Rep. Barbara Comstock Endorses "White Nationalist" Steve Scalise for House Majority Leader

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For more on Scalise, see I exposed Steve Scalise's white nationalist past - and yet he may soon become even more powerful and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Was Reportedly an Honored Guest at 2002 International White Supremacist Convention by Lamar White, Jr. Of course, we shouldn't be surprised that Barbara Comstock, who's also "best friends forever" (BFF) with right-wing extremists like Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and many others, would also be a fan of "White Nationalist" Steve Scalise. But c'mon, 10th CD of Virginia voters, do you really want someone like that as your U.S. Representative?!?

Two Problems with Anti-Abortion Politics

by Andy Schmookler

This piece is running in two installments in my conservative area of Virginia.
Part I: Demonizing Those Who Disagree
A two-part message I'd like to give to pro-life activists: 1) More than many liberals, I agree with you about the moral seriousness of abortion. But 2) I also believe that what you are doing with that issue in our nation's politics is a big mistake that is damaging the nation.

And I bet that you will agree that I am right--if you will honestly follow my argument. That is my challenge to you.

First, where I agree with you.

I reject the too-easy argument (made by many liberals) that the abortion issue should be settled by the idea that "a woman has a right to control her own body." She may well have such a right, but that argument skips over the central issue: when a woman is pregnant, something is there that is not "her own body."

And the question on which the abortion issue hinges is: how should we regard that "something," and what status should we give it?

Americans are divided on that question.

The answer that many in the pro-life movement give is that from the moment of conception, this "something" should be considered a "human being." On that basis, they conclude that - because we regard a human life as sacred - the just-fertilized cell (and all its subsequent stages of development) is therefore entitled to all the human rights. Including of course the right to life.

Many on the other, pro-choice side believe that there's an important difference, in terms of human status, between an ovum that has just been fertilized by a sperm cell and a newborn baby looking up at its mother's face.

But -- whether it warrants being called "a human life" in the early stages or not -- it is nonetheless clearly something that, over time, is becoming increasingly human, and it is something that will become a human being if it is allowed to survive.

Surely, it seems clear to me, some moral weight must be given to that.

Weird Email from James Carville: "Pulling My Hair Out"; "Democrat majority"; "GOP garbage"

I've been immediately deleting the deluge of stupid/annoying/obnoxious fundraising emails coming into my inbox the past few days, but somebody just pointed this one out to me and it was just too "good" (and by "good" I mean laughably "bad" - lol) not to share. First off, was "pulling my hair out" meant ironically, like on purpose? Because, as the photo of James Carville demonstrates, it's been a loooong time since he might have had any hair to pull out of his bald-as-a-billiard-ball head. Heh. Second, I know these fundraising emails use strong language and all, but "we have to do something about the GOP garbage still hanging around the Virginia State Senate? Wow. Finally, what's with the right-wing-style/butchered-English-language use of "Democrat" as an adjective, as in "Democrat majority," instead of "DemocratIC majority?" Just weird all the way around.

Wednesday News: "Fact-Free" Trump Coming to VA Beach; GOP Wages War Against Women's Health

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, September 30. Also, check out Al Gore talking about how the United States has the dubious distinction of being the only nation with a major political party that actually DENIES climate science! Just think about that one, and ask yourself how anyone could possibly vote for such a party.

*Bill Clinton: Donald Trump is 'fact-free' (Same with Fiorina, Carson, Cruz, Bush, etc.)
*Jeb Bush's Energy Plan Doesn't Even Mention Renewables (Remember, this is supposed to be the relatively "moderate," "sane" Republican candidate in the field.
*Whatever you think of Planned Parenthood, this is a terrible and dishonest chart(Republicans blatantly lying? Who woulda thunk it? LOL)
*GOP Chair Repeatedly Interrupts Planned Parenthood Head At Hearing (It's called "Republican mansplaining to women," and it's digusting.)
*GOP field: Tax cuts for all, don't worry about consequences (So much for any pretense of Republicans caring about the deficit, debt, or fiscal discipline in general. Their tax plans would explode the deficit through the roof in order to give huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. Insane.)
*The GOP still has nothing to show for its anti-Planned Parenthood campaign
*Editorial: Obenshain pulls a Herring ("If it is wise, the Virginia GOP will do everything it can to avoid a repeat of the 2013 debacle. But that is a very big if.")
*Schapiro: Young Gun Cantor's new role: wise man (You know things are bad when freakin' Eric Can'tor is the Republicans' "wise man!" LOL)
*Absentee voting starting ("It's time! If you need to vote by absentee ballot in the Nov. 3 election, you can do so now.")
*More Virginia pols line up behind Jeb Bush after Walker's exit ("Supporters commit to Bush as Trump plans Friday evening campaign rally in Virginia Beach.")
*In Virginia's sham democracy, voters are robbed at the ballot box ("In fact, the essence of politics in a democracy is, or should be, genuine competition. By casting aside that fundamental truth, Virginia's legislature has come to resemble a Politburo.")
*Trump rally set for Va. Beach; Kasich coming to Richmond
*Virginia official launches impartial-policing initiative ("Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on Tuesday launched a statewide training initiative to assist police in appropriately using force, de-escalating dangerous situations and recognizing potential biases they may bring to the job.")
*Ed Gillespie to the rescue for Virginia GOP? (The ONLY reason I'm linking to the deplorable Jennifer Rubin is because of this interesting tidbit: "Obenshain was not pressured to sit out the race, nor did Gillespie attempt to push him out. By all accounts from those close to both men, Obenshain made the call after much soul-searching, and indeed Gillespie was ready to support him if Obenshain had decided to run.")
*Democrats file complaint over lack of detail in Frank Wagner finance report (Wagner is a corrupt slimeball.)
*Va. Black Caucus calls Frank Wagner comments divisive (Wagner really needs to go.)
*The future of defense spending, and what it means for Hampton Roads
*Serial killer Alfredo Prieto scheduled for execution in Virginia
*Postpone Prieto's execution ("THE U.S. SUPREME Court is the last chance for a man with diminished mental capacity who is scheduled to die Thursday. Alfredo Prieto, 49, is not a sympathetic figure. He killed a Virginia college student and her boyfriend in 1988, then raped and killed a 15-year-old in California two years later. He should never, ever be released from prison.")
*Man accused of stealing $5 in snacks died in jail as he waited for space at mental hospital ("Jamycheal Mitchell was among many inmates who wait weeks or months for treatment in psychiatric hospitals.")
*Virginia Beach calls for hiring freeze as $33 million shortfall looms
*Loudoun's Scott York cleared in campaign finance complaint ("Arlington County Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos (D) has closed her investigation into Loudoun Chairman Scott York's (R) campaign finance reports")
*Rescues, but no injuries as rain brings floods to Roanoke region
*D.C. area forecast: Decent Wednesday, serious late week rain threat due to Joaquin

