Virginia House of Delegates 2005 Elections

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

Sunday, July 24, 2005

New Home for Virginia2005

We have a new home! Click here!

In case anyone is wondering why we needed to upgrade this site you can see the last comment in this thread as an example of what had happened to our comments section. On the new site, we can ban IP addresses that chose to behave like that.

Pardon the dust while we rebuild on the new site! New Posts are already up there, and we will leave this site/old posts up for history to judge.

Thanks to all of our loyal readers.

Friday, July 22, 2005

41st District Update (#7 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Toss Up

---------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND


Dave Marsden has opened up a slight lead in money raised, but a wide lead in cash on hand. Unlike candidates Frederick and Werkheiser, it looks like Golden's money was spent on voter contact leading up the June 14th primary. We said last week it would be a moral victory if Golden was within a 5-1 cash on hand margin after his primary, as we expected his numbers to be similar to the $10,000 on hand each candidate in the 37th has. So Golden has exceeded expectations here, but he still has a big cash deficit to make up going into the fall.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

68th District Update

Old Outlook: Likely Republican
New Outlook: Safe Republican

In a race that looked interesting for a while the opposition has fizzled and Brad Marrs is going back for a third term as Delegate.

Update on 6th District (#8 on Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Leans Democratic

---------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND


The 6th district hosted the closest race in 2003, decided by less than 100 votes. Democrats can't be happy that after that scare Benny Keister has been so inactive. When your opponent announces in June, and you only lead by $500 at the end of the month there is trouble on the horizon. A little more information here will push this to a tossup.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

42nd District Update (#9 on Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Leans Republican

---------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND


Dave Albo widens his fundraising lead over Greg Werkheiser here. One positive for Greg is that he cut his spending down significantly in June. However, it appears a lot of staff/consultant costs were deferred until after the reporting period, so it is hard to tell how much is cutback and how much is July dated checks.

With all this money coming into the district will either candidate be able to break through and be heard in the fall?

35th District (#10 on the Dirty Dozen)

Reports for the 10th District (#11 on Dirty Dozen) were not yet available for both candidates.

Old Outlook: Leans Democratic
New Outlook: Likely Democratic

----------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND


With every update the 35th District seems to be just a little more out of reach for the GOP...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

39th District Continued (#12 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Likely Democratic

----------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND


Republican Michael Meunier has surged with fundraising but almost all of it is coming from out of state. Is he going to use this money to get the upset of the year- or is he going the way of Ed Robinson from the 35th who raised almost all of his money from out of state and then was defeated?

We still think this looks more like wasted money, but we could be convinced otherwise if Meunier starts running a real campaign. He can start by showing one contribution from inside his district on the next report.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Uncalled Races- Not on the Dirty Dozen

Here's a money update for our uncalled races that didn't make the "Dirty Dozen" list of the top 12 battles.

9th District
Outlook: Likely Republican

----------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND

DUDLEY---------- $9,497 -------------------$101,005-------------$94,001

Challenger Eric Ferguson cuts down on Allen Dudley's financial advantage in June. Both candidates have been very tight with spending so far. Dudley still has a big advantage here, but Ferguson is making the right moves to keep this race on the "uncalled" list.

32nd District
Outlook: Likely Republican

----------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND


Challenger David Poisson wins June but does not even dent Dick Black's financial advantage.

51st District
Outlook: Likely Republican

----------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND


Porta continues to stay close in fundraising to the popular McQuigg. Porta needs two things to make this a race. First, big turnout, the bigger the turnout the more Democratic this district becomes. Second, he needs to figure out what Republicans he can get to cross over against McQuigg. Libertarian Republicans may be the key for Porta to make this a race.

64th District
Outlook: Likely Democratic

Still waiting to see both reports.

68th District
Outlook: Likely Republican

Still waiting to see both reports.

84th District
Outlook: Likely Republican

----------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND

IAQUINTO -------$18,868---------------$103,579------------------$72,807

In this open seat race for Bob McDonnell's Delegate seat Democrat Christopher is hanging in there with money. But with McDonnell on the ballot, and this district's GOP leanings Iaquinto has a lot of advantages.

99th District
Outlook: Likely Republican (Pickup)

----------------RAISED (June)--------- RAISED (Overall)------- CASH ON HAND


In the race for Albert Pollard's Delegate seat the Republicans seem to be cruising to a pickup. Crandell's best shot may be them falling asleep.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

52nd District Update (#1 on the Dirty Dozen)

Old Outlook: Toss Up
New Outlook: Leans Democratic

This is the first time we have ranked an incumbent as the underdog in their re-election. But every time we have made an excuse as to why this is still a tossup, Hilda Barg has cleared the bar- and easily.

Meanwhile the leaking Brinks truck that we described in the Werkheiser campaign has also been making deliveries to Jeff Frederick in this seat. To date, Frederick has spent almost $150,000 on this election and is left with only about $100,000 in the bank.

Frederick's spending habits have forced his campaign that has raised far more dollars to trail Barg in cash on hand by $41,000 (145-104).

The 52nd district is also home to the fewest swing voters of any competitive district in Virginia. This Warner/Kaine/Kerry area has been very consistent in giving Democrats a winning margin. Hilda Barg represents about 2/5 of the district on the Prince William Board and has never run below 60%.

Jeff Frederick is doing everything he can to hang on here and not become known as the accidental Delegate. On his website, you might be surprised to see who Frederick pictures himself with.

Tom Delay, who had a fundraiser for Frederick? Nope.

Conservative Prince William Delegates Marshall or Lingamfelter? Nope.

