Virginia House of Delegates 2005 Elections

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Young Candidates Under Attack

We've already discussed the attacks on candidate David Englin in the 45th. Not in the community long enough, not enough experience, etc. are all attacks that are normally launched against young candidates, especially in the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Virginia Republicans have picked up on this tactic in the 54th District race. Last week there was a debate between incumbent Bobby Orrock and challenger Shaun Kenney. An audience member asked a question about whether Kenney graduated from college.

Does anyone think that question would go to an older candidate.

We're predicting this will backfire. Voters like young candidates that can clear the bar of "being up to the job". In our opinion Englin and Kenney will clear that bar with voters making them competitive candidates. A good example of someone not clearing that bar is Steve Chapman in the 50th.

One email we received summed it up well. If Englin or Kenney can stay close with older voters this may be the difference:

"We Gen Xers (roughly the 41 and younger crowd) are really pretty tired of the baby boomers and their clones.

I'll vote for [candidate] because he's my age, because he has kids my kids age, and because he's (I hope) not obsessed with or driven by the stale post-Vietnam style of Democratic politics. I'm done with the boomers."

60 Comments:

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Terry M said...

Nice to see 41 is still considered young! But a genXer?!?!

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Not Larry Sabato said...

I'm just quoting my source!

 
At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Freddie said...

GenX descriptions I've read say they start with people born in 1962 to 1964. The year can vary and it is a bit arbitrary.

I like the idea of 41 as young. The older I get, the higher I want the "young boundary" to be.

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So where does that leave us born in 1961?

 
At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

older than dirt

 
At 12:15 PM, Blogger Virginia Centrist said...

My take on that debate.

 
At 12:54 PM, Anonymous mikey said...

I think now that you see more Gen-Xers of age you're going to see a greater instance of younger people running against the Baby Boom ("The Me Generation") mentality. As long as a candidate can present themselves as knowledgable on the topics and responsive to the people, a college degree won't matter. Especially since the majority of folks understand how hard it is to get one these days considering how expensive education is and how more and more kids are having to pay their own way. I don't think anyone's going to fault people if their priorities put family or even public service first.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Not Larry Sabato said...

I agree centrist that was awkward.

It's the kind of awkward comment that could really hurt a candidate.... but I don't think it will this time. Only because the question that got it was so awkward (in a different way) also.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Not Larry Sabato said...

Mikey- Agreed

 
At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a look at Virginia21. They have been getting the young people involved. Not as candidates, but involved nonetheless.

 
At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the source of not-larry's email . . . I also think 41 is a little on the older side, but my research tells me genX runs (approx) from 1961 through 1979, although I think a more emotionally accurate start date is 1966. Pushing it to '61 includes folks like Quentin Tarentino and Axl Rose, which I think is appropriate. As I mentioned in my original email to NLS, there are plenty of GenXers at the 40 end of the spectrum who are doing boomer-style politics, to my dismay. Interesting, to me, is that the younger end of GenX is now 26 . . . the real youngsters are officially GenY.

 
At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why call it GenY? Just because it comes after X in the alphabet? Typical GenX lazy way of doing things.

 
At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NLS: Watching the debate from the back, Kenney took his hits like a champ, was all smiles, and walked out with a lot of apologies and attaboys from Orrock and Kenney supporters alike. Orrock on the other hand couldn't leave fast enough.

I think this gets to the heart of the race. It's one thing to get outgunned in a debate, but to get outclassed by a 27-year old?

Ouch.

Kenney got bruised, but he still walked away the winner. He talked to just about everyone there no matter who they were, and was very approachable.

I was impressed. Kenney is one for the future, without question. Bit of advice though. Gotta unfold those arms! But I still was very impressed by the guy.

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so somebody tell me the difference between Boomer style politics and Gen X politics

 
At 3:10 PM, Anonymous mikey said...

2:59-Anon - Boomers (as said before, "the me generation") are looking out for themselves, making issues out of Social Security and such and putting the responsibility on the backs of GenXers without looking at the impacts on future generations. GenXers are looking out for themselves in that they don't want to get screwed because the Boomers can't look past their own immedeate future and needs.

