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Virginia Senate: Can Warner be Beaten (Part 2)?

Roughly a month ago, The Fix asked whether Virginia Republicans have any hope of beating Democrat Mark Warner in next year's open-seat Senate race.

Mark Warner
Why does Mark Warner look so happy? (AP File Photo)

The answer then was a resounding "not much." One month later, the outlook looks even brighter for Warner.

Why? Three reasons:

First, as expected, Warner showcased his fundraising ability by collecting more than $1.1 million in the 17 days between the day he declared his Senate candidacy and the end of the quarterly filing period, ending the month with $1 million in the bank.

Compare Warner's fundraising with that of Rep. Tom Davis -- one of the two men expected to run for the Republican nomination. Davis raised just $223,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30, ending the period with a little more than $1 million in the bank. In his defense, Davis's wife -- JeanneMarie Devolites Davis -- is in a very tight reelection fight for her state Senate seat next month, so Davis is likely spending most of his time on that race.

Jim Gilmore, the other Republican in the race, has yet to file a campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission for the Senate race and is not currently raising federal money. In his quixotic campaign for president, Gilmore raised $392,000 and ended June with $62,000 on hand and $129,000 in debts.

Second, the the Republican State Central Committee's decision to choose the party nominee by convention rather than primary was seen as a victory for the Gilmore forces. Recent history in Virginia politics suggests the more conservative candidate usually wins a convention in which the nominee is chosen by a far smaller group of party activists than vote in a primary.

In 2001, former state Attorney General Mark Earley -- the candidate of Virginia's social conservatives -- beat former Lt. Gov. John Hager in a convention fight. Earley went on to lose to Mark Warner in the general election. Way back in 1994, it was conservative darling Oliver North who defeated Jim Miller in a convention fight and then went on to lose to Sen. Chuck Robb (D) in a three-way general election race.

Boyd Marcus, a senior strategist for Gilmore, cast the vote of the state central committee as a win for his boss's campaign. "Clearly the two potential campaigns were on opposite sides of this issue."

Marcus said the Gilmore forces favored a convention rather than a primary because it would it would be cheaper for the state party -- especially with the prospect of facing the well-funded and wealthy Warner in the general election. Of course, Gilmore also knows he can't match Davis in fundraising, so his best chance at the nomination was the hand-to-hand combat of a convention as opposed to the air war of a primary.

Most Republicans -- though not all -- believe Gilmore hamstrings them in what is already a very tough race to win. Gilmore, they argue, is yesterday's news, having followed his gubernatorial term with a widely panned chairmanship of the Republican National Committee and a presidential bid that bordered on comical.

That brings us to the third reason why Democrats have to feel very good about Mark Warner at the moment -- polling. Warner held a 61 percent to 31 percent edge over Gilmore and an even larger 63 percent to 28 percent edge over Davis, according to The Post poll conducted earlier this month. Beside the head-to-head match-ups, the numbers are even more daunting for Republicans. More than two-thirds of voters surveyed had a favorable opinion of Warner while just 19 percent had an unfavorable opinion. Compare that to Gilmore's 40 percent/33 percent fav/unfav score and Davis's 28/18 rating and you begin to see the depth of the challenge for Republicans.

The most likely outcome in the race is that Davis and Gilmore spend the next six months or so engaged in a bitter intraparty battle for convention delegates while Warner stockpiles cash and burnishes his already sterling image in the state.

Will Virginia keep its No. 1 ranking on The Fix's Senate Line this month? Tune in Friday to find out.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 16, 2007; 7:41 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

Virginia is the only "likely turn-over" seat in these recent rankings: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/senaterankings Enough said!

Posted by: campaigndiaries | October 16, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Ah, here is Zouk with his trusty old spiel about how Air America is an unsuccessful business venture.

It is unsuccessful. There is a simple reason, too. Talk radio and TV talk shows are just the type of one-directional communication that the authoritarian right craves. They need a figure of authority to tell them what to think and do.

