Perhaps the smartest move that the State Senate Democrats came up with in their attempt to keep the Senate out of GOP hands was the redistricting that put far-rightie Ralph Smith in the same district as far-rightie Steve Newman and created a new district that stretches from Lynchburg all the way to Goochland County. That seat may be insurance against the loss of other incumbents.
The Democrat running for the new seat, Bert Dodson, is doing all the right things to win. He knows how to run a campaign. A 12-year veteran of Lynchburg City Council, Dodson is President and CEO of Dodson Pest Control, a company that employs more than 500 people and operates in much of the new district. Dodson has also garnered endorsements from the National Federation of Independent Business, the state firefighters association, the Sierra Club, and the Virginia Education Association.
Dodson’s opponent, Tom Garrett, is typical of the Neanderthal GOPers running in Virginia today. Among other things, he advocates reducing the corporate tax on business and using our tax money to provide school vouchers for private school education.
On September 30 Dodson reported a war chest of $150,000 on hand, compared to Garrett’s $50,000. Dodson is running a well-oiled campaign in what is a fairly conservative district but one he is suited to represent. I have also been impressed by his use something that more candidates should employ. Instead of engaging in the typical yard sign war, Dodson has purchased billboards along major highways in the new district. As someone told me, “I can’t go anywhere without seeing Bert’s billboards.”
Out in southwest Virginia we have three senators who have been targeted by the Virginia GOP. I’m not really worried about Roscoe Reynolds or Phil Puckett, but if John Edwards loses to Dave Nutter, then Bert Dodson just might end up a savior of the State Senate.