American Meteorological Society Survey: Just 4% Hardcore Climate Science Deniers in Their Ranks

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I know this will come as a shocker (not) to many of you, but the far-right-wing "Daily Caller" website has been busy yet again making s*** up to further their agenda. In this case, it's climate science, and Media Matters does a nice job calling out the Caller for their distortions. Click on the table above, which asks members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) two  main questions: a) whether global warming is happening; and b) what is causing it? The results demonstrate pretty much the exact opposite of what the Daily Caller crazies are saying.First off, only a miniscule 4% of meteorologists say point blank that global warming is not happening, with another 7% saying they don't know. So, at the absolute most, 11% of meteorologists would qualify as climate science "skeptics" or "deniers," with the remaining89% answering "yes" to the question, "Is global warming (GW) happening?" Let's break this down into subgroups.
1. 52% say that GW is happening and that it's mostly human caused. In other words, the correct answer.
2. 20% say that GW is happening, but that although "there is insufficient evidence to attribute cause with precision, human activity is implicated to some degree." That's almost the correct answer, except that there is TONS of evidence to attribute the cause of GW to human activity, albeit perhaps not with "precision," depending on how that is defined.
3. Another 10% say GW is happening and is being caused equally by humans and nature. These 10% are correct that GW's happening, correct that humans are playing a role in causing it, but incorrect that nature is equally responsible.

4. Another 5% say GW is happening, caused mostly by "natural" factors. These folks are correct that GW is happening, but seem to be extremely confused as to the overwhelming scientific evidence that there's almost nothing "natural" about it (unless you consider fossil fuel consumption by human beings to be "natural").
5. Finally, 1% say GW is happening but they don't know the cause. Again, they're correct that GW is happening, but all they need to do is ask any climate scientists - Michael Mann, for instance - and they'll be happy to explain what's causing it.Also worth noting is that those meteorologists with actual expertise in climate science overwhelmingly believe GW is happening (just 1% of those folks are hard-core climate science deniers) and that humans are causing it (nearly 90% say that humans play a major role). The big problem is with meteorologists who have absolutely ZERO climate science expertise and who are "non-publishers" - in other words, the ones who have no clue what the heck they're talking about on this subject (although even among this group, only 7% are hard-core climate science deniers).
Example? How about WUSA9's resident rotten apple, climate science denier Charles "Topper" Shutt? I checked his bio, and it turns out he's a history major who then studied meteorology, but who appears to have ZERO expertise with regard to climate science (nor does he appear to have ever published anything even remotely scientific). Sensing a pattern here?
P.S. Although the American Meterological Society (AMS) has issued a strong statement, unequivocally stating that "[w]arming of the climate system now is unequivocal, according to many different kinds of evidence," and that "the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide," they need to go further. Now, it's time for AMS leadership to take disciplinary action against the small minority of their members who push climate science denial. For starters, they should warn them to cease and desist their lying about climate science. If they don't do that, then they should be expelled from the AMS. It's just totally unacceptable behavior which makes the AMS look bad, and it should be treated as such.

Audio: Bob McDonnell Says Mark Obenshain Should Ask for Recount; Winner Likely "Before Christmas"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Here are Gov. Bob McDonnell's thoughts on the Virginia AG's race situation. Among other things, McDonnell says "there's no winner or loser yet" in the AG's race, so he hasn't called Mark Herring to congratulate him (despite the fact that the State Board of Elections yesterday certified Herring's win); that Mark Obenshain should ask for a recount (McDonnell: "I would"); that there likely will be "multiple court hearings" in this process; and that Virginia "conducts fair and competent elections, and I haven't heard anything system-wide that would lead me to think anything different about this [election]." McDonnell also foresees a winner "before Christmas," which would strongly imply that Mark Obenshain will NOT contest the election (since if he did, it would almost certainly drag on past Christmas).
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Pope Francis Demolishes Conservative Economics, "Deified Market;" Promotes Health Care, Just Wage

Recently, I was speaking with a Roman Catholic friend who is a great admirer of Pope Francis, and he remarked that the College of Cardinals may have thought they were picking a conservative, but that they were deeply mistaken. Instead, it appears that they picked a true follower of the teachings of (Essene/Jewish Rabbi) Jesus in the Gospels, which of course were highly progressive even by today's standards, let alone for the times in which Jesus lived. In recent months, we've heard Pope Franciscriticize a church which had "grown 'obsessed' with gay marriage, abortion and contraception." Pope Francis has also spoken out about what he called the "tyranny" of capitalism, about how "the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling,"  how "the worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal," and also how "not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them." For any Republican Roman Catholic out there who thinks that the moderate, pro-capitalist Barack Obama is a "socialist" or whatever, I'd like to introduce you to not one but TWO real "socialists" - Pope Francis and Jesus. :)Now, Pope Francis is out with an "84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, [that amounts] to an official platform for his papacy." Here are a few highlights from this superb docu

Virginia State Board of Election Certifies McAuliffe, Northam, Herring Victories!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Today's the day, finally, when the Virginia State Board of Election certifies the state's election results from November 5. Photo to the right courtesy of Del. Bob Brink's Facebook page...posted 6 minutes ago. Updates as I get them...UPDATE 10:21 am: Ed Sykes ‏(@EdSykes29) of NBC29 tweets, "SBE Chair Judd & Secretary Palmer publicly reviewing #VAAG results from each Virginia locality" (Sykes later corrects to say it's actually Judd and "Chris Piper, Mgr of Election Services")
UPDATE 10:29 am: The State Board of Elections (@VirginiaSBE) tweets, "Certification of results of the November 5, 2013 general election is underway at the General Assembly Building."
UPDATE 10:34 am: Markus Schmidt (‏@MSchmidtRTD) of the RTD tweets, "SBE members about to sign attorney general certificate for @SenMarkHerring #Vagov " (see photo below)
*UPDATE 10:34 am: Julian Walker (@PilotOnPolitics) of the Virginian Pilot tweets, "After certification count #vaag, @SenMarkHerring  leads @MarkObenshain by 165 votes out of 2.2 mill"
*UPDATE 10:44 am:  ‏@EdSykes29 tweets, "Wow - SBE Chair Charlie Judd, in a personal statement, says he casts his vote 'with question' over the integrity of the election data" (note that Judd is a big-time Republican)
*UPDATE 10:47 am: @MSchmidtRTD tweets, "Wondering if Judd's concern with integrity of election opened the door for @MarkObenshain to contest if recount won't sway results." Sure seems like it.
*UPDATE 10:51 am: OK, Senator Obenshain, since you're such a "fiscal conservative," why not save Virginia taxpayers some money and concede the race, since you were just certified by the SBE as having LOST it?!?
*UPDATE 10:56 am: @jeisrael of ThinkProgress tweets, "McDonnell's SBE chair doesn't trust own agency."
*UPDATE 10:59 am: @QuentinKidd of Christopher Newport University tweets, "SBE Chair Charlie Judd calls into question the integrity of the election.."
*UPDATE 11:00 amCheck this out: "Charles E. Judd worked for Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority from 1984 to 1988...was executive director of the Ohio GOP from 1977 to 1979 -- when he became deputy finance director of the Republican National Committee and moved to Virginia." Hmmm.
*UPDATE 11:02 am: Rep. Gerry Connolly's Chief of Staff ‏@JamesWalkinshaw tweets, "Congrats to Attny Gen-elect @SenMarkHerring. Election results are certified. Note to media...He is no longer 'ahead by 165 votes.' He won."
*UPDATE 11:08 am: @chelyendavis of the F'burg Free Lance Star tweets, "In statement, @MarkObenshain lists Va recount history, says recount decision 'not to be made lightly'. Is considering it, has 10 days." That's bizarre; I mean, he hasn't been "considering" it for a couple weeks now?!?
*UPDATE 11:38 am: See Obenshain, Herring statements in the comments section of this post.
*UPDATE 11:49 am: Obenshain asserts - "There have been four statewide elections in the U.S. since 2000 that finished within a 300 vote margin. In three of those four statewide elections the results were reversed in a recount." I found three statewide elections - Washington State Governor 2004; Vermont Auditor of Accounts election in 2006; Minnesota U.S. Senate race 2008 - that were reversed in a recount. Initially, the Republican was leading in all three, but after the recount, the Democrat won in all three. Interesting...
UPDATE 1:49 pm: Per the Daily Press, the Republican chair of the Virginia State Board of Elections says "he did not intend for his comments to encourage any legal challenge" and that "he had not been in contact with any of the campaigns or political parties about any problems they may have had with the count." Hmmmm.

