Dean founded org adds Harder, Mason to top program; Quarni to Next Wave
BURLINGTON, Vt. –Today, Democracy for America (DFA) is elevating James Harder (VA-12) and Monty Mason (VA- 93) to fill the final two positions in its 2013 slate of five Purple to Blue Premier candidates in Virginia.
In addition to Harder and Mason, DFA’s other Purple to Blue Premier candidates are Kathleen Murphy (VA-34), Jennifer Boysko (VA-86) and John Bell (VA-87).
“After beating back Richmond’s far right on transvaginal ultrasounds and recent battles in the state houses of Texas and North Carolina over even more stridently anti-women legislation, Virginians know what’s at stake in this year’s election and they’re ready to fight back,” said Gov. Howard Dean, founder of Democracy for America and former chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Previously, Harder and Mason had been endorsed by DFA as Purple to Blue Next Wave candidates, but the strong voter outreach and fundraising programs each campaign has run over the early summer months coupled with the growing weakness of their opponents has warranted their moving up to the top tier of DFA’s Purple to Blue races in the Old Dominion.
“With James Harder and Monty Mason on board we now have a slate of Purple to Blue Premier candidates who Democracy for America’s 21,000 members in Virginia are already taking action, making calls and knocking on doors to ensure they beat their right-wing enabling opponents in November,” said Kyran McCann, DFA’s Purple to Blue Project State Director in Virginia.
Just when you thought Ken Cuccinelli was down for the count, he finds an opening -- so to speak. As the Washington Post puts it in their headline, "Cuccinelli looks to go on offense against McAuliffe over Virginia anti-sodomy law."
Game over! Why didn't we see this one coming? This November 5th will be the Sodomy Election.
Yes, Cuccinelli has outfoxed us again. He knows that Virginians are tired of government screwing them over, when what we really want is for government to regulate how we screw each other. Yes, we want government off our backs -- so it can jump right into our beds!
Our Ayatollah General knows these things. He knows we understand that the state slogan, "Virginia is for Lovers", comes with a huge asterisk attached: for certain types of lovers practicing certain state-approved acts of love.
I now understand the brilliance of his economic development strategy. Think of all the jobs that will be created for Community Sodomy Monitors -- and all those binoculars purchases!
Almost 250 years ago, great Virginians like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington led a revolution so that none of us would ever had to bend down before a monarch again. Today's freedom fighter, Ken Cuccinelli, leads the battle to ensure that no Virginians will ever have to bend over before anybody again.
Ken Cuccinelli knows that sodomy is what matters most, and so he is focused on the issue to the point of morbid obsession. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
While the two polls - PPP and Quinnipiac - have big differences, they both point to one conclusion: what the heck are Gov. Bob McDonnell's lawyers thinking? They have clearly put the SHUT UP BOB mouth guard on the guv, for His Excellency has had the worst possible PR strategy for months: that is to say, refuse to comment to the maximum extent possible. Same for his wife, although that is probably a good thing. His kids are silent, he has no public defenders at all except for some anonymous sources.
PR WISE THEN: a most puzzling strategy in terms of the POLITICS of the situation. As a lawyer, I understand the need NOT to say or do anything which might incriminate yourself, or antagonize the prosecutors should they feel your comments put them in a bad light.
I get that. But between THE SILENT TREATMENT and NON STOP YADA, YADA, YADA is a lot of ground: surely a smart PR person can find some high ground for the GUV, a good perch to launch some counter-offensive to the Washington Post, et. al, while not teeing off the federales.
Easy? Of course not. But the Governor just hired a major DC PR guy. He ain't cheap. They say he isn't being paid by the Governor's PAC. They say it is private money. They didn't say who is paying. But someone is paying, he, perhaps his firm, are on the clock 24/7 with this stuff.
INDEED: Who is paying for the Governor's growing legal defense? Already, it includes not only this new PR maven, Rich Galen, but yet another big-time (as in BIG BUCKS!) lawyer, John Brownlee, the former top federale in Western Virginia, appointed by President Bush upon the recommendation of Senators John Warner and George Allen. Brownlee is a mayor player in the DC white collar defense bar. He is a real lawyer, highly respected. He just got hired. He ain't cheap either. Who is paying for Big John?
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, July 17. Also, check out the WJHL news report, which provides context on Cuccinelli's sellout of Southwest Virginia.
A friend of mine posted four words on her FB page shortly after the Zimmerman verdict Saturday night, "Sad I'm not stunned."
