Home 2019 Elections Winners and Losers: 48th and 90th House of Delegates Democratic Caucuses

Winners and Losers: 48th and 90th House of Delegates Democratic Caucuses


I’m going to mostly focus on the 48th House of Delegates district in this “Winners and Losers” list, because I’ve gotten basically no information and seen next to zero coverage of the 90th from anyone – nothing from candidates, next to nothing from the media (other than coverage by Vivian Paige and belated announcement of the results in the Virginian Pilot and Daily Press this morning). The 48th, in stark contrast, is my home turf, so I was able to cover it myself, along with folks like Stephanie Clifford (winner!), Michael Pope (ditto) and Patricia Sullivan (ditto), and a legion of others (e.g., Kip Malinosky, Peter Fallon and Jarrod Nagurka – all winners!) via email, social media, etc, etc. With that, here’s my non-comprehensive, wildly subjective list. Please feel free to add your own “winners” and “losers” in the comments sections.

P.S. As usual, I’m generally going to stay away from the glaringly obvious “winners” like 48th District Democratic nominee Rip Sullivan, and the obvious “losers” like the candidates who didn’t win. It’s just too obvious, ergo boring.


Patrick Hope: Endorsed Rip Sullivan, campaigned hard for him, introducing him to hundreds of Arlington Democratic voters. For those reasons, and because he’s popular and respected in the 48th district (also, as a reader pointed out,he just ran a 5-month campaign heavily targeting many of these precincts, which means that he’s got hugely important fresh data and name recognition), Hope may have done as much (or more?) than anyone to win this election for Sullivan. Why? Because Hope really helped Sullivan make inroads into Arlington, which was crucial to him getting to 50%+1 in Instant Runoff Voting. Without that, Sullivan would have romped in Fairfax, but might not have done much of anything in Arlington. It’s also worth noting Peter Fallon’s and Aneesh Chopra’s help in this same regard, making them “winners” as well.

Team Hope: It wasn’t just Patrick Hope himself, but “Team Hope” from his Congressional race – Jarrod Nagurka et al. – which really helped Rip a lot. With just under a week (thanks Bill Howell!) to get a campaign up and running, Rip’s campaign was by far the best of all the candidates in moving fast, effectively, and in the end successfully. That was thanks to Rip’s talents, of course, but also to the help he got from “Team Hope,” including budding political star Jarrod Nagurka. Great job!

Andrew Schneider: He didn’t win, but he finished a close third, really raised his profile, and from what I hear gained a lot of respect from his run. We’ll see if he’s able to leverage this going forward.

Columbia Pike Streetcar: Both the winner and runner-up (Paul Holland) are strongly supportive of transit in general, and the Columbia Pike streetcar specifically, although with the caveat that funding be worked out in a way that doesn’t cause Arlington taxpayers to be adversely impacted. Of course, given that the streetcar is overwhelmingly a local issue, it didn’t play much at all in this race, but to the extent it did, it didn’t seem to hurt proponents.

Arlington and Fairfax County Democratic Committees: Superb job organizing this caucus – at two locations and with instant runoff voting AND a debate, no less!!! – in just a few days, which is all they had thanks to Speaker Bill “I hate Democracy and Democrats” Howell. Great jobs by Kip Malinosky, Greg Brandon/Dranesville District Democrats, Sue Langley, Peter Owen, Dave Leichtman and many others in pulling this off.

Kip Malinosky: I already made him a “winner,” but Kip deserves his own line in this “winners” and “losers” list. First off, he’s just a great guy. Second, he’s a great leader of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Third, more to the point, with almost no notice whatsoever he pulled off – along with the FCDC folks and many others –  a smooth, successful caucus, debate, etc. on the Fourth of July weekend, no less. Does Kip ever sleep? If so, nobody is aware of it. 🙂

George Burke: Did a great job, on short notice, of moderating a 2-hour-plus debate the day before the election. Nice job!

Jim Southworth: Videotaped the entire 48th House of Delegates district Democratic debate and put it up within hours. Also nice job!