Why look- it's Congressman Tom Davis and Prince William Chairman Sean Connaughton!

Here's our question. Will Former Delegate Frederick be the conservative challenger to Sean Connaughton in 2007 for Chairman of Prince William? Frederick's politics are much better suited to all of Prince William then the district he currently represents. It's becoming very hard to see how he can pull this one out in the 52nd.

Article in Richmond Times-Dispatch

This is on topic with our blog, and you may find it interesting.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

37th District Update (#2 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Toss Up

In Central Fairfax the 37th district held by J. Chapman Petersen has been the most wide open of any race in the state. Emerging from contested primaries were David Bulova, son of Fairfax County Supervisor Sharon Bulova and John Mason, the former Mayor of Fairfax City.

Recent finance reports suggest a slow start from the June primaries with both candidates only having about $10,000 on hand as of June 30th.

In 1997 this district gave Jack Rust his first full term by an identical percentage to the statewide Gilmore victory. In 2001 it gave J. Chapman Petersen a victory by an identical percentage to the statewide Warner victory. If that trend continues John Mason has the early edge here, which is why we give Mason the top line on the right side of the page.

At the start of this race, we told you this district had more questions than any other which made it difficult to figure out. Here's what the questions were, and the answers we have 3 months later.

#1- Will the Democratic Nominee have popular Delegate Petersen on the ballot with them in November (unlikely, but a potential boost to the Democratic Nominee).

Nope. Advantage Mason.

#2- Will Fairfax City continue it's tradition of crushing Democratic nominees from outside the City, when their opponent is from the City? Under that scenario the string of losses for Democrats inside the City is long and unbroken.. from Emilie Miller in 3 Senate elections in 83, 87, and 91, Sally Ormsby in 87 and 89 for Delegate, Les Schoene in 97 for Delegate and Leslie Byrne in 99 for Senate. In all of these elections where the Republicans had a City candidate, and the Democrats did not, Republicans won the City by more than 2-1 (remarkable in an otherwise evenly divided area). Republicans used that margin to win every Delegate race above, but in the Senate contests where the City is only 10% of the district Democrats Miller and Byrne both won once.

Still Unknown. Toss Up.

#3- How will #1 effect #2? Would the City split it's votes between Petersen and Mason, or would Petersen have coattails? The likely answer is coattails, looking at the 2003 elections you can see Petersen's impact on the Senate race between Christian and Devolities. His coattails nearly provided the upset of the year. But again, that requires Petersen winning the primary statewide.

Doesn't matter now. Advantage Mason.

#4- Is there any difference between nominating Bulova or Oleszek for the Democrats? A major one, Bulova will be stronger in Fairfax County, especially Braddock District where his mother has served for over 20 years. Oleszek will be stronger in the City, since the County schools also run the schools in Fairfax City, and she is less antagonizing then the son of a County Supervisor.

Bulova carried both the City and County in the primary, although Oleszek did run better in the City. That is a boost for him in November. Advantage Bulova.

#5- Will Kaplan get out of Mason's way or will he force a primary?

He forced a primary. Mason would have a much stronger financial advantage if Kaplan had gotten out of the way. Advantage Bulova.

#6- Exactly how popular is Mason? He won big for 15 years as Mayor of Fairfax City, then was hammered in his 2003 re-election by almost a 2-1 margin. The issue was development, and if that was really the case, Mason should be ok in his comeback. If the issue was arrogance and the fact voters got tired of him, this will be uphill.

Still Unknown. Toss Up.

Of our six questions that would determine a winner two went to Mason, two went to Bulova and two are still unknown. That sounds like a toss up!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

75th District (#3 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Leans Democratic

The 75th District has the potential for the biggest upset of the year.

This rural district with a large minority population just outside Hampton Roads has been home to the longest serving Democrat in the House Paul Councill. Paul stepped down this year and we called this as a Safe Democratic seat for the winner of the June 14th primary.

The often complicated Democratic coalition got involved.

In the 75th district two things are true:

1) The margin that makes this a Democratic district are white Democratic votes

2) White Democrats are very much outnumbered by black Democrats in primaries.

As we have said before, in this part of Virginia, race absolutely matters. It's a fact we have to include in the analysis.

In the primary Roslyn Tyler used an excellent African American voter turnout operation to defeat Jerry Flowers by a couple of hundred votes. She will now face Carson Saunders in November. Flowers is bitter and complained to the press that he lost after running "the perfect campaign" (without a website or apparently understanding the demographics of his district). Finishing a distant third, but with more votes than the difference between Tyler and Flowers was Delegate Councill's son Jim Councill.

In the newspaper after the election it noted Flowers and Councill would have likely won if the other had dropped out because they were seeking the same voters (i.e. whites)

So what does the outgoing white Democratic incumbent say:

(From the Tidewater News- Thanks to Not Virgil Goode)

J. Paul Councill doubts this Democrat can win district

For the man who held this seat for 32 years, this political year is proving to be a great disappointment.


In a conversation with the Tidewater News Councill said the Republicans have a real chance to take this district in November- which in his experience is a total aberration.


"It's been a Democratic district, but I think this year may be different with the nominee we have."

"I think a lot of people are going to question the Democratic nominee. And I think Republicans will make a concerted effort to promote their candidate, and I think a lot of Democrats will support the Republican candidate."


"I don't believe she can successfully represent this district and I don't think she has enough support districtwide to adequately represent the district."


"This was a black and white race, pure and simple," Councill said. She preached to the blacks..."


"In addition to doubting Tyler's ability to become the elected Delegate, Councill said the loss of the seat to Republican Carson Saunders would prove an embarrassment to district Democrats.