The liberals, on the other hand, prefer a bi-directional means of communication (a "dialogue") for which those venues are ill-suited--unlike the Internet. This is why the left is so much stronger out here.

Posted by: roo | October 16, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"I find it incredible that there are not many, many more. so why is that not the story?"

Fear. That is why more do not speak out.My questions is why now? Why not speak up when we needed the truth? It's a day late to me. But people like zouk and rush still haven't got the memo. they are fighting 5 year old political battles. The rest of teh coutnry is on step 60. The media is on 20. Zouk and his monkeys are on step two.

A terrorist is someone who uses fear to acheive political or econmic means. You and your party ARE TERRORISTS zouk. Terrorists. Your goal is the same as our enemies (iran). Does that make you a traitor? To me, yes it does. Your party is done. Your avatars don't have much longer.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

They left, they did not retire. There is a big difference.

And I doubt this is an issue of the Dems having looked for someone to speak. My guess is that they wanted to add their perspective to a debate that was lacking the views of the junior officers.

Posted by: J | October 16, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"Yet the Dems only find 12 to speak out."

Ah. The attack begins. They are to be portrayed not as concerned ex-military, but as pawns co-opted by the Dems.

Posted by: bsimon | October 16, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

J: I think Senator Graham is still in the reserve [not sure], and is assigned to the Dept. in the military that would be about the same as a civilian AJ. Mark in Austin, Colin, or another of the lawyers should be able to give us more information on this question, a good one, and I hope they will.

Posted by: lylepink | October 16, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

My point is more that I find it perplexing that there are not more. think how many retired officers there must be. Yet the Dems only find 12 to speak out. I find it incredible that there are not many, many more. so why is that not the story? Of course there are officers who might consider doing things differently. When they retire, get elected to commander, then they can have it their way. Until then, one must consider they retired at the rank of captain, not a stellar military career.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 16, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Zouk,

Note that the 12 Captains are "former" Army officers. For those 2 million in uniform of which you speak, there are legal issues regarding the chain of command. Given the rather candid feedback provided in some of the article, if they were active duty they might run into the problem of insubordination, which is a Court-Martial offense (I forget which article of UCMJ).

As a former Captain myself, I would say that their analysis is not unreasonable. This "in-between" land where the politicians dwell may be politically safe, but makes little military sense. Neither does our current situation, absent a substantial increase in force that would require a draft, as the officers noted.

Posted by: J | October 16, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: That is the point I am trying to make. Most likely the media will not pick up on the story, and a political cartoon by Bill Day on 22 July 05 is a great one and so on target. Look it up, and get a laugh.

Posted by: lylepink | October 16, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

12 whole soldiers out of Military of almost 2 million. that in Dem circles, is considered a mandate, depending on how far left the speech falls. If even one person is as far left as the NYT, it is a mandate.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 16, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

we don't have much longer to wait claudia. The gop is about to be voted out for a generation. They real cause is easy to point out. They cn attack the messangers all day everyday. Their tactics are old hat. The internet age is destroying the gop. Now what they do is out for all to see, everyday. Now the gop can't talk out of both sides of their mouth. It will show up on youtube. So who is to blame of their downfall? The internet, for being so great? Mediamatters for reporting what they say? No. THe GOP is to blame for their downfall. Try as they might to point the finger. Fret not claudia. in a year and a half the gop is done for good. Think the whigs. Even another attack will not save them. The people now know the score. We may be living in fear of a fascist nazi-like government, but we will speak out eventually. 08 is that time. The gop is done.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The Natonal Review has already posted a hit piece on the new S-CHIPS family spokespeople -- young couple who make combined $35,000 [both working] rent a house and own a 'junker,' whose kid was born with a defective heart.

The 'values' folks seem to feel that perhaps they should have aborted the kid... amazing, ins't it?

