Virginia state and local elections are less than one month away. What are your top priority races, the ones that matter most to you?
Here is a list of key races derived from a number of sources. I readily admit my NOVA-centricity here, while encouraging you to pipe up about which races you think merit the biggest investment of time and money.
VA Dems' overall top priority this election cycle has to be maintaining a Democratic VA Senate so we don't lose our last bulwark against Cuccinelli/Tea Party extremism in the Commonwealth. That said, my personal highest priority race this year is Dr. Babur Lateef's campaign to unseat one of Virginia's worst demagogues, PW County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Corey Stewart. Stewart gained nationwide notoriety for his anti-immigrant campaign -- as very well chronicled in the 9500 Liberty videos. Stewart made common cause with racist individuals and organizations to basically cleanse his county of Latinos and other immigrants -- with some success.
If he wins, Stewart clearly has his eyes set on higher office. This, in other words, is our best chance to halt his career before he reaches a point where he can inflict widespread damage on the state, even the country.
On to the VA Senate. With so many races going on, the challenge is in finding the right lens to focus on the ones that will make the difference between a Democratic Senate and Cuccinelli Unbound. A few of those lenses include:
George Barker vs. Miller Baker (S-39)
Mark Herring vs. Patricia Phillips (S-33)
Ralph Northam vs. Ben Loyola (S-6)
Bert Dodson vs. Tom Garrett (S-22)
Phil Puckett vs. Adam Light (S-38)
Roscoe Reynolds vs. Bill Stanley (S-20)
- Races featuring the worst Republican "nut jobs", as Sen. Saslaw aptly put it:
Shawn Mitchell vs. BV favorite Dick Black, infamous for sending plastic fetuses around to protest abortion and for many wacky statements on gays and such.
Toddy Puller vs. BV Hall of Famer Jeff Frederick, who said Darwin's theory of evolution "was used by atheists to explain away the belief in God."
Ralph Northam vs. Ben Loyola (S-6), who "wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education and eliminate corporate taxes and the income tax."
Phil Puckett vs. Adam Light (S-38), who has advocated ending Social Security and Medicare.
Bert Dodson vs. Tom Garrett, who's for abolishing the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (S-22)
John Lamie vs. Del. Bill Carrico (S-40), who "introduced a bill permitting prayer on public property, including schools."
- Races into which Republicans are pouring a gusher of money:
John Edwards vs. David Nutter (S-21)
John Millervs. Mickey Chohany (S-1)
Edd Houck vs. Bryce Reeves (S-17)
Roscoe Reynolds vs. Bill Stanley (S-20)
On to the House of Delegates! While few expect Dems to take this body this year, there are a number of important races. I'm most focused on NOVA here -- heck, if we can't win there, where can we win? Target races in Fairfax County:
Very credible challenger Pamela Danner against extreme right winger and Karl Rove ally Barbara Comstock (HD-34) (I'm still mourning Comstock's beating of the great Margi Vanderhye last go-round.)
Promising Eric Clingan vs. Tea Party favorite Jim LeMunyon (HD-67).
Energetic young challenger Jack Dobbyn vs. Dave Albo (HD-42)
Newcomer Diane Blais vs. Tim Hugo (HD-40)
Mike Kondratick vs. David Ramadan (HD-87)
David Butler vs. Randy Minchew (HD-10)
Esteban Garces vs. L. Mark Dudenhefer (HD-2)
Surely, among all of these Democrats, and others I didn't mention, you can find one or more you can love enough to go all out for. Please make sure to adopt your favorites this election season as your "babies" and do all you can to get them over the finish line. For these off-year, low turnout elections, literally every vote counts and every effort makes a difference.
You can find much more info on all of these races, including fundraising totals, at the VA Public Access Project, http://www.vpap.org.
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