"I think they are all going to have egg on their face because we could have put someone up there who would have been a viable representative. "


Tyler has an advantage here, but turnout could be a problem for her. George Bush got 43% here, so all Saunders needs to do is pull white Democrats and he will win. That of course is going to be tough- they are still Democrats for a reason. But this election could test that, and it is near the top of the list because of the explosive nature of the next few months. The RPV is already in the 75th with a truckload of salt to throw in every Democratic wound.

Democratic leaders in Richmond are very upset over this outcome, and not pleased at all that they will have to spend their dollars to defend a seat that should be an easy win.

Rules of the Site

Over the last few days, we have had one interested blogger send almost 200 comments to the site about the identity of NLS. To be fair, we never published rules to our site, so here they are.

#1- Keep comments on topic to the post. For example, it is fine to talk about the identity of NLS when we post a discussion board on that. It is not ok to take over the discussions on individual races on that topic.

#2- Multiple comments are fine, but please give other people a chance to talk. It is not ok to make ten comments in a row (within 3 minutes of each other) pretending to be different people- all agreeing with your original post.

#3- Try not to attack people personally. As we said in the Washington Post, we are careful and take responsibility for what goes into our posts on the main page. If you slander someone as an anonymous comment and that person wants to sue you, blogger will give them your IP address and you will not be anonymous. Please keep that in mind.

#4- If someone is talking about you, and you are not a public figure (i.e. the conversation on Lowell Fulk's manager) we will take the comments down if you request it. To have that done just email

About 5 p.m. we will have our post for #3 on the Dirty Dozen posted, and the comments are open again now. We have another blog set up that will trace IPs and moderate comments that we will transfer to later today if we are spammed again.

Thank You.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Who is NLS?

I had to delete almost 50 comments yesterday from discussions guessing who NLS was. What we are irritated about is all the comments were going into the discussions on various races, basically killing those discussions.

So now the people guessing (and it is only a couple, they would post the same name multiple times) have an open thread.

Top guess yesterday was Jay Hughes, 2nd biggest guess was Ben Tribbet.

If anyone gets all 4 of us, we will reveal ourselves.

UPDATE: 82 Messages this morning in 1 hour from the same person, trying to take over every discussion on the front page. The site is now restricted to registered users until we can get control over the situation. We will not allow ONE person to destroy the site.

2nd Update: Yesterday's final tally was 139 messages from one person. Today's was 37 before we shut down the comments again. We left up the crux of what they were saying so you can see it yourself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

87th District (#4 on the Dirty Dozen)

Old Outlook: Toss Up
New Outlook: Leans Democratic

After a great special election in December which Paula Miller won by less than 100 votes over Michael Ball, this race has slowly climbed down our top races list. Without both parties running the campaigns, both Miller and Ball are off to very slow starts. Very slow fundraising for both of them through June 1st. Sources in Norfolk in both parties are complaining about their candidate not really wanting it. It all seems to be a factor of fatigue from the crazy election here in December.

Slow starts benefit incumbents. If Ball could get going this could be a great race, especially with the GOP advantage in Hampton Roads with Bob McDonnell on the ticket. We'll see on the July 15th finance report if Ball is really serious about trying to win this seat back for the GOP.

Virginia's New Star

Article is under news at

Who’s Virginia’s newest political star?

It’s Not Larry Sabato…

Political junkies all over the country know Larry Sabato. For reporters at major newspapers from The Los Angeles Times to The Washington Post, the mustachioed director of UVA’s Center for Politics is the go-to guy for political analysis.
Sabato is particularly famous for offering a horserace-style analysis of politics couched in quotes like the one he recently gave to the Denver Post. In a July 7 article about the upcoming battle between Republicans and Democrats over the Supreme Court nominee, Sabato said: “It’s hard to imagine that this one won’t be nasty.” No shit.
The combination of Sabato’s ubiquity and occasional innoc-uousness has prompted a back-lash from a quartet of smartasses in the blog-osphere. Two Democrats and two Repub-licans writing under the name “Not Larry Sabato” have created a blog (http://virginia to analyze Virginia politics from a non-Sabato point of view.
“It was kind of a joke about how everywhere you go, you see him quoted,” says one of the bloggers, who names himself only as Not Larry Sabato. “We thought that if our blog became big enough, newspapers would quote us as a counter to him. Like, ‘Larry Sabato said this, but Not Larry Sabato said this.’”
Besides the fact that they are not Larry Sabato, one thing that’s clear about the bloggers is that they are plugged into both the Virginia Democratic and Republican parties. That’s the reason the bloggers refuse to announce their identities.
“There’s no point in doing this if you’re not anonymous,” says Not Sabato. “We’re putting out information we get in secret meetings…if people knew who we were, we wouldn’t get invited.”
Not Larry Sabato says he and his fellow not-Sabatos started the blog to shed some light on how political campaigns actually work behind the theater of press releases and photo ops.
“Most incumbents in this state are out of control,” he says. “They don’t care about the impact of anything they do. There’s extraordinary arrogance on both sides. They want to do their stuff in the dark, and they don’t like people discussing anything about them.”
The bigwigs have apparently been reading the Not Larrys. On a recent post, one Not Larry says that when the blog mocked a photo of Democrat Brian Moran posted on the delegate’s official website, the picture was replaced within two days. When the blog chastised Republican Jim Hyland for negative attacks, the candidate’s message turned much more positive. “We’re getting reports back from the meetings… we hear they’re all complaining about the blog,” Not Sabato says.
One person who isn’t complaining is Larry Sabato. “I thought it was hilarious,” says Sabato, who recently posted a comment on the blog saying so. “I don’t think they meant it as a dig. I’m at the age where in order to survive, I frequently interpret insults as backhanded compliments.”—John Borgmeyer

Monday, July 11, 2005

Northern Virginia Daily Article

Good article about blogs in the NV Daily. Comments from us in the comment section.