Legislation Introduced So Far in Virginia General Assembly, from Worst to Best

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Believe it or not, Virginia Delegates and State Senators are already introducing legislation for the upcoming session, which runs from January 8 through March 8, 2014 (60 days in even-numbered years; 30 days in odd-numbered years). Some of this legislation appears innocuous, inoffensive, and not particularly earth shattering. Other proposed legislation ranges from abysmal to excellent. Here are a few that jumped out at me so far.WORST
*Yep, crazy Del. "Sideshow Bob" Marshall has been reelected yet again, and he's back yet again with his monomaniacal war on contraception.  HB 18 (requires HMOs, insurers, etc. who offer health insurance policies "be required to offer a policy, contract, or plan identical in all respects except that no such coverage [for contraception] is included"); HB 19 ("no individual or group accident and sickness insurance policy, individual or group accident or sickness subscription contract, or health care plan for health care services shall provide coverage for contraception methods, sterilization procedures, abortifacient drugs or devices unless the subscriber or enrollee in the policy, contract, or plan requests such coverage"); and HB 20 ("no health insurance plan, regardless of whether such plan consists of self-insurance, purchased insurance, a combination of purchased and self-insurance, or the use of a health maintenance organization, offered by the Commonwealth or any locality to its employees or by any agency, department, division, or institution of the Commonwealth or any locality authorized by law to offer such a plan to its employees is required to include coverage for contraception methods, sterilization procedures, or abortifacient drugs or devices."). Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
*Republican Del. Ben Cline also makes the abysmal list, with his absurd HB 3, which would mandate that the bipartisan transportation bill passed last year - with the support of Republican House Speaker Bill Howell, I might add - expire on July 1, 2014. This is beyond brain dead, as no matter what you think of the transportation bill, there is Z-E-R-O chance that it will be repealed by the General Assembly, let alone that such a repeal would be signed into law by Gov. McAuliffe. Total waste of time and brain cells (if any were expended in drafting this drooling idiocy).
*I strongly doubt that Republican Del. Tim Hugo cares about the dispute over what the Sea of Japan (which most Koreans believe should be named the East Sea) is labeled as in Virginia textbooks, yet he's introduced HB 11 which "Requires all textbooks approved by the Board of Education to note that the Sea of Japan is also referred to as the East Sea." What next by Del. Hugo, legislation requiring that the Persian Gulf also be called the Arabian Gulf; that Myanmar also be called Burma; that the Falkland Islands also be called the Islas Malvinas; that the West Bank also be called "Judea and Samaria?" What a complete waste of time and money.
*I need to find out more about this bill by Republican Del. Chris Stolle ("Allocations within highway construction districts"), but I don't trust it as far as I can throw it. How much do you want to bet that this is simply a way to ram through more sprawl-inducing road construction at the expense of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit?
lowkell :: Legislation Introduced So Far in Virginia General Assembly, from Worst to Best
*Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin has introduced SJ1, which would repeal "the constitutional amendment dealing with marriage that was approved by referendum at the November 2006 election." The sooner this abomination is out of Virginia's constitution, the better.*Sen. Ebbin and Del. Scott Surovell have both introduced legislation to repeal the "$64 annual license tax on hybrid electric motor vehicles that was first imposed beginning July 1, 2013." This never should have been in the transportation bill to begin with, nor should it ever be, as it penalizes people simply for doing the right thing - buying more fuel efficient vehicles. Why not slap a tax on pollution-spewing gas guzzlers (gigantic SUVs, Hummers, etc.) instead?
*Republican Del. Greg Habeeb makes this list, for his HB 7, which "Provides for the automatic restoration of the civil right to be eligible to register to vote to persons convicted of nonviolent felonies (excepting felony drug and election fraud crimes) upon completion of sentence, including any term of probation or parole, and the payment of all restitution, fines, costs, and fees assessed as a result of the felony conviction." This should passed unanimously, but I bet it won't be, as most Republicans these days appea more intent on SUPPRESSING peoples' right to vote (e.g., by inventing fictional "voter fraud" and garbage like that), rather than enhancing it.
So that's my list for now; I'm sure it will be growing rapidly in coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Deeds' Family Tragedy Highlights Egregious Example of Warped VA Budget Priorities

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The tragedy involving State Senator Creigh Deeds and his son Gus is horrible enough as it is. But then, we heard the infuriating news that Gus - who apparently had a history of struggling with  mental illness -  was "evaluated Monday at Bath Community Hospital" but "released because no psychiatric bed could be located across a wide area of western Virginia." And why was that the case? Here's Think Progress on that part of the story: ongoing trend of state governments slashing funds for mental health programs has greatly diminished the number of beds available to Americans with serious mental illnesses, including those who need emergency inpatient care."Many states appear to be effectively terminating a public psychiatric treatment system that has existed for nearly two centuries," wrote researchers in a 2012 report by the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), a nonprofit group that examines mental health issues. "The system was originally created to protect both the patients and the public, and its termination is taking place with little regard for the consequences to either group."
According to the report, Virginia eliminated 15 percent of its public psychiatric beds between 2005 and 2010. The state has just 17.6 such beds per 10,000 people - less than 40 percent of the recommended minimum 50 beds per 10,000 people.That didn't stop Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) from proposing even more cuts to mental health programs in 2012.
There's a lot of blame for this sad state of affairs to go around, and it doesn't necessarily break down on pure partisan lines. Of course, the Great Recession that began in 2008 didn't help matters, nor did foolish "austerity" policies - largely pushed by Republicans and the Tea Party - at the federal and state levels. Among these cutbacks were those that gutted social services, including mental health funding. For instance, check out what happened here in Virginia after the Virginia Tech shootings, carried out by a severely mentally ill individual.

Breaking: State Sen. Creigh Deeds Critically Wounded, Son Dead [UPDATED]

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Creigh Deeds and FamilyJust in from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, is in critical condition after being stabbed in his home and his son Gus is dead from a gunshot wound, law enforcement sources told the Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning. Deeds is being treated at the University of Virginia Medical Center.Authorities said they are trying to determine the sequence of events at the Deeds home in Bath County early today. In a news release, Virginia State Police said they responded to Deeds' home in Millboro at 7:25 a.m., and that the lawmaker was flown from  to the U.Va. medical center.
"Virginia State Police are on the scene of an assault of a state legislator that took place Tuesday morning," the news release said. "Senator Creigh Deeds has been transported to U.Va. Hospital in Charlottesville for treatment of serious injuries sustained in the assault at his residence."
Regarding Deeds' son, state police would only say that "a second individual at the residence is deceased."
Our thoughts & prayers are with Sen. Deeds and his family.UPDATE 3:30 pm by Lowell: The Virginia State Police are holding another press conference with updates on this situation. Also, @PilotOnPolitics tweets, "@CreighDeeds condition upgraded to fair from critical, per UVA Med Center." There was a 9/11 call at 7:25 am. Creigh Deeds and Gus "had an altercation." Creigh left the scene on foot, encountered a cousin who was driving along, where rescue responded. Creigh was then transported to UVA Medical Center, where his condition is now listed as "fair" (upgraded from "critical"). Gus Deeds (24 years old) died at the scene from gunshot wounds. Investigators remain at the scene.  Motive and circumstances around altercation are the focus of the investigation. The Deeds family has passed along request to honor their privacy during this time, that the media not contact them.  Based on the evidence now, the police are looking at it as attempted murder and suicide. The police still are piecing together the exact sequence of events. Creigh was able to talk to investigators this morning. There was noone else (e.g., Creigh's wife Siobhan) in the residence at the time of the altercation. A firearm has been recovered, no further details on that or the attempted murder weapon.
UPDATE 2:07 pm by Lowell: The RTD reports - "Gus Deeds had been released Monday following a mental health evaluation performed under an emergency custody order, an official said...[Gus]  was evaluated Monday at Bath County hospital, Cropper said, but was released because no psychiatric bed could be located across a wide area of western Virginia." That is seriously f'ed up.
UPDATE 12:05 pm by Lowell: The Roanoke Times tweets - "Update from reporter at scene (1/2): #CreighDeeds stabbed numerous times before walking on to Va. 42 ...Update from reporter at scene (2/2): #CreighDeeds picked up by cousin who lives nearby, airlifted from cousin's farm."
UPDATE 11:39 am by Lowell: The Loudoun Times-Mirror (‏@LTMnews) tweets, "The Virginia State Police will hold a press briefing on the incident involving state Sen. Creigh Deeds today at noon."
UPDATE by LowellNBC4 reports: "Democratic sources tell News4 that Deeds' son Austin 'Gus' Deeds attacked his father Tuesday morning before turning a gun on himself."