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget coulter wanted to repel a womans right to vote. what year is it?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

for you zouk. Keep up the game. It shows all independant thinkers (non-dittoheads) what you people are really about

""Between Michelle Malkin Swift Boating a traumatically injured 12-year-old boy, Rush Limbaugh denigrating anti-war veterans, and Bill O'Reilly insulting black Americans (not to mention Ann Coulter dissing Jews), the mighty right-wing media machine -- firmly attached to the hip of the Republican Party -- is in the process of driving American conservatism right off a cliff. The loudmouths whom conservatives have supported for years, and whom Republican politicians have used for political gain, have become increasingly unhinged. And their recent public antics are drawing more and more disbelieving stares."

http://mediamatters.org/columns/200710160004

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

lyle says
"The slime machine goes into high gear when a senior retired officer speaks against the war in Iraq, these 12 are to low in rank to get much attention."

I disagree. If the piece gets picked up by other outlets, or produces an outcry, the sliming will begin. Even now, I imagine little investigators are digging up dirt on the dozen who contributed to the piece.

Posted by: bsimon | October 16, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

JasonL writes
"The only thing I'm not sure could be done is actually finding a route for a private toll road in NoVa."

Well, that's the beauty of the proposal. The gov't goes through the expense and hassle of acquiring the land and grading the right-of-way, then private industry comes along and says "we can do this more efficiently than you can!" Sure you can.

Posted by: bsimon | October 16, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The slime machine goes into high gear when a senior retired officer speaks against the war in Iraq, these 12 are to low in rank to get much attention. Note the recent Lt. Gen.s statements and how quick Senator Graham was on the attack, by pointing out what the Gen. could not say while on active duty in his Senate testimony. All the Prez wannabees are not for getting our troops out of there quickly, but are using the excuse of "A safe withdrawal" when none is possible.

Posted by: lylepink | October 16, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"And what if their isn't one? What if the toll road is the only way?" -Claudia Long

Unless the some private companies demolish the old roads when they make new ones (laughable), there are certainly other ways to get where ever you're going.

The only thing I'm not sure could be done is actually finding a route for a private toll road in NoVa. There's just so much sprawl there.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 16, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

rightwing nutcase alert -- starts at noon every day.

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

yes you are zouk.

"I know you are but waht am I "

Coward. Your mother was a moonbat.

r

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

from the republcians. Not sure if it's true. In the spirt of truth. I'm not a liar and propogater, like zouk.

"Rhodes' lawyer told the Daily News she was injured in a fall while walking her dog. He said she's not sure what happened, and only knows that she fell down and is in a lot of pain. The lawyer said Rhodes expects to be back on the air Thursday. He stressed there is no indication she was targeted or that she was the victim of a "hate crime.""

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

moonbat alert!

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 16, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Right ,claudialong. And they try to hide behind free speech, while silencing REAL free speech and dissent. Rush's/hannity and o'reilly's speech is not free. They are paid millions to lie. Real free speech is the people speakign truths for free. They are the one's getting silenced by these people. Keep touting their ratings, zouk. I live in republcian land. These people leave fox on all day and night. I'm talking business's here. Fascism, will never win over the long run. Keep gloating about ratings. If you put a public execution on tv the ratings would be huge. Doesn't mean we should. Your people will be off the air soon. Most companies are not in the business of giving lying fascist propogandists a platform. i think the advertisers will be pulling out soon. Goo dluck

What will you do without your avatars, zouk? how will you survive? How will you think for yourself? Do get mad. the problem is in you. Work on that. don't live through someone else. find out the truth. Start living your own live, slave.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

'Meanwhile O'Reilly, Ingraham, Coulter, Fox and the other sensible media roll on'

'sensible' = bloodthirsty, craven, ravers, whiners, liars, and slimers.

Hey how about that Coulter, huh? Saying that Jews are inferior to Christians? Nice gal, huh? Saying somebody ought to poison Supreme Court judges, or O'Reilly - too bad terrorists don't hit San Francisco, and FOX -- wow, imagine all the innocent people we could kill if we bombed Iran!