Video: Rep. Connolly Rips GOP "Disrespect," "Rampant" "Misogyny" Towards Planned Parenthood Head

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Rep. Gerry Connolly said, times 1 million. Thank you Rep. Connolly for standing up to these right-wing bullies. For instance, as Rep. Connolly correctly points out: "The misogyny rampant here today tells us what is really going on here. This isn't about some bogus video, the author of whom doesn't have the courage to appear here, nor would the majority call him, because they know he'll make a bad witness under oath. This is about a conservative philosophy that says we are constitutionalists...we believe in rugged individualism and personal liberty. With one big carve out though -- there's an asterisk in that assertion. And this is, except when it comes to women controlling their own bodies and making their own health decisions. You would never know that the constitution, according to the Supreme Court, guarantees a right of choice."

So Let's Get This Straight: E.W. Jackson Thinks Ben Carson's Buddy Kanye West is "Nuts"

Let me see if I can follow this one: 1) E.W. Jackson, about as extreme and crazy as any politician in America, thinks Kanye West is "nuts;" 2) furthermore, according to E.W. Jackson, the fact that Kanye will be performing at a fundraiser fot the DNC with President Obama in attendance demonstrates "how crazy the Dems are these days;" 3) yet Kanye West is in the middle of a major "bromance" with far-right-wing Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson (e.g., West called Carson "the most brilliant guy;" when Carson was asked whether he could support Kanye for President in 2020 or whatever, Carson said, "I am certainly willing to give him a chance"); 4) E.W. Jackson appears to be a big fan of Ben Carson as well; 5) so if Democrats are "nuts" for having Kanye at one of their fundraisers, then is Ben Carson also "nuts" for gushing about how much he loves Kanye, and are E.W. Jackson and other Republicans who like Ben Carson also "nuts" by that reasoning?; 6) is your head spinning yet?; 7) mine is.

And yes, Kanye really is attending a DNC fundraiser. I mean, I know it's all $$$ all the time with political parties, but still...sheesh.

Tuesday News: Fiorina's "brazen demagoguery;" Gillespie vs. Snyder for VA Governor in 2017?

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, September 29. As for the clip of Trevor Noah's kickoff as host of The Daily Show, pretty good so far, great line comparing right wingers who think Boehner isn't conservative enough to "crack telling meth that it's not addictive enough." LOL

*Donald Trump's tax plan is all talk ("His tax plan, far from being a courageous departure from Republican orthodoxy, relies on many familiar Republican tricks to justify massive tax cuts in an age in which the government's burdens are increasing, not shrinking - and with even less than usual honest arithmetic." Pathetic as always from sideshow freak Donald Trump.)
*Obama and Putin outline competing visions on Syria
*Carly Fiorina is more dangerous than Donald Trump: Her brazen demagoguery puts his to shame ("The surging contender's breathtaking facility with lying makes Trump look like an amateur")
*Carly Fiorina's ultraconservative rage ("How angry is Carly Fiorina? So angry she can't see straight. That's the only explanation for the yawning gulf between what she says and the plainly visible facts." There's definitely something mentally wrong with Fiorina, no doubt about that.)
*Jeb Bush, as dumb as his idiot brother: His latest nonsense should have you running scared
*For Rep. McCarthy, the likely new House speaker, words still fail him
*The Benghazi panel is a scandal of a committee (This whole crazed right-wing witch hunt is the real scandal.)
*Donald Trump is the glib hero the right has been waiting for: What his "60 Minutes" interview revealed about his terrifying appeal
*Afghan Forces Seek to Regain Kunduz, Major Northern City, From Taliban
*The Blackmail Caucus, a.k.a. the Republican Party ("...don't cry for (or with) Mr. Boehner; cry for America, which must find a way to live with a G.O.P. gone mad.")
*Mars Shows Signs of Having Flowing Water, Possible Niches for Life, NASA Says (Maybe Trump, Carson, Fiorina et al might consider running for President of Mars instead of the USA? LOL)
*Obama and Putin: That was awkward ("Frosty exchanges mark their first formal sitdown in more than two years.")
*Obenshain won't run for governor in 2017 (Too bad, was really looking forward to it! LOL)
*Snyder Readies His Run...For Virginia Governor (What a pathetic joke.)
*Virginia Republicans Expect Ed Gillespie to Run for Governor
*New Virginia Ethics Council gets underway (Toothless.)
*Va. Black Caucus calls Frank Wagner comments divisive ("Wagner said his district runs 'from very, very high income right on down to, you know, up to and including rent-assisted places and that type of thing,' the Post reported. 'So it's a very diverse district. I wish sometimes I represented this half, but I'm very, very happy to represent the folks I have.'")
*McAuliffe declines to issue stay for convicted Fairfax killer Alfredo Prieto
*Metro riders caught in slowdown look for options
*Housing, parks, tax questions await Arlington County Board candidates
*Fairfax County Police Say Use of Taser Was Appropriate During Rose Hill Stop
*Why wealthy Loudoun County does not have universal full-day kindergarten
*We like living in Hampton Roads, ODU survey finds
*On Va. island where wild ponies roam, government wants changes that worry residents
*Changes are coming to the Nationals after disappointing season, brawl
*Atlantic depression could become Tropical Storm Joaquin and threaten Mid-Atlantic and/or Northeast by the weekend
*D.C. area forecast: Chance of showers through the week, turning cooler by Thursday

Report from the 21st Senate District

Monday, September 28, 2015

by Elaine in Roanoke

In a brilliant move, the Virginia GOP somehow convinced Don Caldwell, commonwealth's attorney and former chair of the Roanoke City Democratic Committee, to run as an independent and third candidate in the 21st state senate race against incumbent Sen. John Edwards, a Democrat they would love to knock off as an insurance policy against losing their state senate majority. Edwards was already facing a formidable Republican candidate in Nancy Dye, a doctor who could eat into Edward's votes from independents and moderate Republicans in Roanoke City.  Was Caldwell offered a judgeship? Was he somehow angry at John Edwards? Who knows? But Caldwell's defection throws the race in the 21th into turmoil. My opinion is that the race is a toss-up.

