Here are a few winners and losers from last night that I think are worth highlighting.
1. Adam Ebbin. In talking to people the last few weeks, almost everyone was assuming that Ebbin would lose to Rob Krupicka. Instead, Ebbin won 39%-36%, a significant upset victory. Ebbin also made history as the first openly gay State Senator in Virginia history. Congratulations to Adam, as well as to LGBT Virginians, who now have a strong voice in Richmond to help stand up against the extreme, homophobic agenda of people like Ken Cuccinelli!
2. Janet Oleszek. She not only won last night, she beat the “machine,” such as it is, in Fairfax County. She also won after getting started very late. Chap Petersen also is a big winner in this one, as he backed Janet strongly, including in the closing mailer to voters. It wasn’t exactly Chap! vs. Sharon Bulova, but to the extent it was, Chap! won.
3. Alfonso Lopez. Won by a 2:1 margin last night, putting to rest any doubts about his willingness to work hard, to run a disciplined campaign, and to put together a strong coalition of grassroots and establishment supporters. That was impressive. Another winner in this context is Lopez’s campaign manager, Brian Straw, who now rewards himself by heading off to law school. Or, is that a punishment? (my attorney wife, who hated law school, would probably argue “yes!”) 🙂
4. Dick Black: I’m not going to get into Republican primaries too much here, but no doubt, Dick Black – despite being a bat**** crazy homophobe, infamous for sending plastic fetuses to lawmakers back when he was a delegate – won last night (38.8%-37.4%) in the 13th Senate district primary over the favorite, John Stirrup. This leads us to the next winner, on the Democratic side…
5. Shawn Mitchell. The Democratic nominee against Dick Black has got to be VERY happy this morning. After Black’s win last night, the Mitchell campaign fired off an email which said, in part, “We know from Dick Black’s eight years in Richmond that he is more interested in causing controversy than solving problems and will put his social agenda ahead of fixing the economy and creating jobs in Loudoun and Prince William Counties.” DPVA chimed in: “The Tea Party and the radical right got their candidate in the 13th Senate District with political opportunist and far-right extremist Dick Black winning a close race.” In short, Mitchell got the Republican opponent he wanted, definitely his best chance at victory in November. Now, we all have to help him beat crazy Dick Black, who truly would like to take us all back to the Stone Age.
6. Jeff Frederick. The former RPV chair, who was ousted for utter incompetence, staged a huge comeback last night in the 36th State Senate district, where he crushed Tito “the Builder” Muñoz by a 69%-31% margin. The question is whether this indicates that Frederick has truly unified the Republican Party behind him to face incumbent Senator Toddy Puller this fall. Let’s hope not, but last night was impressive for Frederick, nonetheless.
7. Mack Crounse (Democratic strategic communications firm): Went “3 for 3 in VA primaries tonight” with wins for Theo Stamos, Alfonso Lopez, and Barbara Favola. Impressive!
1. Washington Post. Endorsed in three Democratic primary races – the 30th and 31st Senate districts, the 49th House of Delegates district – of which two (30th and 31st) appeared to be truly competitive. The Post won one (Barbara Favola) big and lost one (Rob Krupicka) in a major upset. A so-so night for our friends at the Kaplan Post.
2. Rep. Gerry Connolly. Wisely kept out of the Oleszek-Wade primary for Braddock District Supervisor, while making it known that he was not pleased with Wade. That was smart. On the other hand, Connolly endorsed and worked for Rob Krupicka, who lost — including by over 100 votes in Fairfax County to Adam Ebbin.
3. Barbara Favola. She won last night, big time, over Jaime Areizaga-Soto, putting to rest doubts about her ability to win a competitive Democratic primary (which she’d never done before). Last night, she did so, convincingly. On the other hand, it was a particularly nasty primary, in which the two candidates and their supporters clearly developed animosity towards each other. We’ll see how this plays out in coming weeks, and whether Favola is able to achieve enough Democratic unity (so far, no Areizaga-Soto endorsement, from what I read this morning) and enthusiasm for her tough general election battle against the wealthy (not to mention “tanned, rested, and ready”) Republican Caren Merrick. The jury’s out right now…
4. Virginia NOW. Endorsed Adam Ebbin (big win!), Libby Garvey (big loss!), Alfonso Lopez (big win!), Stephanie Clifford (big loss!), Janet Oleszek (win!), and Barbara Favola (big win!). Mixed results, overall. Also, why on earth do interest groups endorse multiple candidates in contested races? I mean, would national NOW ever endorse multiple candidates in a Democratic primary for president (Hillary AND Obama in 2008?). I don’t get it.
