On Tuesday, January 12, somewhere in Richmond, Tim Kaine breathed a very shallow sigh of relief. As Virginia’s lame duck governor (and the Democratic National Committee’s full-time chairman), Kaine had put his reputation on the line by explicitly promising that the Old Dominion’s donkeys would capture the state senate seat recently vacated by incoming Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Now, Kaine might be winning the image war with his Republican counterpart, RNC head Michael Steele (who recently told his conservative critics to “fire me” or “shut up”), but he’s been losing a hell of a lot of battles along the way.
The fight to secure the GOP slot in the Fifth to run against incumbent Tom Perriello, pictured, has been a nonstop sprint away from the center, with each candidate trying desperately to out-Fox the other.
But Kaine finally has something to crow about: a 327-vote victory by Democrat Dave Marsden over Republican Steve Hunt for Cuccinelli’s hotly contested seat.
Although, to be honest, the term “victory” might be a bit strong. After all, Marsden is basically a moderate Republican in all but name (he once worked for Jim Gilmore, and is proud of the fact that he “voted to eliminate the death tax”), and Hunt is a homophobic nutjob best known for urging high school principals to allow “cured” gays and lesbians to lecture in local classrooms. The fact that this guy came within two percentage points of winning should send a shiver down Tim Kaine’s spine.
Which is why the true test of Virginia’s reinvigorated right wing is still to come. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the seven-candidate carnival currently underway in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional district, home of Rep. Tom Perriello.
The fight to secure the GOP slot in the Fifth has been a nonstop sprint away from the center, with each candidate trying desperately to out-Fox the other. With many conservative activists unimpressed by the establishment candidate, Virginia Senator Robert Hurt, the rest of the field has been in full pander mode, hoping to become the Tea Party’s favorite mad hatter.
Although Hurt has tried to appease his angry base by publicly repudiating his vote for then-Governor Mark Warner’s 2004 tax increase (and even signed a Grover Norquist-endorsed pledge to oppose any tax increases if elected), he’s still being out-hustled on his right flank by Albemarle businessman Laurence Verga. Verga, a commercial property developer who needs a kidney transplant (no, really), recently snagged crucial endorsements from two high-profile conservative tastemakers: talk radio host Laura Ingraham and 2008 electoral curiosity Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher.
That’s right! John McCain’s chrome-domed gaffe machine, whose first name is actually Sam, and who doesn’t technically have a plumber’s license, is back on the trail, stretching his 15 minutes of fame into its third incoherent year. And in case you were worried that ol’ Joe has lost his touch, rest assured: His recent Danville rally with Verga was filled with Wurzelbacherian words of wisdom, such as “we’re allowing these little terrorists, punk terrorists, to dictate what I do in my own country,” and “the constitution is right now as it was when it was written; no changes have ever been made to it.”
O.K., so the man might not be a constitutional scholar, but he sure knows what he likes! Guess we’ll just have to wait until June to see if the rest of Virginia’s Republican electorate agrees with him.
