Virginia House of Delegates 2005 Elections

Keeping You up to date on the status of Virginia's 2005 Delegate races!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

37th District Update

37th District
Currently #1 Hottest Race

SST has a lead story on the 37th. They are following up on what we told you last week about Mason's problems with social conservatives. We knew everyone would be visiting us to get the answers on what's going on, so here it is! Read SST first so you are caught up.

Mason is a very loyal Republican. He also is fairly conservative. What is interesting is that it's the social conservatives raising a ruckus about Mason- when it should be the economic conservatives. We can guess, based on intelligence from Fairfax City, that Mason would be the right of Chap on social issues, and probably to the left of him on taxes. Mason has a long record of tie breaking votes in the City that almost always sided with higher taxes/more spending. However these rumors that Mason is not a well known Republican are false. The Mayor's office may be nonpartisan, but John Mason is well known in Fairfax for being an active Republican.

The Tim Kaine event in 2003 got more than just Mason suckered in. We'll talk more about that another time, but numerous Republicans attended that event, not knowing what it was for. Many were steaming after that event.

Now, more importantly: the controversy with Tom Davis, and JeanneMarie Devolities-Davis and who they are supporting. Here's the scoop:

Kaplan lived in Vienna, in JeanneMarie's old house district. With strong candidates stepping up to run against Shannon, and Kaplan not being that strong she encouraged him to move into the 37th to run. The Republicans expected Chap to hold that seat unless he won the nomination, in which case they were planning to find a way to force Kaplan out. His support from Davis-Devolities is very nominal. When Chap announced he would leave the seat open, and with the Dem primary becoming more clear that he would not be nominated (giving the GOP a better shot in November) Tom Davis stepped in and personally recruited Mason. JeanneMarie having asked Kaplan to move there had already pledged her support. Tom is not publicly for Mason because he sees no reason to step out against his wife with Mason favored in the primary to win.

However, make no mistake about it. Tom Davis's "people" are running Mason's campaign, and Tom is making it known that he intends to help Mason pick up this seat in the heart of the 11th district.

The average voter isn't going to know any of this. The confusion is going to benefit Kaplan in the short term. So we are rerating the Republican primary.

Old Rating: Likely Mason
New Rating: Leans Mason

With a Kaplan upset more possible now, and given how weak Kaplan would be in the general election, we are rerating the overall race.

Old Rating: Leans Republican
New Rating: Toss Up

In case you are having trouble following this race (the only double House primary in the state), here's where everything stands now

Overall Rating: Toss Up
Republican Primary: Leans Mason
Democratic Primary: Leans Bulova
Mason v. Bulova: Leans Republican (PICKUP)
Mason v. Oleszek: Leans Republican (PICKUP)
Kaplan v. Bulova: Leans Democratic
Kaplan v. Oleszek: Leans Democratic


At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your reporting is amazing. This is the future of blogs!

At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An excellent analysis; well done!

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which Davis people are running the campaign? Davis's mail consultant is working for Kaplan. Everything I hear is that he has a Richmond consultant with no ties to Davis and a manager who used to be an L.A.

Which, as an aside, reminds me that it would be illustrative to know which consultants are working with which races. Tells a lot about a race and the candidate.

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Not Larry Sabato said...

I'm afraid if I told you which Davis people were helping Mason, then I would no longer have a source inside this campaign. :)

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is "Davis's mail consultant"?

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Bulova flips and then in November- he flops!

At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good reporting, but there is one thing I want to quibble with. In this post, you mentioned that 2 strong candidates had emerged to take on S. Shannon in the 35th (Hyland and Robinson for the GOP). In your posts on the 35th, you announced yourself less than impressed with them. Which is it? Are you now impressed by Robinson's aggressive campaign and impressive fundraising?

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sure you're not really Larry Sabato? Actually, your analysis is much better than his. :)

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Not Mark Rozell said...

NLS: You nailed this one. Mason's real problem is what I call the "whipsaw primary." People have to decide which one to vote in. Mason can't count on as many crossover votes as he could if this were the only primary in town.

The fact that Chap! is running in the opposing primary and draws from the same base as Mason makes this all the more difficult for both these Fairfax City powerhouses. It'll make it real easy for Kaplan.

I'm going to go further than you: I think Kaplan will win the primary and leave it wide-open for the Dems in November.

I just don't know why Devolites was so out-front on this one. It was well-known that Jack Rust didn't want to try again, but she should have waited before throwing her weight behind Kaplan. She and Davis have really hurt the chances of one of their own by sitting on the fence.

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NLS!!! i have a request:

If you could break down the presidential numbers by how the lesbians voted, I'd be a happy camper.

Yeah. How the lesbians voted. That's the ticket.

At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And convicted felons....

