Thursday, March 4, 2021
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Redistricting: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, and Where We’re Going

Lowell already brought to our attention the good news that the courts handed the Republicans a defeat in the first round of what may prove to be a long legal fight over redistricting in Virginia. I am no legal scholar, but I was excited by the news that the judge dismissed the Republican argument that "shall" doesn't really mean "shall" and found that the group of Virginia citizens had standing for the lawsuit to move forward. But Governor McDonnell is moving forward with the same incumbent protection plan that the House Republicans (with a few unfortunate Democratic allies) pushed through last year in 2011. With redistricting still a big question mark moving forward, just months away from the November election, I wanted to take some time to sort through the entire mess. Where we've been, where we are, and where we're going.

Where We've Been
Going back over a decade ago, Virginia Republicans in 2001 had the "privilege" of controlling redistricting for the first time in the modern era. They leveraged this advantage into pressuring Virgil Goode, already a Democrat-In-Name-Only who had voted to impeach President Clinton, to officially leave the party and begin to caucus with the GOP. They also worked to shore up newly elected Congressman Randy Forbes in the 4th, who had won a special election by a very close margin.

Below, I've calculated the partisan lean of the post-2000 census drawn district based on the 2000 Presidential numbers relative to the national average. So a R +6 district is one in which George W. Bush ran 6 points ahead of his national showing (47.87%, or rounded to 48%), which as we all know was less than Al Gore's popular vote national...

Help Support Perriello’s Volunteer Surge

UPDATE 2:35pm: Over $600 in contributions from 14 individuals - thanks for your support!

A look at @VotePerriello's Danville office (many more vo... on TwitpicI was in Rep. Tom Perriello's Danville campaign office last night when his regional field director said that while he was thrilled with the unexpectedly huge flood of volunteers the campaign is seeing, he'd love to have more cars & vans to get them from the office to voters in far-flung areas. Well, I said ... I know some blue Virginians who might be able to chip in to help out.

While not all of us can get to the 5th Congressional district, this is a great chance to support Tom's volunteers. Can you spare $25 or more to help Tom's volunteers be supplied with the resources they need to get out the vote?

I'm working out of Rep. Tom Perriello's Danville office through the election on behalf of the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, which has endorsed Tom. I can't overstate how much energy there is for Tom here in Danville. Tom's office has been flooded with so many volunteers, they've expanded into additional office space across Main Street -- phone banks on the south side of the street, canvasses launching on the north side. In just the short drive to my canvass location tonight, I passed two other Perriello volunteers. Yard signs density in some neighborhoods is greater than I've ever seen for any candidate.

Most importantly, voters who came out to cast ballots for Obama/Warner/Perriello in '08 are closely engaged in this race.

Robert Hurt: Much More Concerned About HIS Next Job Than Yours

As I talk to voters here in Virginia's 5th Congressional district, creating jobs is obviously one of their top concerns. It's hard to explain Robert Hurt's jobs "plan" to them, because it's completely nonsensical:
  1. Cut taxes for the rich, adding $700 billion to the national debt
  2. Keep encouraging companies to send jobs overseas by protecting their tax loopholes
  3. Roll back regulations on the industries that caused the economic collapse
  4. ???
  5. Watch the jobs roll in!
I'm actually not kidding. Look at Hurt's Promoting Free Markets & Job Creation page. It's 32 flavors of wishin' & hopin'.

Rep. Tom Perriello, on the other hand, has comprehensive plans for economic revival, education & job training, creating clean energy jobs. Is this even a close call?

Hey, Perriello! Stop Taking Credit for Averting Depression!

The Danville Register & Bee finally takes on a question we've all been asking ourselves: What's with all these Democrats trying to take credit for the economic recovery package helping avert another Great Depression?
Rep. Tom Perriello, he of the shoe in the cowpie campaign commercial, really stepped in it last week. Perriello, under fire for his vote in favor of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, said the stimulus prevented another Great Depression.

"The Recovery Act helped avert a Great Depression that was looming when I was sworn in, and has put our country on a solid road to economic growth," Perriello said.

Perriello's comments followed the release of a report by the Congressional Budget Office that the stimulus now costs more - $814 billion instead of the original $787 billion - but that it had lowered unemployment and increased the gross domestic product.

Hoo boy! That Tom Perriello TOTALLY stepped in it ... by defending a bill that lowered unemployment & increased GDP at a time of economic crisis.

Wait ... what?

Robert Hurt’s Friends for Creating Jobs … in China

A corporate front group, Americans for Prosperity, is running ads attacking Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) & dozens of other Democrats for supporting the economic recovery package that kept the recession from becoming Great Depression II. So what's AFP's idea of great economic policy? Shipping jobs to China & lining their own pockets with the salaries of those out of work Americans. Via TPM, here's some pushback from the campaign of Rep. Zack Space (D-OH):

Koch Industries is one of the biggest funders of corporate front groups -- particularly anti-consumer, anti-science, pro-polluter astroturfing -- in American history. It's also a proud funder of the Tea Parties. And it's funny how Republicans keep attacking the economic recovery package while simultaneously trying to take credit for its effects, isn't it?

Despite Rate Hike, Appalachian Power Still Has Friend in Robert Hurt

Last month, I asked "Is there anything State Sen. Robert Hurt (R-Chatham) won't do for his donors at [American Electric Power subsidiary] Appalachian Power?" Today, we're learning more about what's in it for Hurt as he tries to win the GOP nomination to challenge Rep. Tom Perriello (D-5th).

Hurt's shilling came into the spotlight as he made outlandish excuses to defend Appalachian Power's massive rate hike in December. When 5th district voters expressed outrage at the huge price spike in the middle of a recession, Hurt claimed Appalachian Power had no choice but to raise rates because of carbon pollution regulations. Just one problem -- those regulations don't actually exist yet. (Will Hurt next blame AEP's recent minor stock slip on financial reform that has not yet passed?) Hurt has also vigorously rejected mainstream climate science, sounding an awful lot like Tea Party favorite Ken Cuccinelli.

Hurt's first quarter fundraising report shows his efforts  paid off handsomely, with AEP delivering a $1,000 donation. That's on top of the $3,250 Appalachian Power has contributed to Hurt's campaigns since 2001, just a fraction of the $64,717 Hurt has received from energy companies over that period, including $20,750 from electric utilities.

And if Hurt plays his cards right, there's a lot more where that came from! Don't believe me? Just ask Virgil Goode!