In 2011 the Republicans tried to knock off Edwards, at that time only one of three Democrats in the senate from west of Charlottesville. (We all remember Phil Puckett's deal with the GOP to get his daughter a judgeship, resulting in his retirement. That leaves John Edwards and Creigh Deeds as the only senate Dems in the western half of the state.) Edwards in 2011 faced Dave Nutter a member of the House of Delegates from Montgomery County. It was felt that Nutter could garner enough votes outside of Roanoke City to beat Edwards. Edwards won with 56% of the vote. However, the turnout was, as usual, low. The total vote in the district was only about 38,000 votes, out of a total population of 188,000. Statewide turnout was about 29%, not a promising statistic for Democrats in off years.

I have heard that Nancy Dye is doing door-to-door campaigning, a tactic that is very effective, but one that John Edwards is not known for. She is well funded since the GOP wants her to win, if at all possible. Edwards is ahead in fundraising, but Dye is close behind him.

One good thing I saw today was a TV ad by the Edwards campaign. It wasn't especially interesting, but it did have John Edwards speaking about his achievements since he was first elected.  If I were his campaign manager, I would tell him to resurrect an effective ad he used in 2011 with his mother telling why her boy should be re-elected. He needs to have ads that make people talk about them, something different from the usual.  Nancy Dye has also run TV ads, beating Edwards to the airwaves by several days.

Virginia Organizing Kicks Off 'Stand with Women' Campaign Across Commonwealth

by: VirginiaOrganizing

Virginia Organizing kicked off the "Stand with Women" campaign across the Commonwealth with a series of local women's roundtables in Danville, Waynesboro, Petersburg, and Blacksburg. The roundtable discussions are designed to empower women to speak out on issues that are important to them, cross racial and cultural lines to address struggles specific to women of color, and promote women's leadership in organizing for action on these issues.Throughout its 20-year history, Virginia Organizing has always placed emphasis on diversity and encouraged participation and leadership from women. The recent campaign is an effort to ensure that low-income women and women of color are being heard in discussions about women's issues in Virginia.

"As we know, sometimes women's issues are framed from the perspective of white women," said Virginia Organizing Chairperson Sandra A. Cook. "Virginia Organizing's goal is to do what we always do-empower people who have been oppressed to organize for change. With the 'Stand with Women' campaign, our focus is on making sure the voices of all women, especially low-income women and women of color, are heard and valued in discussions on women's issues."

And Speaking of Mark Obenshain...He Will NOT Be Running for Virginia Governor in 2017

Good riddance to an extremist nutjob on one level; but on another, Obenshain would have been much easier to beat than, let's say, Ed Gillespie. Hmmmm.
State Sen. Mark D. Obenshain said Monday that he will not run for Virginia governor in 2017....Obenshain's decision to bow out of the race could clear the field for Ed Gillespie, a former political strategist who successfully united warring factions of the state GOP last year to nearly topple U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. 
Gillespie did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
"I hope Ed Gillespie will run," Obenshain said. "You can quote me on that. I'll wait to hear from him what his intentions are, but I sure hope he runs."
So...what I'm concerned about is that we swept the statewide races in 2013 in large part because the Republicans were foolish enough to nominate a basically unelectable "extreme team" (Cooch/EW Jackson/Obenshain). If they go with a more moderate-SEEMING ticket (even if it isn't much more moderate in reality) headed up by Ed Gillespie, that would be MUCH tougher for Dems to beat. Also, last year, Gillespie barely lost to Mark Warner, widely considered the Greatest Politician Ever in Virginia Politics (or something like that), so this will definitely not be easy. Finally, assuming Democrats win the White House next year, Republicans are likely to be pissed off (yeah, yeah, I know, they're always pissed off - lol) and Democrats back to sleep (yeah, yeah, I know, Dems always go to sleep in non-presidential election years here in Virginia). Anyway, the bottom line is that I was very much looking forward to a Mark Obenshain for Governor candidacy in 2017, and am bummed he's not running.

P.S. Of course, if Republicans go with a convention again, and let's say a right-wing nutjob like Ken Cuccinelli runs against Gillespie for the nomination, I'm not sure who would win that one. So please, RUN KEN RUN! ;)

Guess Who Mark Obenshain and Bob Goodlatte Were Hanging Out With This Weekend

Yep, this guy, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ). Here are a few highlights from Franks' illustrious career include.*"In late 1987, Franks founded the Arizona Family Research Institute, a nonprofit organization affiliated with James Dobson's Focus on the Family.[10] He was the Executive Director of the organization for four and a half years." Note that Focus on the Family was listed by the hate-group-monitoring Southern Poverty Law Center as one of a "dozen of today's most influential anti-gay groups."

*"Franks had been under investigation following an Associated Press report about his decision to spend nearly $60,000, without getting bids, for a conference at a former campaign contributor's hotel."
*"In 1992, when Franks was chairman of Arizonans for Common Sense, one of the organization's efforts was a constitutional amendment on the November 1992 ballot in Arizona that banned most abortions. The initiative lost, getting about 35 percent of the votes cast."
*"Franks served as a consultant to conservative activist Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign." Note that Pat Buchanan is an anti Semite, racist, homophobe, Islamophobe, xenophobe, etc.
*"On October 14, 2009, Franks joined with three fellow Representatives in calling for the investigation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) over allegations of trying to plant 'spies,' based on a CAIR memo indicating that they 'will develop national initiatives such as Lobby Day, and placing Muslim interns in Congressional offices.'" Yes, Franks is both a loony-tunes conspiracy theorist and a raging/raving anti-Muslim bigot.
*"In September 2009, he stirred controversy when criticizing President Barack Obama. He said 'Obama's first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers' money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries. Now, I got to tell you, if a president will do that, there's almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that. We shouldn't be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can't do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity.'" Yep, that's typical Trent Franks' hyperbole and looniness.
*"In a 2010 interview, discussing the legacy of slavery which Franks described as a 'crushing mark on America's soul', the congressman said, 'Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.'" Yep, Franks said that s*** too.
*"In June 2013, he proposed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks without exceptions for rape and incest. In defense, he stirred controversy when saying that 'the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.'" And Franks said that s*** too.
*Franks is a climate science denier, saying, "I have yet to see clear and convincing evidence that it exists beyond historical fluctuations." In fact, 97%-99% of climate scientists believe that there very much IS "clear and convincing evidence" of man-made global warming, but then again, Franks worked in the oil industry and is a total corporate tool, so what else would you expect from the guy but crap like this?
So...the fact that Bob Goodlatte and Mark Obenshain were hanging out with Trent Franks this weekend, and that they think it's really cool that they were, says what about Goodlatte and Obenshain? Yep, exactly.

