This past Saturday, I listed my 8 criteria for choosing the Democratic nominee in the 8th CD race. How do these criteria apply to specific candidates? I started with former Virginia Lt. Governor Don Beyer, continued with Del. Mark Sickles and Del. Charniele Herring, and now turn to U.S. Navy veteran Bruce Shuttleworth.
1. The next Representative from the 8th CD should be a strong, rock-solid progressive.
The challenge with Bruce Shuttleworth is that he doesn’t have a voting record, since he’s never held elective office. He does, however, have a record as a candidate in 2012, when he ran on a somewhat eclectic platform – elements of reform, progressivism, Occupy Wall Street rhetoric, attacks on Jim Moran’s “Tammany Hall corruption,” appeals to Republicans to cross over and vote for him in the Democratic primary, etc.
This time around, Shuttleworth’s campaign announcement begins: “As a straight white married father, it may come as a surprise that I am considered a diversity candidate. I’m a Fighter Pilot and a Feminist and I believe that it is the behavior of men more than women that will determine the quickest path to equal rights.” Shuttleworth argues that we “need to save our people…need to commit to cure cancer,” and that “greed is not good and that effective government oversight is a critical check to Wall Street and Big Business.”
Does that add up to a strong progressive candidate? I’ll let you all decide that for yourselves, but for my part, I’m a bit puzzled by all of this (e.g., he concludes his announcement with a focus on curing cancer and “other pernicious diseases”). I’d give this one an “incomplete.”
2. I want to see a tenacious, indefatigable FIGHTER for progressive values
Shuttleworth pledges to “marshal all of his energy as a progressive warrior for peace, fairness, honesty and justice across our great country.” Again, that sounds good, but there’s not really any track record to decide how credible it is. I guess we’ll just have to hear what Shuttleworth has to say, and how he says it, during this campaign. For now, I’d say this one gets an “incomplete.”
3. We need a Representative who will fight for the 8th CD.
Again, Shuttleworth has no track record on this criterion, so it’s almost impossible to know. Also, he hasn’t really talked much about this aspect of the job. I’d give this one an “incomplete” as well.
4. We’re going to be losing some big-time seniority and need to build it back up.
Shuttleworth’s relatively young (in his 40s, I believe), so he certainly would have time to build up seniority.
5. We want, need, and deserve a Representative who has the highest ethical standards and who makes us proud every day.
Again, there’s no record in public office to rate this criterion. From what I’ve seen, Shuttleworth seems like a good guy, and he certainly made high ethical standards a major part of his 2012 platform.
6. A superb, impressive track record of accomplishment over the years.
Shuttleworth hasn’t held public office, but he did serve in the U.S. Navy as a pilot. He’s also a graduate of Harvard Business School and former strategy management consultant.
7. Obviously, we want someone who will do a great job on “constituent services.”
I have no particular basis to judge this one, as Shuttleworth has never held public office. Another “incomplete.”
8. I want to see a “heavyweight” in this job — someone who is a serious policy wonk, someone who really loves diving into the weeds of legislation, someone who can go toe-to-toe with Republicans and Tea Partiers (and conservative and/or corporate Democrats for that matter) in the battle of ideas.
Shuttleworth’s certainly a smart guy, but again I don’t really have enough information to judge this one. Another “incomplete.”
Overall: As you can probably guess by now, my bottom line grade is…”incomplete.” We’ll see.