I have two children, a 39 year-old daughter and a 16 year-young son whom I have talked to about the Zimmerman case several times. We've talked about why the police let Zimmerman go without a thorough investigation in the first place; about why there had to be pressure initiated by the community for police to do their jobs; about why this young man, Trayvon Benjamin Martin, was treated differently than my son would have been; why justice for my son would have been different.
My son amazes me with his maturity one moment, and bewilders me with his immaturity the next. Odd for a child this age? Of course not, it is absolutely normal for him, passing from man-child to manhood is a slow, methodical, frustrating process. Young men at this age make coherent, sometimes brilliant decisions one moment, and mind-boggling less than prudent decisions the next.
Yesterday, we learned that Republican Attorney General nominee Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain raised a wad o' cash - $480k to be exact. Where that money came from gives us a good indication of the type of Attorney General Mark Obenshain would be, if god forbid this Cuccinelli clone were actually to be elected this November. For starters, let's look at his donations from dirty energy (coal, oil, uranium).
Energy (Oil/Coal/Natural Gas/Uranium) Gilliam Companies and Family: $60,000
Holtzman Oil Companies and Family: $20,000
Alpha Natural Resources and Executives: $15,000
Koch Industries: $10,000
Coal Association: $2,500
Range Resources: $2,500
VA Uranium: $1,000
FYI, Richard Baxter Gilliam is the founder Cumberland Resources Corp, a private coal mining company in Abingdon. Marvin Gilliam is "an executive of Cumberland Resources Corp., a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources, which operates coal and lignite mines in southwestern Virginia and eastern Kentucky." William B. Holtzman is "President of the Holtzman Oil Corp, a fuel distributor in the Shenandoah Valley." Koch Industries is these scumbags. Virginia Uranium, of course, is infamous for literally flying Virginia legislators and their families to France to tour uranium operations (aka, try to buy our legislators by wining and dining them in Gay Paree). Alpha Natural Resources is a large coal producer which gave Ken Cuccinelli a flight - worth $7,751 - to the Virginia Mining Association ceremony in 2012. In 2010, Alpha was sued "by property owners in West Virginia...for subsidence damage and ruined groundwater due to 'reprehensible, intentional, and grossly negligent' conduct in mining operations." On and on it goes, and to put it mildly, it's not a pretty picture.
According to Tarina Keene, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia: the reason for the call is to dispel a "myth" Obenshain's been pushing the past several weeks, attempting to deny his own past record and pretend to be a moderate. In fact, Obenshain back in 2009 introduced SB 962, a bill which would have required women to report miscarriages to the police within 24 hours or face a Class 1 misdemeanor, which includes a possibility of jail time. Keene said "we can all agree on the callousness of his attempt to criminalize tragic pregnancy complications and intimidate grieving Virginia women with the threat of law enforcement." This is shocking, in Keene's view, and makes one wonder why is Obenshain now denying knowledge of and/or support for his own bill? According to Keene, Obenshain DID introduce the bill, and "to say otherwise otherwise is to blatantly deny the purpose of his own legislation." So, basically, Obenshain either didn't read his own bill before he chose to introduce it, or the candidate for Virginia's top attorney didn't understand what his own bill's implications were. Regardless, in Keene's view, it's time for Obenshain to stop misleading Virginia voters and trying to rewrite history.
According to Anna Scholl, Executive Director, Progress VA, Sen. Obenshain has a long record of "disregarding the impact of his right-wing extremism on women's health." Obenshain has a clear, long record of supporting measures to put up barriers to women's access to reproductive care, and imposing hardships on women that he's now claiming to oppose...
In just six months, NC Voters are dissatisfied with their new governor. Extreme tactics, catering to the rich, and especially the GOP war on women have consequences. I refer you to my previous diary on the subject. Though his veto could have been overridden, surely he could have offered it on principal in response to the list of outrageous GA votes. Additionally, in a revenue non-neutral flat tax agreed upon just yesterday (and with passage likely from both houses today), he has gutted government funding while giving the rich disproportionate tax cuts. And he lied. In the campaign, he said he would veto any new abortion restrictions. And this week he has pledged to break that promise. And so the tide is turning away from him. Here is what the voters think of him now:
For the first time since taking office we find that McCrory has a negative approval rating this month. Only 40% of voters are happy with the job he's doing to 49% who disapprove. That's down a net 15 points from June when he was at a 45/39 spread. While McCrory's numbers are pretty steady with Republicans, he continues to lose ground with Democrats (down a net 17 points from, minus 36 -- 24/60 -- last month to now minus 53 -- 17/70) and independents (down a net 20 points from +12 -- 46/34 -- last month to minus 8 -- 41/49 now). Only 68% of people who voted for McCrory last fall continue to approve of his job performance.
