing redemption” to the Republican voters of Augusta County and beyond. (However, Pattie certainly was massaging Republicans at the Staunton-Waynesboro-Augusta County party to “celebrate” the victory of Mitt Romney over President Obama…snark. The photo above shows Pattie glad-handing former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling before the GOP tears began flowing as Romney and Allen went down in defeat.) (Note: It has been pointed out to me that the photo that accompanies this post was taken by Lynn Mitchell at the 2012 SWAC breakfast, where Bill Bolling was guest speaker, not at the time of the 2012 election.)
As far as I am concerned, I wish Emmett Hanger the very best of luck in his primary, not because I like Hanger or his political views, but because I have nothing but contempt for people like Marshall Pattie who have only one political stance: a desire for power befitting their overweening ego.