Blogs, a new craze on Internet, give people chance to vent; A1
By Garren Shipley (Daily Staff Writer)

They’re at times informative, scurrilous, insightful, self-referential and thoughtful. Often critical of the press, they report on politics and current events like media outlets. They’re liberal, conservative, libertarian and everything else.

The authors all have one thing in common, though: They’re having a great time.

Blogs, aka Web logs, are one of the new crazes on the Internet, giving anyone with a modem a chance to plug in and tell the entire world what they think. Some are simply streams of consciousness made public.

But dozens of the sites devote their space to Virginia politics. One of the more thorough — and controversial — sites out there is run by “Not Larry Sabato,” a not-so-veiled reference to the University of Virginia’s leading political analyst.

“Not Larry Sabato” is actually a group of four Virginia campaign veterans, according to one of the bloggers who spoke with the Daily recently.

“We’ve all worked within the parties,” he said. Two Democrats and two Republicans, the four are friends and have actually worked on opposing campaigns. Now, they work together to prognosticate and report on the 100 races for the House of Delegates.

Why blog? It’s fun to poke the status quo in the eye.

“We’re shaking up the establishment a little bit,” said the anonymous blogger.

Political fun is the reason three-year blogging veteran Norman Leahy, former executive director of U.S. Term Limits, keeps posting on his “One Man’s Trash” site day after day.

“My blog is little more than an electronic version of an 18th century broadside. It’s meant to rile, it’s meant to challenge and, if I’m very lucky, someone just might take a piece of it to heart and act.”

Leahy watches Virginia politics, and has devoted considerable space to the campaign of state Sen. H. Russell Potts, Jr., R-Winchester, the independent candidate on the Nov. 8 gubernatorial ballot.“

Above all, it’s fun. It’s interesting, too,” Leahy said. “The moment blogging ceases to be either of those things, I’ll give it up.”

It is fun, said former lobbyist, journalist and activist Bob Griendling, whose Commonwealth Commonsense blog tacks left where Leahy tacks right.

“I like the idea of getting ideas out in the public,” said Griendling, who added that he dislikes the gossipy, anonymous nature of some blogs, including the efforts of NLS.

“I come at it from a journalist’s background. I’m opinionated certainly, but I would feel terrible if I put something out there that was false that hurt somebody’s reputation,” he said.

While he has no problem lighting up politicians based on their positions, he said, personal stuff is out of bounds.“

Sometimes we joke around [like calling Creigh Deeds a ‘Charlottesville liberal’],” added anonymous bloggers Old Zach and Addison from “Sic Semper Tyrannis.”

“But for the most part we try to focus on the issues. ‘Sic Semper’ is our sounding board, and I think people will read us as long as we have something to say — be it politics, sports or entertainment.”

The NLS site is “gossipy, but not gossip,” one of the four anonymous NLS bloggers said. At the same time, it doesn’t adhere to the same standards of review that mainstream publications follow, partly because it’s a staff of four.

But the collective “Not Larrys” patrol their blog’s comment section for anything that might be out of line and pull the patently false or scurrilous entries.

Just how many people read the blogs isn’t clear.

The “Not Larry Sabato” team doesn’t have a hit counter, so they have no way of tracking how many people actually read their posts. Hit counters can betray IP addresses, and that could lead to their collective unmasking.

“We can’t do the blog effectively if we reveal our identities,” he said, but noted that NLS gets “four to five times the comments” of other Old Dominion blogs.

“I’ve been in [public relations] long enough to know not to believe your own press,” Griendling said.

The NLS bloggers think they are reaching voters, though, as evidenced by what they say was a swarm of e-mail around the June 14 primary.

“We were just getting bombed by real voters, e-mailing us asking questions,” the NLS blogger said. Voters researching candidates wanted to know more about their potential choices. “We didn’t anticipate that when it started,” he said.

As of Nov. 9, Not Larry Sabato will go quiet — partly because the fun stuff will be over, but mainly because it’s a lot harder to get the good dirt when the General Assembly is in session.

“In session, the meetings are much smaller,” he said. That makes it easier to get caught.

Sic Semper’s future depends on football. “The first full season of college football will be a challenge, and we might not be working on the same blog by the end of it,” the two bloggers wrote.

Leahy said he’ll keep right on plugging even after the election is over. The 2006 General Assembly will be a good one for political junkies.

“It could be an explosive session, particularly if there’s a move to raise taxes to pay for more transportation projects,” he said. “There will also be some pressure on the [legislature] to get involved in the property tax issue, and I look for a bit of a tussle over ideas like a Taxpayers Bill of Rights.”

And then there’s the 2006 congressional midterms. “Those races will only add to the fun,” Leahy said.

Contact Garren Shipley at

26th District Update (#5 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Leans Republican

The 26th district battle for the open seat of Glenn Weatherholtz is still heating up. Some Republicans have begun mumbling to us that Matt Lohr might be their worst candidate in the state. We disagree with that assessment. Matt's biggest problem is everytime he is quoted he is matched up against Lowell Fulk who might be the best Democratic candidate for Delegate in Virginia. So that is making Lohr come across as a lot more green then he really is.

The biggest problem Fulk has here is this might be the most Republican House district out of all 100 in Virginia. He's going to have to pull massive numbers of Kilgore votes to his side, and that will be very tough in the Valley.