Monday News: Boehner Rips Right Wingnuts, Fiorina Defends Torture, "Make or Break Time" for Bush

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, September 28. Also see President Obama's speech at the closing session of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

*Shell Halts Alaska Offshore Exploration After Failing to Find Enough Oil ("Royal Dutch Shell Plc will halt exploration in the U.S. Arctic after $7 billion of spending ended with a well off Alaska that failed to find any meaningful quantities of oil or natural gas." Good!)
*U.N. General Assembly to Open With Focus on Syria, ISIS and Refugees
*Republican hard-liners are 'false prophets,' Boehner says
*John Boehner's Move Deepens a Republican Chasm
*Boehner climbs off the tiger
*Top donors warn Jeb Bush: It's make or break time (LOL)
*Pope Francis: I Understand Anger of Catholic Church Sex-Abuse Victims
*Carly Fiorina defends Bush-era torture and spying (Sorry, but anyone who defends torturing people should be automatically disqualified from holding office in America. And anyone who participated in it in any way should be facing serious charges in a court of law.)
*It's make or break time for Jeb Bush
*NBC/WSJ Poll: Trump and Carson Lead GOP; Clinton Loses Ground (Just think about that: carnival barker Donald Trump and extremist/bigot Ben Carson are #1 and #2 among Republican primary voters. What does that say about their party?)
*Trevor Noah gives Fox News a free pass: The new "Daily Show" could be great for Ailes and Hannity, bad for America ("Trevor Noah debuts tonight, but already there are ominous signs about his approach with this essential institution")
*Donald Trump is a Modern-Day George Wallace ("Donald Trump is a scaremonger. And he's bringing the most hateful strains of American politics back to life.")
*Texas gives Virginia lethal drug for execution next week (Ugh.)
*Cuba-Virginia meetings seek to expand post-thaw trade opportunities
*Political stakes high for McAuliffe in November ("If he's successful, McAuliffe will have greater political clout and have more deal-making cachet with the Republican-dominated House of Delegates during the last two years of his term. If he loses, McAuliffe could look politically weak at a particularly awkward time, just as his friend Hillary Rodham Clinton seeks the White House and will likely need swing-state Virginia to win.")
*Metro's forbidding future (Metro needs reform and also a lot more resources.)
*Editorial: Voters lose out when candidate debates are nixed ("House Speaker Bill Howell, a Stafford County Republican, also has turned down the UMW request to take part in the forum. He is opposed by Kandy Hilliard, a Democrat and former Stafford County supervisor.")
*Harper-Papelbon brawl transforms Nationals' wake into a public viewing (Suspend Papelbon immediately, then dump him if at all possible.)
*D.C. area forecast: An unsettled week that starts like summer and ends like fall

Virginia House of Delegates Predictions (9/27/15)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I put up my predictions for the Virginia State Senate yesterday. Today, I turn to the Virginia House of Delegates. Again, my predictions are based on the CNU polling (+13 generic ballot advantage for Republicans in both State Senate and House of Delegates races), internal polling results I've seen or heard rumors about (but in the latter case, I usually can't confirm them and therefore place little if any confidence in this data point), the latest campaign finance numbers from the State Board of Elections/VPAP, what I'm reading, seeing, hearing from Democrats - including campaign operatives - and expected turnout (very low, which unfortunately but clearly favors Republicans). With that...P.S. If a district isn't mentioned, it's because it's uncontested and/or not in the slightest bit competitive. Also worth noting is that in many of these districts, Democrats would have a lot better chance if they had the money to get their resources out. This somewhat begs the question as to WHY Democratic House candidates don't have more money. Part of the reason, no question, is that there are numerous House Dems (look it up on VPAP; it's pretty obvious) who a) don't fundraise much in general; and b) to the degree they do have money, don't give much of it to the House caucus. Not good, especially in the case of Democrats in wealthy, deep-blue districts.

House of Delegates
HD 2 (a district that leans "blue," one that Mark Warner won by 6 points in 2014 and Mark Herring won by 12 points in 2013) -- Joshua King (D) vs. Mark Dudenhefer (R): The district leans Democratic, but there's a big Dem dropoff in odd/off years. Also, Dudenhefer has outraised King (who got in late to the race after the first Democratic candidate had to drop out) and has more cash on hand by a nearly 4:1 margin. So, I'd have to say this one Slight Lean Republican Pickup.
HD 12 (a purplish-blueish district where Mark Herring got 50% in 2013 and Mark Warner 52% in 2014) -- Laurie Buchwald (D) vs. Del. Joseph Yost (R). Yost had more than three times the cash on hand of Buchwald as of 8/31, which is highly unfortunate. Given that, I'd have to call this one a Lean Republican Retention.
HD 13 (a purple district where Mark Herring got 51% in 2013 and Mark Warner 47% in 2014) -- Don Shaw (D) vs. Del. Bob Marshall (R). Shaw is running a strong campaign, having outraised Marshall (although Marshall still had more cash on hand as of 8/31). Slight Lean Republican Retention.
HD 21 (another purple district where Mark Herring got 50% in 2013 and Mark Warner 50% in 2014) -- Susan Hippen (D) vs. Del. Ron Villanueva (R). Continuing a frustrating theme, the Democratic candidate yet again faces a big financial disadvantage in a district that WOULD be winnable with sufficient resources to get our voters out. Instead, I'd rate this one Likely Republican Retention.
HD 24 (E.W. Jackson won this district, that's how "red" it is!) -- Ellen Arthur (D) vs. Del. Ben Cline (R). I hear that Arthur's done an excellent job calling out Cline for refusing to debate her, but still, given the district's overwhelming "red" lean...Safe Republican Retention.
HD 25 (Similar analysis as HD 24) -- Candidates here are Democrat Angela Lynn and Del. Steve Landes (R). Safe Republican Retention.
HD 27 (Solid "red" 55% Obenshain/52% Gillespie district) -- Democrats have a strong candidate, Marty Mooradian, but the district's "red" lean, combined with a 4:1 cash-on-hand advantage for Del. Roxann Robinson (R) makes this one, unfortunately, Likely Republican Retention.

