Elaine in Roanoke
In 2011 the Republicans tried to knock off Edwards, at that time only one of three Democrats in the senate from west of Charlottesville. (We all remember Phil Puckett's deal with the GOP to get his daughter a judgeship, resulting in his retirement. That leaves John Edwards and Creigh Deeds as the only senate Dems in the western half of the state.) Edwards in 2011 faced Dave Nutter a member of the House of Delegates from Montgomery County. It was felt that Nutter could garner enough votes outside of Roanoke City to beat Edwards. Edwards won with 56% of the vote. However, the turnout was, as usual, low. The total vote in the district was only about 38,000 votes, out of a total population of 188,000. Statewide turnout was about 29%, not a promising statistic for Democrats in off years.
I have heard that Nancy Dye is doing door-to-door campaigning, a tactic that is very effective, but one that John Edwards is not known for. She is well funded since the GOP wants her to win, if at all possible. Edwards is ahead in fundraising, but Dye is close behind him.
One good thing I saw today was a TV ad by the Edwards campaign. It wasn't especially interesting, but it did have John Edwards speaking about his achievements since he was first elected. If I were his campaign manager, I would tell him to resurrect an effective ad he used in 2011 with his mother telling why her boy should be re-elected. He needs to have ads that make people talk about them, something different from the usual. Nancy Dye has also run TV ads, beating Edwards to the airwaves by several days.
According to Tommy Jordan, a long-time Democratic campaign activist who has helped Ferris in previous elections, the Edwards campaign wanted the event canceled because they said Ferris was going to use it to announce his support for Don Caldwell, 35-year veteran commonwealth's attorney for Roanoke City, who bolted the party he used to chair to run as an independent against Edwards and his Republican opponent, Dr. Nancy Dye. Jordan adamantly denied that was going to happen. Meanwhile, Sam Barrett, campaign manager for Edwards, said that Edwards wasn't involved in the decision to pull the plug on the fundraiser.
The statement from Adam Zuckerman, the director of Herring's PAC said, "This particular event was becoming a bit of distraction for local Democrats, but Attorney General Herring strongly supports Senator Edwards's re-election."
This newest pothole in the road to Edwards retaining his seat makes me wonder if he can pull off re-election or not. Jordan's disavowal notwithstanding, I believe that Ferris WAS going to sabotage Edwards with a Caldwell endorsement. Why? First, after he graduated from law school in the late 1980's, Ferris' first job was in Don Caldwell's office as an assistant prosecutor, staying there until he opened his own firm. They have remained fast friends. Plus, Ferris evidently has not gotten over the fact that in the last council election in May 2014 two other Democrats filed to run against the three Democratic incumbents up for re-election for the three available nominations. Thus, there would have been a primary. To avoid that, Ferris broke with the party and ran as an independent. He was joined by fellow incumbent Bill Bestpitch, who also had been elected as a Democrat.