Yes, the public is beginning to awaken. But it's too late. And therein is the cautionary tale for Virginia. Don't North Carolina Virginia!
The modern two-party political age began in 1969 here in Virginia. The dominant segregationist Democratic Party held sway for decades, until Linwood Holton became the first GOP statewide officer holder in modern times, winning the governorship. Since then, Republicans have always held at least one of the five offices elected statewide: 2 U.S. Senators plus Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. As I was the first to predict last month, all signs point to this coming to an end on November 5, with the first Democratic statewide ticket sweep since 1989.
We will know more this Saturday, when Cuccinelli and McAuliffe meet in their first high-profile debate. The encounter figures to start with questions about Republican Governor Bob McDonnell...and end with statements concerning the First Family of Virginia's travails.
Terry's job in the debate is easy: Don't say anything foolish; indeed, stay comfortably within the 45 yard lines of the basic Democratic pitch. He doesn't even need to win the debate; things are that bad for Cuccinelli and his GOP posse.
It is July. The AG and the GOP have therefore been running for Governor full out about a year now. In this period, the AG has produced not a single good campaign day. His campaign has no theme. He is trying to find some happy medium which doesn't exist for him. He has wasted 75% of the total Governor's race. All he has to show for it is the following: an alienated GOP LG (Bill Bolling); an unqualified, elevator-don't-stop-at-every-floor candidate for LG (EW Jackson); and now the most disgraced Governor (Bob McDonnell) in the history of the state - at least in modern times.
This trifecta of political baggage presents a huge problem for a favored candidate: it is a fatal weight for an underdog like Cuccinelli unless the AG radically ups the level of his game. Meaning: Right now, the Cuccinelli ticket is headed for a wipeout in November.
Public Policy Polling has generally good news for Virginia Democrats this morning. Here are the top-line numbers:
*Governor: Terry McAuliffe (D) 41%-Ken Cuccinelli (R) 37%-Robert Sarvis (L) 7%
*Lt. Governor: Ralph Northam (D) 42%- EW Jackson (R) 35%
*Attorney General: Mark Herring (D) 38%-Mark Obenshain (R) 36%
*Generic House of Delegates ballot: Democrats 46%-Republicans 42%
*Cuccinelli is seriously unpopular, at 32%-47% (-15 points). McAuliffe is closer to even, at 34%-36% (-2 points)
*Jackson is at 15% favorable/28% unfavorable. My question is, what the heck is wrong with those 15% of Virginians?!? LOL
*"Obenshain's name recognition is just 33% and Herring's is 28%, with voters closely divided in their opinions about both of them."
Also of interest is that a large majority of Virginians simply have no opinion whatsoever of the LG and AG candidates. It will be interesting to see what happens as name ID goes up, and as Virginians find out how insane EW Jackson is, and how extreme Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain is. I'm very much looking forward to it! :)
P.S. According to the "crosstabs" of this poll, Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis draws about equally from Obama and Romney supporters. I wonder if that will stay the same as the election proceeds, as it seems to me that Sarvis is a much more natural fit for Republicans disgruntled with Cuccinelli because of his view that government very much SHOULD be in our bedrooms and doctors' offices, telling us what we can and can't do with our bodies and our lives. That's pretty much the polar opposite of "libertarian."
Last Wednesday, I did a blog post on the Fairfax City council's last meeting, in which they voted 4-2 to pass a new zoning ordinance that covered, among other things, women's health (including abortion) clinics. Since then, I've been reading commentary (and emails) by a variety of people, including Ben Tribbett ("The Fairfax City Disaster"), Catherine S. Read ("Inappropriate Zoning for Women's Health Centers"), Kathy Lund Hackshaw, and Fairfax City council member Dan Drummond ("My Vote on Zoning Amendment"), etc. I also had a chance to chat for almost two hours with Dan Drummond this past weekend. I wish I could tell you that all of this has completely clarified the issue in my mind, but I'm not sure I'd go that far. One thing I would say is that this is an important, complicated issue that almost certainly needs further study and discussion before it proceeds any further. With that, here are some (super-wonky) bullet points regarding the information I've gathered over the past week. Enjoy(?)...if you're a total policy wonk, that is.
*The women's health clinic in question here, NOVA Health Clinic, was already closed due to a lawsuit (other tenants were reportedly complaining, supposed nonpayment of rent, etc.), issues related to TRAP, etc. as reported by Tom Jackman of the Washington Post this morning.