Anti-semitism, bigotry, violence and hatred sell very well to a well-conditionedrightwing audience lusting for more hate, more violence -- just can't get enough of it, addicted to it.

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of industry sales, "Giving" sold nearly 50,000 copies its first week, but hasn't approached that since. For the week ending Oct. 7, only 9,600 copies sold"

another Liberal flop, following in the footsteps of Air America, CNN, NBC, NYTimes, Krazy Keith. Clearly, the market is just a mysterious black box to most Libs. Meanwhile O'Reilly, Ingraham, Coulter, Fox and the other sensible media roll on.

The liberal monopoly of the message has been squandered by so much prevarication and slant.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 16, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Blarg-- wonder how long it will be before the 12 captains who spoke out about Iraq are swiftboated and slimed?

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

In my part of Alexandria, die-hard repubs live shoulder-to-shoulder with immigrants from all quarters of the world. The maccaca debacca should have given them pause for thought. They wouldn't want their dentist, co-worker or next-door neighbor to be treated that way no matter how old-fashioned they are. I bet it also gave the "values" voters some pause for thought too. It isn't just that Democrats are moving into new developments in NoVa that's turning the state blue, it's that the "red" so-called values are incompatible with our lifestyle.

...and because a lot of us are military, have military friends, or merely just see people in fatigues on the Metro every day and think "Are the Republicans really doing right by the military?"

Posted by: amy_e | October 16, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

'if you don't want to pay the toll, don't take that road, take the public roads.'

And what if their isn't one? What if the toll road is the only way?

You are the one promoting 'class warfare, JD. pretty soon, with everything privatized, we will have to pay not only tolls to use the roads, but fees for being rescud from the top of our flooded [or burning] houses, or pulled from our car's wreckage. And just like with health care, if you can't pay, you just won't get rescued. You'll just be left to die, which is what happens now if you're middle-class, can't afford health insurance, and have a serious illness or accident.

Yes, let's just privatize everything, so we have a true feudal system, where a lucky few get the best of everything, and the rest of us serfs get screwed.

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

JD writes
"As long as there is a 'basic' infrastructure built out by government (and there is), why not allow the free market to provide options for those willing to pay?"

JD, what is keeping the free market from providing those alternatives now? Nothing, really. Gov't has the power of emminent domain to acquire land - but they're supposed to pay a 'market rate' - which is what private enterprise would have to do to build the road. Perhaps it is not economically feasible to build private roads - or maybe there are better ways to make a buck...

Posted by: bsimon | October 16, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The differance between the fascists (the right) and the patriots (the left).

No one is threatening Coulter. No one is trying to hurt hannity and rush. Even after all they've done. Even after making millions off the deaths or americans and the spintering of the country. Nor should they. The right attacks 12-year old sick children. They attack widows. They attack everyone not part of the fascist cult

"Randi Rhodes Assaulted in NY
By: Nicole Belle @ 9:46 AM - PDT dKos:

It was announced on Air America Radio, Jon Elliot's show tonight, that Randi Rhodes was attacked in a park in NYC walking her dog.[..]

A fellow blogger's account from the UK:

Sideshow - Uk

Get well soon, Randi Rhodes. I don't usually have time to listen to her show but I tend to leave AAR on when I'm in front of my computer - but when I heard Lionel sitting in for her, I just turned it off. Sorry, I just can't listen to him. But right now I'm listening to John Elliot and he says Randi was attacked last night while she was walking her dog. She wasn't carrying a bag and was just in sweats, and she was beaten up pretty badly and had some teeth knocked out. Elliot is saying it sounds like it was neither a sexual assault nor a robbery and he suspects it was political. The way things are going, he could be right.

Without any information (or confirmation) I think we should be careful about assuming motivations behind the attack. I'll only say on behalf of C&L that we wish Randi a speedy recovery.

Joe Gandelman has more...

