Dan Catalano



Virginia's Capitol Building in Richmond. File photo.

Child’s play: Virginia’s lawmakers throw a tantrum, then take a time out

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 in our state capital. This, without a doubt, is one of those […]

Virginia’s legislature heads to a special session March 24 to try to end the impasse over Medicaid expansion. File photo.

Isn’t that special: The General Assembly reassembles

First the good news, Virginia: Sodomy for everyone! O.K., not everyone—but if you’re an amorously adventurous sort with a consensual partner of legal age? Go for it! If the members of our General Assembly did little else during the winter session (and, to be honest, they did little else), at least they managed to overturn […]

Republican State Senator Steve Martin was the first of two Virginia GOPers to make a very public gaffe on Facebook in recent weeks. File photo.

Smooth operators: Virginia Republicans turn on the charm

It’s an article of faith among top Republican strategists—both nationally and in Virginia—that the GOP desperately needs to improve its image (and vote totals) among women and people of color if it ever hopes to become a truly dominant political party again. Unfortunately, despite a slew of “inclusivity initiatives” and “minority outreach programs,” Republican efforts […]

Mildred and Richard Loving. Photo courtesy Virginia Film Festival.

Righting history: Virginia moves to the forefront of the gay marriage debate

As the results and ramifications of Virginia’s 2013 elections slowly unfolded, it seemed all but certain that the major political dramas attending the fledgling administration of Governor Terry McAuliffe would play out in the deeply divided chambers of the General Assembly. After (barely) securing Democratic control of Virginia’s senate, the McAuliffe camp girded itself for […]

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. File photo.

Odd Dominion: A loving look back at a dozen months of crazy

As always, we here at the Odd Dominion would like to take a moment to pause and reflect back over the previous year of political absurdity before we charge wildly into the next. And in keeping with tradition, we once again present our misty-colored memories in the form of a multiple choice quiz. Play along […]

Who will Virginia Republicans pick to run for Frank Wolf’s soon-to-be-empty seat? Photo: Douglas Graham

Odd Dominion: A surprise legislative retirement opens up a battlefield

Well, it looks like Virginia’s status as the most schizophrenic political state in the nation continues apace. With Republican Mark Obenshain finally conceding the Attorney General’s race to Mark Herring, Old Dominion Democrats now control all five of Virginia’s statewide elected positions for the first time in over 40 years. And yet, at the same […]

Governor-elect McAuliffe on the campaign trail. Photo: Prensa Internacional/ZUMAPRESS.com

Lessons learned: Five takeaways from election day 2013

Hard to believe it, but yet another election season has come and gone, leaving a combination of ebullience and bitter disappointment in its wake. The tighter-than-expected election of Governor Terry McAuliffe has been certified, and State Senator Ralph Northam is busy measuring drapes for the lieutenant governor’s office. Luckily for us, there is still some […]

Virginia's Capitol Building in Richmond. File photo.

The 10 percent man: Just how high can Libertarian Robert Sarvis fly?

Here’s an interesting fact for you to chew on (courtesy of Geoffrey Skelley, posting on Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball blog): The last time an independent candidate came even slightly close to winning Virginia’s governorship was way back 1973, when Henry Howell came within 1.5 percentage points of besting Republican Mills Godwin. The confluence of events […]

Eric Cantor. Photo: James Berglie/ZUMAPRESS.

Shutdown: Eric Cantor’s wheelbarrow full of frogs

Dan Catalano’s political opinion column, Odd Dominion, runs every other week in C-Ville. Sometimes that means he has to write ahead of the news cycle, as was the case with this week’s column. A few days ago, it was anyone’s guess what the stroke of midnight last night would bring. Sorry, Dan—the news ain’t good. […]

Virginia's Capitol Building in Richmond. File photo.

On your Marks: Who will be Virginia’s next top cop?

Although you might not know it from the media coverage, there is actually a statewide race currently underway that doesn’t involve Ken Cuccinelli’s ethical fungibility, Terry McAuliffe’s used-car-salesman smile, or Bishop E.W. Jackson’s endlessly entertaining series of outrageous statements. But with those characters sucking up all of the available political oxygen, you could be forgiven […]

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in Charlottesville. File photo.

Will Virginia’s off-year electoral curse finally fall?

The Odd Dominion is a regular Virginia political opinion column from C-VILLE contributor Dan Catalano. If there’s one thing that every political junkie in the Commonwealth knows, it is this: Whichever party currently holds the White House will never see the inside of Virginia’s Executive Mansion. This has been the case, without fail, since 1977, […]

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s been having a rough ride on the campaign trail.