 
At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well put, mikey.

 
At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Terry M said...

Interesting insights. I've been thinking about the current political agenda in Virginia but had not made the boomer connection. But if you look at the older leaders who are stepping or being pushed aside, especially in the GOP, you see the change. Ideas like compromise, common community good, making hard investments in the future are all "old school" ideals.

The folks in the middle seem to be on a real selfish kick, obsessed with keeping what they have, buying the biggest home and cars, cutting taxes for themselves, all about "I got mine, scew you". I'm on the edge of that group and none to proud of what my peers represent.

And I'm real concerned about what appears to be mass apathy among the GenX and younger. Look around at the traditional community organizations, voting booths, etc. Where are the people under 50?? Internet is great but it still doesn't deliver votes and service hours. Just ask Howard Dean.

 
At 4:09 PM, Anonymous random deaniac said...

don't make fun of howard dean! I will mindlessly defend him until the end, no matter how irational i sound or how much evidence piles up that he's a horrible candidate, organizer, and DNC chair!

 
At 5:33 PM, Anonymous mikey said...

Terry M - I think the best way to get GenXers involved is to actually start addressing issues that speak to them. Bush is having success selling his Social Security plan to teenagers and college kids because he's saying "you won't have to pay for these older people, you'll get to pay for yourself." All politics are selfish at their root, but until GenXers are engaged either by having issues they care about represented or by actually seeing one of their own start to move up and make an impact, they're not going to turn out.

 
At 6:02 PM, Anonymous mitch's wife said...

Here in Prince William County, we have a delegate, three supervisors and two school board members who were under the age of 40 when they were elected in 2003. (Plus Sean Connaughton, who was re-elected at the age of 42 that year.) We also had two supervisor and two school board candidates under forty who lost, but ran very good races. (Without taking a position on this point, I think that ALL of them had at least a batchelor's degree.)

Unfortunately, until recently, PWC was also to home of Steve Chapman... or maybe it still is. Either way, I often wonder if Steve thought that PWC voters were simply choosing younger candidates and that his youth alone would carry the day over Harry Parrish. What he seems to have forgotten is that with youth, come youthful indiscretions; and he has MORE than his fair share of those. Youth CAN be an asset, but only if the candidate makes it one.

 
At 6:43 PM, Blogger Not Larry Sabato said...

Amen to that mitch's wife

 
At 7:05 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Terry M - I think the best way to get GenXers involved is to actually start addressing issues that speak to them. Bush is having success selling his Social Security plan to teenagers and college kids because he's saying "you won't have to pay for these older people, you'll get to pay for yourself." All politics are selfish at their root, but until GenXers are engaged either by having issues they care about represented or by actually seeing one of their own start to move up and make an impact, they're not going to turn out.

Actually as a person in my mid-20s, I think President Bush's Social Security plan is totally off base and entirely selfish. I do not mind putting money into a system that delivers steady returns to the people who benefit from them. There are plenty of solutions including lifting the cap on taxable earnings which as of right now are highly regressive on the lower and middle classes. But that's another talk for another day.

 
At 11:00 PM, Anonymous mikey said...

Kevin - Okay, maybe that wasn't the best example (and maybe it's a horrible plan), but it was the first one that came to mind concerning a politician trying to talk to GenXers by making an issue seem like it directly impacted them NOW. If you want GenX to be active you have to engage them, but most politicians just say "18-25 year olds don't vote" and ignore them. If they and their issues weren't ignored, they'd probably vote more often. And I think younger candidates are the first step to doing that, especially if Baby Boomers are going to keep ignoring it.

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Kevin - Okay, maybe that wasn't the best example (and maybe it's a horrible plan), but it was the first one that came to mind concerning a politician trying to talk to GenXers by making an issue seem like it directly impacted them NOW. If you want GenX to be active you have to engage them, but most politicians just say "18-25 year olds don't vote" and ignore them. If they and their issues weren't ignored, they'd probably vote more often. And I think younger candidates are the first step to doing that, especially if Baby Boomers are going to keep ignoring it.