At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll say up front that as a Republican, I prefer Kaplan - but some of these facts are just plain wrong. Kaplan moved to a bigger house closer to his synagogue, not to run for office. If he'd wanted to pick a place to run, he could have stayed in Vienna and challenged Shannon. Kaplan moved long before Chap announced he was running for LG and Shannon would have been easier to beat than Chap.
As for Chap staying in, Davis and Devolites were telling people last fall that Chap would drop out and that someone should get into the race and be ready. Kaplan was the only one who did.
And as for Davis friends - Kaplan is publicly backed by not only Devolites - but by 11th CD GOP Chair Becky Stoekel (nominated and backed by Davis), former Mason District GOP Chair Buzz Hawley, County School Board Member Tessie Wilson and some others who I know are long time Davis allies. The consultant - who did Jack Rust's mail and does Davis' - I think is Dan Hazelwood. I think Davis' friends are torn since Mason only got in 1 hour before the filing deadline after saying he wouldn't run and they are now split.
And Republicans are also confused since Mason has NEVER belonged to the Fairfax City or County Republican committees and donated to Kate Hanley (D) and Sharon Bulova (D) as well as to Kaine. Once is an accident - three times is a pattern.
I agree with NMR that Kaplan wins the primary. But given his grassroots organizing and his ties to the Jewish community in a district that is home to the JCC and two synagogues (with the potential to win crossover votes there) don't rule him out in the fall. He'll be an underdog. But so was Chap against Rust.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Not Larry Sabato said...

721 am anon- I should have said JeanneMarie viewed them as far stronger than Kaplan (and I agree)

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Not Larry Sabato said...

236- I coudn't disagree more. I wasn't going to slam Kaplan, but you leave me no choice. :)

My source on the Fairfax City Council tells me that Kaplan was standing outside of the City's 200th anniv. party about 6 months ago... intro'd himself to people on the way in. He didn't know Chap. He didn't know 3 Councilman. He made a complete fool of himself, and after that spread all over the City killed his campaign.

Maybe he could make inroads with the leaning-D Jewish community- but only with Bulova. I think most Jewish voters (who are mainly D) will vote for Oleszek, since she is a D and Jewish.


P.S.- You sound like you are helping Kaplan. Here's some free advice. The last time Sharon was opposed (1995), in R leaning Braddock she got 78% against a decent R nominee. In other words, more than half of R's voted for her. I wouldn't attack Mason giving her money in Braddock, you may be handing him some votes.

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NLS, I hear from a reliable source that it wasn't Tom Davis who recruited Mason. It was Tom Rust and Jack Rust. In fact, I hear that Kaplan was recruited by Davis and I wouldn't be surprised if Davis was secretly trying to kill Mason's race.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Not Larry Sabato said...

The Rusts were also involved. Tom Davis is all over this. Don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise.


At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why Davis didn't ask Kaplan to get out. Kaplan's a longtime volunteer for Davis, has his wife's backing and that of some other Davis allies like Becky Stoeckel and Buzz Hawley. If Davis wanted Kaplan out, couldn't he have gotten him to drop out? Seems like Kaplan was counting on Davis and his friends, and if Davis had told them and Kaplan to back off for Mason, they would have.

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this very amusing...I have true first hand knowledge of the whole "GOP" situation (unlike NLS who apparently dislikes Kaplan. That he gets his info from an "inside source" within the Mason shop should be an indication of that.)

Anyhow, I was truly on the inside on the 13,14, and 15 of April when Mason made his decision to run. Suffice it to say that Kaplan got screwed, but that is not the point. The point is that it took Jack Rust less than two minutes to offer Kaplan a seat on the City council in exchange for dropping out, supporting Mason, allowing him to serve 4-6 years at which point Counciler Kaplan would be the heir apparent to the seat.

It was at this point that Kaplan politely said that he would rather take his chances as this conversation was taking place at 5:30 pm on Wednesday the 13th, less than 48 hours before tyhe filing deadline and Mason had not yet collected a single signature.

Jack of course prodded a bit more, Kaplan stuck to his guns and the here we are. Interestingly enough, Mason never even had the decency to call Kaplan and tell him of his intentions, preferring to let Rust and the state board of elections do it for him. Even after Kaplan called him twice prior to the filing deadline, Mason never called him back.

This all came after Kaplan and others attempted to persuade Mason (and others) to run before Kaplan could really get into it. After they ALL turned them down, Kaplan decided to go full steam ahead, raising decent money and knocking on close to 4000 doors between January and April.

Oh well, the only real winner here is Tom Davis who can jump on whoever wins bandwagon and claim to have been with them from day one, which he will surely do. The most unfortunate thing about all of this is that it adds to the public persona the GOP already has of being a party of sady backroom deals brokered by a few select individuals.


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