Sunday News: GOP Now Run by "Extremists, Authoritarians; VA Elections "All About Mobilizing "Base"

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, September 27.*In Philadelphia, pope challenges Americans to live up to their ideals
*Congressional agenda in disarray with Boehner's departure
*Week of tumult within GOP signals change, but to what?
*Fiorina's falsehoods ("Ms. Fiorina may have deeply felt objections to abortion. That doesn't excuse her use of mistruths to justify her willingness to shut down the government, which by the way she seems to consider no big deal.")
*John Boehner May Have Been The Only Thing Standing Between America And Madness
*It is time to get very afraid: Extremists, authoritarians now run the GOP - and no one can stop them ("Boehner and McConnell weren't conservative enough for them. Nor Eric Cantor. Right-wing purists won't stop here")
*Carly Fiorina Ambushed By Planned Parenthood Supporters At Tailgating Party
*Bernie Sanders' secret advantage: How dominating Facebook could help him overcome Hillary Clinton's financial juggernaut
*Schapiro: Local elections an exercise in national politics ("But will that coalition be there for McAuliffe on Nov. 3? Virginia's legislative elections, much like those for statewide and national office, now come down to mobilizing a clearly identified base of reliable Democratic or Republican voters rather than stitching together a disparate array of supporters willing to put policy or personality ahead of party.")
*Virginia and Cuba discuss expanding trade beyond agriculture
*Joe Stanley makes his return to politics, this time for a presidential election
*Rasoul: Who is to blame? Personal responsibility vs. systemic flaws
*Fairfax police investigating officer's use of stun gun
*Power line across the James River: An intrusive eyesore or electrical necessity? (Not until Dominion has maxed out energy efficiency improvements, which it isn't even CLOSE to doing, and also encourages distributed power, such as community and rooftop solar, which it aslo hasn't done.)
*Shaping downtown Norfolk's future
*D.C. area forecast: Showers continue to threaten, but may remain elusive

Virginia State Senate Predictions (9/26/15)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I wasn't going to post predictions, mostly because I hadn't seen any reliable polling, but now that CNU has released a survey, I feel comfortable taking a stab at select State Senate races (I'll probably take a shot at the House of Delegates in coming days. My predictions are based on the CNU polling (+13 generic ballot advantage for Republicans in both State Senate and House of Delegates races), internal polling results I've seen or heard rumors about (but in the latter case, I can't confirm them and therefore place little if any confidence in them), the latest campaign finance numbers from the State Board of Elections/VPAP, what I'm reading, seeing, hearing from Democrats - including campaign operatives - and expected turnout (very low, which unfortunately but clearly favors Republicans). With that...

State Senate
SD 1 (solid "blue" district that Mark Warner won by 16 points in 2014 and Mark Herring won by 14 points in 2013) -- Sen. John Miller (D) vs. Mark Matney (R): Matney has almost no money whatsoever, so Safe Democratic Retention.
SD 6 (fairly "blue" district that Mark Warner won by 8 points in 2014 and Mark Herring won by 6 points in 2013) -- Sen. Lynwood Lewis (D) vs. Richard Ottinger (R): Lewis has a huge cash advantage, so Likely Democratic Retention.
SD 7 ("purple-reddish" district that Mark Warner LOST by 3 points and Mark Herring LOST by 6 points) -- Sen. Frank Wagner (R) vs. Gary McCollum (D): The district leans red, cash-on-hand was close to even on 8/31, but McCollum has run into some serious headwinds of late. So...unfortunately, I'd sayLikely Republican Retention.
SD 8 (solid "red" district that both Mark Warner and Mark Herring lost, by 9 and 10 points respectively) -- Bill DeSteph (R) vs. Dave Belote (D): Would probably be "safe" Republican, but the money's about even so I'll go with Likely Republican Retention.
SD 10 ("Purplish" district that both Mark Warner and Mark Herring won, by 2 points each) -- Glen Sturtevant (R) vs. Dan Gecker (D): Gecker's had a big fundraising advantage as of 8/31, so I'm going to make this one a Slightly Leans Democratic Pickup.
SD 11 (VERY strong "red" district that Mark Warner lost by 15 points and Mark Herring by 16 points) -- Amanda Chase (R) vs. Wayne Powell (D): Chase also has a big cash advantage, so Safe Republican Retention.
SD 12 (Another strong "red" district that Mark Warner lost by 9 points and Mark Herring by 12 points) -- Deborah Repp (D) vs. Siobhan Dunnavant (R): Dunnavant has far outraised Repp, so combined with the strong "red" disrict lean, Safe Republican Retention.
SD 13 (Another Republican-leaning district, this one lost by Mark Warner 44%-53% in 2014, also one in which freakin' E.W. Jackson got 49% of the vote!) -- Jill McCabe (D) vs. Sen. Dick Black (R). They're about even in cash, but this is a very tough district for Democrats, particularly in and odd/off-year election, so...Leans Republican Retention.

Saturday News: "The crazies have taken over" the GOP; Why Pope Francis Scares Them So Much

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, September 26. Also see President Obama's weekly address, on "the importance of preventing and treating substance use disorders."