But Fulk's 2003 campaign says a lot about his chances. Turnout in 2003 was a remarkable 92% of the turnout that came in the 2001 Governor's election. The difference was only about 1,000 votes. Assuming this years turnout is similar to 2001, Fulk won't need a lot of help turning out more voters. He just needs to pull about 500 additional from his 2003 campaign against the incumbent.

Given how well the campaign has gone for Fulk, we may make this a tossup after the July 15th financial reports.

Lohr will need to come up with a better attack line then his recent press conference where he critiqued Fulk for only bringing "common sense solutions" to the table.

Finally, a few weeks ago we promised you a scandal in the 26th that we would break soon. We were promised a copy of a motivational speech Matt Lohr gave where "he openly mocked JMU". To date, the tape has been "in the mail" for almost a month. Unless we hear otherwise, it's fair to assume no such tape exists. If it does show up, we will bring it to you, but for now we find Matt Lohr not guilty on the charge of JMU bashing.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Celebrity Contest Down

We got some complaints on the celebrity naming contest on here for candidates so we took it down. It's a little disappointing because we had some good ones ready for the statewide candidates, but we don't want to offend anyone. Sorry if we did.

Any other ideas how to make it to Labor Day awake?

Abortion and the Top 5

The Washington Post has a new article out this morning, about abortion and how it will effect the Governor's race. As you may remember, we discussed here last week how it could impact the House of Delegates election this year.

The Top 5 of the "Dirty Dozen" is coming soon under this new schedule:

#5- 26th District- Tomorrow
#4- 87th District- Tomorrow
#3- 75th District- Tuesday
#2- 37th District- Tuesday
#1- 52nd District- Wednesday

Saturday, July 09, 2005

67th District Update (#6 on the Dirty Dozen)

Old Outlook: Likely Republican
New Outlook: Leans Republican

Sometimes it seems like the Republicans are determined to get a Democrat elected in Western Fairfax.

In this district which has not gone for a statewide Democrat in decades, the GOP nearly gave it away in the 1990's. With his legal problems former Delegate Roger McClure just barely hung on in both of his challenges by Jim Mitchell winning his last race in 1999 by just 230 votes.

When McClure stepped down School Board member Gary Reese won his seat with over 60% of the vote and this seemed to be back in the safe GOP column.

But this year Republican primary voters routed Reese out of office for 26 year old substitute teacher Chris Craddock. Democrats responded by bringing back 1980's School Board member Chuck Caputo to serve as their nominee.

This race is all the buzz of Richmond insiders who are putting their money on a Caputo victory. While we see this race as very competitive, we are far from ready to call this for Caputo.

Even if Gary Reese endorses Caputo, this district is solid Republican. For the Democrats to win hundreds of people voting for Kilgore/Bolling/McDonnell will have to decide that Chris Craddock is too conservative for them. We just don't see any difference between Craddock and his statewide ticket.

While this race will be hotly contested, and closely followed this race reminds us of the Cuccinelli-Belter race in 2002. A young very conservative Republican against an older Democratic moderate from the neighborhood for decades. The Richmond establishment knew Belter would win big. In the 67th, Cuccinelli won every precinct and of course went on to win big.
What can Caputo do to win this election? He has a shot if he can run without sounding like a Democrat. The next race we are covering, the 26th district should serve as a good example of what he has to do. We'll follow this one closely to see if Caputo is really pulling enough GOP votes to pull this off.

41st District (#7 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Toss Up

While we are keeping this race as a tossup, we are moving Dave Marsden to the top line on the right side of our page. We always put the slight favorite in tossups on top. The finance reports due on July 15th are the reason Marsden has taken the advantage here. Michael Golden has raised slightly less than Marsden as of the last report, but since then Marsden had a major fundraiser with Governor Warner and Golden had to spend a lot of his money on the June 14th Republican primary. The cash on hand advantage for Marsden should be huge here, and Golden has to begin catching up in money if he wants to win this election.

In fact, we were all ready to make this race a "Leans Democratic" until we got an email tip last week.

You may remember when we told you to visit Dave Marsden's website to see how local Democratic icon and former 41st District candidate Cathy Belter was still refusing to endorse him. The next week when Cathy showed up on the site, we did another post pointing out that Marsden seemed to finally be uniting the Democrats behind him.

Our email tip suggested we visit the site once again.

Indeed, the Belter endorsement is gone, along with the endorsement of Janet Oleszek from the Fairfax School Board. After we checked with some sources we learned that neither of them ever endorsed Marsden. It's unclear exactly what is happening here other then the Democrats have still not united behind their candidate. Until that happens we can not even consider making this a "Leans Democratic".

Friday, July 08, 2005

6th District (#8 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Leans Democratic

In the 6th district, Benny Keister is seeking his fourth term in the House. Keister was the only Democratic pickup in 1999, winning an open GOP seat in a landslide. However since the redistricting Keister's numbers have fallen and in 2003 he was re-elected by just 56 votes.

Republicans have recruited Wythe County Board Chair Anne Crockett-Stark to challenge Keister this year.

But unseating Keister may be a little tougher than just winning 57 more votes.

First, this is a district Mark Warner carried, and Tim Kaine was also able to win it by 17 votes. While this district takes in parts of five counties the population is distributed as follows:

Pulaski County 37%
Giles County 25%
Wythe County 19%
Tazewell County 10%
Bland County 9%

Keister's near defeat was caused by his underperformance in Pulaski County, which is also his home base. Much of the credit for that lies with the strong campaign of the 2003 GOP nominee. Crockett-Stark will have a tough time holding that Pulaski overperformance, which will offset her expected gains in Wythe.

