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Another casualty of the Virginia election

By Lee Hockstader

Along with at least seven incumbents -- six of them Democrats -- there was another big casualty in Virginia’s House of Delegates from the election results Tuesday: any hope of bipartisan redistricting.

Sure, Bob McDonnell, the governor-elect, supports appointing a bipartisan commission to redraw the state’s electoral map every 10 years in order to fashion a more genuinely competitive two-party system. So does Bob Bolling, the lieutenant governor who was reelected. But with ascendant Republicans controlling something near 60 of the 100 seats in the House of Delegates that takes office next January, the chances that they will cede control of the all-important map are nil.

Too bad. It means that gerrymandering will continue to ensure that huge majorities of the state’s legislative races remain non-competitive. Over the last couple of election cycles (2007 and 2005), 85 to 90 percent of the commonwealth’s lawmakers had no serious electoral challenge. In the Republican tide Tuesday, there were more tight races than usual; still, 30 incumbents had no challenger at all, and dozens of others won by lopsided margins.
As for the seven incumbents who lost -- a huge number compared to previous elections -- one (a Republican) was caught up in a blatant scandal, and most of the others were either freshman or sophomore Democrats.

Four of them were in Northern Virginia, and two were particularly promising lawmakers -- Margi Vanderhye, a go-getter who represents the Great Falls and McLean area of Fairfax County, and Chuck Caputo, a well respected expert on education who represents a district that straddles western Fairfax and eastern Loudoun counties. Vanderhye was knocked off by Barbara Comstock, a conservative newcomer to state politics who was spokesman for George Bush’s Justice Department. Caputo lost to Jim LeMunyon, an exceptionally able business executive. Those two winners -- both of them smart, savvy and well spoken -- have the potential to be big players in their party’s leadership in Richmond.

The other two Republicans who beat Democratic incumbents in Northern Virginia -- Tag Greason, a businessman, and Richard Anderson, a recently retired Air Force officer -- are likely to be more run of the mill players in Richmond.

By Lee Hockstader  | November 4, 2009; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  Hockstader  | Tags:  Lee Hockstader  
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Comments

Someone please tell me why polls say people like Obama but not his policies when they are one in the same, as far as the country's good health goes.

I think those polls are done by mainstream media wanting to encourage everyone to have a love fest with him.

Obama's policies are him. I don't want to like him for playing basketball or taking his wife on a date night.

I want the president to give me good government and nothing else, so please take personal popularity ratings out of the polls.

Posted by: kathy26 | November 4, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

kathy26 wrote:
Someone please tell me why polls say people like Obama but not his policies when they are one in the same, as far as the country's good health goes.

I think those polls are done by mainstream media wanting to encourage everyone to have a love fest with him.

--------

Okay, I will tell you. The polls say that because that is how people actually feel -- statistically, they generally like Obama as president more than his views on any one issue. If they did not like Obama, then that's what the polls would show. Not sure why this is a big mystery.

Many politicians are well-liked even by their opponents, who may strongly disagree with their policies at the same time. Think of Ronald Reagan. This is the man who destroyed the social safety net and brought homelessness to America (we didn't used to have a large homeless population), but he was still incredibly likable. If you believe Reagan's likability didn't help him get elected, I can only shake my head and disagree.

Polls are essentially tools for political professionals and others interested in politics (not governance) to help analyze how and why specific leaders may or may not get re-elected (or elected to begin with), so they would be fairly stupid to leave out the likability question for any leader, including Obama.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | November 4, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

fairfaxvoter

Ronald Reagan DID NOT create the homeless population LIBERALISM and the inability of people who just CANNOT seem to use the hand up and contiguously are looking for a handout. There are those who are drug addicted and like their drugs more then a home and then there are those who have SPENT themselves into homelessness by trying to have everything they COULD NOT afford.

As the winners in both NJ and VA stated there will be NO MORE cradle to grave welfare....Cristi said it best with the hand up analogy.

Liberalism since the late 50's has been the BIGGEST impediment to people taking responsibility for their actions don't whine as liberals do about a GREAT President who did nothing more but GIVE BACK to Americans their own HARD EARNED MONEY!

Posted by: Jaded2 | November 4, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Why do you think Tag Greason will be "run of the mill"?

Posted by: dslevine | November 4, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

'scuse me, but VA reelected BILL Bolling.

Homelessness was spurred in large part by those who fought for the "rights" of the mentally ill to refuse treatment.

BIG unintended consequence of something very well-meaning.

I am a Loudoun resident of the 67th--I am glad LeMunyon won. If he is one-tenth as diligent in doing his new job as he was in interviewing for it with the voters, his constituents will be better served than they have been in years.

Posted by: barbara_munsey | November 5, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Chuck Caputo was respected? That's news to me.

Posted by: seraphina | November 5, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the comment of Fairfaxvoter, that Ronald Reagan "destroyed the safety net and brought homelessness to America", Barbara Munsey is correct- homelessness was non-existent before the big push to "de-institutionalize" the mentally ill and incompetent, that was an initiative of the well-meaning left in the 60's and 70's.

The natural, and predictable consequence of closing down those institutions where the mentally incompetent were once housed, is that they now live on the streets.

But you lefties should be happy because you got what you wanted. No longer do we keep the mentally ill in "institutions", where they had a bed, three meals a day, and at least some health care, provided by the states.

Posted by: dc-guy | November 5, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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