*Peter King: Boehner exit means 'the crazies have taken over the party' ("I think whoever runs for speaker should make it clear that he's not going to give in to these people...The time for appeasement is over.")
*Pope Francis is scaring the hell out of conservatives. Here's the real reason why ("The answer is actually simple: The reality of climate change demonstrates that progressives are right and they are wrong. Not just wrong about the effect of human activity on the environment, but wrong about their basic approach to the problems of the modern world.")
*Resignation clears path for GOP to avert shutdown
*Boehner didn't have a prayer ("...for most of his speakership, he could not be that leader, because his caucus constantly tugged him toward extremism and implacability. He kept his title, but he lost any ability to lead. Finally, he had enough.")
*U.S., China reach agreement on cyber economic espionage
*Pope Francis's implicit rebuke of the GOP
*Boehner's tenure defined by missed chances and internal revolts
*Mr. Boehner's resignation is a political cop-out ("... a speaker's primary responsibility is to the nation, not the House. And what the nation needs is a Congress willing to make compromises in the national interest - compromises that Mr. Boehner may have favored but rarely had the stomach to promote." Bingo.)
*Carly Fiorina's bogus 'secretary to CEO' career trajectory (She's just totally full of it on everything. No wonder right wingnuts like her.)
*The GOP civil war infects 2016 ("The internal struggle that helped doom Boehner now bleeds into the presidential race." Now? It's been doing that a looong time.)
*The Revolution Devours Its Own ("John Boehner was brought down by the same conservative forces he once courted." Yep, the Tea Party monster devoured him.)
*John Boehner was really bad at his job. Now things are about to get epically worse ("The right was never controllable. Boehner's enduring shame will be having not reached across the aisle to govern." Yep.)
*Kaine: Pope helped Boehner step down ("Kaine, like Boehner a devout Catholic, said he thought the Republican leader 'reached a feeling of peace about his own time in public life' after the pope's congressional address on Thursday.")
*Virginia lawmakers react to Boehner's resignation
*Gov. McAuliffe pulls out of Gary McCollum campaign event to attend funeral ("When The Pilot inquired Friday about attending today's event, Ritner said it would be closed to the media. The Beach Democrats' email earlier in the day made no mention of such restrictions.")
*From California, to Canada, to arrival of the Pope, McAuliffe is there
*Ken Cuccinelli: John Boehner 'hostile towards conservatives and our principles' (Sure, if you define "conservatives" in this case as "extremist nutjobs like Ken Kookinelli!")
*Va. Democrats hope investment in data and field operations pays off ("Under Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the party has hired dozens of field organizers and commissioned surveys." That's great, but not sure how effective it is without overarching messaging - using both traditional and social media - and I haven't seen that yet.)
*Poll: Voters lukewarm about Nov. elections, but hot on some issues
*Another low turnout forecast for November election (Which raises the age-old question: should anyone care about your complaints regarding the government if you can't even bother yourself to vote?!?)
*State wants more oversight after Virginia Beach nixes rail cars
*Former Falls Church political leader pleads guilty in molestation cases ("Three of the victims -- all young girls -- were at a slumber party with Michael Gardner's 10-year-old daughter." Blech.)
*Arlington to open  24-hour homeless shelter ("The $9.68 million facility will offer job training, health-care services, treatment for mental illness and substance abuse." Nice!)
*Forecast: Goodbye sunshine, hello rain

Pope Speaks. Boehner Resigns. Any Connection?

Friday, September 25, 2015

by: Andy Schmookler

So, Day One: we see John Boehner in the picture while the Pope speaks to Congress, calling on them to act honorably as leaders for the good of the people.
Next morning: John Boehner announces he will not only step down as Speaker but resign from Congress-- in a month!

Do you suppose the Pope's exhortation to do just the opposite of what he and his caucus have been doing was just too much for him to bear?
NOTE: I do not mean this seriously. I'm guessing that the Speaker, in danger of being ousted, has done a "You can't fire me, I quit" move.

This also maybe a signal he's about to do something that will strengthen such a challenge, and perhaps help seal his doom anyway as Speaker.

Specifically, Boehner's resignation may mean that he is planning on defying the nihilistic part of his caucus by violating the noxious Hastert Rule, by which Republicans only allow a vote on measures that are supported by a majority of the majority.

He may be about to avoid a government shutdown by allowing a vote on a measure to fund the government that will use Democratic votes to get it passed.

That would anger the crazies who specialize in futile and destructive gestures and who now are eager to shutdown the government for no good reason, as part of their ongoing unwillingness to accept the democratic process, according to which one has to accept that other people have power and one cannot always get one's way.

This is the group that has specialized in blackmail, depending on the other party to cave to demands out of a concern for the good of the country that they themselves consistently fail to show. (Think debt ceiling.)

Advocates for Women Outraged At Dick Black's Sexist Attack on Dr. Jill McCabe

From ProgressVA:

Advocates for women and families today expressed their outrage at State Senator Dick Black’s blatantly sexist attack on Dr. Jill McCabe, his opponent in the general election for Senate District 13. Yesterday evening, Black posted an offensively sexist image on Twitter, insinuating Dr. McCabe is unqualified to serve in the General Assembly as merely a physician and mother. It has since been deleted. A copy of the image is below. Beyond Black’s deliberate misrepresentation of Dr. McCabe extensive and impressive resume, the image suggests Black doesn’t believe an intelligent woman who works full-time while raising a family is qualified to serve in the General Assembly.

“Dick Black insults working mothers everywhere with his sexist belittling of Dr. McCabe’s career and accomplishments,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA and a co-founder of the Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition. “As a working mother, I can attest to the hard work involved in raising a family while working full time. For all of Dick Black’s “experience,” he obviously hasn’t learned to respect women.” 
lowkell :: Advocates for Women Outraged At Dick Black's Sexist Attack on Dr. Jill McCabe

"With this image, Dick Black is once again demonstrating his utter lack of respect for Virginia's women," said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "It’s the height of hypocrisy that, while Black has spent his entire career in office attempting to interfere in women's most personal, private decisions - including attempting to tell women whether and when they should become mothers -  apparently being a working mother, putting food on the table, raising children, and excelling professionally is simply not qualified enough. I'll tell you something Dick Black: when it comes to leading our communities and making our own decisions, women are far more qualified than you will ever be. You owe Jill McCabe, women, and mothers everywhere a sincere and immediate apology." 

"In a single tweet, Dick Black makes the best case yet why he's the wrong choice for Virginia's 13th Senate District.,” said Cianti Stewart Reid, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “It's not just about experience, it's about leadership -- and it's clear the Commonwealth needs new leadership to tackle the critical issues facing families today. As an emergency pediatrician and mother, Jill McCabe has spent her life putting the needs of others ahead of her own -- and she has a vision for creating jobs, improving education, and addressing transportation and infrastructure on our busy roadways. We think that's the kind of leader Virginia needs, and we expect voters will agree when they hit the polls on November 3."
“His blatant sexist ad clearly means Dick Black is scared” added Amy Laufer, co-founder of Women Leaders of Virginia, a PAC that supports electing women to state office. “He should be scared. His voting record is an embarrassment and a disgrace. As a physician Dr. Jill Mc Cabe is more in tune with constituents needs and will better represent them. Watch your back Dick Black. “ 
This isn’t the first time Black’s comments on women and families have gotten him into hot water. Black infamously asserted on the floor of the legislature that spousal rape couldn’t be a real thing because “sometimes she’s in a nightie.” He’s also called birth control “baby pesticide” and declared gay and lesbian parents are prone to domestic violence. 