Ken Cuccinelli tries to thread a very tight needle

In this week’s edition of the Odd Dominion, we’re actually going to cover two stories. The first involves our illustrious Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is doing everything in his power to become Virginia’s next governor. Unfortunately for him, his campaign rollout has not been a model of discipline and efficiency. The Cooch has basically […]

Bob Goodlatte

Bob Goodlatte, the representative from Roanoke, has the floor

For those who have assiduously followed this column (yes, both of you), the name Bob Goodlatte may not immediately ring a bell. The reason for this is simple: as a consummate back-bencher and milquetoast anti-immigrant conservative, Virginia’s 6th district U.S. House representative is about as boring as they come. (Seriously—most stories on the guy lead […]

Under Pat McCrory, politics in the Tar Heel State have galloped to the right—just as they could in Virginia if Ken Cuccinelli wins the governorship. File image.

It can’t happen here: a cautionary tale from North Carolina

You know, despite our constant kvetching, we still think of Virginia as a fundamentally good and decent place, politically speaking. Sure, we’ve got more than a few knuckleheads sitting in the General Assembly, and our current governor long ago traded in his moral compass for a shiny new Rolex, but we have to believe that […]

Bob McDonnell. File photo.

Royal privilege: The McDonnells’ surprising life of leisure

When Bob McDonnell was elected governor in 2009, he took office with a reputation for moral rectitude. He was, after all, an openly devout ex-military man who had earned his law degree at Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network University (now known as Regent University) and had proven himself a bit of a scold during his […]

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Photo ©Carrie Devorah/WENN

For the moment, the GOP’s standard-bearers are barely standing

Well, that sure didn’t take long! If you had asked us even a month ago which party was the odds-on favorite to sweep this year’s statewide elections, we would have (reluctantly) given the nod to the Republicans. Even though Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a hugely polarizing figure with politics far to the right of […]

Democrat Aneesh Chopra. File photo.

So many primaries, so little time

Okay, we’ll admit it: we’re jealous of you. Why, you ask? Because you are in the future, reading this, while we are stuck in the past, writing it. You are in the process of enduring, or have already endured, Virginia’s primary day, while we can only gaze longingly upon that red-circled Tuesday on our calendar. […]

Intrigue and absolutism at Virginia’s Republican convention

Intrigue and absolutism at Virginia’s Republican convention

When Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli first decided to run for governor, he realized that there was only one thing that could derail his ambition: a primary. Although he could have won a head-to-head contest with his main rival, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, putting his fate in the hands of Virginia’s voters was a risky […]

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Photo ©Carrie Devorah/WENN

Governor Cuccinelli: Seriously, Virginia—you’re actually considering this?

Unlike some pundits we could name, we here at Odd Dominion HQ have never discounted the chances that Virginia’s rabidly right-wing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli could somehow weasel his way into the governor’s mansion. After all, despite the man’s long history of extremist positions and borderline abusive political behavior (like issuing a “Civil Investigative Demand” […]

Sussex County’s annual Shad Planking, once a must-attend event for Virginia pols on either side of the aisle, has drifted far to the right. Photo: Roll Call

Shad Planking marks the end of a bipartisan era

When it comes to political partisanship, Virginia is a case study in voter schizophrenia. While trending increasingly Democratic during presidential years (and having failed to elect a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 2002), it nevertheless has a solidly conservative governor, a stridently right-wing attorney general, and a Republican-dominated House of Delegates that is among […]

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Photo ©Carrie Devorah/WENN

Cuccinelli, McDonnell, and the Star Scientific scandal

Finally! Ever since they caught pompadoured con man “Bobby Thompson” (real name John Donald Cody), who greased many political palms while raking in over $100 million in donations to his fake Navy vets charity, we’ve been living with a terrible emptiness in our scandal-loving soul. Now, we realize that a brazen, wild-eyed sociopath like Cody […]

Bob McDonnell. File photo.

Exit stage right: The inscrutable end of the McDonnell era

Boy, how time flies, eh? It seems like only yesterday that we were appraising the electoral chances of a well-coiffed up-and-comer named Bob McDonnell, who had recently resigned as Virginia’s attorney general to take a shot at the top slot. Our take then was that McDonnell was doing a great job of flying under the […]

Democrat Aneesh Chopra. File photo.

Virginia’s statewide elections heat up

As a rule, Virginia’s statewide elections follow a fairly predictable pattern. The first thing you need to realize is this: Almost everybody wants to be governor. Maybe not this year, but eventually. Which means that whoever is running for lieutenant governor or attorney general invariably has one eye on the big chair (while the governor, […]