For Crockett-Stark to emerge as the winner here, she will have to run a strong districtwide campaign, and not assume to have the 2003 GOP numbers in her pocket at all. To do that she will have to have a strong fundraising operation, so we should know more about her chances on July 15th at the next financial filing.

If she can do that, the strong Jerry Kilgore numbers in this district could help put her over the top.

The other factor at play here is Crockett-Stark is a woman. The nearest woman legislator is over 100 miles away in Lynchburg. While she has broken the glass ceiling in Wythe, it will be interesting to see if this district is ready for a woman as its Delegate.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

42nd District (#9 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Leans Republican

Greg Werkheiser has got to be frustrated. Here's a young, bright, articulate young candidate who between his PAC and campaign has raised $233,000, yet only $102,000 is left and the campaign has barely begun. Can you imagine a Brinks truck that is supposed to deliver a quarter of a million dollars and shows up with 100 thousand instead?

Meanwhile the massive amounts of money Werkheiser has raised woke up incumbent Dave Albo from his 15 year slumber. Albo's fundraising has now caught fire and his Brinks truck doesn't have a hole in it, leaving him with $175,000 left.

If Werkheiser wants to make this race what it could be, which is the best in the Commonwealth, he has to start saving his money. In many ways this is what makes our system so perfect. Candidates who overspend early and don't manage their campaign dollars tend to lose, and then not be responsible for spending billions of tax dollars. That's a good thing.

But Werkheiser can be the exception to this rule. His early start leaves the door open for him to make the changes he needs to make a move. On his "Blueprint" page he's off to a good start by focusing on local rather than regional transportation issues- however to see that you have to go through a two page pre-amble. Once again, he's on the right track- almost.

The July 15th Finance Report here will be very interesting.

35th District Update (#10 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Leans Democratic

Now that the nastiest GOP primary in the state is over with, Republican Jim Hyland has begun to bring the party together. Republicans see opportunity here in the district that has been most likely to toss incumbents out on their ass. Since 1990 it has had Delegates McDermott, Fisher, Lovelace, Devolities and Shannon with Senators Miller, Woods, Byrne, and Devolities.

Right now the best thing going for incumbent Steve Shannon is his amazing fundraising. Steve has clearly decided the way to get re-elected is to sit on a pile of money and drown out his opponent in October. It worked for him in 2003 in the open seat race.

If Hyland's fundraising is strong on the July 15th report we may move this one back up the "Dirty Dozen". If Hyland gets money, this one could get ugly fast.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

10th District Update (#11 on the dirty dozen)

Outlook: Leans Democratic

The 10th district which runs near the North Carolina border is represented by Ward Armstrong. The district lines are a little shady, during the last redistricting the main "community of interest" in creating this district was drawing Barnie Day and Ward Armstrong into the same seat.

Having finished off Barnie, now the GOP is eyeing Ward. Because of the lack of a single issue or interest in this district the areas voted widely different in 2001. Ward is very strong in Henry and Martinsville and very weak in Carroll County. For the GOP to oust Ward they need to win a good margin in Patrick County (home of Barnie Day). Demographically this is more possible with the recent GOP movement in the area, George W. Bush won Patrick by more than a 2-1 margin.
With that in mind the GOP recruited Patrick County Supervisor David Young to challenge Armstrong. He's the right fit for pulling together a winning coalition here- if he has a strong campaign. As he just began the campaign a few weeks ago we will get our first idea of how strong he is with the July 15th campaign finance reports.

This race could move up the "Dirty Dozen" quickly if Young can get moving.

It's also important to note that off all the districts still on the competitive board on the right, Tim Kaine had a greater falloff from Mark Warner here than in any other district, a 6.2% difference. Tim Kaine will run worse in this seat then he does statewide. If he continues to trail by 10 points around the state he could be taking Ward with him when he leaves the Capitol in Janurary. On the other hand, if Tim's numbers improve statewide and he can break even here, Ward will be fine.

39th District Update (#12 on the Dirty Dozen)

Outlook: Likely Democratic

The 39th District in eastern Fairfax County may be host to the big surprise of the year.

Incumbent Vivian Watts held this district for a few years in the 1980's before giving it up to be in Governor Bailies cabinet. In 1995 she won it back by 300 votes in an open seat race over Tim Hugo, now Delegate from the 40th District.

In 1999 and 2001 she had a tough challenger in local attorney Chris Craig. Vivian won both by about 10 points, not a landslide, but a solid victory.

Now she faces a challenge from Michael Meunier.

Mike has been running a stealth campaign, showing up in random places like this one.

But his Egyptian connections are helping him fundraise outside of the "same old" donors. So far (through June 1st) he has outraised Watts more than 3-1, and has not overspent like some challengers giving him an equally impressive 3-1 advantage in cash on hand.

Vivian is a strong incumbent, and probably the smartest policy wonk in the Democratic Caucus. She is strong in her district. But this email was the difference to us putting this seat on the "Dirty Dozen" list.

Not Larry Sabato- I am a Fairfax County Democrat. Last week when I went to our local Democratic Committee meeting we had to decide how to divvy up about $6,000. In our area we had four candidates, Vivian Watts, Dave Marsden, David Bulova, and Greg Werkheiser.

Vivian's staff was there and demanded at least $1,000 for Vivian over all these other challengers than need help. I was surprised because I thought she was safe. But they made a very convincing case that she has a strong opponent and that without the $1,000 they might lose the election. The committee voted to give it to Vivian so she would go back to Richmond.

