Tag Archives: House of Delegates

Dave LaRock’s social media problem

In an article published Wednesday, Times-Mirror reporter Trevor Baratko explores the “wild, wild west” of campaigning in a still emerging online social media environment. Baratko approached my husband and me for this article because we had both been removed multiple times after “liking” Dave LaRock’s campaign page on Facebook. It’s common practice on Facebook to “like” a page for the purpose of monitoring the page’s activity and engaging in dialogue, and as I note in comments at the Times-Mirror, we have at no time been enabled to participate in discussion on that page although LaRock is campaigning to be our representative in the House of Delegates.

It’s an open question how exactly candidates for public office should navigate the new environment in which they find themselves. Many public figures and businesses have discovered that blocking critical comments from their Facebook pages only makes them appear imperious and as if they have something to hide. For an example of a different way to handle criticism (or in this case, open hostility and threats) see how the group Queer at Patrick Henry College dealt with PHC Chancellor Mike Farris’ comments on their Facebook page.

Facebook management isn’t the only area in which Dave LaRock has exhibited an inability to tolerate disagreement or criticism, however. A need for control coupled with entitlement, the sense that he has a special right to operate above the law, seems to be the character trait that most animates him. His 2012 arrest (final disposition still pending) for trespassing and destruction of property has become somewhat well known, prompting a falsehood-riddled “damage control” post (authored under an unaccountable pseudonym on a Republican blog) that LaRock is now distributing as his official statement on the matter. Continue reading

Post-primary postmodernism

Wherein a few loose ends are explored.
(Updated to clarify meaning of terms.)

1. The GOP has a bigotry problem. Those who are genuinely trying to combat it have my sympathy, if not my confidence. A commenter at TC who goes by Muslim Conservative has been patiently doing a lot of heavy lifting in that regard, and has managed to dislodge some damaging admissions, to wit: Former Republican candidate for Sheriff Greg Ahlemann has stated once again that he categorically does not “vote for or support candidates who support or practice Islam.” He also stated that he would never vote for or support “a homosexual.”

That statement might surprise those who read my interview with him on Equality Loudoun back in 2007, in which he talked about Muslim friends and gay friends in a way clearly intended to dispel the rumor that he harbors bigotry. What might also surprise you is that his views haven’t changed since then, and that he doesn’t see any contradiction. He genuinely believes, I think, that these statements do not constitute bigotry, and he is not alone in this view.

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Dave Butler Stands Alone

The Loudoun Times-Mirror carries the story of Jim Magner’s withdrawl from the race for the Democratic nomination in DEL-10.

“First, the creation of this new district offers a real opportunity for the democratic party to make a difference both in Richmond and here in Loudoun County, and I feel that a protracted primary fight would only hinder the party’s chances for realizing that potential in the general election,” he said in a statement.

In addition, Magner, an attorney with Washington, D.C.-based Leiser, Leiser & Hennessy, said a recent victory in Loudoun County Circuit Court has caused a drastic increase in the demands on his law practice and has “left me unable to dedicate the time needed to effectively manage may campaign.”

Magner’s client, Daniel Campos of Sterling, was recently awarded $282,000 in compensatory damages in a case against retail giant Wal-Mart. Campos was allegedly accosted and accused of shoplifting by Wal-Mart security guards.

In his statement, Magner said he is pledging his support for fellow Democrat Butler.

PhotobucketFirst, thank you to Mr. Magner for his efforts to defend the rights of our neighbors, like Mr. Campos, in court. Our community benefits greatly from his service as a defender of those rights in cases like the one cited above. And thanks also for pledging support for Councilman Butler, a man positioned to make a real difference in Richmond.

Dave Butler held a series of kickoff events for his Delegate campaign this past weekend. He traveled from Leesburg to Winchester, the length of the 10th District, making the case for his candidacy. He talked about his family, and his experience as a businessman and father in Loudoun county. He talked about his service on the Town Council, and his experience bridging divides to find answers to difficult questions of public concern. And Dave talked about what was missing. He talked about how our area does not get its fair share from Richmond, and how we can, and should, have a Delegate who will fight for us, and our jobs.

