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.
When Donald Trump and his son Eric bought former billionaire Patricia Kluge’s 45-room mansion in 2012, completing a $12.7 million takeover of her 776-acre county estate, the younger mogul hinted it could become a boutique inn for the adjacent Trump Winery. Now those plans are coming to fruition
Two upscale hotels are under construction on West Main Street, and rather than creating an oversupply of hotel rooms, tourism officials say they will hardly make a dent in prime season demand. This summer, the former Red Roof Inn on the Corner will unveil itself as Graduate Charlottesville,
A UVA dean dragged into the national spotlight by Rolling Stone’s retracted story about rape at the University is speaking out about what she says is a failure by the magazine to own up to and remedy damage inflicted on her and the school. Nicole Eramo, an associate dean of students and UVA’s
As both sides in a legal battle over the announced closure of Sweet Briar College weigh their options after a judge put a 60-day hold on efforts to shutter the school, another lawsuit looms. Filed April 17, it comes from students who say they are victims of a breach of contract who may incur
A Crozet resident has been charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter and failure to yield stemming from an April 20 car crash in Augusta County that claimed the lives of a Waynesboro mother and daughter. According to a release from the Virginia State Police, a 2001 Pontiac Grand Am was
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors voted 4-2 April 15 to raise the property tax rate by 2 cents to 81.9 cents per $100 assessed value. Chair Jane Dittmar and Ken Boyd cast the nay votes for a rate that’s a penny more than what County Exec Tom Foley asked for. The total fiscal year 2016 […]
In its first time entering the Virginia Press Association Awards competition in more than a decade, C-VILLE Weekly walked away with 11 awards, as well as two additional “best in show” nods. In selecting news editor Graelyn Brashear’s July 9, 2014, story “From cancer center to courtroom” as the
As we wander toward this November’s General Assembly elections, one thing is perfectly clear: There is no way in hell that Virginia’s Democrats are going to retake the House of Delegates. In fact, it’s a near-certainty that the House will stay in Republicans’ hands until at least 2020, when the
Activists seeking to keep Sweet Briar College open had their hopes dashed yesterday when a Bedford County judge denied a motion to kick out the school’s governing board and permanently block a plan to shutter the women’s college. After a contentious morning in court that saw
If the women who want to save their 114-year-old Sweet Briar College are David and the state’s top lawyer is Goliath, David seems to be winning this battle. On Tuesday, a Bedford County judge cleared the way for Amherst County Attorney Ellen Bowyer’s motion seeking an injunction to
In Charlottesville, five candidates had tossed their hats into the ring by February for three open City Council seats. In Albemarle, which has open seats for constitutional offices as well as the Board of Supervisors, it’s April, and candidates don’t seem to be in much of a hurry to declare
The Columbia Journalism Review’s 13,000-word report dismantling Rolling Stone’s retracted account of a violent gang rape at UVA was less than 24 hours old when the UVA chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, whose unnamed members the magazine’s story accused of a heinous crime, announced via press release it
It’s been a good week for the activists trying to keep Sweet Briar College from closing. Nearly six weeks after the Amherst County college’s board of directors announced it planned to shutter the school at the end of the spring semester, the nonprofit Saving Sweet Briar announced it had raised
Dr. Edward D. Miller, former Johns Hopkins medical school dean and health system CEO, resigned from UVA’s Board of Visitors March 15, and said in a statement he could “no longer support the direction the University of Virginia’s leadership continues to pursue.” His resignation is effective June
Documents acquired from the city via a Freedom of Information Act request are shedding more light on the possible grounds for downtown developer Mark Brown’s lawsuit against property appraiser Ivo Romenesko. Last August, Brown bought the Charlottesville Parking Center, LLC (CPC), which owns the
Sidney Stinnie admits he shot a man. He admits he sold drugs. But he emphatically denies that he sexually assaulted former City Council candidate James Halfaday in the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail in 2013. The prosecution appears to agree and dropped a forcible sodomy charge against
Charlottesville’s proposed city budget is still leaning heavily on a hotly contested one-penny increase in the city’s meals tax, a hike that would generate $2.1 million. That’s money supporters—including an apparent majority of City Councilors—say is necessary to close a school funding gap and
Chief Charles Werner said he’s calling it quits this summer after a 37-year career at the Charlottesville Fire Department. Werner started at the department at 18 years old, became chief in 2005, and in January, his department received the insurance industry’s top Class 1 rating, which
This is an updated story. The original is included below. On Sunday, just shy of five months after Rolling Stone posted its explosive and flawed report on an alleged gang rape at UVA online, The Columbia Journalism Review made public a 13,000-word analysis of the reporting and editing failures
Best of C-VILLE’s going mobile! Now you can nominate your favorite people, places and things from anywhere with the new Best of C-VILLE app. Text “BESTOFCVILLE” to 313131 to download it to your phone. Don’t want to use your phone? Don’t worry, you’ll still