Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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Message to Our New Delegates: Stick Together!

To the new Democratic Delegates elected last Tuesday: Congratulations – your impressive victory was a shot in the arm for US democracy, which lately has...

This Gun-Loving Republican Delegate Just Got Caught With a Smoking Gun

Last week, Daily Kos staff writer Carolyn Fiddler wrote this diary highlighting a rather racist set of mail pieces in Virginia being sent out to attack Democratic House of...

Welcome to 2017, Virginia. It’s Time to Fight for Progress.

We all need to find the peace necessary to move past the 2016 General Election Cycle and its results. Now that we're in 2017,...

Dave Brat is in the Wurst Pickle

The near-silence of Donald Trump supporter Rep. Dave Brat (VA-7) on this week's fiascos in the GOP is telling.  Brat is famous for having...

Benedict Puckett

Cross posted at Daily Kos

Benedict Arnold. Judas Iscariot. Brutus. Quisling.

Add to the names of history's traitors one Phillip Puckett. This former Democrat apparently made a deal to resign his Senate seat just to hand the majority to the GOP. In return he gets - no, not thirty pieces of silver, but a seat on the Tobacco Commission and a judgeship for his daughter.

Judges, you know, those people who are supposed to administer the law fairly, honestly and dispassionately? You might think that obtaining the job through such sleazebaggery would taint the rest of her career a bit.

Is this act of openly bribing a state official even legal? All I know is that if Republicans want to play such unscrupulous, hardball, no-holds-barred politics, the answer is not to respond by playing patty cake with them. If they are going to take power through dishonest means, just playing along is not the way to honor or maintain a democracy.  

If they want a fight, let's give them a fight.  Let's shout out our protest everywhere from social media to the streets. Democrats should boycott every institution rendered illegitimate by this dirty act, from the General Assembly to Mr. Puckett's daughter's courtroom.  

Virginia was born when the people in this colony could no longer brook the tyranny of King George III. From that fight we gained democratic governance. Now we need to fight to bring that principle back.

Twelve Days of Christmas for Virginia Democrats: Day Eight, Swing Voters

Welcome to this twelve-part series looking at the challenges, obstacles, and future possibilities of Virginia Democrats. If you've missed past diaries, follow these links: Day One, Competitive Districts. Day Two, Turnout Problems. Day Three, Past Mistakes. Day Four, Downstate Democrats. Day Five, Unchallenged Incumbents. Day Six, Present Opportunities. Day Seven, Democratic Trends. For today's poll, I'm asking about your early support for Governor in 2017.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the Commonwealth of Virginia gave to me ...

Swing voters, that crucial demographic of people who voted Romney-Kaine, or Cuccinelli-Northam-Obenshain, or even were crazy enough to go for Sarvis!

In the last half-decade, Virginia Democrats have seen a range of elections that allow us to roughly identify geographic areas of ticket-splitters. I'm talking about folks who came out and voted for Mitt Romney and Tim Kaine. Or switched back and forth in 2013 between Sarvis, Northam, and Obenshain. Or even McDonnell-Wagner-Shannon! It's all possible.

Twelve Days of Christmas for Virginia Democrats: Day Six, The Ghost...

We are now halfway through this twelve part series looking at the challenges, obstacles, and future possibilities of Virginia Democrats. If you've missed past diaries, follow these links: Day One, Competitive Districts. Day Two, Turnout Problems. Day Three, Past Mistakes. Day Four, Downstate Democrats. Day Five, Unchallenged Incumbents. At the end of the diary there is a poll to vote in, please show your support by voting!

On the sixth day of Christmas, the Commonwealth of Virginia gave to me...Come in and know me better!

Of course, if day three was the Ghost of Christmas Past, day six is the Ghost of Christmas Present! Virginia Democrats may be depressed with the first part of this series, but this holiday season, they have a lot to be thankful for. In honor of this being New Year's Eve, we'll be looking at reasons to look forward to 2014.

First, good girls and boys of all ages across Virginia have opened up their invitations to an inauguration featuring three Democratic officials. Combined with Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, the party has demonstrated that the far right is no longer welcome in statewide elections in the Commonwealth.