Results Thread: 6th Senate District Democratic Caucus

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Today's Democratic caucus to nominate a candidate to replace Lt. Governor-elect Ralph Northam in the 6th Virginia Senate district closed at 2 pm today. The candidates are Del. Lynwood Lewis, former delegate Paula Miller, and Ralph Northam's LG Campaign Treasurer Andria McClellan. Please feel free to use this as an open thread to discuss the district and the results. I'll update with whatever I can find. Also note that this district went 57% for Barack Obama and 58% for Tim Kaine last year.UPDATE 4:31 pm: Not that this will change the winner, but I'm hearing some serious disagreement about the total in Accomack, possibly off by 1,000 or so? (e.g., Ben Tribbett tweets, {"While Lewis won this election, here's another example of inability to correctly count votes- seems unlikely reported result is right"). We'll see, but in the end Lewis wins handily, regardless.
UPDATE 4:01 pm: According to this spreadsheet, the 100th House of Delegates district, which Lynwood Lewis has represented, went 55% for both Barack Obama and Tim Kaine last year. Of course, that doesn't mean it will be that way in a special election early next year. We'll see.
FINAL TOTAL: Lynwood Lewis 2,658 (55%); Paula Miller 1,292 (27%); Andria McClellan 929 (19%), Landslide for Lewis, basically...not even close.
*@notlarrysabato (3:37 pm) - "Norfolk results:  Miller 1173, Lewis 234, McClellan 778.  McClellan plays spoiler in Lewis's win."
*@notlarrysabato (3:25 pm) - "Lynwood will have about a 1,500 vote lead going into Norfolk.  It actually could be close if Miller pulls 75% there and he gets almost 0."
*@vpaige (3:24 pm) - "Northhampton Hampton Inn: McC 5, Miller 7, Lewis 349...Northampton totals: McClellan 29, Miller 21, Lewis 731"
*@notlarrysabato (3:09 pm) - "Source inside Norfolk counting room says Miller has won Norfolk, Lewis a distant 3rd, but McClellan pulls enough to ensure Lewis victory...Projecting Lynwood Lewis as the Democratic nominee for @RalphNortham seat now."
*@notlarrysabato (3:02 pm) - "Painter in, Lewis 210, McClellan 6, Miller 3." The totals are now Lewis 975, Miller 94, McClellan 103.
*‏@notlarrysabato (2:51 pm) - "Shore still coming in, with Norfolk also out: Lewis 765, Miller 91, McClellan 97.  (5 of 11 reporting)"
*‏@vpaige - "NH: Eastville:  Lewis 173, Mcclellan 6, Miller 6"
*@notlarrysabato  - "Norfolk total updated to 2238.  With 3 of 11 polls in (7 on shore, 1 in Norfolk left to report) Lewis 383, Miller 77, McClellan 73."
*@vpaige - "1 precint in Northampton: Lewis 209, McClellan 18, Miller 8"
*@vpaige - "Mathews: Lewis 136, Miller 48, McClellan 53"
*@notlarrysabato - "Bloxom on shore first poll in- Lewis 244, Miller 6, McClellan 2"
*@notlarrysabato - "Turnout counts (not sure these were all at 2 pm, need to see):  Norfolk 2,111, Accomack 840, Northampton 775, Matthews 238, VA Beach 44"
*‏@notlarrysabato (Ben Tribbett) - "If Lewis didn't break through in Beach, hes going to be squashed in Norfolk. But will McClellan take enough votes from Miller 2 elect Lewis?...Remember Lewis will probably win 90% of votes on the shore."
*‏@notlarrysabato (Ben Tribbett)  - "Virginia Beach reports first.  Paula Miller 23, Andria McClellan 18, Lynwood Lewis 3."
*‏@notlarrysabato (Ben Tribbett)  - "Remember- with Onzlee Ware (D-Roanoke) resigning, a Lewis victory means every House of Delegates committee goes from 15R-7D to 16R-6D"
*‏@notlarrysabato (Ben Tribbett) - "Around 2,000 voters in Norfolk- mostly for Paula Miller- but big turnout on Eastern Shore where Dems put eight polls to help Lynwood Lewis"

Tom "all it does is produce Democrats" Davis Raises Money to Fight Columbia Pike Streetcar

Friday, November 15, 2013

This Sunday, a group called Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit (AST) is holding a fundraiser with former Rep. Tom Davis (R) and Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey (D). The #1 goal of AST is to stop a proposed streetcar project along Columbia Pike (supported overwhelmingly, and for many years, by both the Arlington and Fairfax County Boards), and to replace it with a mythical "Bus Rapid Transit" (BRT) system (I say "mythical" because you can't have BRT without dedicated lanes, and that's not possible on Columbia Pike).Anyway, my question for today isn't about AST or about the merits of the streetcar project (which I strongly support, by the way), but about former Rep. Tom Davis (R). The last we heard from Davis, he was making the case for the Republican "extreme team" ticket (Cuccinelli/Jackson/Obenshain) and how they could win the election on November 5. Uh, guess not - ha. Now, Davis is busy raising money to fight a streetcar in Arlington? Why?
I don't know, but perhaps this 2005 Washington Post article might provide some clues regarding Davis' attitudes towards smart growth?
[Rep. Tom Davis] says he's deeply concerned that at the Vienna station, "smart growth" -- the slogan of those who favor building more densely around transit stations to funnel population growth there rather than letting it seep deeper into the countryside -- is really dumb growth, overly congesting both roads and rails.[...]
Three Fairfax elected officials told me that Davis explained his opposition to the MetroWest development to them as a matter of party politics: The congressman believes that the people most likely to move into condos and townhouses near a Metro station are -- oh, the horror! -- Democrats.
One politician who spoke to Davis says the congressman told him straight-out that he opposes Pulte Homes' MetroWest project because"all it does is produce Democrats."
Of course, this doesn't explain why Davis would care about a smart growth project like the Columbia Pike streetcar, given that it's not in his (former) district. Perhaps it's as one Virginia Democratic political power player told me, that "Republicans would like to see flat population growth in NOVA so it can't completely dominate statewide races," and that smart growth/high-density-development projects, such as flows from transit projects like Metro and streetcars, do indeed "produce Democrats," as Davis so inelegantly (but correctly) put it back in 2005. The bigger question is, why are some Arlington Democrats working with Tom Davis to oppose this project? That's what I don't get at all.

Yes, Gerrymandering Sucks. No, It Did NOT Kill Virginia House Democrats in 2013.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

First off, let me just say upfront that I strongly agree with my friend Josh Israel - one of the most astute political writers around, also one of the most knowledgeable about Virginia - that "gerrymandering" is a major problem in our fine Commonwealth. For years, I've strongly supported a shift to nonpartisan and/or bipartisan redistricting, but obviously the incumbents have had different ideas. Thus, we had the Democrats in the State Senate drawing their preferred lines after the 2010 census, the Republicans in the House their preferred lines, and the Virginia Congressional incumbents making sure that they were safe in their districts. It's bad for democracy, it's bad for Democrats (e.g., we basically locked in an 8-3 Republican advantage in the U.S. House of Representatives despite Virginia being a purplish-blue state), and it needs to change. But it won't anytime soon, let's face it, given the desire of incumbents to protect themselves at all costs. Which means we just have to deal with it the best we can.That brings us back to reality - specifically, the actual situation we face, not the situation we (to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld) the situation we might want or wish to have at a later time. So we've got these awful, gerrymandered, incumbent-protection districts. Lots of 'em. And Republicans have taken advantage, beginning the 2013 cycle with an overwhelming, 68-32 advantage in the Virginia House of Delegates. Plus a huge money advantage that comes from incumbency, plus controlling the Governor's Mansion, plus being total corporate tools (of the fossil fuel companies, Dominion, you name it). Yeah, it sucks, but them there's the facts we need to deal with -or go home and curl up in fetal position. I prefer the former to the latter.
But here's the thing: despite all the advantages gerrymandering gave the Republicans heading into this cycle, we still had 18 districts won by Tim Kaine(and 16 districts won by Barack Obama) in 2012 that were potentially winnable. How do I know this? Because Tim Kaine and Barack Obama just won them a year ago. Which means our voters are there and we know who they are.
The challenge, of course, is that Democratic voters tend to turn out in much lower numbers, relatively speaking, than Republican voters in odd-year, non-federal elections. But that's not etched in stone or anything, it's just a phenomenon we've observed for several years now. Which means we can/should/MUST work to change it. And what better year to do that than right after Barack Obama and Tim Kaine won Virginia (and with the reams of Obama campaign data available to Virginia Democrats this year)? Especially with a Democratic statewide ticket (and a super-well-funded gubernatorial candidate able and willing to pour money into the "coordinated" campaign) poised to sweep the Republican "extreme team?" I'd also point out that Democratic turnout in the non-federal years is highest in a gubernatorial year. In other words, if we couldn't pick up a bunch of House of Delegates seats THIS year, with our well-funded statewide ticket sweeping, and with 18 "Kaine districts" (and 16 "Obama districts") currently held by Republican delegates, when will we ever?
So why DIDN'T we pick up more seats in the House of Delegates this cycle? I've been talking to people and looking at the numbers. I have not reached any definitive conclusions at this point. But one thing is clear: Democratic House of Delegates candidates frequently underperformed compared to the statewide candidates in their districts. Part of the problem,  no doubt, was money. Several of our "targeted" candidates got outspent badly: Jennifer Boysko by more than 2:1 ($601k-$253k) in the 86th district general election campaign (despite this, she lost by just 54 votes!); Kathleen Murphy by more than $500k in the 34th district (despite this, she lost by just 422 votes); James Harder by a nearly 2:1 margin in the 12th; Elizabeth Miller by an incredible 20:1 margin a 2:1 margin in the 32nd (despite this, she lost by just 634 votes out of nearly 23,000 cast); Jeremy McPike by a whopping 4:1 margin in the 31st (despite this, McPike only lost by just 234 votes); Rob Farinholt was outspent by about $300k in the 94th district (yet lost by just 543 votes); Hung Nguyen by more than a 4:1 margin in the 67th (Nguyen lost 55%-45%); etc, etc. You think we might have won a few of these if the money had been a bit less lopsided than it was? Hmmm. (note: in this context, I should note that Democracy for America promised $750,000 to its targeted Virginia candidate, but only ended up spending a bit over $120,000 - #FAIL)

