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New Presentation by Speaker Kirk Cox’s Former Chief of Staff Lays Out “Virginia State of Play” Heading Into Crucial 2020 General Assembly Session


Interesting presentation on the “Virginia State of Play” by Speaker Kirk Cox’s former Chief of Staff Matt Moran, who – in true “Virginia Way” style – is now “Government Affairs Director” with prominent Richmond law firm Gentry Locke.  Here are a few highlights from the presentation by Moran, who by the way was also Communications Director for Ed Gillespie’s governor campaign in 2017, Communications Director for Speaker Bill Howell from 2012 to 2016, Campaign Manager for Rep. Morgan Griffith in 2012, etc.

  • This slide shows the impact of the “Bethune Hill” case, which undid an unconstitutional Republican “racial packing” gerrymander in 11 Virginia House of Delegates districts, helping Democrats take back “at least four” seats on 11/5.

  • This slide shows the massive increase in off/odd election year turnout in 2019 compared to previous years…43% vs. a previous high or 36% in 1999 and just 29% in 2011 and 2015. Of course, the massive increase in spending we saw this cycle helped drive that, but of course it was also burning Democratic (and, to a lesser extent, Independent) voter anger against – and, on the Republican side, support for – Trump.

  • This slide shows how, for the most part, districts that supported Trump in 2016 (there are 44 of those) also went Republican in 2019, while districts that supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 (there are 56 of those) mostly went Democratic in 2019.

  • Virginia Republicans are an endangered species in cities and suburbia, with the party now mostly holding on in rural areas of the state.

  • I agree – it will be very interesting to see how House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert holds his caucus together – or fails to do so – given his almost complete lack of “carrots and sticks” going forward.

  • Making it more difficult for Republicans is the fact that almost none of them have any experience serving in the minority. Enjoy it, guys! LOL

  • An example of what the Republicans’ lack of “carrots” and “sticks” can do is our old friend Sen. Amanda Chase, who has been regularly bashing the Virginia Senate GOP…and the Republican Party more generally. What consequences, if any, will she suffer because of this? Stay tuned…

  • Pretty good summary of the many, may priorities Virginia Democrats have on their (full) plates going forward, after many years in which Republicans essentially blocked any progress on…everything, basically. Now, there is enormous pent-up demand for action, as well as *need* for action. We’ll see to what extent Democrats deliver after so many years in the political wilderness and so much that needs to get done in so little time.

  • These also look about right to me. The big question is how far Democrats will go on each of these issues. For instance, on “energy & climate policy,” will Democrats adopt the ambitious agenda laid out by a large coalition of environmental groups on December 7? Will they go even further and adopt elements of a “Green New Deal?” Or will they do less than either of those? My guess is Democrats will hew much close to the environmental groups’ agenda, but we’ll see…

  • Yep, looks about right.

  • Agreed. Given Republican neglect of so many important issues for so many years, there’s now SO much work for Democrats to do in such a ridiculously short amount of time, that a Special Session (or more than one) seems almost inevitable.


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