I'll concede that you were making a point.

Here are a couple of issues that would resonate with younger voters. I think that we could get predatory credit card companies off the backs of our youth. We could offer tax breaks for higher education or for repayment of student loans. We could work to make health insurance more affordable to men and women just getting out of college when they are vulnerable without insurance. Those are a few just off the top of my head.

I agree with your premise. Young voters are taken for granted and we could be a more potent political force if and it's a big IF politicians would listen to us. Unfortunately, since we don't vote in high enough numbers, we won't be heard. That's the Catch-22.

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger Shayna Englin said...

We've been working hard to engage young people in the campaign, with a great degree of success. For what it's worth, we've found that it hasn't been issues that have inspired people to get involved. It's been a combination of a few things, I think:

-It's fun. We made a conscious effort early on to make volunteering for Team Englin a great time, for young and not as young alike. We've invested time, energy, and money in making Campaign Central a fun, social, and effective place to be. Our volunteers see their time at Campaign Central as having fun for a great cause, and that's made huge difference.

-We've focused heavily on the "inspiration" part of the message - the part about building the party for the future. Given that the future is the domain of younger folks, it's really resonated. See Marc Abanto's post on our campaign blog for a great testimonial on how well it's worked.

-David is the only Young Dem in the race, and he's been targetted for destruction by the older, insider crowd. A couple of our most serious opponents are grandparents, and they've also specifically targeted David for his youth. There's nothing like having your opponents set it up as an "us versus them" to get young people engaged.

-We have welcomed young people as integral parts of the campaign team, honestly and respectfully sought their input, cultivated their leadership, and respected their many contributions to the team. As one of our volunteers once noted (and, as a youngish participant on many a campaign, I agree), with many campaigns young people are asked to do the grunt work, but not really integrated into the campaign. We've have thrown our home and our campaign wide open too all who want to be a part of our fight - young and old alike - and it's paid big dividends.

 
At 11:54 AM, Blogger Virginia Centrist said...

Shayna:

It's mostly young people who get involved in campaign events, door knocking, etc - mainly because they have the most time to spare/youthful energy. That's the case in most campaigns.

But are you coming across any evidence that young voter participation will increase in this primary (vs other similar primaries)? I'd be interested to know.

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger Shayna Englin said...

Virginia Centrist: not usually in local elections. National, statewides, and, to a lesser extent, congressionals, yes - but not usually in local primaries. I don't know where you live, but if you've had a chance to take a look at the volume and age of volunteers on each of the campaigns in the 45th, it's hard not to notice two things -- we've got a heck of a lot more of them, and we've got a heck of a lot more young people.

That said, yes, I've seen some evidence that younger voters will turn out. But it remains to be seen if the evidence will bear out on e-day. The hours for voting in VA aren't good for younger voters -- anyone who works in DC is going to have a hard time getting home before 7PM, for example. And do we really think it's young people voting at 6AM?

 
At 12:46 PM, Blogger Virginia Centrist said...

That's a good point about local elections. Hopefully this is a carryover from the youth involvement in the Kerry/Bush campaign and it means that all of these new young volunteers aren't just slipping back into apathy.

 
At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Readers are missing the fact that GOP Primaries have a large voting bloc of 55+ voters - males - who care about candidate's qualifications

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger Not Larry Sabato said...

Good point anonymous. The Republican primary voters are very different from the Democrats in sex and race. And both in both parties they'll tell you about the Civil War (first hand)

 
At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Not Mark Rozell said...

That's what we in the trade call the "curmudgeon" vote.

 
At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Primary voters will also differ significantly is safe seats versus contested seats.

 
At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know who the youngest person in the HoD is currently? Or the youngest elected official in Virginia overall?

 
At 3:19 PM, Anonymous mitch's wife said...

I believe that Jeff Frederick is the youngest HD member right now. He is 29 and was 27 when he was elected.

