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Virginia Notebook: Election Day Questions

Tim Craig

With the Nov..6 election less than two weeks away, here are some questions raised by the races throughout the state. Answers will appear in the next Virginia Notebook, which will be published Nov..15.

Q. Can a Republican still win inside the Beltway? Retiring Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax) is the last Republican elected official representing a district that is mainly inside the Capital Beltway. Republican Dave Hunt and Democrat Margaret G. Vanderhye are vying to replace Callahan. If Vanderhye wins, it will complete the Democrats' 30-year effort to purge Alexandria, Arlington County and inner Fairfax County of Republican officeholders

Will 177,000 people who signed a petition against the abusive-driver fees show up and vote?During the height of the uproar over the fees on bad drivers, more than 1,000 people an hour signed an online petition pledging: "We will not vote for any state delegate or state senator who voted for" the fees. But it remains to be seen whether the signatories will follow through on their promise.

Is Corey A. Stewart the savior of the Republican Party in Prince William County?For most of the year, Democrats were hoping to make big gains in Prince William, which Sen. James Webb (D) carried in last year's U.S. Senate race. But Stewart has been trying to rile up voters by focusing attention on Republican efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, which could stunt Democrats' efforts to turn Prince William blue.

Can Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) translate his popularity into votes for Democrats?Kaine is making an aggressive push to help Democrats win the four seats needed to retake the Senate and some of the 11Ö needed to regain the House. Kaine's approval rating stands at 67 percent among likely voters, according to a Washington Post poll conducted earlier month.

Can a candidate in Virginia win if he or she once advocated an end to public education? Tricia Stall, a Republican candidate for the Senate in the Tidewater area, once signed a petition expressing support for "ending government involvement in education." Stall is running in an overwhelmingly Republican district, but she faces a stiff challenge from Democrat John Miller.

Will future state legislative candidates in Northern Virginia air commercials on network television?
Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites DavisÖ (R-Fairfax) is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to air a commercial on network television criticizing her Democratic opponent, J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen. Devolites Davis might be the first state legislative candidate to purchase network airtime in the expensive Washington media market. If the strategy works, a lot more candidates might follow her lead during the next election. Petersen responded Tuesday with his own network TV ads.

Will Bush motivate voters to go the polls?President Bush's approval rating in Virginia stands at 35 percent, according to a Washington Post poll. Bush's low standing in the polls helped Democrats gain control of Congress in last year's federal elections. Virginia Democrats are hoping to persuade anti-Bush voters to show up to vote this year.

Can Democrats sweep all three competitive Senate races in Fairfax?Because Fairfax has been trending blue, Democratic strategists say there is an outside chance that Devolites Davis and Republican Sens. Ken Cuccinelli II and James K. "Jay" O'Brien Jr. could lose if enough Democratic-leaning voters show up to the polls.

Will immigration save the GOP, or will it backfire? Many Republicans believe residents' frustrations with illegal immigration will bolster the chances of many Republican candidates. Others say votes will be focused more on transportation, education and taxes. But if the Republican strategy works, look for Republicans nationwide to campaign heavily on illegal immigration in 2008.

Can the Democrats make inroads down state? House Minority Leader Ward L. . Armstrong (D-Henry) has been working to help Democratic candidates in southern Virginia win back seats in more conservative areas of the state. Many of these communities, such as Danville, where Del. Daniel W. Marshall III (R) is being challenged by Democrat Adam J. Tomer, have historically sided with Democrats on economic issues. But the Republican Party has made significant inroads by appealing to conservatives on cultural issues.

Will Republicans unseat any incumbent Democratic senators or delegates? Although much of the attention this year has been focused on Democrats' efforts to defeat incumbent Republicans, the party is on the offensive in a couple of districts. In Northern Virginia, Republican Bob FitzSimmonds is running an aggressive campaign against Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William). Republican Marc Cadin is also posing a stiff challenge to Del. C. Charles Caputo (D-Fairfax).

Will Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) gain an early advantage in the 2009 governor's race? As chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Moran has been working to elect more Democrats to the House. If the Democrats make big gains, look for Moran to emerge as an early favorite for the 2009 Democratic nomination for governor.

Will all the negative mail depress or increase turnout?
Republicans and Democrats running this fall have been slinging mud at each other for months. Some say all the nastiness could convince more voters to stay home on Election Day. Others predict it will bolster turnout. In 2003, the last year delegates and senators were on the ballot, 31.percent of voters showed up at the polls.

Can a candidate who switched positions on abuser fees be reelected? Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) voted for the fees but then came out against them in August. The local press labeled Lingamfelter a "flip-flopper," which his Democratic opponent, Bill S. Day Jr., has sought to exploit.

Did the lobbyists make the right bet by giving more to Democrats? Sensing that Democrats could retake the Senate this year, companies and law firms that lobby the General Assembly have been giving a lot more money to Democrats than they did four years ago.

Can you think of your own question that will be answered on Nov. 6? If so, post in the comments section.

By Tim Craig  |  October 24, 2007; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Abusive Driver Fees , Election 2007 , Immigration , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine , Virginia Notebook , Virginia Tech massacre  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: O'Brien Gets Last-minute Donation
Next: Chichester, Potts Endorse Democrat Colgan


The biggest question won't be answered on Election Day: Why can't the Democrats find anybody to run against Dave Albo?

Posted by: SWheelock | October 25, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Will anti 2nd Amendment or Anti gun rights politicians replace supporters of the peoples right to keep and bear arms?

Posted by: Chris Rohland | October 25, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Will the Post continue this improved coverage of Virginia's politics? (If so, I'll go back to subscribing!)

Posted by: Beth | October 25, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Will anti-common sense candidates like Ken Cuccinelli who voted to allow guns to be sold at gun shows without background checks be allowed to stay in office?

Posted by: Carl | October 25, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

How many of the Post Endoresements will actually win :-p

Posted by: Anonymous | October 25, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

When The virginian are going to wake up and Vote put all those scambs ?

Posted by: tony | October 25, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Are the "competitive races" really "competitive" or is it just something for the traditional and new media to talk about

Posted by: Anonymous | October 25, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Now that has endorsed candidates (or at least it appears so) do you think that will affect the races in that area of Fairfax County? A recent poll by John Foust, a Democrat running for Dranesville Supervisor, shows that 81% of the people in this area favor a tunnel - and of course competitive bidding. What do you think?

Posted by: Julie P. | October 25, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Will the Post withdraw its endorsement now that Jeanmarie Devolites Davis' campaign has sunk to a new low:

Posted by: Anonymous | October 25, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Sunk to a new low? Give me a break, all of the information here is available publicly. Don't let Chap's full time volunteer fool you. Those hacks are desperate for a Jeannemarie "macaca moment," my guess is their internals aren't looking so hot. This ain't gonna help.

Posted by: Its the Truth | October 25, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Jeannemarie has already had her "macaca moment". It happened during a debate when she informed the audience she was a RINO!

Posted by: Vintage Lady | October 25, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

RINO = Republican In Name Only. Why would any self respecting Republican vote for her after she has pinned that label on herself?

Posted by: Vintage Lady | October 25, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

after the election will the remaining Rebublicans even speak to David Albo?

Posted by: steve | October 29, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

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