Video: Right-wingnut summit attendees cheer as Marco Rubio announces Boehner resignation

This really sums up where the Republican Party is these days - with the extremists, far right wingers, etc.; no room for anyone who's a mainstream conservative, let alone "moderate" or whatever (and remember, there used to be a powerful PROGRESSIVE wing of the Republican Party - long gone now!). By the way, since John Boehner will be stepping down at the end of October, he might as well allow votes on immigration reform and everything else that's been bottled up for the past few years as he's prioritized keeping his job over what's good for the country. Now, there's no need for him to worry about the former, so he can focus on the latter (which he should have been doing all along, of course).

P.S. What this proves, yet again, is that there's absolutely zero equivalence of the Tea Party on the "left." If you believe that, then please list the Democratic incumbents who have been defeated in primaries by a "left-wing" opponent, and please list any members of Democratic Senate or House leadership who have been ousted by the "left," etc, etc. Also, please explain how all the analyses showing that the Republican Party has lurched far to the right, while the Dems remain a centrist party, are wrong.

UPDATE: Josh Israel of ThinkProgress writes, "With 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) ruling out a bid for the job, a ThinkProgress review of the most likely members to become the next speaker finds that all of them are likely to be as conservative as Boehner or more so." Choices include Kevin McCarthy ("chief architect of his party’s 'Pledge to America' to cut spending and preserve the Bush-era tax cuts"); Steve Scalise (" made headlines earlier this year when it came out that in 2002 he had spoken to a group of white supremacists and in 2004 had been one of a handful of legislators to oppose making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday in Louisiana"); Jim Jordan ("chairs the far-right House Freedom Caucus"); Jeb Hensarling ("has denounced Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as 'cruel Ponzi schemes' and "has defended recessions as just 'a part of freedom.'”). Yep, seriously, these are the four most likely people to be the next Speaker of the House. This country - or at least the Republican Party - has gone completely insane.

CNU Poll: Republicans Maintain 13-Point Edge Among LVs Heading into Virginia 2015 Elections

From the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, these are results I expected on the one hand, but which make little sense on the other. Let me explain.

First, I "expected" that most voters wouldn't be paying close attention to our state's legislative elections, even though I think that's a big mistake (I'm strongly in the "think globally, act locally" school of thought; also believe that your vote and activism pack WAYYY more bang for the buck at the local and state level than at the national level).

Second, I "expected" that there would be, as there almost always is, a bigger "drop-off" of Democratic than Republican voters in these off/odd-year elections. Yes, it sucks, and there's really no excuse for it, but it happens over and over again, so at this point - after 10+ years of closely following Virginia politics - I've pretty much built it into my assumptions. That, in turn (along with fundraising numbers and everything else I've been hearing), is why I heavn't been particularly optimistic about Democrats' chances of taking back the State Senate or of gaining many seats in the House of Delegates.

Finally, I did NOT expect that given the pronounced Republican lean of the electorate, that there would STILL be strong support for tougher background checks on gun purchasers, for reining in payday lenders, for raising the minimum wage, etc. So...Republicans are basically progressives on a bunch of issues, yet still vote for the party which is anti-progressive on all those issues? Got it. With that, here's the Wason Center's press release and some screen shots of their findings.

P.S. Interesting that Gov. McAuliffe and Sen. Warner are so popular, that Tim Kaine - who has been a real leader in the Senate, particularly on foreign policy - is less so,  and that so many people have no particular opinion about our state's Lt. Governor or even higher-profile Attorney General (although both are in positive territory among voters who did express an opinion).  

Friday News: Can Pope Francis' "Capitol Hill miracle" Help Stave Off Government Shutdown?

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, September 25. Also, check out the photo - courtesy of Tom Greeson - of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager (also Terry McAuliffe's 2013 campaign manager and Dave Marsden's 2005 campaign manager) Robby Mook at an event last night for Sen. Marsden. It's amazing that 10 years have gone by since Marsden's 2005 run for House of Delegates, as well as the launch of "Raising Kaine."

*If you have a problem with Pope Francis's message, you have a problem with Christ (Big time.)
*Pope Francis implores Congress to accept immigrants as their own
*On to New York: Pope Francis to address U.N. and visit Ground Zero 
*China to adopt cap-and-trade plan to cut carbon emissions (We should do the same, ASAP.)
*The pope's Capitol Hill miracle (We'll see if the "miracle" lasts and translates into effective legislation, keeping the government open, etc.)
*McConnell moves ahead with bipartisan stopgap spending bill (Now, what will the House do?)
*Marco Rubio should scare you: Why his nutty views are no less dangerous than Donald Trump's("Whether it's on tax policy, abortion rights or international affairs, Marco Rubio is a true-believing wingnut" Or climate change.)
*The meritocracy is a lie: The wild myths that allow CEOs, hedge funders and the 1 percent to outearn us all ("The rich aren't smarter than us and they don't do more for society. We must rethink how people get paid")
*House Democrats Could Save John Boehner ("But they probably won't")
*Carly Fiorina Makes a Lot of Stuff Up About Everything ("From her time at HP to abortion and assault weapons, Fiorina has an adventurous relationship with the truth.")
*Let women be priests, Sen. Kaine tells the pope (Kaine is right, but don't hold your breath on this one...)
*Editorial: State Supreme Court needs some sunlight ("...the faces have changed on the Supreme Court in recent years and apparently so have attitudes toward government secrecy. Two recent opinions handed down by the court this year are examples. Both rulings seem to expand the likelihood that government will withhold more information.")
*State pushes to dismiss voter ID suit
*Va likely voters lean R -- but voters favor issues D back, CNU poll shows (Such a weird combo.)
*Court picks professor to help redraw Virginia's congressional district lines ("Bernard Grofman, an economics and political science professor at the University of California, Irvine, was selected after Virginia lawmakers could not meet a Sept. 1 deadline to redraw the congressional boundaries.")
*State Senate candidate Gary McCollum no longer employed at Cox ("Cox Communications severed its ties Thursday with Democratic state Senate candidate Gary McCollum, who has said he's been on paid leave from his executive position while he was running for office.")
*Eight Virginia governors to honor Colgan
*GOP's Ben Carson to hold rally in Loudoun on Sunday evening (I wonder if Eugene Delgaudio, Dick Black, and other assorted extremists will join in the festivities! LOL)
*A look at the House of Delegates votes Simonds says Yancey missed
*Candidates answer audience questions at York County election forum
*In Bristol, Jeb Bush raises money for Virginia Senate Republicans
*D.C. area forecast: Cloudy, breezy, and possibly periodically wet through the weekend