Virginia House Democratic Caucus: The person who’s best at fundraising, Rip Sullivan, won the election, which bodes well for Virginia House Democrats going forward.

Instant Runoff Voting: Yet again, demonstrated its worth by guaranteeing that the winner would have a majority of the votes cast. The only tweak I’d make here would be to have people enter the votes into a database throughout the day, so when polls close we can have the IRV calculated in seconds.


Identity Politics: No sign either in this election or in the 8th CD Congressional election that “identity politics” – heavy focus on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, etc. in deciding who to support – had much power. In the 8th CD primary, the top three finishers were white males, while the top four finishers in the 48th House of Delegates district Democratic caucus were also white males. Whether you find that to be a good thing or appalling or whatever, it’s simply a fact  that “identity politics” doesn’t seem to have much pull these days in the deep-blue areas of Northern Virginia. Personally, I’m 100% with Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision that we need to judge people on the content of their characters, not the color of their skin (or other intrinsic qualities).

Arlington Democratic “establishment”: They went heavily for Paul Holland and…let’s just say, because I like and respect the vast majority of these folks – that they didn’t prevail. So, the 48th district Democratic nominee hails from Fairfax, albeit so close to Arlington that he can “see it from his house.” By the way, just as a side note, I like Paul Holland – the clear “establishment” candidate  (e.g., endorsed by County Board members Jay Fisette and Mary Hynes, Treasurer Frank O’Leary, Commonwealth Attorney Theo Stamos, Sheriff Beth Arthur, and major “establishment” figures like Larry Roberts, Judy Connally, John Milliken, etc. etc.) a lot and hope he stays involved in politics! But he certainly wasn’t a “winner” yesterday, not at all gaining the traction many “experts” thought he would.

Dave Foster: Definitely did NOT get the opponent he wanted in Rip Sullivan, who is a super-strong, well-financed candidate who will most definitely have the resources to publicize Foster’s extreme positions (see here for instance). Also, I’d point out that unlike John Vihstadt, there is no way whatsoever that Foster can claim that his right-wing views on “social issues” and other things (e.g., “voter fraud,” where does he stand on climate change?) “don’t matter at the local level,” because Foster’s running to be a member of Bill Howell’s crazy crew in Richmond. By the way, I’m tempted to add “Democrats already freaking out about Dave Foster” to my “losers” list. Get a grip!

Local media coverage of the 90th House of Delegates race: Other than Vivian Paige, who wrote about the upcoming race, I didn’t see any coverage – certainly nothing of any significance – prior to the event, in the Virginian Pilot or Daily Press. I also didn’t see any photos, video, or accounts of the caucus itself in the Hampton Roads-area media. Seriously? We had more coverage here at Blue Virginia, on the other side of the state from where the election was held, than in the local media (other than Vivian Paige’s blog, which DID cover it leading up to the event)?!?

Social media presence of the 90th House of Delegates candidates: What social media presence? No sign of any websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, email blasts, or anything else from these candidates. What, is the internet not available in the 90th House of Delegates district? I also got basically ZERO information from anyone prior to the election, during the election, or after the election (note that I posted whatever I DID get). Not surprisingly given the almost complete lack of information and the short time frame, voter turnout in the 90th was utterly abysmal, around 450 voters, compared to 2,100 voters in the 48th district in the same basic time frame (one more day for the 48th). WTF?

Speaker Bill “ALEC” Howell: As a friend of mine said this morning, Howell “continued his new hobby of trespassing by breaking and entering into the 4th of July holiday weekend of 48th HoD Democrats.” Ha. Seriously, though, thanks a ton Speaker Howell for trying as hard as you could to make a mockery of democracy, to disenfranchise voters, and to just be a jerk. Of course, that’s nothing new for you, but still…my god.

Political Consultants, Mail Firms: With just under a week, there was no way for the Political Consulting Industrial Complex (TM) to kick into high gear, to charge candidates for a gazillion mailers/robocalls/etc. On the other hand, we did save a lot of trees, so I guess I could make trees and the environment winners on this list. 🙂

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