It wasn’t that long ago that there was a race for Delegate shaping up between incumbent Republican senior citizen Joe May and the young Leesburg Town Council member, Dave Butler. Dave made his intentions to run for Delegate known before the Redistricting fight in Richmond was over. So, it came as a surprise to no one that Joe May conveniently redistricted his opponent out of his District. And yes, the map in this area was Del. May’s doing. As a senior member of the House of Delegates, with incumbency since 1994 (and a perspective rooted in 1994, as well), it was his hand drawing the lines.
Dave Butler is a candidate that one of the most senior, and historically electorally safe, Republicans in the Assembly, did not want to run against.
After the new lines were drawn, Councilmember Butler started visiting with the voters in the new 10th District. From the Winchester Airport, to Boyce in Clarke, to Middleburg, Leesburg and Goose Creek, he has been walking through neighborhoods, talking to Virginians, and listening to the concerns of constituents who do not feel they’re getting their fair share from Richmond.
Meanwhile, the Republicans had a candidate, John Whitbeck, declare for the race. Mr. Whitbeck was promptly, and effusively, endorsed by powerful voices in the LCRC. Jim Plowman, Tag Greason, Betsy Davis, even the defeated Leesburg Supervisor Jim Clem lined up with words of strong support for Mr. Whitbeck. Mr. Whitbeck even dutifully endorsed women-are-nothing-more-than-baby-factory Republican candidate Dick Black, who then counter-endorsed him as well.
And today, another crazy turn in the crazy race for the Republican nomination in the 10th Delegate District. To review, Dave Butler announces his candidacy, Joe May promptly draws himself out of the District, and 19th Century Values Republican John Whitbeck declares for the seat and lines up endorsements. Now, with a little help from “his mentor” Joe May, another Republican retread has entered the race: Randy Minchew, former chair of the LCRC. Mr. Minchew, a pro-developer lawyer most recently serving as a counsel to Gov. McDonnell, is declaring his candidacy on the steps of the Loudoun County Courthouse today.
Where does that leave Del. May’s neighbor and fellow Republican, Del. Tag Greason? Where does that leave Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman? It would be interesting to know Mr. Plowman’s thoughts on a fellow Republican announcing his candidacy on the steps of the Courthouse where Mr. Plowman goes to work every day, in direct opposition to the candidate that Mr. Plowman has endorsed.
Perhaps most interestingly in this entire dynamic is the job that Mr. Minchew has held since last August, counsel to the Governor, Bob McDonnell. There is no way Mr. Minchew declares for the Delegate race without the knowledge and consent of the Governor, which means that Del. Greason, Jim Plowman, Dick Black, Betsy Davis and the others who have endorsed John Whitbeck were left in the dark by the top official in the Republican Party of Virginia.
Perhaps Gov. McDonnell and Del. May knew what most of us here in Loudoun already know, Dick Black, and those that support him and who he supports, are far too reactionary and out-of-touch for the voters of Loudoun, and they badly, desperately needed a different candidate in the 10th.
However, Randy Minchew is just as bad as John Whitbeck, if in a different way. John Whitbeck wants to poke around in our bedrooms and bodies with government authority. Randy Minchew just wants to let developers pave over the beautiful land that makes up the 10th District. His history as a land-use lawyer is one of zoning changes, unrestricted home construction, and questionable conflicts of interest. (He makes his money directly from companies who benefit from government decisions on zoning and development.)
So, the Republican Party gets to choose between a candidate who wants to invade our bedrooms or a candidate who wants to pave our farms.
The good news is this, the voters of the 10th Delegate District have another choice. They can, and will, choose Dave Butler to represent them in the 10th. Unlike his opponents, Dave Butler has a history of delivering services to his constituents. Unlike his opponents, Dave Butler is in the community, every day, talking to his neighbors and hearing their concerns. And unlike his opponents, Dave Butler decided the time had come for him to answer the call to serve in the Assembly before the lines were drawn. Dave’s decision to enter the race wasn’t motivated by redistricting lines, or internal party politics. It was motivated by a sincere and demonstrated desire to serve the public good in the legislature.
One thing is for sure, the race in the 10th is going to be fun.