You may want to keep an eye on this race. Also, if you are interested the rest of the money was split with $1,000 to Marsden, $1,000 to Werkheiser and $3,000 to Bulova. Not sure if that means anything or not.
One thing that everyone knows in Virginia politics is Vivian Watts is a class act. She would not play "reverse Robin Hood" by taking from the challengers unless she was in serious trouble.

Since we now know she is, this race makes it debut on the "Dirty Dozen" at #12.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Column by NOT Lindsey Reynolds

By NOT Lindsey Reynolds

The DPVA website of today is, indeed, a thing of beauty. But it doesn't seem to be there for ALL Democrats -- only a few.

Witness -- three weeks after the Primaries -- that there is STILL no information about the campaigns for House of Delegates. No contact info for the candidates' websites. Not even a list of their names.

I have long suspected -- known, actually -- that the DPVA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a small group of self-interested pols. Certainly, there seems to be very little concern for regaining a House majority. Most certainly not if that means nominating candidates who aren't hand-picked by the DINO's in the inner circle.

But not to even LIST our candidates. Inexcusable.

We might as well be living in the days of Tammany Hall...

Hitting the MSM

Great Article on Blogging in this morning's Washington Post. Front page, Metro!

We do want to clarify one quote in the article. When we said "If someone makes a defamatory statement, that has nothing to do with us." that is referring to the comments section on the blog. I'm not sure if the reporter understood the difference in that.

Our point on that was the comments section on here is not our responsibility. Obviously anyone can post anytime, and we don't get to approve those comments in advance.

That having been said, anytime we have gotten a request to delete comments from a subject of them we have done so, and will continue to do so.

Yes there is a responsibility in running a blog like this.

Now, for the comment you have all been waiting for:

Organizers of the Not Larry Sabato blog contend that postings about candidates are fair, especially because they are public figures. Speaking only on condition of anonymity, one of them said the blog criticizes politicians on both sides of the aisle.

"We are equal opportunity bashers here," the Not Larry Sabato blogger said in a phone interview. The group, he added, is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans from across the state.

We'll give you another hint tomorrow of home county for each of our bloggers. You already know one of us lives in Chesterfield County.

And as a special contest, starting tomorrow...after we reveal each of our four bloggers home county and party anyone who can get all four right in a guess wins the biggest prize in blogging history. .. when the correct answer is given we announce our identities!

Chill out on the guessing for a day so we can open a comment section just for that.

Special shout out to John Behan who also got a mention in the article.

This comments section is for your reaction to the article. Any new readers from it?

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Dirty Dozen

Earlier in the campaign we twice did lists of the hottest House of Delegates races at that time.

The first one was in April, the second one was in May. We skipped June because of the primaries, so now it's time for the next top ten list!

But now, it is expanded to the "Dirty Dozen"!

#12- 39th District-
incumbent Vivian Watts vs. challenger Michael Meuneir
This race was unranked both in April and May.
Detailed Update coming Wednesday, 7/6/2005

#11- 10th District-
incumbent Ward Armstrong vs. challenger David Young
This race was unranked both in April and May.
Detailed Update coming Wednesday, 7/6/2005

#10- 35th District-
incumbent Steve Shannon vs. challenger Jim Hyland
This race was ranked #5 in April and #6 in May.
Detailed Update coming Thursday, 7/7/2005

#9- 42nd District-
incumbent Dave Albo vs. challenger Greg Werkheiser
This race was ranked #8 in April and #7 in May.
Detailed Update coming Thursday, 7/7/2005

#8- 6th District-
incumbent Benny Keister vs. challenger Anne Crockett-Stark
This race was unranked in April and ranked #8 in May.
Detailed Update coming Friday, 7/8/2005

#7- 41st District-
Open GOP seat. Michael Golden vs. David Marsden
This race was ranked #4 in April and ranked #5 in May.
Detailed Update coming Friday, 7/8/2005

#6- 67th District-
Open GOP seat. Chris Craddock vs. Chuck Caputo
This race was ranked #7 in April and unranked in May.
Detailed Update coming Saturday, 7/9/2005

#5- 26th District-
Open GOP seat. Matt Lohr vs. Lowell Fulk
This race was ranked #6 in April and ranked #4 in May.
Detailed Update coming Saturday, 7/9/2005

#4- 87th District-
incumbent Paula Miller vs. challenger Michael Ball
This race was ranked #1 in April and ranked #2 in May.
Detailed Update coming Sunday, 7/10/2005

#3- 75th District-
Open DEM seat. Roslyn Tyler vs. Carson Saunders
This race was unranked both in April and May.
Detailed Update coming Sunday, 7/10/2005

#2- 37th District-
Open DEM seat. David Bulova vs. John Mason
This race was ranked #3 in April and ranked #1 in May.
Detailed Update coming Monday, 7/11/2005

#1- 52nd District-
incumbent Jeff Frederick vs. challenger Hilda Barg
This race was ranked #2 in April and ranked #3 in May.
Detailed Update coming Monday, 7/11/2005

July 4th Open Thread

By request...

7th District

Outlook: Safe Republican

On paper this should be the closest race in Southwest Virginia. But Republicans have a very strong incumbent in Dave Nutter, who unseated Delegate Jim Shuler in 2001. When Creigh Deeds moved up to the State Senate, Shuler moved and took that seat to return to Richmond.

This year the Democrats have nominated Barbara Chrisley, who was the GOP candidate in the 6th District against Benny Keister in 1999. That seat had been GOP held, and in the open seat race Chrisley lost it by almost 20 points. If you are confused- call Speaker Howell- this is all messed up from the last redistricting, nobody is in the right districts anymore!