Prince William County used to have an 18 or 19 year old school board member. Charles "Charlie" Colgan III was elected Gainesville school board rep. in the very first year they had school board elections, which was 1995. I think that he was only out of hgh school a year or so when he was first elected. He was re-elected in 1999, then resigned mid-term to go to seminary school in Texas. And yes, he is the grandson of Senator Chuck Colgan.

 
At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep - Jeff Frederick was born in 1975.

The most interesting question, though, is how the ages break down by partisan affiliation, since that's a clue to our future.

Using the numbers from the 2004-2005 session:

The average age of the 62 Republicans in the House is just over 53. Average age of the 36 Democrats in the house is just over 55.

Of the twelve Delegates 40 or younger, 4 are Democrats.

Of the 30 Delegates over 60, 12 are Democrats.

So: Democrats have 33% of the young Delegates, but 40% of the old ones.

Makes you wonder where the political energy is in the state, doesn't it? And does it leave you with any doubt where our future lies, if Democrats keep eating their young while Republicans keep electing theirs?

 
At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Want to add to the last comment:

Look also at the ideological leanings of the young Delegates.

Democracts in that group include Chap Petersen and Steve Shannon. Not exactly pillars of progressive leadership.

Republicans in that group include some of the wingiest of the Republicans.

Another clue to our future if things continue as they are.

 
At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last post is the dumbest thing that I've ever read. Look at the political leanings of the state you moron. Republican officials AS A WHOLE in Virginia are wingers because of safe Republican seats and the anti-tax crowd and the drifting of the GOP to the right. Democrats in Virginia- in order to win -have had to choose centrist, reasonable, responsible moderates like Steve Shannon, Chap Petersen, and Lowell Fulk-- it has nothing to do with age. Vic Thomas is old and conservative for a Dem and Bob Marshall is old and a winger-- so what was your point??

 
At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's hard to find all that many left-wing dems serving anywhere in the south let alone Virginia. And it may be just as hard to find right-wing Repubs in New England or the West Coast.

 
At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at the youth oriented organizations of each of the major parties I think it is plain to see that the Young Democrats are much better organized and energized than the Young Republicans. If you want to talk about the future of the parties-- that's where it is. If it's not clear now- it will be after this election.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Shayna Englin said...

Third to last anonymous: look more closely. Look at what the Democrats are doing with their safe seats versus the Republicans. Look at who those young Delegates are, where they're from, and how they're operating.

In the Republican party, the far-right leadership is younger, will be here for much longer, and is doing more to drive the agenda from safe seats. Compare Jeff Frederick - uber winger, from an absolutely safe R district -- to Al Eisenberg, for example. Al is from as safe a D seat as they come in Virginia. All is a terrific man and a good Delegates. He's also 30 years older than Frederick, and not nearly as ideologically extreme. They were elected in the same cycle.

Shaun Kenney, if/when he wins, will be another terrific example of how Republicans are electing young firebrands to the seats they know are safe. Looking around at the Democratic primaries, including in safe seats like my own, it's not at all clear that Democrats are showing that same vision. It's telling that the entire Spotsylvania County GOP committee has endorsed Kenney over Orrock, while the insider crowd in the 45th is tripping over themselves to take David down.

From my point of view, that's a real shame -- the Party with the 20-year-vision rather than the 2-year-vision will hold the reigns of power for well into the future.

Evidence of that vision can be found in how parties are using their safe seats, and age trends. Right now, we have a greater proportion of older Delegates than our proportion of the House as a whole, but lesser proportion of young Delegtes. It's not the only clue to the future - but it's certainly one of them.

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

As I wrote about the other day, my impression is that young candidates -- of both parties -- are overwhelmingly male. Women with young children almost never run for office, but men with kids the same age do. Any reactions?

 
At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

transexuals are pretty underrepresented too. reactions?

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Shayna Englin said...

A smart person pointed out to me that Frederick’s seat is arguably not safe. I disagree with NLS’s analysis on Frederick/Barg race, but it works out well for the sake of argument.

If Frederick won what should be a toss up seat by defeating a (more) moderate Republican Delegate through the force of a killer field campaign, then a similar point about youth, vision and the future is even stronger.

