Bowers as LG? I Don’t Think So


    David Bowers, Roanoke’s mayor, says he is mulling a run for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. According to Bowers, he’s been asked by “longtime friends of mine in the Democratic Party from other parts of the state” to run for the nomination next year.

    “As the Democratic ticket’s developing, it appears to be a Northern Virginia ticket, and so they were suggesting that maybe the ticket needs some geographic balance to it,” Bowers said.

    I’ve known David for a long time. He served on Roanoke City Council a couple of terms, was elected mayor for two terms, then lost the office, regaining it eight years later by running as an independent against Nelson Harris, a fellow Democrat. He was re-elected last year as a Democrat. His only foray out of city politics was in 1998 against Bob Goodlatte for the 6th District congressional seat, a race he lost resoundingly, not carrying a single locality.

    The party will choose its candidates for state-wide office next year in a primary. My advice to David is very concise: “Don’t run. You’ll lose” There are good reasons that Democratic tickets aren’t likely to have candidates from central or southwest Virginia. First, there are few elected Democrats left from Lynchburg and west to vie for higher office. Plus, the votes in the area can’t come close to those from northern Virginia or Hampton Roads, almost guaranteeing that candidates like Bowers will lose in a primary. And, let’s not forget rural candidate Creigh Deeds’ disastrous run for statewide office.

    Right now, the only Democrat seeking the lieutenant governor nomination is Aneesh Chopra, secretary of technology under Tim Kaine and later federal chief technology officer in the Obama administration.  Chopra is wisely visiting Roanoke today to meet with Democratic party leaders since he is a complete unknown here.

    Perhaps someone else can think of a viable Democratic candidate from the western half of the state. The only name I come up with is Tom Perriello.

    • Paba

      His disaster was more a case of personality and unpreparedness in the face of media scrutiny. There’s nothing about his origins that should be a natural handicap, unless someone has a very stupid prejudice against people from rural areas.

      As far as personality, Bowers has him beat on that. Of course, this is based on my own interaction with him. Not sure how he’d handle the Washington Post or anyone that isn’t from the Roanoke Times. He’d probably be better off staying Mayor.

      That isn’t to say I wouldn’t vote for him. Given the choice between him and a guy who’s education plan would likely just involve a lot of talk about iPhone apps and “innovation” (read: vouchers), I’d vote Bowers. At least he had the guts to back raising the necessary revenue to fund a school system the past 3 years (2009 was when the “Eat For Schools” restaurant tax came in, right?).

      Periello can do better than LG.  

    • FreeDem

      While it’s true that some party insiders are pushing for “geographic balance” on the ticket (which is bullshit) or some other form of diversity, I think it’s going to be Chopra, in the end. No complaints here.

      Bowers needs to come up with a more convincing argument for LG than “geographic balance” if he wants to be taken seriously. Didn’t he only narrowly win reelection in Roanoke? It seems like he’d struggle in a lot of the more affluent suburbs in the state that we have to win.