UPDATE: Thom Hartmann just read the official AAR statement on his program:

October 16-NEW YORK-On Sunday evening, October 14, Air America host Randi Rhodes experienced an unfortunate incident hindering her from hosting her show. The reports of a presumed hate crime are unfounded. Ms. Rhodes looks forward to being back on the air on Thursday.
"

http://www.crooksandliars.com/

We're all americans never stopped the right from waging war on us.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

blarg writes
"I have to admit that the captains have a point."

They make an excellent point, and one that the current civilian leadership refuses to address. There is an ongoing belief that the job can be done with the existing available resources - despite evidence to the contrary. They want to argue that this is the 'defining conflict of our times' but refuse to make the politically difficult argument for expanding the armed forces to the point where we can definitively finish the job.

Posted by: bsimon | October 16, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

JD, my problem with it is there is no such thing as a truly private road. The land is acquired from the government or through the government. Now I don't have a problem with Toll roads per se but only if the government uses the tolls to pay for the building costs that they incure like what the Mass Pike was supposed to be.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 16, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"...12 former army captains call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. It seems like a topic worth discussing."

I read the article, Blarg. To use JEP's terminology, Bush has opened up a big can of stupid and we are not allowed to leave the dinner table for another 15 months. The corollary provides the subtext for today's blog entry, the effect on the 2008 elections, an event to look forward to rather than the next 15 months of expensive idiocy.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 16, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

AndyR, I really don't see any problems with privatizing the building of a road. As long as there is a 'basic' infrastructure built out by government (and there is), why not allow the free market to provide options for those willing to pay?

I know the class warfare types will immediately start screaming about 'Lexus Lanes' and all that. But to my way of thinking, it's free choice - if you don't want to pay the toll, don't take that road, take the public roads.

Posted by: JD | October 16, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised nobody has brought up the op-ed in today's WaPo, in which 12 former army captains call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. It seems like a topic worth discussing.

I find it interesting that these captains are actually calling for a faster withdrawal than most Democratic candidates. Their position seems closer to Richardson's than anyone else's. A fast withdrawal is generally considered irresponsible, but these captains point out that a slower withdrawal won't prevent a civil war and will just waste more money and lives. Though I still don't agree with Richardson's position, I have to admit that the captains have a point.

Posted by: Blarg | October 16, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

'fly by the night mercenaries.' You're right about that Andy. There are huge accountability, security, and financial issues with privatization. We, as taxpayers, have no control over who is hired by the contractor -- and it's often illegals. Dubai, for instance, which has numerous contracts with this government, is known all over the world for hiring illegals -- and they aren't Mexicans, but often citizens of countries who harbor terrorists.

There is no accountability... federal contracting rules meant to protect taxpayers are rarely followed anymore. Many companies do shoddy work and get paid on a cost-plus basis -- meaning they make a profit no matter how much they overcharge, or whether they even finish the project. Then they often get other sweetheart no-bid conntracts, despite their shabby performance.

And Bllackwater and Halliburton are the poster children of all manner of taxpayer abuse -- and they are raking it in, while Blackwater endangers the US mission in Iraq, and also puts our own troops in danger. The military hates them -- they have even pulled guns on our troops on a number of occasions -- but the State Dept. protects them. I have never seen the likes of this. The damage that is being done in the name of ruthless profiteering is incalculable, but some mindlessly promote it, with the idea that is someone is making a profit, that's all that counts.

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Budikavian, I'd say it's highly unlikely that Tim Kaine ends up on a national ticket. Mark Warner I could have seen but not Kaine. Besides, with two non-white Presidential candidates on the Dems side, it might be seen as a slap in the face to not choose one as a running mate. I'd lik eto see Obama as the VP nominee and Richardson throwing his support behind her (probably with the promise of a cabinet position of his choice).