But it wasn't just money. That's often used as an excuse for everything, the be-all-end-all of politics. Well, sorry it, isn't. Having worked on a race (Jim Webb for U.S. Senate in 2006) in which we were wildly outspent in the primary, then started the general election campaign absolutely broke and facing an entrenched incumbent (George Allen) with a huge warchest, I can attest first-hand to the fact that while money matters, there's a LOT more to politics than that. It's just laziness (and self-serving spin), frankly, among politicians, consultants, etc., to claim that all their problems stemmed from money, and that all their problems would be solved if they only had more of it. Not.Second, my own personal observation is that Democratic candidates didn't use all the tools at their disposal in the year 2013, and absolutely essential at this point. I'm talking, first and foremost, about social media.  For instance, many of our candidates had only minimal Twitter followers (Qarni had 136; McPike had 98; Murphy had 291; Harder had 44; Nguyen had 215; Boysko had 304), and relatively small Facebook followings as well.
As for Democratic House candidates' presence on the blogs...uh, WHAT presence on the blogs? Here at Blue Virginia, for instance, we offer a community blog, which means that any of these Democratic campaigns could have registered an account (and their supporters could have registered many more), then posted every day if they wanted - pictures, videos, press releases, whatever they wanted to talk about - on this blog, which received 91,000 visits (reporters, Democratic activists, political insiders, etc.) last month. Given that the traditional media barely covers these races, if at all, and certainly not in a "friendly" way, that one's a no brainer, as it costs nothing but a bit of time. I'd add that if these campaigns just made the least bit of effort to let Blue Virginia bloggers know about their events and invite them to come cover them, they might get some free, positive publicity out of it. But that rarely happened. What on earth?
I'd say the same thing for YouTube, by the way; how many of these campaigns were doing the basics in the year 2013, which includes recording everything (you can buy an easy-to-use, digital video camera that fits in your pocket for $150 or whatever on Amazon) and posting up good stuff about your candidate/bad stuff about your opponent? Uhhhh.
I mean, seriously, this stuff should be the absolute basics by now - no excuse not to do it, or more to the point ask your volunteers to do it (again, costs nothing). Yet in a recent email by Democratic House leader Toscano, summing up the main findings from this election, there was not ONE mention of social media at all. Zero. I really like and respect Toscano, but what on earth is THAT all about? Again: at this point, the vast majority of likely voters use social media of all kinds (from Facebook to Twitter to blogs to Pinterest to YouTube to...), which means campaigns have got to make the maximum use of them. Especially since they cost basically nothing, and especially since the traditional media has essentially imploded/collapsed.
The point of all this is not to be critical, certainly not just for the sake of being critical (although I'm very frustrated, and I've heard a lot of anger/frustration from Democrats about how badly we underperformed in the House of Delegates compared to the optimistic scenarios being painted just days/weeks from the election). Instead, it is simply to highlight that money isn't everything these days; that there are tons of tools to get your message out (particularly via social media; I mean, what percentage of likely voters are NOT on Facebook OR Twitter OR the blogs? miniscule is my guess), and that we have to use them. The broader point is that if we effectively use ALL the tools we have at our disposal to get our voters out to the polls in these "odd year" elections, I believe we can win - in SPITE of gerrymandering. Again, there are 18 "Kaine districts" and 16 "Obama districts" currently held by Republican delegates in Virginia; what's our plan, exactly, for winning them back?
Finally, I've just gotta say that if you're going to make the argument that gerrymandering killed us in 2013, then you ALSO have to explain why just 1-2 weeks before the election, House Democrats were going around telling everyone that there were up to 14 seats potentially competitive, 10 getting money or some other form of "love" from the caucus, and a definite shot at picking up 5, 6 or more net House of Delegate seats? Gerrymandering was there at that point, same as it was on election day, so nothing changed in that regard in a couple weeks. Which means...spare me the lame excuse of gerrymandering (supposedly) killing us, when there are 16-18 districts that Kaine or Obama won just a year ago, and when winning those would get Democrats to 48-50 House of Delegates seats (out of 100). At this point, I really just have no patience for this line of argument anymore.

Is There Any Good Reason Why Dems Didn't Just Do "Medicare for All?"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let's face it, as well-intentioned in many ways as the Affordable Care Act was, and as many good things that it brings to the table, it's a seriously, seriously flawed method for achieving universal, affordable, high-quality health care coverage in this country. It has also turned out to be terrible politics (see this new poll, for example); killing Democrats politically in 2010; feeding the Tea Party monster red meat and contributing to its takeover of the House of Representatives (and thus all the dysfunction and extremism we're seeing on budgeting, the debt ceiling, and a million other issues); and now threatening to squander what HAD been Democrats' increasingly rosy prospects for the 2014 midterms.The fact is, this entrenchment of the private, for-profit health insurance industry, while tweaking it in a gazillion different ways, was the wrong way to go about health care reform in this country. This isn't "Monday Morning QB'ing," as I argued strongly for a robust public option and was highly skeptical of this approach while it was being debated. Of course, I strongly supported - and still support - the "Affordable Care Act" approach IF the option was doing nothing at all. But still, we could have done so much better, it seems to me (and please, explain to me specifically why we couldn't have, if you believe that to be the case).
In part the problem is the Affordable Care Act approach is overly complicated, truly a Ruby Goldberg-esque contraption if I've ever see one. That alone handed the Republicans an easy (albeit idiotic) talking point to bash Democrats on, that this plan was thousands of pages long and that almost nobody  had read it or understood it.
Second, let's face it: this plan doesn't fundamentally get at the core problem in the U.S., which is that we spend more than basically any other advanced, industrialized country in exchange for WORSE OUTCOMES. As if that's not bad enough, this plan doesn't achieve universal coverage, nor does it truly "bend the cost curve" as it could have (e.g., with a robust public option). What a bargain, huh?
Third, by mandating that people purchase coverage, but only from private/for-profit companies, we got the worst of all worlds: bad politics (e.g., Republican attacks and constitutional challenges, including from Virginia's own Ken Cuccinelli on the "individual mandate," which of course was a conservative idea to begin with but whatever...); and fundamentally bad policy (entrenching the private, for-profit health care industry without even offering a robust public option for people). Great, huh?
Fourth, in part because it was made so ridiculously complicated, health care reform took wayyyy too long during 2009 and 2010, basically sucking up President Obama's first two years, when we also needed to be focusing on the economic recovery, comprehensive immigration reform, and - hello?!? - climate change! (also, why on earth did we spend months on end waiting for Max Baucus - huge blunder on that one). Again, I said all this at the time, so this isn't "Monday morning QB'ing." Today, if anything, it's even more mind boggling. What on earth was the White House - and other Democrats, including Bill Clinton, who predicted that once the plan was passed, people would LOVE it! - thinking on this?
Fifth, the conservative Supreme Court made matters worse by making a key part of the ACA - Medicaid expansion - optional, not mandatory, for the states. So now we're fighting THAT battle as well, including right here in Virginia, where that issue will likely take up much of Gov.-elect McAuliffe's first year (or longer) in office.
Finally, the way the ACA is constructed, it gives Republicans at both the federal AND state levels tons of opportunities to sabotage/derail healthcare reform's effective implementation - and boy have they done so! And now, as an added bonus, they're gearing up the cheap-shot (but possibly effective) attacks on Democrats up for reelection in 2014, including Virginia Senator Mark Warner (see this video, for instance). Great, huh?
But, you say, the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") was the best our political system could have produced, given the Joe Liebermans and Blanche Lincolns and other insurance industry tools of the world (not to mention absolute Republican opposition to a health care plan that was largely modeled ontheir own freakin' ideas!). Except I'm not convinced this was the best our political system could have produced. Instead, why didn't we just do this?

Fairfax Provisionals Counted as Midnight Deadline Approaches in Virginia AG Race

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

We're coming down the home stretch in the Virginia Attorney General's race, at least prior to any possible recount. Here's the latest, with Democrat Mark Herring leading Republican Mark Obenshain according to the State Board of Elections website by 117 votes (1,103,610-1,103,493).UPDATE 9:39 pm: ‏@amaxsmith tweets," Hand count. +2 Herring in 11th. +2 Herring in 10th; +3 obenshain." @jeisrael of ThinkProgress tweets, "With Herring winning hand counts 4 to 3, Herring gains 57 in Fairfax and wins by 163 votes out of 2M+" @notlarrysabato tweets, "Final score going into recount.  Herring 1,103,778. Obenshain 1,103,615."
UPDATE 9:36 pm: Julie Carey tweets, "JUST IN: UNOFFICIAL  on #FairfaxCo provisionals. Herring 156, Obenshain 100 and 7 ballots left to handcount." And with that, MARK HERRING WILL SHORTLY BE CERTIFIED AS THE WINNER OF THE VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S RACE! Woo-hoo! :)
UPDATE 9:31 pm: ‏@amaxsmith tweets, "Tapes running 60 Herring 48 obenshain in 11th. Still without hand counts...In 10th it's 29-18 Herring over obenshain" ‏@CamThompsonWNEW tweets, "For the 8th: 67 for Herring. 34 for Obenshain."
UPDATE 9:28 pm:  ‏@BettinaLawton tweets, "#Fairfaxfinale torn ballots and write - ins are delaying the results"
UPDATE 9:26 pm: Sorry Ben, but I've got to strongly agree with Julie Carey on this one! LOL
UPDATE 9:13 pm: ‏@amaxsmith tweets, "Some of the ballots are jamming or getting error messages from machines.  One ballot came up as over voted in #vaag. Observers watching." ‏@CamThompsonWNEW tweets, "10th Congressional District is done minus the ones that need to be hand-counted"
UPDATE 9:09 pm: The State Board of Elections website is now updated, showing a 106-vote lead for Mark Herring. I believe all that's left is Fairfax County, but not 100% sure (others, including Ben Tribett, say that's all the counties, other than Fairfax).
UPDATE 9:07 pm: ‏@JulieCareyNBC tweets, "Progress! Provisional ballots are now going into the scanners." @ClinicEscort tweets, "Now the members of the board will eat dinner, walk their dogs, do their taxes, before counting."
UPDATE 8:59 pm: @notlarrysabato tweets, "All other localities have CERTIFIED results.  This is it.  (That doesn't mean SBE has reported all)" Ben is also doing a "best and worst dressed" list. I'm glad I'm safely at home! LOL
UPDATE 8:53 pm: @amaxsmith tweets, "Each sealed ballot being opened, put into box per congressional district. Only then are they fed thru machine and we learn vote ct." Are we having fun yet? ;)
UPDATE 8:37 pm: @JulieCareyNBC tweets, "FINALLY, they are firing up the vote scanning machines, testing them before running ballots through." What next, are they going to use an abacus to tally the results and a carrier pigeon to report them to the State Board of Elections in Richmond? (snark)
UPDATE 8:32 pm: Max Smith tweets, "Board will now start opening accepted provisional ballots."