In that, he stands alone as a candidate for the 10th District. While others vying for the seat talk about blame and platitudinous issues that Delegates do not deal with, Dave Butler shares his experience with us and focuses on what can be done, now, to address the needs of the 10th District. We will do well to elect him to the General Assembly on November 8th.

Winning the House of Delegates

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is the arm of the Democratic Party that works to elect Democrats to state (and commonwealth) legislatures. This critical, but little noticed, piece of machinery is responsible for tracking election results for a huge number of elections, every year. Because of the sheer number and variety of races involved, it is a lot easier to draw assumptions about electoral trends from these state legislature races than from, say, a single US Senate or House special election. And the trending for Democrats at the state level this year is a lot better than it was in 2010.

In the last three months, we’ve noticed a startling trend: Since March 1st, Democratic candidates have overperformed in almost every similar special election compared to the Democrats who ran in the same districts in 2010.

This is a truly stunning turnaround. The conventional wisdom says that all else being equal (though it never is), a lower-profile election will produce a more Republican electorate. Therefore, a presidential year like 2008 should see better Democratic performance than a midterm like 2010, which in turn should see better Democratic performance than an odd-year special election.

But ever since the radicalism of the GOP’s assault on working families had a chance to sink in nationally, we’ve begun to see the opposite. Democratic special election candidates are now performing about 9.7% better than the Democratic candidates who ran in the exact same districts in 2010. – DLCC

The DLCC analysis goes on to state that the Wisconsin Recall elections will provide a wealth more data to be added to the analysis. Even without the Wisconsin results, an average improvement in 9.7% in special elections is incredible.

I mention this because here in Virginia Democrats seem to write off the House of Delegates. Even some of my favorite Delegate candidates speak of serving in the minority in Richmond. But by my estimation, there are no fewer than twelve seats in the House of Delegates that would have been flipped from Republican to Democrat in 2009, if the Democrat had won 9.7% more of the vote. That would have easily flipped control of the House of Delegates from Republicans to Democrats. And this is before Redistricting – Redistricting which has added even more seats from Democratic Northern Virginia.

The first step towards winning a majority is starting from the belief that you can (though not necessarily will) win a majority. The analysis from the DLCC shows that there may be a wind at the backs of Democratic state legislative candidates, a wind that will blow into November for us here in Virginia. So let’s start talking like we’re going to win, because we can, and we should, and if we work hard enough to make it happen, we will.

The 10th Delegate Race

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.
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Dems I have a great feeling about this year

Mark Herring. Raised nearly $100,000 since January. Has $150,000 on hand. Smart, popular, and effective.

Mike Kondratick. Raised over $15,000 since January. He has nearly twice that on hand. I just met his campaign manager, and she is on the ball and ready to roll.

David Butler. Experienced elected official, has already raised over $8000  raised over $11000 in the last report and has over $22,000 on hand [thanks for the update Dave!]. I haven’t met his primary opponent, Jim Magner, and he’s too new to have filed a report.

Jennifer Wexton. She raised over $9000, and is off to a great start. Her resume and her attitude will help us be rid of the embarrassment that is Jim Plowman.

Valdis Ronis. Raised nearly $7000 over $12,000 [I was looking at Cash On Hand]. Planning Commissioner. Architect. Well-known and well-liked.

Al Nevarez. Raised OVER $7,000. I just met his campaign manager, and I think that this is the team to beat Delgaudio. Also, he did very well in last night’s debate with Dan Lloyd and Barry Aliriza.

Speaking of Dan Lloyd, I thought he also did well, and any of the three of them would be a better choice than Delgaudio.

And I haven’t even touched on Malcolm Baldwin or Kelly Burk.

So the Dems have a pretty exciting line-up this year. I’m looking forward to walking for most of these good folks this season.