Mark, you're hitting the sweet spot in DC traffic. 1pm is right between the heavy bits and after lunch. There's usually a lot of 18-wheelers, though and some of them are aggressive as hell. You should be off the belt way and into VA before it gets too hectic but if you're off by a few hours there's gonna be a ton of people heading home to NoVa. Basically, if you get caught up in something that's gonna cause you to be anywhere on the beltway around 4 instead of 1 you're better off finding a place to hang out and have dinner and continuing your trip that night. I'd be happy to host you for dinner in that unfortunate eventuality.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 16, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"Limbaugh continued: "[W]e found out who was writing it and made a couple phone calls to the person writing it. And we said, 'You know what? We're going to find out where your kids go to school. We're going to find out who you knocked up in high school. We're going to find out what drugs you used. We're going to find out where you go to drink and do -- we're gonna find out how you paid for your house. We're going to do -- and we're going to do exact -- and we're going to say that, you know what?"

http://mediamatters.org/items/200710160001?f=h_latest

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

wHO ARE THE FASCISTS? wHO ARE THE GUSTAPO?

"Limbaugh says he told journalist writing story on him: "[W]e're going to find out where your kids go to school""

http://mediamatters.org/items/200710160001?f=h_latest

Go warner. :)

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 16, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks JD, I agree that a gas tax would work better since it punishes the people who drive the most and who have non-fuel efficeint cars. The problem is that at this point in time the political environment hasn't gotten to that point. I disagree however with public/private ventures on road work projects. IMO, one of the duties of the government is to build and mantain a functional infrastructure. It is the same feeling I have about private security firms in Iraq. That is the job for our armed services not some fly by the night mercenaries.
What is the point of having a government if they cannot protect us, build roads, run our prisons, educate our children, etc without resorting to selling the jobs off to the highest bidder.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 16, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The dems may have a shot at the magic 60 in the Senate due, in large part, to the disgust of GW and the repubs blind loyalty to him. Colorado, Minn., and now NM with the problems Pete and Heather have, gives the dems a strong chance of a pickup there as well. Only a few months ago, most folks thought getting to the magic 60 was only a dream, or to mention it, you were in La La Land.

Posted by: lylepink | October 16, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

All excellent points. Given the changing political landscape of VA, and the fact that Warner was a popular centrist governor, I can't see him having too many problems defeating whatever tired, old candidate the Repubs put up. I hate to beat a dead horse, but the "Maccaca" incident got a lot of people thinking. Sure, some hardcore VA redneks were all for it. But the racist rhetoric of George Allen, Michael Richards and Mel Gibson show how race relations and racism are still major issues in America. The good news is that there were enough Virginians who heard Allen's comments and made the moral judgment that they were unacceptable. It's a good time to be a Dem--even in Virginia and Kentucky of all places. Warner in a landslide.

Posted by: con_crusher | October 16, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Mark Warner would do himself a lot of good if he'd take out the gigantic fake teeth he always wears (they must be fake, right?). I wonder how he'll feel when he has a nice little race for the Senate but his successor/protege, Tim Kaine, ends up on the ticket with HRC. I'm not predicting it or anything, but I am advocating for it.

Posted by: Budikavlan | October 16, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"By Jove, I think he's got it. Although you might argue that the evangelical vote is going to be "far less necessary" because the 2008 election might not even be close (versus the 2004 and 2000 elections)."

Judge, true enough, though the author was addressing the primary more than the general.

Posted by: bsimon | October 16, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

And this is an interesting comment from elsewhere in the WaPo: "At present, let me float two theories about the relevance of the Evangelical constituency in Republican party elections. When they are united, Conservative Protestants are very necessary, but not sufficient, for a victory. And when they are not united, as Rudy Giuliani is wagering, they are far less necessary."
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/georgetown/2007/10/is_the_evangelical_vote_irrele.html

By Jove, I think he's got it. Although you might argue that the evangelical vote is going to be "far less necessary" because the 2008 election might not even be close (versus the 2004 and 2000 elections).

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 16, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

uckeleg writes
"I'm gonna guess, yes [VA will retain #1 in the Friday Line]. Barring a macaca moment from Warner, this race will be the '06 Santorum-Casey race of 08: a blowout throughout the whole season. I think NH could also quickly reach that status. CO should also be a fairly easy gain for the Dems... MN would be if only there were a more competitive candidate to challenge Coleman."

