Virginia Democrats go left?
Virginia Democrats, in keeping with the national trend, did poorly in the midterm elections. They lost three house seats and narrowly hung on to VA-11 by less than 1,000 votes. (In 2008, Democrat Gerry Connolly beat the same opponent by a margin of 54 percent to 43 percent.) This comes on the heels of the Democrats' disastrous gubernatorial race in 2009, which Creigh Deeds lost by 17 points.
So what did Virginia Democrats do last weekend? They selected as their state party chairman Brian Moran, the ultra-liberal former member of the House of Delegates who placed third (with less than 24 percent of the vote) in the 2009 gubernatorial primary. Moran never caught on beyond liberal strongholds in Arlington and Alexandria. Virginia Republicans, not surprisingly, pounced on the news. The state Republican Party released a statement pointing out Moran's opposition to offshore drilling and support for organized labor. The release taunted:
When Virginia Democrats elected former Delegate and candidate for Governor Brian Moran to be their new Chairman this weekend, the tacit policy statement couldn't have been more clear - Democrats are ignoring Virginia's voters and are now moving further to the left.
Activists on both sides of the aisle lambasted the choice. A Republican advisor to a statewide office holder cracked with obvious sarcasm, "It is a remarkable choice, because really, when you think reaching out to independents and swing voters in a center-right state, you absolutely think Brian Moran." But Democrats were equally glum. The influential liberal blog NotLarrySabato ran the headline: "The Era Of Defeat And Retreat Has Begun." Another post reminded readers of controversies involving Moran's campaign donors who lobbied his influential brother Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) for defense contracts. (The Post covered the story in April 2009.)
Needless to say, this is not an auspicious beginning for Democrats hoping to mount a comeback in 2012.
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