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Tom Perriello and the politics of principle

Christopher Dean Hopkins

(Cross-posted from Chris Cillizza's The Fix blog.)

Virginia Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello is a major Republican target in 2010. AP Photo by Steve Helber

Ask freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D) what his votes in favor of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, cap and trade proposal and health care law mean for him politically and he readily admits he doesn't know.

What he does know is that "people evaluate authenticity", adding: "What people see from me is that I am trying to speak from a place of what makes me tick."

Perriello's authenticity-before-politics mantra has made him a hero to many Democrats -- and a figure of considerable regard in the eyes of the White House -- and simultaneously a top target for Republicans who believe he is voting his own interests and not those of his conservative-leaning 5th district of Virginia.

"Perriello seems to have come to Washington and been totally committed to dancing to the tune of [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)," said state Sen. Robert Hurt (R), Perriello's likely general election opponent. "That is who he represents."

The race in Perriello's seat, which won The Fix's latest choose-your-own-House-race contest, is a microcosm of the challenge that Democrats face across the country this fall: can freshmen and sophomore House Members get re-elected in swing and Republican-leaning districts after two years of tough votes on the president's agenda?

Read the full post by Chris Cillizza on The Fix.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  May 6, 2010; 3:08 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2010 , Tom Perriello  
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