Yes, until someone is caught in bed with a dead boy, VA will stay in the number 1 slot.

MN could start to get interesting. There's been another entrant in the race - a party activist without the same name recognition or star power as Franken and Ciresi. The MN DFL (Dems) holds an endorsement convention prior to the primary - it is in this venue that a loyal party activist has the best chance of surprising the big-name, big-dollar candidates. Franken & Ciresi have pledged to honor the party endorsement, which makes the primary largely irrelevant.

Posted by: bsimon | October 16, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Like the race for Regula's seat in OH, R's in VA will put up a candidate for 'seasoning' purposes only. At some point in the indefinite future the loser of this match could be a winner if things go south for the D/D's. The headwinds blowing out of the WH are going to make it tough for any R involved in a CLOSE contest, not to mention these D cakewalks.

This is interesting data from Rasmussen:
"Second, core opposition for all Presidential candidates has grown since summer. For much of the year, Clinton was the only candidate with core opposition approaching the 50% mark but now the rest of the field has caught up. Five of the seven leading candidates (four Republican, three Democrat) now have more than 40% of all voters committed to voting against them. The other two (McCain and Thompson) face core opposition of 39%."
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/2008_democratic_presidential_primary

Apparently the "familiarity breeds contempt" effect is solely responsible for the development of "core opposition." Dislike of politicians is an equal opportunity process. So much for HRC's negatives being high.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 16, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Chris:
How come the MSM never mentions the grassroots movement by Va. conservatives to Draft Gen. Peter Pace to run for the US Senate? Here is a link to the site:
http://draftgeneralpace.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2007-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&updated-max=2008-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=16

Posted by: matthewcheadle | October 16, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, JD and cmsore. We should hit the northside of the beltway by 1:00 P at the latest.

We hope to lv Westchester County by 6:30A.

I am printing out your alternate route, JD. Is part of that where US 11 would have been in 1966?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 16, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin i-95 around DC is usually a fairly free-flowing road. However, during periods of high traffic it can get nasty. As long as you're not driving between about 6-8am or 4-8pm on a weekday or a summer saturday morning southbound it should just be high volume high speed.

Posted by: cmsore | October 16, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

When are you leaving, Mark? Ie, what time will you hit DC?

You've basically got two options: the 'front door' (I-95), which means lots of traffic but a really big road, lots of tolls (borrow a friend's EZ Pass if you can, it will save you tons of time). Or the 'back door', get yourself west (I-78 might work if they're done with the construction in Penn), come down I-81 for a spell, then drop down Rt 15 the rest of the way. Far more scenic, but probably 80 more miles.

DC beltway traffic is bad in afternoon rush hour of course, and your worst bottleneck will be the Wilson Bridge (over the Potomac on I-95, south of DC). Know that you can go 495, west around the beltway also, for the same number of miles - you don't necessarily have to follow I-95 around the beltway; listen to all news WTOP (103.5FM) for traffic to hear which way works better when you get south of Balt.

Posted by: JD | October 16, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Now that it is clear that the State GOP favors former Gov. Gilmore, Tom Davis should stand for reelection in the 11th District. Davis has served Northern Virginia well and has broad bipartisan support. He has always been a pragmatic leader that seeks consensus on issues facing our community.

It really is a shame that Davis will likely not be able to serve Virginia in the Senate at this stage. He is the most personally engaged and energetic politician that I have seen. He would certainly have been the most effective new Senator that Virginia could have sent to Washington next year.

Posted by: Fairfax2 | October 16, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Ot but interestig...

'The papers note Giuliani spent $13 million, which the NYT says is "striking given that he is not yet advertising on television." The Post points out this was at least partly "because he traveled in style" with charter jets and luxury hotels. Also interesting, the NYT notes that Rep. Ron Paul had $5.4 million left for the primaries, which is quite a bit more than Sen. John McCain's $1.67 million.'