*The clinic had been looking to move to a location on Main Street in Fairfax City, but their application for a non-residential use permit was "denied in May because officials decided parking at the building was not adequate." (I also was told that NOVA Health Center withdrew its application, given that it was clear it wouldn't be approved due to parking, etc.)
*There was clearly a great deal of opposition by people in the neighborhood to placing the clinic essentially across the street from them. To what extent you feel this opposition was justified - and obviously, most of us care what goes in right across the street from our homes - or that it was "NIMBYism" is an open question; my view is that there were elements of both.
*Apparently, it was after the permit denial that the issue came to the attention of the Fairfax City council, resulting in a process that led up to last Tuesday night's 4-2 vote. Note that the vote occurred after numerous pro-choice activists, but no anti-abortion activists for whatever reason, spoke. I DO find it odd that no anti-abortion people spoke at that meeting, especially since I hear they were well aware of this and had spoken up previously; what's up with that exactly? "Strategery?" Hmmm.
*Just for comparison, it's interesting to note how Fairfax COUNTY defines "medical care facility". It's an extensive list, but also explicitly states that it shall "not include a physician's office, first aid station for emergency medical or surgical treatment, medical laboratory..." Got that?
*One big question is to what extent the public should have input into zoning applications, and to what degree the process should be based on clear, objective criteria (e.g., parking) as opposed to subjective ones. My understanding is that Fairfax City was attempting to figure out a way to facilitate public input while maintaining objective criteria for making zoning decisions. The question is, did they succeed?
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, July 16. Also see the video of President Obama hosting former President George H. W. Bush, former First Lady Barbara Bush, and members of the Bush family "for an event honoring the winner of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award. Points of Light is the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service."
1. "Bob McDonnell's net approval rating has dropped 12 points in the last month, and that for the first time since taking office he's under water. Only 36% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 41% who disapprove." [UPDATE: "Very conservative" voters continue to approve of McDonnell by a 57%-19% margin, with "somewhat conservative" voters approving by a 53%-26% margin. Moderates, "somewhat liberal" and "very liberal" voters all disapprove of McDonnell, big time.]
2. "McDonnell's favorability numbers are even worse than his approval numbers with just 32% of voters seeing him in a positive light to 45% who have a negative opinion." [UPDATE: Same deal as with the net approval numbers...conservatives still view McDonnell favorably by wide margins, everyone else is wayyyy unfavorable.]
3. "There is one piece of good news for McDonnell in the poll though- only 35% of voters think he should resign at this point to 45% who believe he should remain in office." [UPDATE: Among "very conservative" voters, 70% say he shouldn't resign, with just 11% saying he should. Among "somewhat conservative" voters, 69% say he shouldn't and 21% say he should. In other words, McDonnell has NOT - repeat NOT! - lost his conservative base by any means, at least as of now.]
4. "The bottom line though is McDonnell has become a liability for Republican candidates in the state this year, and our newest numbers for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General which will be out tomorrow confirm that."
I'm most interested in point #4 - that McDonnell's becoming a liability for the Cuccinelli/Jackson/Obenshain "Extreme Team" ticket. The problem for those guys is that it's quite possible McDonnell will NOT step down as governor or be impeached, at least not for a while, meaning this could drag on and on, potentially dragging them down and down. So sad. Heh.
UPDATE: Having looked at the "internals," I'm also VERY interested in the fact that conservatives are still strongly supporting McDonnell. It seems to me that makes it much less likely he'll be pressured by Republicans to resign, which in turn means he could stay on until the end of his term. Ken Cuccinelli might not like it, but most conservatives apparently see it differently.
P.S. Also interesting, voters by a 2:1 (31%-15%) margin say that McDonnell's support would make them LESS likely to vote for a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates. Whoops! Also, strictly among Republican voters, 60% say that McDonnell's support would make no difference to them, while 23% say it would make them more likely to vote for the candidate, and 10% less likely.
That the House Republican farm bill would quite literally starve low-income families while shoveling billions in subsidies to agribusiness corporations? BOOOO-RING.
But hey, did you hear who's going to a pancake breakfast in Iowa this weekend? The Iowa caucus is only 30 months away! Never mind that it's failed to predict the Republican nominee two cycles in a row. HORSE RACE! It's on!
Your national political news is almost always filtered through the lens of someone who's white, middle to upper income, lives in the DC or New York City suburbs, drives more than relying on walking/biking/transit, never worries about where their next meal will come from, cares much more about political spin than policy impact, and thinks everyone sees the world the exact same way
As Ezra Klein often says, "The first rule of being a political junkie is to always remember that you are a very weird person, and most people are not like you." Seems like very few political journalists ever get that introspective.
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