As DeAndre Harris’ attorney played video footage of a group of white supremacists beating him to the ground in the Market Street Parking Garage on August 12, Harris sank back in his chair and closed his eyes. Today, he was on trial in Charlottesville General District Court for an encounter that
Editor’s note: Hours after we went to press, it was announced that Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter would be sitting out the NCAA Tournament due to a broken left wrist (he undergoes surgery Monday, March 19). No. 1 Virginia takes on No. 16 University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Candles in, tiki torches out Just ahead of Jason Kessler’s March 6 lawsuit against the city complaining that City Manager Maurice Jones unconstitutionally denied his permit for a two-day August 12 anniversary rally—Jones also denied five other applicants’ permit requests for the weekend—City
By: Samantha Baars and Erin O’Hare It was exactly a month ago that a gunman shot 17 people to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Today, local students and their peers across the nation said they won’t stand for that—so they walked. March 14 marks the first
It wasn’t enough that a wrongful conviction took nearly 13 years of Robert Davis’ life. Now, two years after he was released from prison and more than a year after then-Governor Terry McAuliffe granted him a full pardon, the General Assembly is stalled in a budget war that threatens to hose
Charlottesville man Donald Blakney, who is accused of maliciously wounding an Arkansas resident on August 12, had his charge certified to the grand jury in Charlottesville General District Court on March 8. Eric Mattson, who testified he’s a member of a Constitutionalist group called the
It was his word versus hers, and in a two-day trial, a jury believed him. In the case where ex-Charlottesville Police Department officer Christopher Seymore was charged with forcibly sodomizing Ronna Gary—twice—in her Shamrock Road home, a jury deliberated four-and-a-half hours and found
Light rain falls softly and steady on patchy grass, whispering pat-pat-pat-pat as it dampens the rocky soil. It’s late February, and despite the rain, the air is warm at the foot of Bear Mountain in Amherst County. Dean Branham isn’t wearing a jacket, and rain droplets bead and roll off his
It was a bill that had its own meme. “When Dominion writes the law: We pay twice. They get richer,” said a post that swept the web with the hashtags #HB1558 #KILLTHEBILL and #STOPTHESCAM before the House of Delegates voted to pass the bill 63-35 on February 13. The bill was a response to the
Members of a local upscale fitness club will soon be looking for a place to park. Apex Clean Energy—a company devoted to developing, constructing and operating wind and solar power facilities—announced plans March 1 to build a new headquarters on Garrett Street to house its 170 local employees
August 12 bills killed After white supremacists invaded Charlottesville with violent clashes that left activist Heather Heyer dead and the community traumatized, legislators carried bills to the General Assembly to give localities more muscle in avoiding such gatherings in the future. Attorney
One sign of a healthy economy is when local government adds new positions, and Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones has several in his proposed $179 million budget for fiscal year 2019, including 2.5 full-time positions to help city councilors with policy and communications. That $225,000
Amateur archaeologists had been kneeling in the dirt of the South Yard at James Madison’s Montpelier for hours, painstakingly searching for intact artifacts that could be used in exhibits detailing the lives of the enslaved community that was forced to live and toil there. Among them was
In the latest court hearing on the lawsuit stemming from City Council’s vote a year ago to remove the statue of General Robert E. Lee, the tarps covering Lee and his Confederate general buddy, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, weren’t the main reason for the court date. But the judge’s ruling that
Nearly eight years after a UVA fourth-year died at the hands of her on-again off-again boyfriend a couple of weeks before graduation in 2010, lawyers representing the family of Yeardley Love were back in court February 22, and a judge granted their motion to compel George Huguely to reveal any
When Jeff Richardson got a call and an invitation to apply for the open county executive position in Albemarle County, the Tar Heel state transplant says his only tie to the area was a three-week leadership program at the University of Virginia about 15 years ago. “Those training opportunities
Andy Goddard has been going to the General Assembly since 2008, the year after his son was shot four times in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. In his 11th year monitoring the legislature and how it deals with mass murders and guns, not much has changed. “It’s the same old thing,” says Goddard,
Albemarle County Executive Jeff Richardson, who took the job November 6, went before the Board of Supervisors on February 16 to propose his first budget, which is nearly 8 percent higher than the one for the current year. He’s recommending $428,500,374 for fiscal year 2019, a $13.5 million
“Wes is a jackass” became a familiar slogan to those living in Charlottesville last summer, as it was scrawled on a giant cardboard sign carried by local retiree Mason Pickett, and its derivative, “Bellamy is a jackass,” was often chalked on the Downtown Mall’s Freedom of Speech Wall as
Let’s just go ahead and get the obligatory warning out of the way: Don’t do illegal stuff. But we know that some of you will, and when you encounter police, at least be aware of your rights so you don’t get yourself in more trouble than you’re already in. For legal advice, we consulted attorney