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.
Odd Dominion is an unabashedly liberal, bi-monthly op-ed column covering Virginia politics. By now it is generally accepted wisdom that Democrats are not going to do well in this year’s midterm elections. There are myriad reasons for this, but what it basically boils down to is this: A sizeable
Literacy Volunteers’ Wordplay Delights and Challenges for the Seventh Year On Wednesday night, nearly 400 team members, scorekeepers, and audience members filled the Paramount Theater for a night of trivia in support of Literacy Volunteers’ mission to provide free one-on-one tutoring for adults
After former Food Lion manager Mark Weiner was convicted of abduction with intent to defile last May, his attorney alleged in court that the prosecutor kept out cell phone records that would have cleared his client. Weiner’s new attorney has gone further, contending in a new motion filed April
In the past several weeks, the Ix property between Elliott and Monticello avenues has begun to transform from a former industrial complex that’s home to retail businesses, restaurants, and the Newsplex television offices to an art park. Ix developers Ludwig and Fabian Kuttner envision a
A team of researchers at UVA’s School of Medicine published a big discovery in the journal Nature this month: They’ve figured out how a particularly nasty parasite wreaks havoc in the human intestine, and the findings could go a long way toward treating a widespread and often deadly childhood
Last week, the $40 million dollar lawsuit of 21-year-old third-year UVA student Elizabeth Daly against the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control was moved from Richmond Circuit Court to the federal U.S. District Court in Richmond under Judge Henry E. Hudson. Now, the state of
Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding has always approached his work as a cop through his background as a social worker and through his Baptist faith. But after a four-decade law enforcement career that includes nearly 30 years putting criminals behind bars as a Charlottesville Police
This spring, colleges across the country are rewriting the rulebook when it comes to preventing and reacting to sexual assault on campus, thanks to the implementation of a law called the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act. Passed last year, it sets new requirements for schools when
Charlottesville made headlines around the country last year when it became the first municipality in the U.S. to pass legislation limiting the use of unmanned aircraft. Now the city is in the drone spotlight again—but this time because of an aerial video at the center of a landmark court
Each week, the news team takes a look at upcoming meetings and events in Charlottesville and Albemarle we think you should know about. Consider it a look into our datebook, and be sure to share newsworthy happenings in the comments section. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors gathers from
Early this week, the Virginia Attorney General’s Office approved the transfer of the $40 million civil suit filed by a UVA student against the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to federal court. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the suit filed in Richmond Circuit Court
The third annual Tom Tom Founders Festival is in full swing, and the city’s headed into a busy weekend of talks, music, and food. The Saturday and Sunday schedules in particular are busy enough to be a little overwhelming, so check out our recent feature story on the festival here—it
Drums & “Swingin’ Senegal” Lecture at Mary Williams Community Center Last Friday, JABA’s Mary Williams Community Center was filled with tapping feet and smiles as members enjoyed an afternoon with Bruce Penner, a local musician, who shared his knowledge of music along with a drumming
Jose Antonio Vargas first took a public swing at the wall between journalism and advocacy in June 2011. The Philippine-born, award-winning reporter—he shared a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for the Washington Post’s coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings—wrote a piece for The New York
It’s make or break time for local tech start-up company VividCortex, which officially opened for business on April 2 at Silicon Valley tech summit DEMO Enterprise, an exclusive annual conference that boasts on its website a “history of launching emerging technologies that disrupt old and define
The Virginia Court of Appeals shut the door on any further arguments in George Huguely’s case this week, but the former UVA lacrosse player is still fighting his 2012 conviction for murder in the beating death of his girlfriend, Yeardley Love. He has now appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court,
Each week, the news team takes a look at upcoming meetings and events in Charlottesville and Albemarle we think you should know about. Consider it a look into our datebook, and be sure to share newsworthy happenings in the comments section. The Albemarle County Architectural Review Board meets
Odd Dominion is an unabashedly liberal, bi-monthly op-ed column covering Virginia politics. There are times when even we—who have observed the absurd theatrics of Virginia’s General Assembly for longer than we’d care to admit—are stunned by the level of immaturity and asinine behavior exhibited
When Spencer Ingram launched HackCville in 2012, the 2007 UVA grad saw the student-centric off-Grounds startup incubator as a way for undergraduates to take their aspiring careers in tech into their own hands. Students came to the Elliewood Avenue “clubhouse” with ideas, and got the mentoring
Anybody who’s inched a car past the exhaust-spewing dump trucks and giant yellow backhoes lining the intersection of McIntire Road and the U.S. 250 Bypass knows what a traffic headache it can be. But for the nearly 50 small businesses in McIntire Plaza, the enormous construction site in their