Buried somewhat in the news about the Democratic “firehouse primary” yesterday for Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s seat was what was, arguably, FAR bigger news: the retirement announcement by powerful Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment.
Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment made a point of doing it quietly, without making — or listening to — the usual sentimental speeches when a long-serving member of the General Assembly retires.
“I came in quietly, and I want to leave quietly,” said Norment, R-James City, who as leader of the Senate Republican caucus and for a time doubled up as majority leader of the Senate and co-chair of the Senate Finance committee, has been one of the most powerful – and at times feared – politicians in the Capitol.
“Politics is an old man’s sport and it’s also a contact sport. I’ve got a very competitive personality, and I like that,” said Norment, a senator since 1992.
Along with the retirement announcement of Norment’s friend – and they actually seemed to be friends, not just fake political “friends” – Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, this really marks the end of an era in the Virginia Senate. Or the end of an “error,” in the sense that both Norment and Saslaw epitomized the “Virginia Way” in the sense of being very cozy with powerful moneyed interested, big corporations, Dominion Energy (of course!), etc.
On the other hand, Norment was certainly conservative but not a Trumpist, insurrectionist or extremist. Just recently, for instance, Norment disparaged Youngkin’s corporate tax cuts. And looking through Norment’s ratings on various issues, he wasn’t exactly a progressive but he also wasn’t at the far right of the poltiical spectrum. Which is probably one of many reasons why Norment and insurrectionist/extremist Amanda Chase HATED each other so much.
That could very well change now that Norment’s leaving, both because whoever leads the two caucuses won’t have the long-standing and close relationship that Saslaw and Norment had, but also as I’m hearing that far-right, hard-edged Sen. Mark Obenshain could replace Norment as Senate Republican leader. That would really change the tone of that Senate GOP caucus, much more in a Trumpism direction, and most definitely NOT for the better, despite all of Norment’s many many flaws (racism, corruption, insufferable arrogance, etc.). Which really shows you how crazy and extremist Republicans have gotten these days…ugh.
By the way, for some background on Norment’s…er, “illustrious” career, see:
- Reason #GazillionandOne Why Sen. Tommy Norment (R) and Sen. Dick Saslaw (D) Both Need to Go
- Video: Sen. Tommy Norment (R), Who Edited VMI Yearbook “Filled with Racist Photos and Slurs,” Marvels at How Much VMI Has Changed in 50 Years
- BREAKING: Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R) Edited Yearbook “Filled with Racist Photos and Slurs”
- Video, Audio: Sen. Amanda Chase (R-SD11) Says She Won’t “Sit Under…Tommy Norment,” Has Asked for a “Re-vote” for Senate GOP Leadership
- Audio: VA GOP State Senator Rips Majority Leader Tommy Norment’s “Cave,” Says “We’ve Lost the Debate Before We Even Got Started”
- Speaking of the “S.W.A.M.P,” VA Senate Minority Leader Norment Selects the Judges Who Then Appoint Him to Lucrative Commissioner of Accounts Gigs and Decide His Reimbursement
- Norment won’t discuss lobbyist relationship
- Sen. Norment, once the highest-paid adjunct professor at William & Mary, no longer teaches there