5. LGBT Democrats of Virginia. Endorsed Janet Oleszek (win!), Adam Ebbin (win!), Jaime Areizaga-Soto (big loss!), Stephanie Clifford (big loss!) and Alfonso Lopez (big win!). Again, what’s with endorsing both candidates in a contested primary? I’m not a fan.
6. Environmental groups: A mixed bag here. The Virginia Sierra Club endorsed winners like Barbara Favola and Alfonso Lopez, but also losers like Rob Krupicka and Rick James. The Virginia LCV endorsed Adam Ebbin and Alfonso Lopez, both winners last night, but also endorsed Rick James, who was soundly beaten (60%-40%) last night by Del. Algie Howell. Kind of a mixed bag.
7. Progressive blogs. We didn’t make any official Blue Virginia endorsements this year, but the front page of this blog (and me personally) clearly favored Jaime Areizaga-Soto, Janet Oleszek, and Theo Stamos. In addition, according to a Blue Virginia poll we did in July, Adam Ebbin was the clear favorite of our readers over Rob Krupicka and Libby Garvey. Our candidates went two for three last night. Meanwhile, NLS endorsed Janet Oleszek (win!), Jaime Areizaga-Soto (loss!), and Stephanie Clifford (loss!), Adam Ebbin (win!), and Theo Stamos (win!). NLS went 3-2 in those 5 races (not sure if I missed any NLS endorsements).
8. Dick Saslaw and Mary Margaret Whipple. They got the candidate, Barbara Favola, they (badly) wanted last night in the 31st State Senate district. But in doing so, they made a lot of people angry and spent tens of thousands of precious dollars (all of which SHOULD have been used for the general election and the battle to keep control of the State Senate this fall) in the process. The phrase “winning ugly” comes to mind.
9. Patsy Ticer: The retiring Senator in the 30th district backed Libby Garvey and Stephanie Clifford, both of whom lost badly. However, Ticer also gave money to Adam Ebbin, who won. And she endorsed Barbara Favola, who also won. All in all, a mixed bag for Patsy Ticer.
1. Chadderdon Group. The Alexandria-based direct mail firm earned over $250,000 for its work with Rob Krupicka in the 30th Senate district and Jaime Areizaga-Soto in the 31st Senate district. Both candidates lost: in Jaime’s case, by a wide margin; in Rob’s case, in a major upset of the consensus favorite in the race. (note: Chadderdon also earned $9,800 from Barbara Favola in the 31st before switching to Areizaga-Soto, which is a highly unusual move for a direct mail firm).
2. Englin Consulting. Earned over $45,000 providing political consulting services to Rob Krupicka and Jaime Areizaga-Soto. Both candidates lost (Jaime in a wipeout, Krupicka in an upset loss after being the favorite from Day #1).
3. Del. David Englin. Endorsed Rob Krupicka and Jaime Areizaga-Soto, both of whom lost last night. Del. Englin also issued a statement condemning “Barbara Favola’s racist statements that Jaime Areizaga-Soto cannot win or effectively represent us because of his ethnicity.” We’ll see how this goes over with Del. Englin’s colleagues in Richmond, but I’ve definitely heard some grumbling.
4. Sharon Bulova. Endorsed and STRONGLY campaigned for Christopher Wade, a self-described McCain-Palin supporter in 2008 and a lifelong Republican who gave no reason whatsoever why he “switched” parties to run as a Democrat for Braddock District Supervisor. “McCain-Palin Dude,” as I call him, lost to a real Democrat, Janet Oleszek, who defeated not just him but the Sharon Bulova political machine, such as it is (and it ain’t much, apparently – lol!).
5. Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille and Vice Mayor Kerry Donley. Both endorsed Rob Krupicka for the 30th State Senate district, about half of which is in Alexandria City. Krupicka won Alexandria, but not by nearly a wide enough margin (48%-35%) over Adam Ebbin to compensate for losses in Arlington County (where Krupicka got just 14% of the vote) and in Fairfax County (where Krupicka lost to Ebbin, 40%-35%). Not much of a political machine in Alexandria, it seems.
6. George Allen: Strongly endorsed Tito Muñoz, who was wiped out last night by Jeff Frederick. We might also want to add Sarah Palin (who made Muñoz famous in the first place, back in 2008) and Andrew Breitbart (who called Muñoz “one of the greatest voices” in the Tea Party) to this list. In fact, what the heck, we will! 🙂
7. Democracy: There were very few contested races yesterday, which is pathetic in and of itself. Ideally, in a democracy, it seems to me that there should be frequent primaries of incumbents. We certainly didn’t have that yesterday, particularly on the Democratic side. As for the primaries that actually DID take place, turnout was pitiful (e.g., 7% and 8%, respectively, in the 30th and 31st Senate districts). I really don’t know how a democracy can function effectively when 90%+ of registered voters don’t exercise their right, and in my view obligation, to cast a ballot. Ugh.