Does that headline seem far-fetched? Crazy even? It certainly would have seemed far-fetched, if not crazy, a few weeks ago. But how about today, after Gillespie nearly pulled off one of the biggest political upsets of the year, and possibly the greatest in Virginia political history (I’d rank Dave Brat over Eric Cantor at the top of the list in recent history)? How about after Comstock not only defeated, but utterly crushed (by 16 points) a well-funded, popular Democrat in a “swing district?” A few points to consider.
*Comstock is just 55 years old and, by all accounts, highly ambitious. Can anyone seriously picture her as a “lifer” in Congress?
*In her campaign this year, Comstock demonstrated an ability to bring together all wings of her party, attract independent voters in the above-mentioned “swing district,” and steamroll to victory. Since then, she’s been touted as one of the big Republican winners of 2014. Do you think someone with Comstock’s ambition isn’t going to be seriously think about, and be seriously courted for, higher office going forward?
*Comstock also has ties to some of the biggest names, biggest $$$, and most influential voices in both the Republican Party and the right-wing echo chamber (e.g., Sean Hannity, Mark Levin).
*Let’s say Hillary Clinton wins the White House in 2016 against whoever the Republicans nominate. That means 2020 will be wide open, with Republicans looking for someone who can bring their party together and take back the White House. Could a three-term Congresswoman (assuming Comstock’s reelected in 2016, she should then easily win in 2018 as well) from the crucial state of Virginia, a woman no less, be someone Republicans might turn to for President or Vice President in 2020? Of course, it’s a long way off, and a lot of things can happen before then, but it seems highly plausible to me, as long as Comstock keeps doing what she’s been doing. And no, that doesn’t make me happy in the least, because I view her as dangerous and extreme.
*As for Ed Gillespie, my money’s still on Mark Obenshain getting the 2017 Republican nomination for Virginia Governor. If so, then the next realistic opening for Gillespie would be U.S. Senate in 2018, when Tim Kaine comes up for reelection. That’s assuming, of course, that Kaine’s still in the Senate, as he’s widely considered on the “short list” for VP in 2016.
*In that latter scenario, where Kaine moves up to Vice President in 2016, Gov. McAuliffe would appoint someone to fill the vacancy temporarily. According to Virginia Code:
When any vacancy occurs in the representation of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States Senate, the Governor shall issue a writ of election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term. The election shall be held on the next succeeding November general election date or, if the vacancy occurs within 120 days prior to that date, on the second succeeding November general election date. The Governor may make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy until the qualified voters fill the same by election.
*So, if I’m reading this right, it’s possible there could be an election in November 2016 or November 2017 for U.S. Senate. In that case, change “Ed Gillespie for Senate 2018?” to “Ed Gillespie for Senate 2016 or 2017?”
Anyway, there’s no doubt this is all mostly navel gazing at this point, but I just wanted to throw it out there to put on your radar screens.