Virginia AG Update: Crucial Meeting in Richmond Underway [Herring Takes Lead!]

Monday, November 11, 2013

An important meeting in Richmond is underway right now (1:28 pm) to determine the final vote count for Attorney General of Virginia. Updates below via CBS6 TV reporter Joe St. George (and others, if available). Note that as the meeting begins, Democrat Mark Herring trails Republican Mark Obenshain by just 17 votes out of over 2.2 million cast. Richmond, a heavily Democratic city, is of course crucial (as is Fairfax County, which will be finalized tomorrow).UPDATE 8:22 pm: @JulieCareyNBC tweeted an hour ago: "#Fairfax Co. Electoral Bd  accepts 172 provisional ballots, rejected 138 w/ 183 left to review. Will know tmrw which #VAAG candidates benefit."
UPDATE 8:07 pm: The Virginia State Board of Elections website has been updated, and Democrat Mark Herring now leads by 117 votes over Republican Mark Obenshain. :)

UPDATE 4:09 pm by Joe St. George: "Don't expect the state board website to be updated for several hours...."
UPDATE 2:56 pm by Joe St. George: "Obenshain lawyers want Richmond to hold off on certifying results till they see poll books"
UPDATES 2:40 pm by Joe St. George: "More precincts will be looked at now....908 504 707 602 606 213 701 510 702 and 706. Request made by GOP" No changes so far. Also, "Obenshain lawyers huddling in corner." LOL
UPDATE 2:38 pm: Just posted photo by ‏@JoeStGeorge of "@clarkmercerva, political director for democrats next to @ashleybauman also from dem party" in Richmond.
UPDATE 2:35 pm by Joe St. George: "Richmond City's GOP-requested recanvass of 8 precincts could not have gone much worse for Obenshain (R)."
UPDATE 2:26 pm by Joe St. George: "So far no changes from election night for 908"
UPDATE 2:23 pm by Laura Vozzella (@LVozzella) of the Washington Post: "Richmond electoral board announces it will review 9 more precincts at request of city GOP in #vaagrace. That's on top of eight others."
UPDATE 2:22 pm by Dave Wasserman: "By my math, Herring (D) has taken #VAAG lead over Obenshain (R) by 115 votes"
UPDATE 2:19 pm by Joe St. George: "This has been a very good meeting if you are a Herring supporter"
UPDATE 2:17 pm: ‏@EdSykes29 of NBC 29 tweets, "Current tally from Dem lawyers show @SenMarkHerring has picked up ~135 votes so far in Richmond today. Entered day down 17"
UPDATE 2:15 pm by Joe St. George: "802 pricint: 563 for herring 24 for Obenshain #vaag"
UPDATE 2:11 pm by Joe St. George: "Pricint 802 up next"
UPDATE 2:08 pm by Dave Wasserman: "Richmond 607 voted 671-227 for Obama in '12. Current @VirginiaSBE tally of 377 H 101 O seems highly plausible. #VAAG" And Joe St. George tweets, "Dem lawyers believe they picked up 6 from pricint 607."
UPDATE 2:06 pm by Joe St. George: "607: herring 386 Obenshain 104."

UPDATE 2:00 pm by Joe St. George: "One vote in 607 was cancelled. One voter walked away from booth without hitting submit"
UPDATE 1:57 pm by Dave Wasserman: "Previously uncounted paper ballot in Richmond 603 gives Herring (D) another vote. His #VAAG lead has expanded to exactly 100"
UPDATE 1:54 pm by Dave Wasserman: "Credit to my sources who first flagged 190 missing Richmond 501 votes the day after the election - turned out to be right."
UPDATE 1:51 pm: Loudoun County Democratic Committee Chair Evan Macbeth (‏@Paradox13VA) tweets: "'I didn't vote, my vote doesn't really matter,' should say nobody." Agreed!
UPDATE 1:48 pm by Dave Wasserman: "By my math, new statewide totals in #VAAG: Herring (D) 1,103,579, Obenshain (R) 1,103,480 #ShockoeSlipUp"
UPDATE 1:47 pm by Joe St. George: "Dem lawyers confirming Herring will take the lead after 501 machine is counted....#vaag"
UPDATE 1:43 pm by Dave Wasserman: "BREAKING: #ShockoeSlipUp gives Herring (D) #VAAG lead by 99 votes." :)
UPDATE 1:40 pm by Joe St. George: "Herring total from 501 is 983. Obenshain total from 501 is 181." Dave Wasserman adds: "WHOA. #ShockoeSlipUp may be real>> RT @JoeStGeorge 501. One of the machine was not pulled into original  tally. Machine #3791."
UPDATE 1:33 pm by Joe St. George: "501 up next. Lot of controversy over social media about this on... One of the machine was not pulled into original  tally. Machine #3791." This is the big one.
UPDATE 1:32 pm by Joe St. George: "Princt 402 herring 1124 Obenshain 534. No changes from election night"
UPDATES 1:30 pm by Joe St. George: "Princint 112 herring 425 Obenshain 303. No changes in this pricint from election night." "Pricint 204 has a descripency in the check in vs poll vote 1084-1085." "Pricint 204 count: herring 788 Obenshain 269. No corrections from election night. Discrepancy seems to stem from human error." "Pricint 402 up next."

In Defense of Fairfax County Electoral Board Member Brian Schoeneman (R)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

No, I can't believe I'm writing a story with that title. Just a bit of background as to why that's the case. First off, Schoeneman is a Republican blogger and a former candidate for House of Delegates with whom I disagree on just about everything (with the exception of labor unions, which he apparently supports). In addition, Schoeneman was banned at Blue Virginia for a bunch of reasons that can be boiled down to "being a troll by almost any definition of that word." As if all that's not bad enough, Schoeneman also has repeatedly launched outrageous attacks on Miles Grant and on the rest of ushere at Blue Virginia, for supposedly "exploit[ing] major tragedies for political gain." Of course, this is a specialty of Republicans, but we'll leave that argument aside for the time being.The fact is that all those charges are absurd and offensive - Blue Virginia does not "exploit" things, let alone tragedies. To the contrary, I'd say we have been extremely restrained over the years; see our Virginia Tech coverage, for instance, which I am proud of to this day. Anyway, the point is that Brian Schoeneman is not exactly Mr. Popularity over here, and was banned by unanimous vote by the Blue Virginia front pagers (one of the easiest calls we ever made, although I reversed it several months ago, just to see if he'd changed at all). More broadly, this is the type of guy I generally don't trust as far as I can throw, as the saying goes - if he told me water was wet, I'd really start to question whether it might just be dry. You get the picture.
So that's why the LAST thing I ever thought I'd be doing is defending this guy. Yet here I am, doing just that. Why? Because - and I'm pleasantly surprised (shocked?) to say it - Schoeneman's been acting with utmost integrity, from what I can gather, in his role as a member of the Fairfax County Electoral Board in the tighter-than-a-tick Virginia Attorney General's race. Believe me, I was ready to pounce after I saw this photo, and after having read of supposedly "missing" and/or "uncounted" absentee ballots not just from Fairfax County, but from the most Democratic part of the County. I'll admit, I was highly suspicious. Still, I thought it was important to hold off on accusing anyone of anything until proof came to light, if it ever did. Well, it didn't. To the contrary, Schoeneman has by all accounts been acting in a totally professional, ethical, above-board manner that appears to be a model for how electoral board members should act. And for that, he deserves praise, especially when far-right-wing Tea Partiers like Jeanine "Lovettsville Lady" Martin (notorious for her ill-informed, ridiculous remarks on conservative Virginia blogs) start attacking him, like this crapola:
Brian Schoeneman, Secretary of the Electoral Board in Fairfax County, has extended the deadline for contesting provisional ballots from Friday at noon until Tuesday...My first question, does Brian's decision open a whole can of worms for every jurisdiction in the state?  Will every jurisdiction now extend the deadline for provisional ballots?  My second question, why is Brian Schoeneman, who purports to be a republican,  helping democrats by extending this deadline?
I'm sorry, but that's just laughable. As Schoeneman writes in reply to this drivel:

Jeanine, you have no idea what you're talking about, as usual.There is no "deadline for contesting provisional votes." That's not what we are talking about. The only deadline in the law is that all copies of IDs for those who were given Voter ID provisionals be provided to our office by noon on the Friday after the election. We have abided by that deadline, and any voter who voted provisionally because of an ID issue who failed to meet that deadline will not have their vote counted.
All other voters who voted provisionally are free to present any additional information - either in person or in writing - about why they think their provisional should be counted. We have been postponing our final votes on those provisionals to allow people - both Republicans AND Democrats - time to get here and present their case to the board if they so choose.
Etc, etc., etc. (Schoeneman's style is to be extremely wordy and repetitive, and to always but ALWAYS make sure he has the last word on everything; no wonder he's a lawyer - lol). To date, all the evidence is that Schoeneman has been doing just that - as he puts it, 'trying to do right by the voters in Fairfax County,"which is what I swore an oath to do." Heck, even Greg "Black Velvet Bruce Li" Letiecq, about as hard-right as you can get this side of Attila the Hun, weighs in to defend Schoeneman, asking "Do we so blithely cast away our principles just because it might yield a momentary partisan advantage?", and adding, "[Brian Schoeneman] swore an oath to uphold the law and serve justice, and he is doing that. Brian is demonstrating a level of honor and dedication people of both parties should seek to emulate."So, not only am I defending Brian Schoeneman this morning, something I never thought I'd do, but I'm also agreeing with Greg Letiecq, which I figured would happen about when hell froze over. Well, come to think of it, it IS pretty cold outside this morning, so you never know. LOL

How Did the Washington Post's Endorsements Fare This Election?

