This Week's Winner and Losers
Winners and Losers for the week ending Oct. 5, 2007:
THIS WEEK'S WINNERS
Peter Pace: The recently retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hasn't given any indication that he's interested in running for public office, but what Virginia Republican wouldn't want an editorial from the conservative National Review urging them to run for the U.S. Senate? In recent days, "draft Pace" websites have also been popping up. It feels eerily similar to the effort to lure U.S. Sen. James Webb (D), who like Pace is a Marine, into the 2006 Senate race against former Sen. George Allen.
Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) - Lingamfelter's Democratic opponent, William Day, has been running a surprisingly strong campaign so far this fall. As of Sept. 1, Day had nearly four times as much money in the bank as Lingamfelter, who has been hammered over his support - then opposition - to the controversial abuser fees. But Lingamfelter may finally be turning around his campaign. He announced this week he's been endorsed by the National Rifle Association; Day refused to even respond to the NRA questionnaire. And even though Lingamfelter didn't get the League of Conservation Voters' endorsement, he notes on the campaign trail that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation named him one of four "legislators of the year" in July. In Lingamfelter's district, which includes stretches of Republican-leaning Prince William and Fauquier, a pro-gun , pro-environment platform may be the perfect combination to fend off Day's impressive effort.
Morgan Griffith - The House Majority Leader, along with his trusted aid, Jeff Ryer, travel from Rocky Mount to Danville at the start of the weekend to give an instant GOP response to the Democrats' "Change the Assembly" tour. Griffith manages to interject himself into a half-dozen local news stories about the Democratic tour, which was being led by Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria). In Southwest Virginia's small media markets, Moran's visit was big news. Thanks to Griffith, Moran and the Democrats didn't go unchallenged.
Conservative challengers: In a blow to moderate Republican officeholders, The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rules the state law allowing incumbents to chose between a nominating convention and primary is unconstitutional. In recent years, GOP moderates have opted for a primary, which gave them the opportunity to solicit broader support, including from Democrats. If the ruling stands, GOP moderates may have to do what they fear most: face an angry mob of conservatives at a convention or closed primary.
THIS WEEK"S LOSERS
Loudoun Supervisor Stephen J. Snow (R-Dulles), for pulling out of a League of Women Voters debate at the last minute. His opponent, Stevens Miller (D), had ample opportunity at the Wednesday forum to savage the absent Snow. Critics of the incumbent brought a caged chicken to the Wednesday forum, with a sign that read, "It's sNOw joke, I'm afraid to debate."
Jim Gilmore. The buzz surrounding Peter Pace can mean only one thing: conservatives aren't convinced that Gilmore is their best shot at winning Virginia's U.S. Senate seat. In fact, the National Review editorial said Gilmore as governor supported a woman's right to have an abortion during the first trimester, and chastised him calling on President Bush to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq. The magazine also said Gilmore's "stiff personality could make him a tough sell against Mark Warner, a more popular former governor." Gilmore will have to act fast to curtail such dissent if he hopes to be the conservative alternative to Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.)
Yvonne Miller - Virginia Republicans are running around the state trying to scare lobbyists and business leaders into thinking Yvonne B. Miller (D-Norfolk) will be the next chairwoman of the Commerce and Labor Committee if the Democrats regain the majority. According to rankings by the Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education, Miller is one of the least pro-business senators in the General Assembly. Senate Democratic leaders say Republicans are wrong because Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, a pro-business Democrat from Fairfax, is in line to chair Commerce and Labor. But it's never good to the target of a GOP whisper campaign a month before the election.
Corey Stewart - Stewart and his Republican colleagues on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors were forced to slow their closely watched crackdown on illegal immigrants when they realized they weren't sure how they would pay its $14.6 million price tag. The supervisors may be realizing why Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) is urging local governments to think long and hard before taking up what he views as a federal responsibility.
House and Senate budget committees: Kaine unveiled his plan this week to slash $300 million from the budget but says he will need to tap the rainy day fund to close the remaining half of the $600 million deficit. But because House and Senate Republicans are opposed to using the state's reserve fund, and they won't raise taxes, it's now up to them to find an additional $300 million in savings. And even though some of Kaine's cuts could be controversial, including a 5 percent cut to local police departments, it's hard to see how the GOP uses them as a political issue considering they may have to cut some programs even further. As part of his budget cuts, Kaine announced he is taking a 5 percent pay cut. Will state legislators follow suit?
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