While on it's face this district could be home to a great battle it's not going to happen this year. Instead Babs is going to find out that it wasn't party affiliation that caused the voters to reject her in 1999.

With 81 seats now projected the House is:
50 GOP
29 Dem
2 Ind

2nd District

Outlook: Safe Democratic

This district was drawn to be as Democratic as the 1st district is Republican. John Behan has been pointing out an error incumbent Bud Phillips made during the last General Assembly.

If this district wasn't so Democratic it might hurt Bud. Even Tim Kaine got almost 60% here. We are ready to call Bud as the winner.

With 80 seats now projected the House is:

49 GOP
29 Dem
2 Ind

Sunday, July 03, 2005

26th District- "Ouch!"

Outlook: Leans Republican

Just picked this up off the Lowell Fulk website.

Letter of the Day 6/30/05

Lohr Should Debate

OK, I ask my Republican neighbors and friends to help me understand. Matt Lohr, professional speaker, refuses to debate Lowell Fulk, professional farmer.

Is it the issues that Matt doesn’t feel deserve debating: education, public safety, economic development and preservation, agriculture, or elder care (topics proposed by Mr. Fulk)?

Or, possibly, does Mr. Lohr not have the time in his busy travel schedule to fit in a few debates for the delegate seat he seeks?

A Republican, a professional speaker, refuses to debate a Democratic farmer in a Republican stronghold. Help me understand, I honestly don’t get it

Don Roderick


We have said it before, and will say it again. Lowell Fulk is the best Democratic candidate in the state. The only reason he isn't crushing Republican Matt Lohr is the 2-1 Republican edge in this district. Lohr is favored if he can keep the status quo.

But to keep the status quo he can't let Fulk get shots in like this. Matt Lohr should agree to any and all debates with Lowell Fulk, which will be attended by only a few people who have already decided how to vote.

If Lohr's team was at all bright they would realize that they want to spend as much time as possible in empty rooms debating issues with Lowell Fulk, rather than having Fulk out in front of voters.

Depending on the finance reports on July 15th we may make this a tossup.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Impact of our Blog

Later this month we will celebrate our 3 month blog-iversery. Thanks to everyone who reads or contributes to this blog. It's clear we are not only covering this years election, but also having an impact.

In the next few days you will be able to know more about the writers here, as we begin to unveil our identity in the Washington Post.

Many of the candidates running and their staffs tune in here also. Often times when we bash one of them the issue is corrected almost immediately. For example, when our picture of Brian Moran went up from his site last week, within 2 days it was replaced with a much more flattering one. When we pointed out Dave Marsden had his endorsements listed with the wrong offices, the page was down the next morning, and up corrected soon thereafter. When we pointed our Jim Hyland's attacks were very strong for this point in the campaign, they were replaced with a much more positive message. Hey- we should be getting paid for this!

Also after having his pants attacked David Bulova has stopped wearing any.... (just kidding!)

We also brought you Gary Reese's conceding the primary two days in advance.

Thank You to everyone who has helped out with this project!

Friday, July 01, 2005

First Race, Now Abortion

Today must be hot button day.

Everyone we are sure is watching the impending retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. As the swing vote on the abortion issue the justice to replace her could be the deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

For many bloggers too young to remember it's time for a history lesson on Roe v. Wade.

Roe versus Wade

The Roe versus Wade decision was NOT to legalize abortion. This decision was based on equal access. Prior to Roe versus Wade every state had different laws on whether abortion would be legal. Roe v. Wade forced every state have the same basic law that abortion was legal, with regulation left to each state.

If Roe versus Wade is overturned abortion then would become a state by state issue. That means this Supreme Court nomination battle could have a major impact on the Virginia elections this year. If overturned the next General Assembly and Governor will likely determine if abortion stays legal.

According to yesterday's SurveyUSA poll in Virginia
54% Pro-Choice
41% Pro-Life

Since the 1989 Governor's election when Doug Wilder used his Pro-Choice position to win, Pro-Life candidates have had tremendous success. Much of this is based on Pro-Life voters voting solely on this issue, while Pro-Choice voters were choosing other issues to vote on.

Now it's back on the radar screen.

Depending on the President's nominee abortion will become a major issue and quickly. This could be a particularly big break for Democrats in Northern Virginia. Candidates still on the competitive board who would benefit are: David Poisson, Steve Shannon, David Bulova, Vivian Watts, Dave Marsden, Greg Werkheiser, Earnie Porta, Hilda Barg and Chuck Caputo.

This national issue may have a major impact on this election.


75th District

Old Outlook: Safe Democratic
New Outlook: Leans Democratic

Thank You to new blogger Not Virgil Goode who told us about this yesterday and then backed it up in an email to me last night. We don't know how to attach a PDF to this site or we would happy to share with all of you.

This Safe Democratic Seat is in serious trouble.

We had called this Safe Democratic to the winner of the June 14th primary. But on primary night we held back on calling it to the winner Roslyn Tyler. Something was brewing here.

Tyler raised only $6,000 in her winning primary campaign and will need more to appeal to a "broader base" in November.

Also from this article we got from "Not Virgil", outgoing Democratic Delegate Paul Councill basically encouraged people to cross over in November to oppose Tyler.

We also need to see more about GOP nominee Carson Saunders.

In polite company in Virginia you can't mention the real reason there is tension here. It's race. We're working on another column for later today or this weekend going into the politics of race in Virginia and how that is impacting the elections.

We are sure this article will upset some people since this isn't supposed to be discussed. Too bad. It's time to address the issue that has the biggest impact across the state in almost every election.