Apparently, a nervous Teapublican, Del. Jim LeMunyon, is now digging up old college writings by Democratic 67th House of Delegates district nominee Eric Clingan, during Clingan’s youthful fling with conservativism. Of course, those days are long gone, and Clingan has been a Democrat for many years now. However, that hasn’t stopped Jittery Jim LeMunyon from sending out dusty old quotes by Clingan to base Democrats, in a clear attempt to suppress turnout for Clingan this coming Tuesday.
Look, I had some of the same questions about Clingan myself, but they were allayed by two things: 1) Clingan was recruited by Del. Scott Surovell, a progressive champion if there ever was one; and 2) I had a long conversation with Clingan at the start of his campaign, during which we talked through his political journey and I came away impressed and unconcerned about decades-old writings in his college days. Heck, I’d better never run for anything, because I started off as a Teenage Republican myself. But I guess that’s politics for you, especially when you’ve got an incumbent who will do anything to hold onto power.
Anyway, check out Clingan’s mailer, here and on the “flip,” which explains why he moved from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. Basically, it comes down to his party leaving him (off the right-wing deep end) more than anything, sort of like what Jim Webb told me in December 2005 about why he made the same political journey himself. In the end, Webb hasn’t been a super progressive, but he’s been an infinitely better Senator than George Allen was/would have been, and he’s done some great things as well (e.g., GI Bill of Rights, criminal justice reform, work on Far East policy).
It’s the same thing with Eric Clingan — he will be an infinitely better delegate than Tea Partier Jim LeMunyon, with his crazy “REPEAL” Amendment and funding from the “Middle Resolution PAC,” etc. Plus, Clingan’s a smart, sensible guy who will be a great addition to the House of Delegates. Go Eric!