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.
About 20 years ago, the plan to open Second Street NE and have traffic cross the Downtown Mall brought dire predictions the pedestrian mall would be ruined. Two weeks ago, the street closed with virtually no notice, and restaurant owners are making dire predictions that they’ll be ruined.
Thanks to a bill that passed in the State Senate Monday in a party-line vote, nearly 11,000 Albemarle residents are a step closer to getting reassigned to a new Senate district. SB1237 was introduced by Republican State Senator Bryce Reeves, whose 17th District includes part of Albemarle County
Citing safety concerns, 16 national sorority organizations have banned their UVA chapters from participating in what is historically on of the biggest party nights for University Greeks. Sorority women at UVA are banned from attending parties scheduled for this coming Saturday, January 31. The
The woman who entered the residence of Delegate David Toscano and attacked his wife nearly a year ago entered a plea agreement January 23 in Charlottesville Circuit Court and was sentenced to 50 years in prison, with all but four years suspended. Ogilvie, 36, a Yale grad and former patent
Albemarle Delegate Rob Bell has proposed a state budget amendment that would put plans for a major overhaul of Route 29’s Rio Road intersection on hold and subject them to further scrutiny. The $80 million stoplight-eliminating, grade-separated interchange is part of a package of improvements
A family member has said that the man killed early January 20 in a hit and run on U.S. 29 in Ruckersville is Damien Shifflett, 30, a father of four. State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller has since confirmed the ID, and said that Shifflett was from Stanardsville. Barely a month earlier,
Seriously, of all the General Assembly legislative sessions we’ve covered, this has got to be the weirdest one yet. And if there was one moment that perfectly encapsulated the off-kilter nature of the proceedings, it happened during the annual Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast, which is
Virginia State Police say they believe the man found dead on U.S. 29 in Ruckersville earlier this week was a victim of a hit-and-run, and are asking for help from the public in their investigation. The Greene County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at 3:51am Tuesday, January 20 of a body
Two fraternities who threatened to make history by severing their ties to UVA over new party guidelines have given in, but not quite backed down, and are threatening legal action over a recent suspension. The additional rules were drawn up by student fraternity leaders during an eight-week
Extending DNA collection to include convictions of misdemeanors seems to enjoy bipartisan support, but two local delegates are carrying separate bills with different visions of how to expand the DNA databank. House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-57th) was the first to answer Albemarle Sheriff
Dominion Resources has dropped 14 lawsuits against Nelson County landowners it says it sued in error, but dozens more suits over the company’s right to survey land for its proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline are going ahead as many residents continue to voice their opposition. Dominion
The Wells Fargo building on the Downtown Mall was evacuated around lunch time Monday because of smoke on the seventh floor. A locked-up motor in a mechanical room on that floor caused the alarm, according to Charlottesville Fire Department Battalion Chief W. A. Hogsten. Even though the ladder
Here’s look at upcoming public meetings in Charlottesville and Albemarle. Consider it a look into our datebook, and be sure to share newsworthy happenings in the comments section. The Charlottesville City Council will meet at 7pm on Tuesday, January 20 (the meeting is pushed back a day
The two UVA fraternity chapters whose national organizations issued statements earlier this week saying they wouldn’t sign a new rules agreement with the University have capitulated, according to a recent news release. UVA’s Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega fraternities have
Anton Largiader lives down the road from Treesdale Apartments on East Rio Road. He watched the 88-unit affordable housing being built in 2009, and when he saw a “freeze warning” sign in December—before temperatures plunged in January—advising tenants to leave their faucets dripping, “I was
Charlottesville’s top planning officer is leaving his post after a decade and a half on the job, and the announcement comes at a critical time for the department he’s leaving: The city is in the middle of a wave of new development, and neighborhood leaders are publicly criticizing a planning
At least two UVA fraternities are refusing to agree to new rules regulating house parties. The additional rules were drawn up by student fraternity leaders during a more than month-long suspension of Greeks at UVA that followed a controversial Rolling Stone story alleging a woman was gang-raped
A week before the General Assembly session began, Waldo Jaquith, the creator of the legislation-tracking website Richmond Sunlight, reported the absence of a recent tradition: “I haven’t seen the bills that are candidates for Virginia becoming a national embarrassment.” He listed examples from
Every year is an election year in Virginia, and this year, not only is everyone in the General Assembly up for reelection, but key offices in Charlottesville and Albemarle are on the ballot as well. So far in Albemarle, Sheriff Chip Harding (R) has announced he’ll seek a third and final term.
Charlottesville Electoral Board chair Joan Schatzman became a casualty of the Sheri Iachetta registrar scandal January 10 when she was booted from reappointment to the board where she’s served for more than 11 years at a special meeting organized by her own party. Schatzman, a Democrat, and her