In 2014, Mark Warner will be up for reelection and Virginia Republicans are desperate to find a warm body with a pulse to run against him. Earlier this year, Warner's approval ratings were above 50% and he was leading all challengers by double digits. Right now, with concerns over the implementation of Obamacare, his numbers may be softer, but this will be temporary as the health care roll out improves in 2014. I question what Republican will be foolish enough to run; Warner will march onward to reelection. Even with a strong challenger, only delusional Tea Partiers believe Warner is truly vulnerable.

Twelve Days of Christmas for Virginia Democrats: Day Five, Unchallenged Incumbents

This is the fifth part of a twelve part series looking at the challenges, obstacles, and future possibilities of Virginia Democrats. Here are the previous diaries: Day One, Competitive Districts. Day Two, Turnout Problems. Day Three, Past Mistakes. Day Four, Downstate Democrats. To show that you've read this diary and support the project, please vote in the poll at the end. Thank you!

On the fifth day of Christmas, the Commonwealth of Virginia gave to me ...

Incumbents who are so safe in their seats they don't remember the last time they had to actually campaign. Could they even fundraise if they tried? Do they know anything about targeting, polling, and tools like Votebuilder or Catalyst?

In 2013, 41 incumbent Delegates were not even challenged by another candidate, either by the other major party or by a minor party candidate. One more was able to win their first election without any challenge at all, walking right into office. That may seem sad, but it's an improvement over 2011, when 59 incumbents were unchallenged in their newly drawn districts. That's similar to elections in 2003, 2005, and 2007, where over 60 delegates on average, almost two-thirds of the chamber, were unchallenged. In the ten years from 2003 to 2013, well over half of all delegate races were unchallenged.

Twelve Days of Christmas for Virginia Democrats: Day Four, Silenced Downstate...

This is the fourth part of a twelve part series looking at the challenges, obstacles, and future possibilities of Virginia Democrats. Day one focused on challenges facing Virginia Democrats in competitive districts, day two focused on problems with turnout. On day three, we were visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past to teach us the lessons of past campaign mistakes. Thank you for reading, please make sure you vote on the poll at the end!

On the fourth day of Christmas, the Commonwealth of Virginia gave to me...A Republican gerrymandering that has silenced Democratic voters downstate at the House of Delegates!

Wait, another post on gerrymandering? Lame!

Hold on, hear me out, this is about an aspect of Republican gerrymandering that has gone more unnoticed. As we know from day one, the Republican gerrymander isn't the only problem facing Virginia Democrats in the House of Delegates. But the gerrymandering's impact has negatively influenced Democratic recruits for higher office outside of Northern Virginia.

Twelve Days of Christmas for Virginia Democrats: Day Three, The Ghost...

This is the third part of a twelve part series looking at the challenges, obstacles, and future possibilities of Virginia Democrats. Day one focused on challenges facing Virginia Democrats in competitive districts, Day two focused on problems with turnout. Thank you for reading, make sure you vote on the poll at the end!

On the third day of Christmas, the Commonwealth of Virginia gave to me...FLASH!

Hark! I am the Ghost of Christmas Past! I represent poor choices, mistakes, and questionable judgment. Let us travel first to 2009, the year in which eight Democratic incumbents were defeated during a landslide Republican election. Listen to my warnings!

In 2009, the Democratic Caucus spent almost $100,000 assisting Democrat Carole Pratt's campaign in the 6th District, an overwhelmingly Republican district where Bush had won over 60% of the vote in 2004 and where Anne Crockett-Stark had knocked off Democrat Benny Keister in 2005. In 2008, Obama managed just under 38% of the vote, 1% ahead of Kerry's 2004 performance. Yet the House Democratic Caucus led by Matt Mansell decided to prioritize this race where his mother was running ...

The result? Pratt received less than 35% of the vote. And elsewhere, incumbent Democrats dropped left and right, for a total of eight defeated incumbents, including some by the narrowest of margins: Mathieson by 14 votes, Valentine by 209, Nichols by 269, and Vanderhye by 422.