Here are the Post's endorsements in seriously contested elections (endorsing safe incumbents doesn't really prove anything one way or the other, so no sense including them); here's how the Post did.Governor: Terry McAuliffe (WON)
Lt. Governor: Ralph Northam (WON)
Attorney General: Mark Herring (UNDECIDED)
District 2: Mark Dudenhefer (LOST to Democrat Michael Futrell by 223 votes)
District 10: Randy Minchew (WON by 15 points over Democrat Monte Johnson)
District 13: Atif Qarni (LOST by 3 points to Republican "Sideshow Bob" Marshall)
District 31: Jeremy McPike (LOST by 228 votes to Republican Scott Lingamfelter)
District 32: Tag Greason (WON by 3 percentage points over Democrat Elizabeth Miller)
District 33: Mary Costello Daniel (LOST by 11 points to Republican Dave LaRock)
District 34: Kathleen Murphy (LOST by 1.5 points to Republican Barbara Comstock)
District 51: Reed Heddleston (LOST by 7.5 points to Republican Richard Anderson)
District 67: Jim LeMunyon (WON by 9 points over Democrat Hung Nguyen)
District 86: Tom Rust (WON by 57 votes - pending possible recount - over Democrat Jennifer Boysko)
District 87: John Bell (LOST by 187 votes to Republican David Ramadan)
Total: 4-7 on seriously contested House of Delegates races; 2-0 (with the AG race undecided) in statewide races. Not much sign of clout there, frankly, on the House of Delegates races. It's also hard to argue there was much of any "juice" at the state level either, as Northam was going to win no matter what, and basically no Virginia newspapers endorsed Cuccinelli, so it's hard to argue that the Post's endorsement of McAuliffe was anything particularly (or at all?) powerful in terms of influencing the election.
P.S. The Daily Press endorsed  Republican Mike Watson in the 93rd district, and he lost (by 4 points to Democrat Monty Mason). They endorsed Democrat Rob Farinholt in the 94th, and he lost too (by 3 points to Republican David Yancey). The Virginian Pilot endorsed Democrat Linda Bryant in the 78th HoD district (she lost by a wide margin to Republican Jay Leftwich); Republican Ron Villaneuva in the 21st (he won by 9 points over Democrat Susan Hippen); Republican Glenn Davis in the 84th (he won by 15 points over Democrat Brent McKenzie); and Democrat Bill Dale in the 85th (he lost by 13 points to Republican Scott Taylor). Again, not much sign that newspapers have any particular "juice" in terms of their endorsed candidates.

Open Thread: Virginia Attorney General Election Cliffhanger Coming to Its Climax?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I'm going to use this thread to update on the latest in the Virginia Attorney General's race cliffhanger. Right now, on the State Board of Elections website, Mark Obenshain leads Mark Herring by 1,262 votes, but that's going to change big time shortly. Check out the following tweets.*Brian W. Schoeneman ‏@BrianSchoeneman 18m "We will have an official statement out here shortly.  Changes for AGs race in 8th District CAP:  Herring 5137, Obenshain 2039, 10 WI" (Note: Schoeneman is a Republican member of the Fairfax County Board of Elections)
*Ben Tribbett ‏@notlarrysabato 28m @Redistrict "Fairfax counts at 2 pm"
*Ben Tribbett ‏@notlarrysabato 1h "Without a big change- the #7cornerssurprise seems to be decisive and when all ballots are counted today @SenMarkHerring should narrowly lead"
*Dave Wasserman ‏@Redistrict 1h "In fact, all 10 of Obenshain's top margin counties have finished counting provisionals. Bad news for R's."
*Dave Wasserman ‏@Redistrict 1h "4 of the 5 localities that gave Herring (D) his biggest margin have yet to report their provisionals. All 5 of Obenshain (R)'s already have."
In more good news, Arlington, Virginia, Voter Registration and Electoral Board writes, "Virginia State Board of Elections has not refreshed their website yet to show Arlington's provisional totals, entered about 6 pm Friday. Here's what everyone wants to know: Herring 59, Obenshain 21."
Looking very good right now for Mark Herring and a Democratic statewide sweep in this year's Virginia elections (pending challenges, recount, unexpected developments, etc., of course)! :)  Also, great work by the following: 1) Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report; 2) the Gerry Connolly political team; 3) Ben "Not Larry Sabato" Tribbett; and 4) the Mark Herring for AG campaign. In contrast, the corporate media has been almost (or completely) AWOL on this one. Another nail in its coffin...
UPDATE 1:14 pm: ‏@DakHardwick of the Alexandria Dems tweets, "The #Alexandria Electoral Board beginning to count accepted provisional ballots at this time. Will know numbers soon." And  ‏@Redistrict (Dave Wasserman) tweets, "Now that we've resolved #7CornersSurprise and #bedfordblast, big mystery is now the #ShockoeSlipUp in Richmond #vaag"
UPDATE 1:42 pm: @notlarrysabato tweets, "Still at Obenshain 1,103,356. Herring 1,103,274.   Waiting for Fairfax, and a few others."
UPDATE 2:58 pm: See this article ("A last-minute change means Fairfax County voters who cast provisional ballots may face troubles getting them counted.") and note that both the chair and vice chair of the Virginia State Board of Elections are both Bob McDonnell appointees (the chair being a long-time Republican political operative). Hmmmmmmm. Although the vice chair, Kimberly Bowers, was deputy finance director for the O'Malley-Brown campaign and "a fundraiser for Harris Miller in his unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate."
UPDATE 3:36 pm: @notlarrysabato tweeted, "Updated count with Norfolk included Obenshain 1,103,366, Herring 1,103,309." My understanding is that this does not include Fairfax provisionals, Alexandria provisionals, god knows what else (e.g., Norfolk, Richmond provisionals?)...
UPDATE 3:51 pm: @DakHardwick tweets, "Provisional ballot count in #Alexandria complete: Herring 53, Obenshain 29. Net gain of 24 for @SenMarkHerring." Wait, it's changed again - "Susan Bulkley Kellom Correction -- Obenshain only got 24 -- net gain is 29."
UPDATE 5:25 pm: @notlarrysabato tweets, "15-4 herring with richmond provisionals.  Newest statewide count 1,103,399 for Obenshain, 1,103,377 for Herring.  22 votes."
UPDATE 5:39 pm: ‏@notlarrysabato tweets, "New update. Obenshain 1,103,417. Herring 1,103,402. 15 votes margin."

3,000 Votes Missing in Fairfax County?!?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Virginia AG's race now sees Republican Mark Obenshain ahead of Democrat Mark Herring by 777 votes. But that doesn't include provisional ballots, of which there are apparently 2,500 or so that were issued on election day. Nor does it include crazy stuff like what Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report (note: Dave's been doing superb work on this AG recount; I strongly recommend that everyone follow his Twitter feed) just tweeted about (see the string of tweets below). That's right, there may be 3,000 absentee ballots missing in Fairfax County - a jurisdiction Herring won 61%-39%. Allocate those 3,000 votes proportionally, and that would give Mark Herring another 660 votes - nearly enough to make up his 777-vote deficit, even BEFORE the provisionals (which one would think would tilt heavily Democratic) are counted. Fascinating.P.S. Wasserman just added, "IF #VA08 Fairfax precincts had the same AB return rate as other precincts, there would be ~7,421 absentees, not 4,168. Huge difference." Also, "In full disclosure/credit, I was first alerted to a problem with #VA08 Fairfax absentees by #VA11 Rep. @GerryConnolly's political operation."