"JEB" Campaigns for Virginia GOP, Pushes Exact Opposite of Pope Francis' Message

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Earlier today, as almost everyone else was riveted on Pope Francis' visit to America, "JEB" Bush was busy doing the thing he's by far the best at -- political fundraising, in this case in Bristol, Virginia. That's ok, but Bush's message certainly wasn't ok. Nor was it in any way, shape or form in line with Pope Francis' teachings on caring for our common home, whether in Laudato Si or in Washington, DC yesterday and today. In short, Pope Francis agrees with climate scientists that we need to transition rapidly off of fossil fuels and onto clean energy. As Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si:
...most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. As these gases build up in the atmosphere, they hamper the escape of heat produced by sunlight at the earth's surface. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system......many of these symptoms indicate that such effects will continue to worsen if we continue with current models of production and consumption. There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.
Pretty clear, huh? Now, let's contrast this clarion call to protect our common home - one which is totally consistent with what science is telling us - with what "JEB" Bush, who talks frequently about his Roman Catholic faith, had to say earlier today in Bristol, Virginia on this topic.
"I think we need to roll back the aggressive EPA for starters, not just as it relates to coal," Bush said on the heels of the release of his plan to de-regulate various segments of the federal government."This administration has had as a strategy. Their whole effort has been to destroy the coal industry and all the communities that are associated with it."
..."Put aside Pope Francis on any political conversation. I oppose the President's policies as it relates to climate changebecause it will destroy the ability to re-industrialize the county, for people to get higher wages, and for people to get jobs."
In other words, "JEB" is not only the diametrical opposite of Pope Francis when it comes to environmental protection and energy policy, he's also the diametrical opposite of 99% of climate scientists, who warn that we need to get off of fossil fuels ASAP or risk dangerous, even disastrous, global climate chaos. In short, "JEB" is just completely wrong on every level when it comes to energy policy, environmental protection, the need for strong EPA regulation of polluting industries, etc.By the way, it's not just this issue either on which "JEB" is wildly out of step with Pope Francis. Add in, of course, "JEB"s 180-degree difference with Pope Francis when it comes to economics, inequality, concern for the poorest and most vulnerable among us, etc. ("JEB," of course, is all about the top 0.1%). Then toss in Bush's bizarre comments on "multiculturalism", his worse-than-bizarre comments on "anchor babies" (a dehumanizing, disgusting term) and his offensive rhetoric towards both Latinos and Asians, and basically "JEB" is the anti-Pope Francis. No thanks.

P.S. All this pandering to the anti-environment, science-denying, do-whatever-the-fossil-fuel-industry-tells-you-to-do wing of the Republican Party doesn't seem to be helping "JEB" much. For instance, see the Washington Post story from earlier this evening, Jeb Bush is in 5th place in a new New Hampshire poll. That's not the really bad news. Not that Trump, Carson, or Fiorina are any better, but wasn't "JEB" supposed to be more "moderate," the supposed "smart Bush," etc? Apparently not.

NRA Grades Show Virginians Who NOT to Vote for This November

The NRA's Virginia grades are out, and they are a great guide for who Virginia voters should NOT elect on November 3. That is, unless you're one of the small minority of Virginians who agrees with the gun lobby. For instance, see this Quinnipiac poll of Virginians. Here are a few highlights:*"By an overwhelming 92-7 percent, Virginia voters support background checks for people who buy guns at gun shows."

*"58-39 percent support for a national ban on assault weapons"
*"59-37 percent support for banning high capacity ammunition magazines"
*"62-27 percent that allowing people to own assault weapons makes the country more dangerous"
*"66-31 percent oppose allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom"
*"Gun control laws in Virginia should be more strict, 49 percent of registered voters say, while 6 percent say less strict and 42 percent feel laws should remain the same."
Also note that the NRA Board of Directors is filled with extremists and unsavory characters (to put it mildly) like Oliver "Convicted Iran-Contra Ex-Felon" North, Ted "Obama, he's a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun" Nugent, Grover "Drown Government in the Bathtub" Norquist, etc. 'Nuff said about the NRA, except that getting an "A" rating from this group should be a clear signal not to vote for the person getting the high grade. Now, to the Virginia candidates in contested elections who you most definitely should NOT vote for this November.

District 1: Republican Mark Matney (NRA Grade: A)
District 6: Republican Richard Ottinger (NRA Grade: B), although note that Democrat Lynwood Lewis has a high grade ("B") as well...not good.
District 7: Republican Frank Wagner (NRA Grade: A), who is also a corrupt tool of Dominion as an added bonus.
District 8: Republican Bill DeSteph (NRA Grade: A), who is also a raving Islamophobe to boot.
District 10: Republican Glen Sturtevant (NRA Grade: A), who pretends to be moderate but is anything but.
District 11: Republican Amanda Chase (NRA Grade: A).
District 12: Republican  Siobhan S. Dunnavant (NRA Grade: A)
District 13: Republican Dick Black (NRA Grade : A), who is possibly the most extreme and craziest member of the Virginia General Assembly, which is saying a lot given the cast of characters there.
District 17: Republican Bryce Reeves (NRA Grade: A)
District 19: Republican David R. Suetterlein (NRA Grade: A)
District 20: Republican Bill Stanley (NRA Grade: A)
District 21: Both Republican Nancy Dye and Democrat John Edwards get "A" grades from the NRA, so you'll have to make your decision here on other issues such as Medicaid expansion and vote for Edwards.
District 26: Republican Mark Obenshain (NRA Grade: A), the same extremist who has tried to criminalize women who have miscarriages.
District 29: Republican Hal Parrish (NRA Grade: A-), who like Sturtevant pretends to be a moderate but is anything but.
District 33: Republican Stephen B. Hollingshead (NRA Grade: A), who fortunately will lose handily to Democratic State Senator Jennifer Wexton.
District 36: Republican Jerry Foreman (NRA Grade: A), who fortunately will lose (badly, most likely) to Democrat Scott Surovell. :)
District 37: Republican Dave Bergman (NRA Grade: A), who will lose to Democratic State Senator Dave Marsden.
District 39: Republican Joseph R. Murray (NRA Grade: A), who will lose to Democratic State Senator George Barker.
House of Delegates ratings on the "flip"