For the sake of argument, in Frederick's case the right wing looked at a swing district and put their political might behind a young Republican candidate who fully represents their values. They targeted and defeated a more moderate Republican incumbent and then went on to win in the General election in a district that perhaps should even be Democratic.

Now, compare that to what Democrats have done in similar swing districts. We’ve thrown our might behind compromise candidates because we think they can win, not because they will actually move our agenda forward. Then we’ve watched with dismay as they move even more rightward, in hopes of keeping their grasp on a seat they don’t think they should rightfully have in the first place. Then the voters get to choose between a Republican who stands up forcefully for what he or she believes and a Democrat who stands up for what he wants swing voters to think he believes.

Which is the better, more sensible route to a majority? Even more importantly, which is the more sensible route to controlling the agenda, regardless of who’s in the majority?

So now we've got evidence in age, evidence in use of safe seats, and evidence in use of swing seats. That's a lot of evidence.

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Virginia Centrist said...

Shayna -

I agree that Democrats should put good Democrats (like David) up in safe seats.

But I don't agree that a moderate stance on issues isn't "bold" and doesn't involve "standing up for what you believe in". In fact, I think that most bold ideas are coming from centrist groups lately. I'm talking about bold ideas that mix cost cutting and greater government effeciency (free market principles) with new great government programs that give people a hand up/training/positive incentives instead of just a monthly check with no strings attached. Think welfare reform - the boldest domestic policy idea of the past generation.

I also think that there's also something equally bold about standing up to your party when they're wrong, which is what centrists in both parties often do.

 
At 1:44 PM, Blogger Virginia Centrist said...

And when I describe David as a "good Democrat" I don't mean to imply any party label. I think you can be a centrist or a liberal and be a good Democrat if you're truly committed to building the party and taking it forward instead of looking back. David has layed out his vision for Virginia, and many elements are liberal. But as long as he knows (and I think he does) that the Democratic party is a big tent (especially in a conservative state like VA), then he's a "good democrat".

 
At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Englin is the man, Leslie Byrne is also a man

 
At 7:22 PM, Anonymous seo services said...

Quality information regarding highly-targeted web site traffic, highly-targeted web site traffic and highly-targeted web site traffic can be found at http://www.dreamry.com

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger Car Loans Home said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a car interest loan rate
site/blog. It pretty much covers car interest loan rate
related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

 
At 12:01 AM, Anonymous hgh said...

thanks

 
At 10:11 AM, Blogger Paul Adams said...

Hi Friend! You have a great blog over here!
Please accept my compliments and wishes for your happiness and success!
If you have a moment, please take a look at my site:
loans center
It covers loans center related subjects.
Have a great day!

 
At 3:19 AM, Blogger Larry said...

How many more times can OJ Simpson be in the news for beating up woman or something to do with the female species? I mean, c'mon! I may be a little sarcastic saying this, but why can he not just go try and endorse something like how to attract asian women even if it has nothing to do with rental car agencies or football. That guy just annoys me. He needs to at least get in trouble for something else. Make it interesting man.
how to attract asian women

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Gospel Music said...

looking forward to future updates on this blog...good work - kirk franklin my life is in your hands

that page has some cool info

 
At 5:03 AM, Blogger Paul Adams said...

Hi Blogger!I like your blog! Keep up the
good work, you are providing a great resource on the Internet here!
If you have a moment, please take a look at my site:
used car web site
It pretty much covers used car web site related issues.
Best regards

 
At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[url=http://didrex-moza.blogspot.com/]didrex[/url] http://didrex-moza.blogspot.com/
See you.

 
At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

baltimore maryland rental house

 
At 1:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

virginia vacation home rental

 
At 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

virginia beach va apartment

 
At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

 
At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

 
At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helo ! Forex - Работа на дому чашку кофе успешной имеют свободные деньги, просто зарегистрируйтесь forex [url=http://foxfox.ifxworld.com/]forex[/url]

 

Post a Comment

<< Home