How Pathetically Bad Were Pollsters on Virginia 2013? Really, Really Bad.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

According to UVA Political Science Professor @LarrySabato: "We need a fair, nonpartisan examination of VA GOV '13 polling. It was off--in some cases (WaPo), WAY off." It's hard to disagree with that sentiment, given how utterly wrong the Virginia 2013 polls were in the closing weeks of the election. Click on the image to "embiggen," or click here for the Huffington Post Pollster numbers for Virginia 2013. In short, they sucked. How bad did they suck? Let's rank them in descending order of suckitude (based on how close they came to the actual outcome). Keep in mind that Terry McAuliffe ended up winning this race by 2.5 points (47.7%-45.2%).1. Republican Rasmussen Reports, of course, was putrid as always, claiming on 10/20 that Terry McAuliffe had a 17-point lead. The only people who believed THAT poll probably also believe in little green men and unicorns and stuff.
2. Roanoke College's "polling" unit, as always, embarrassed its school with its beyond-amateurish product. In a "poll" conducted from 10/21 to 10/27, Roanoke somehow managed to put McAuliffe up 15 points. Again, we're talking little green men and unicorns. But what else is new for this bunch and its pathetically, laughably bad "polls" that for some reason "newspapers" keep citing as if they have any validity whatsoever? GIVE IT UP!
3. Our friends at the Kaplan/Bezos/Washington Post love to criticize automated polling and others that don't meet their lofty standards, yet they (along with their partner Abt-SRBI) produced a total stinker of a "poll" in late October that had McAuliffe up 12 points. Why am I not surprised?
4. How is Zogby still in business, and why would anyone in their right mind take them even the least bit seriously when they pair up with the deranged "Newsmax?" This combo did one of the last (11/1-11/3) "polls" of the cycle, and also one of the worst, putting McAuliffe up 12 points. Again, how is Zogby still in business?
5. I probably should put NBC/Marist here, as they had McAuliffe up 8 points, BUT that was at the height of the government shutdown. Also, as far as I know Marist does decent work. So we'll give them a partial pass, even though they were also off by a wide margin.
6. Public Policy Polling had the last (or next to last, it's hard to keep them straight) poll of the cycle (11/2-11/3), and it was badly off, showing McAuliffe up 7 points, and indicating no reason whatsoever for any concern that this race was tightening, might be close, etc. I mean, why even bother doing polls if they're going to be so misleading in terms of their absolute numbers as well as their analysis?
7. Christopher Newport University had a 7-point McAuliffe lead in its 10/25-10/30 poll. Not.
8. Quinnipiac and Hampton University each showed McAuliffe up 6 points in their final polls of the cycle. Actually, Quinnipiac would have been smarter to just stick with its 4-point margin of its next-to-last poll. Anyway, these two were among the "best of the worst" pollsters of Virginia this cycle. Which ain't sayin' much.
9. Now it's where things get REALLY bizarre. First, an "Emerson College Polling Society" (a what?!?) "poll" actually nailed the results, at McAuliffe +2 points, but TOTALLY for the wrong reasons. Among other problems with that "poll": they had Sarvis at 13 points (off by a mile); their internals were bizarre (e.g., they claimed that McAuliffe's strongest support was in the 8th, 11th...and 10th (!!!!) CDs. WTF? The 10th?!? Uh, don't think so. And how about the 3rd CD, which is overwhelmingly Democratic? This poll just proves that you can be "right for the wrong reasons," also that you can hit a target merely by throwing darts at a board and getting lucky. Which brings us to the right-wingnut "Wenzel Strategies" ("poll" done for the Republican "Ending Spending" PAC). Wenzel is beyond parody, not even worth mentioning as a "pollster," are wildly wrong ALL THE TIME, yet somehow they came pretty close in this race, showing McAuliffe up 1 point. Who knows, but in no way, shape or form should anyone EVER take this group seriously in its future "polls."
So, yeah, Larry Sabato's right that "We need a fair, nonpartisan examination of VA GOV '13 polling." But I'll bet you a lot of money that we won't get one. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.
P.S. In fairness, none of the pollsters found Cuccinelli ahead, and they were right about that - barely!

Winners and Losers: Virginia Election 2013 Edition

Here are a few winners and losers (note: this is not meant to be comprehensive, as that would be endless, boring, and exhausting! LOL) from this election cycle that I believe are worth highlighting. I'm not going to dwell much on the obvious winners (McAuliffe, Northam, Herring) and losers (Cuccinelli, Jackson, Obenshain), but instead on ones that jump out at me. And again, this list isn't even close to comprehensive, so please add winners and losers of your own in the comments section. Thanks.Winners
1. Robby Mook and the rest of the McAuliffe campaign staff: It may not have been pretty in the end, but the bottom line is that - as Steve Jarding told me back in 2006, most certainly with a big dollop of sarcasm - "when you win you're a genius, when you lose you're an idiot." By that reasoning, these guys are now geniuses. To be serious, though, I'd say they ran a strong campaign, strategically smart, tactically agile, and of course extremely well funded. One caveat: I tend to agree with my friend Paul Goldman that it was risky to nationalize the campaign by bringing in Clinton and Obama in the closing week, just as the "Obamacare" rollout fiasco was exploding (on the other hand, Clinton and Obama were both excellent in making the case for Terry and against Cooch). Anyway, I think Terry's lead tightened (at least from the public polling; maybe not from the "internals") because there's real anger out there in the right-wing base against "Obamacare," and because the government shutdown was starting to fade into the rear-view mirror (with federal employees back to work and compensated for the time they were off) by Election Day.
2. Bill Bolling: I've already seen the chatter, that if Bolling had been the Virginia GOP nominee this year, Republicans would have won. And it's quite possible that's the case. Regardless, Bolling got his revenge on Cuccinelli for knifing him (politically/metaphorically, of course) by staging a coup and depriving him of the chance to run for Governor he assumed was his. Bolling also will almost certainly end up with a plum position in the McAuliffe administration if he wants one. Not too shabby a result, in the end, for Bolling.
3. Corey Stewart and Pete Snyder: With Republicans losing the Governor and LG races, and possibly the AG race as well (stay tuned on that one), these two guys - who finished right behind E.W. Jackson at the Republican convention last May - are almost certain to run again in 2017. If Obenshain pulls out the AG race, I could see an Obenshain for Governor race in 2017 with Stewart and Snyder fighting it out for LG (and Rob Bell for AG?).
4. Michael Mann: Speaking of revenge, the former UVA climate scientist who Cuccinelli launched a "witch hunt" (to use the Washington Post's words) against, has got to be feeling prettttty good right about now. :)
5. LGBT Virginians: They got Governor McAuliffe, who is strongly pro-equality/anti-discrimination, and dodged having a raging homophobe in the Governor's mansion, not to mention an even worse homophobe (if that's possible) as LG. Now, if only Mark Obenshain - who WALKED OUT of the Senate rather than vote on an openly gay judge - loses, LGBT Virginians can really celebrate.
6. Virginia Women: They got a Governor and Lt. Governor who both strongly believe, as Ralph Northam puts it, that a bunch of legislators in Richmond, most of whom are men, should not be telling Virginia women what they can and can't do with their bodies!
7. Virginia's economy: We just dodged a major bullet, as Ken Cuccinelli's economic and tax policies would have trashed our AAA bond rating, tarnished our state's image, harmed our educational and transportation infrastructure, and generally made our state MUCH less attractive to business. Phew!
8. Virginia public education: As noted in #7, dodged a huge bullet, as Cuccinelli was a big proponent of taking money intended for public schools and putting it into private and religious schools. Cuccinelli also would have been forced to slash the education budget to pay for his enormous tax cuts to the wealthy and well-connected.
9. Renewable energy and the environment: Terry McAuliffe is a big fan of renewable energy. To put it mildly, Ken Cuccinelli - a fossil fuel shill and climate science denier - is NOT. Again, phew!

