Tag: Bert Dodson
The Democrat running for the new seat, Bert Dodson, is doing all the right things to win. He knows how to run a campaign. A 12-year veteran of Lynchburg City Council, Dodson is President and CEO of Dodson Pest Control, a company that employs more than 500 people and operates in much of the new district. Dodson has also garnered endorsements from the National Federation of Independent Business, the state firefighters association, the Sierra Club, and the Virginia Education Association.
Dodson's opponent, Tom Garrett, is typical of the Neanderthal GOPers running in Virginia today. Among other things, he advocates reducing the corporate tax on business and using our tax money to provide school vouchers for private school education.
On September 30 Dodson reported a war chest of $150,000 on hand, compared to Garrett's $50,000. Dodson is running a well-oiled campaign in what is a fairly conservative district but one he is suited to represent. I have also been impressed by his use something that more candidates should employ. Instead of engaging in the typical yard sign war, Dodson has purchased billboards along major highways in the new district. As someone told me, "I can't go anywhere without seeing Bert's billboards."
Out in southwest Virginia we have three senators who have been targeted by the Virginia GOP. I'm not really worried about Roscoe Reynolds or Phil Puckett, but if John Edwards loses to Dave Nutter, then Bert Dodson just might end up a savior of the State Senate.
While the 22nd effectively replaces the old district of Ralph Smith, mega-conservative GOP senator from Botetourt County, it is still a Republican-leaning district. In 2009 the counties included in the new 22nd went for Bob McDonnell by 60%.(Disclosure: I am thrilled that the Senate gerrymandered Smith out of his district. At least, he won't be my "representative" any more.) However, Dodson, a respected business leader, has built-in name recognition because he heads a company that operates in five states and the District of Columbia. As Dick Saslaw jokingly told the Washington Post last week, "His signs are all over that district already. We're going to win that seat."
Well, that remains to be seen, but it certainly doesn't hurt that the Democrats have a strong candidate who has won elections, has access to plenty of money, and probably has past clients all over the area.
After Dodson announced his candidacy in Lynchburg, John Lawrence, chair of the Lynchburg Democratic Committee, noted that Dodson has been visiting other Democratic committees in the new district. Lawrence said he would talk with party leaders in the other localities to find out whether any other candidates are lining up and then a decision will be made on how the nomination will be handled.
"That will decide what we do, if anybody else wants to run," Lawrence said. The party's options are to hold either a primary election or a district-wide convention to nominate its candidate.
This is one Senate district where Democrats have a chance for a pickup in November.