RP really a phenomenon, tho invisible to the pundits...

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

It's a legit question, AndyR. And the public is very split-personality, wanting more services (transportation) with lower taxes.

I tend to favor two approaches - increasing the state gas tax (which is very pay as you go, not writing that one big check in Sept), combined with public-private partnerships. They've already done some of the latter, on the Dulles Toll Road for example. I note now that Frank Wolf wants to reneg on the deal with the company that built the road, now that they want to raise the toll; panderers like him are what turn me off to the GOP.

Posted by: JD | October 16, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

JD, on Thu, Nov. 15, my wife and I are driving from NYC to Durham. Just how bad is metro DC on I 95? Any tips?

Kay Bailey Hutchison is thinking she will resign as Senator-for-Life in '09 and run for Gov. in 2010.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 16, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/News/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=6636

--Go here to see a baffling republican press release regarding S-CHIP-- usng the Simpson's characters--unauthorized, a violation of copyright laws. What is wrong with these people?

'The Simpsons characters appeared on the web site for a Republican House Committee -- where the villainous Mr. Burns rubs his hands in glee over a children's health insurance bill.

"If the poor children can get a piece of the action, why can't I?" gushes the cartoon's greedy owner of a nuclear power plant.

A Republican committee spokesperson confirmed this morning that their site was not hacked to include cartoon characters, as some bloggers had argued. The press release from the Republicans on the House Commerce Committee included the cartoon characters to parody the bill's perceived flaws.

But what does Fox Broadcasting have to say about the use of their cartoon characters? It's illegal, says licensing spokesman Andy Bandit.

"Twentieth Century Fox was unaware of the illegal use of characters from The Simpsons in this press release. Let me assure you, Fox did not authorize this use. Characters from The Simpsons may not be used in this manner..."

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

JD,
Now I know that the car tax is hated by my VA friends, but my question is if the Car tax had stayed in place and that money was put to helping out the insane congestion in NoVA would that have helped? Basically, I see alot of people complain about the car tax, but then turn around and complain that Traffic from Richmond to DC is so bad it isn't worth driving most of the time. I am really just curious of what you think would be a good solution to the problem?

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 16, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"Will Virginia keep its No. 1 ranking on The Fix's Senate Line this month? Tune in Friday to find out."

Umm, I'm gonna guess, yes. Barring a macaca moment from Warner, this race will be the '06 Santorum-Casey race of 08: a blowout throughout the whole season. I think NH could also quickly reach that status. CO should also be a fairly easy gain for the Dems.

MN would be if only there were a more competitive candidate to challenge Coleman. I'm surprised there hasn't been a top-tier challenger yet--Coleman had no business winning the seat in 02. He won it solely on the natl environment coupled with Wellstone's tragic death.

Posted by: uckeleg | October 16, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

This says it all:

"Gilmore, they argue, is yesterday's news,"

Couldn't agree more. Too bad too, as I've stated before, I know Tom D and he's a fantastic politician, very middle of the road, and would have a real shot once he got some name recognition outside NoVa.

For all you non-locals (most of you), Gilmore made his bones with Virginia by doing one thing: cutting (but not eliminating) the hated annual car tax we have to pay. It was (and is) an awful tax, and thankfully he trimmed it.

But that's not enough of a legacy to be Senator or President, and as you said Chris, he screwed the pooch when he was running the RNC.

Posted by: JD | October 16, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

AndyR3: I posted the same thoughts about Davis once Mark decided to run. I think it was along the line of giving up a seat he has a chance of holding, to try for another he has almost no chance of winning. Don't be suprised if the repubs put up only a token opponent, for they pretty well know Mark is going to be the next Va. Senator.

Posted by: lylepink | October 16, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I think the most likely scenario is that Davis elects to stay out of the senate race and focuses on keeping his House seat. He has a good chance to keep his seat and almost no chance at the senate. Maybe he'll think about running for Governor after Kaine is done.
Either way this will definitly remain number 1 on the line anyway you look at it.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 16, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

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