10. Latinos: They came very close to having a strongly anti-"illegal"-immigrant governor. Instead, they got a mainstream guy who wants to make Virginia a welcoming place for everyone. Huge difference
11. Voting rights: The Republican assault on people's right to vote suffered a major setback in Virginia yesterday. If Ken Cuccinelli had been elected governor, it would have been all-out war on voting rights in Virginia, a la North Carolina and Texas. Now, hopefully we can see an EXPANSION of voting rights, including to former felons.
12. Virginia's transportation infrastructure: Cuccinelli was a major opponent of transportation improvements in Virginia, from the Metro to Dulles/Silver Line project to funding it at all. And Cuccinelli's transportation "plan" was widely panned by newspaper editorial boards across Virginia, for good reason - it was awful!
13. Paul Reagan: Sen. Jim Webb's Chief of Staff may soon become Gov. McAuliffe's, from what I've heard.
14. Levar Stoney: The former DPVA Executive Director has been T-Mac's aide for several years now (for a while he was T-Mac's ONLY aide), and the reward is seeing his boss elected governor (not to mention Levar possibly becoming Secretary of the Commonwealth or something of similar status).
15. Robby Mook: He's been touted as Hillary Clinton's possible campaign manager in 2016, and he managed to maintain that status coming out of this election. Mook's team - Josh Schwerin, Brennan Bilberry, Alex Kellner, the field/GOTV operation, etc. - deserve to be on the "winner's" list as well.
16. The Clintons: Their friend Terry McAuliffe is now going to be Governor of Virginia, as Hillary gears up to (most likely) run for President in 2016. Now, the key is T-Mac being a successful governor, but the bottom line is that Hillary's got to be thrilled to have her friend heading up one of the most important states, electorally speaking, as she weighs whether to go for the White House.
17. Rosalind Helderman: The Washington Post reporter broke numerous stories on Star Scientific which were important in their own right, but also had an important impact on the Virginia governor's race this year. Nice job.
18. Latino turnout: I hear from Del. Alfonso Lopez that 95,000 Latino votes were cast, according to the Latino Decisions exit poll. In contrast, the 2009 Virginia Governor's election saw just 45,000 Latinos vote. Thus, Latinos made up 3% of the Virginia electorate in 2009 & approximately 5% this time. Impressive! [UPDATE: Add African Americans as well; their turnout was also impressive, similar in percentage terms to 2012 - nice job!]
19. Aneesh Chopra: Unlike many candidates who lose primaries, Chopra didn't disappear from the scene. Instead, from everything I've heard and seen, Chopra was very helpful to the Democratic ticket, reportedly helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from his friends in the tech community, etc. Nice job by Aneesh, who should most definitely have a future in Virginia politics!
20. Great volunteers: This list could be endless, really, just like in the Webb campaign with its "ragtag army" of 12,000 volunteers. For now, I'll just single out a couple who I know well and who live here in Arlington - Kip Malinosky and Charley Conrad, both of whom apparently never sleep or stop working to elect Democrats - as examples of what I'm talking about. To every Democratic volunteer, thanks for what you do! (Oh yeah, definitely have to mention Jack Powers, a superb photographer who volunteered at many Democratic events this election cycle).
21. House Speaker Bill Howell: Came out of the House of Delegates races looking very good. He's got to be smiling today, as the results could easily have been a lot worse.
1. Bob McDonnell: A miserable year in general, and his scandals played a significant role in the Republican Party's destruction last night. On the other hand, there's no love lost between McDonnell and Cuccinelli (to put it mildly), so there's got to be a bit of schadenfreude in the Governor's mansion today at Cuccinelli's defeat.
2. Dick Saslaw: LG-elect Ralph Northam would break ties in the State Senate, which would make Saslaw Majority Leader again, but ONLY if Democrats hold Northam's (and possibly Mark Herring's) Senate seat(s) in special election(s). If not, then Saslaw could go down from 20 Democrats to 18 or 19, and start daydreaming 24/7 about his retirement to Hawaii or wherever.
3. Bob Lewis: The long-time dean of the Virginia political press corps was fired by the AP for a badly botched story, which of course is bad news for Bob Lewis. On the other hand, there was a huge outpouring of support for Lewis, including a Nov. 18 reception with Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine in Lewis' honor. Plus, Lewis already got hired - as senior manager, media relations, at McGuire Woods. Not too shabby!
4. Political primaries: I often hear people say that primaries are terrible, divisive, destructive, wasteful of financial resources, etc. I strongly disagree with this mindset, both in terms of seeing ZERO evidence to support that view, and also because I believe primaries are an important opportunity for the party to figure out who it feels best represents its values, and who has the best chance of winning the election. This cycle, Democrats didn't have one for governor, and Terry McAuliffe won. Meanwhile, we DID have ones for LG and AG, and so far Ralph Northam has won easily and Mark Herring is tied with Mark Obenshain. So what does that tell us? Maybe primaries are neither all good or all bad?
5. Barack Obama: Terry McAuliffe won after Obama came in to campaign for him, but on the other hand anger at "Obamacare" helped rally the Tea Party base, as it did in 2009 and 2010. So...mixed bag there.
6. Chris LaCivita: Cuccinelli's chief strategist often seemed to have no real strategy, other than attack "Obamacare" and bring in every right wingnut in the country to campaign for Cuccinelli, thus reinforcing the image of Cooch as an extremist. On the other hand, there's some evidence that this strategy might have been somewhat effective in the closing days in rallying the Tea Party base to turn out in the polls for Cuccinelli. Mixed verdict on this one.
7. Tom Perriello: Could he have won a primary against Terry McAuliffe and gone on to become Gov. Perriello? We'll never know, but I'm confident that Perriello would have defeated Cuccinelli easily if he had managed to defeat T-Mac for the nomination. On the other hand, Tom's got a great job at the Center for American Progress, didn't have to put himself through a hellacious primary and general election, and doesn't have to feel bad that Ken Cuccinelli was elected governor, because he wasn't.
1. Tea Party: They won the battle (the Republican convention last spring), but boy-oh-boy did they lose the war - or in this case the Governor's mansion and the Lt. Governor's gavel. Nice job, guys!
2. CONSOL Energy: Not only did they waste tens of thousands of dollars supporting Ken Cuccinelli (and Mark Obenshain), their contribution provided ammo to Virginia Democrats in pounding Cuccinelli in SW Virginia. Nice job, CONSOL, please come again! :)
3. NRA, VDCL: Terry McAuliffe stated point blank that he didn't give a rat's hindquarters about the gun lobby's support, and there's no evidence that it hurt him in the least bit. The times they are a changin' in Virginia? Or maybe the fact that huge majorities of Virginians support commonsense gun safety measures like background checks makes dissing the gun nuts both good policy AND good politics? See this article in the New Republic for more.
4. Pat Mullins: The RPV Chair presided over multiple fiascos, including the "coup" by Cuccinelli supporters and the decision to ditch the GOP primary for a convention, then the predictable results of letting a bunch of Tea Party activists select their dream "extreme team." #FAIL
5. Ted Cruz: The architect of the federal government shutdown not only plummeted in the polls nationally, he also hurt Ken Cuccinelli's political prospects by appearing with him at an event just as anger at the government shutdown was near its peak. Nice job, Ted, I probably should make you a "winner" for that - from a Democratic perspective, that is! :)
6. Mudcat Saunders: I'm sorry, but any "Democrat" endorsing Ken Cuccinelli for Governor of Virginia is no better than "Benedict" Lambert endorsing George Allen over Jim Webb in 2006. I just wish Mudcat held an office so we could primary him and drive him out of it! LOL
7. Tichi Pinkney-Eppes: Another supposed "Democrat" who endorsed Ken Cuccinelli for Governor. She needs to be defeated at the next possible opportunity.
8. Republican Governor's Association: Poured millions of dollars into Ken Cuccinelli's campaign. Lost. Oh well, easy come/easy go.
9. Justin Fairfax: Came out of nowhere, barely losing the Democratic primary back in June to Mark Herring, then essentially disappeared (before reappearing in the last few days of the election in a flurry of tweets and photos). Not exactly the most dedicated Virginia Democrat, to put it mildly, and definitely not one any of us should support in the future. [UPDATE: I've heard from a few people that Justin Fairfax did some work for the Democratic ticket, which is good if true. I certainly wasn't aware of it, that's for sure.]
10. PolitiFact Virginia: Just when you think that the organization I call "PolitiFICTION" can't get any lamer, they do. This election cycle was just pathetic, with clear calls either "false" or "true" apparently beyond their intellectual capabilities. I mean, why even have something called "PolitiFact" if they're utterly incapable of figuring out what's fact and what's fiction? Got me.
11. Anyone who claimed Terry McAuliffe was "unelectable" or that Ken Cuccinelli was a "great politician". It turns out that, although McAuliffe certainly has his "issues," he wasn't unelectable. And Cuccinelli showed himself to not be the "great politician" he was cracked up to be. I also should probably take this opportunity to remind everyone of Waldo Jaquith's semi-prophetic article last December, Neither Cuccinelli nor McAuliffe can win. And yet one of them must. And yes, one of them just did! LOL
12. Legacy media coverage of the down-ballot races: With the possible exception of the E.W. Jackson freak show (the media just LOOOOVES a freak show!), basically I'd ask, "WHAT legacy media coverage of the down-ballot races?" It's truly pathetic.
13. Legacy media coverage of the governor's race: With a few exceptions, it was the usual drivel - lots of horse race coverage, repeating the conventional wisdom, "both sides" false equivalency, fluffy "personality" pieces, blech.
14. Virginia Democratic House of Delegates polling. From what I hear, it was all messed up, leading to mistakes in terms of candidate focus, funding, etc. I'm really not sure why Virginia Democrats don't do what Virginia Republicans apparently do and hire the best pollsters. Also, having more than one pollster might not be a bad idea. Just a thought.
15. Political conventions: To paraphrase Ken Cuccinelli paraphrasing Dr. Phil, so how'd that coup leading to a GOP convention work out for ya? Heh.
16. People who think their vote doesn't matter and sit home on Election Day. I can't tell you how little respect I have for people who don't vote, and particularly for those who complain about how things are going but don't vote. Also, they're just flat-out wrong that their vote doesn't make a difference. Cases in point: the 2005 recount for Attorney General between Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell and the 2013 recount for Attorney General between Mark Obenshain and Mark Herring. Any further questions?
17. Political polling: It was utterly pathetic in this cycle. See here for more.
18. Comedians: They won't have Ken Cuccinelli as Governor and/or E.W. Jackson as Lt. Governor to mine for comedy gold. I'm sure they'll find other material, but still...that's a big loss! LOL
19. The House Democratic Caucus: Heading into Election Day, I had heard that up to 14 seats were potentially competitive, with certainly the possibility of picking up 5 or 6 net seats. In the end, it appears from VPAP that Democrats gained just ONE net House seat (including Michael Futrell, a candidate Dems had basically written off and who didn't campaign for weeks on end). Not good. One top Democratic Virginia politico told me, "I think the House Caucus [screwed] up by ceding their field operations to Coordinated. They didn't have their own universes, they adopted Terry's thinking they'd ride his coattails. Well, you know what, some of these HOD candidates probably needed to talk to a slightly larger universe." In contrast, Republicans appear to protect their incumbents and promote their newcomers quite effectively. The contrast is glaring.
20. Democracy for America: Last May, the promised "a robust, layered campaign, highly data driven, microtargeted, $750,000 in just these 5 districts on targeted mail, media, etc."  In the end, they spent around $127,000 in Virginia this cycle, about one-sixth what they had promised. Not sure about the other stuff, but whatever they did, it sure didn't work!