Dan Catalano

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Beginning of the end: Let the voting begin!

We’re going to kick off this week’s column with an unusual bit of product placement. Although we rarely endorse anything outside of C-SPAN call-in shows, we would like to take this moment to declare the Broadway musical Hamilton the best piece of politically inspired stagecraft since Frost/Nixon, and the best musical about the Founding Fathers ever […]

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And away we go… Everybody back in the pool!

Ah, January in the capitol, when Virginia’s legislators swarm in from all corners of the commonwealth for the annual General Assembly session, bringing along the petty grudges and crackpot bills they’ve managed to generate over the previous year. And every year we sit in anticipation, just waiting for the next intemperate floor speech or ill-considered […]

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The year in rear view: Our annual political quiz, odder than ever

Last year began, per usual, with politicians swarming the capitol for the kickoff of the General Assembly legislative session. Match each of the following attending personalities with a sordid detail from their past: 1) Former Governor Bob McDonnell 2) Current Governor Terry McAuliffe 3) Delegate Joe Morrissey 4) Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw 5) Senate […]

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Gun crazy: The columns that we hate to write

There’s no doubt that we have hobby horses we love to ride. Redistricting is a huge one, along with voter suppression, income inequality and the improbable perfection of Mark Warner’s teeth. But, believe it or not, we do not relish yet another opportunity to write about gun violence. Especially in a week when our patron […]

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Unsettled: Syrian refugees and the politics of fear

You know, it takes a special kind of politician to unite elected officials from all points of the political spectrum. When was the last time you can remember a lone figure whose bold actions drew the same response from his own party and his opponents, from liberals and conservatives, and, indeed, from all right-thinking Americans? […]

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It’s a wash: Nothing has changed, yet everything’s different

Well, as we predicted right before the voting commenced, Virginia’s latest round of elections ended up almost exactly where it began, with the Republicans holding a one-seat majority in the state Senate and a two-thirds majority in the House of Delegates. Despite a flood of advertising (much of it funded by outside interest groups), Democrats […]

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Keys to the kingdom: As election day looms, we have issues

Hard to believe, but yet another election is upon us, bringing with it the annual deluge of attack ads, yard signs, candidate forums and billowing clouds of special interest money. Per usual, a vast majority of the General Assembly races that will be decided next Tuesday are a foregone conclusion. Thanks to gerrymandering and a […]

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Frenemies: No matter who wins, we lose

So here are a few things you should know about Virginia’s Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment and Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw. They have a combined senate tenure of nearly 60 years, and have spent much of the recent past switching leadership positions as the Republicans gained, then briefly lost, then gained the majority again. […]

The Masked Debater: Jim Gilmore tweets into the void

The Masked Debater: Jim Gilmore tweets into the void

Int. living room—evening A large-screen television flickers, the pale light providing the sole illumination as a thin arm reaches out and flicks ash from a dying cigarette into an empty highball glass. Camera pans back, revealing the worn back of a La-Z-Boy recliner, along with its inhabitant’s other hand, thumb working furiously at the cracked […]

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Gun play: What else can we say?

Usually, when we sit to pen our modest column, we are all giggles and light. But every once in a while we squat, quill in hand, and despair at the bleak landscape that looms before us. This is one of those times. Following the on-camera slaughter of WDBJ journalist Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward […]

Courting disaster: Republicans pick a losing judicial fight

Courting disaster: Republicans pick a losing judicial fight

In our experience, the current Republican majority in the General Assembly excels at exactly one thing: grandstanding. Not great at legislating, consensus-building or acknowledging basic reality, but boy do they know how to make a ruckus. If the definition of a conservative is, as National Review founder William F. Buckley put it, someone who “stands […]

Hillary Clinton has impressive support in the commonwealth by other political leaders like Governor Terry McAuliffe, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and the U.S. Supreme Court. Courtesy of the Department of Defense

Swing state blues: Will Virginia be Hillary country in 2016?

So here’s the current conventional political wisdom about Virginia: a once-reliable Republican bastion that has, in recent years, drifted toward the Democrats in presidential election years due to a certain charismatic candidate (hint: his name rhymes with Shmarock Mobana), and has therefore become one of the most highly-sought prizes in the 2016 election. In reality, […]

Former governor Jim Gilmore, best known for slicing the car tax, is running for president.
Photo: The Washington Times/ZUMAPRESS.com

Jim jumps in: Can you feel the Gilmentum?

If you’re like us, you spend at least a few minutes every day thinking “What’s good ol’ Jim up to these days?” Jim being, of course, former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, the visionary leader who won the commonwealth’s highest office by promising to eliminate Virginia’s much-hated car tax. While governor, as everyone knows, he not […]

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Joy and pain: A political week like no other

In politics, as in life, there are weeks that simply take your breath away. Weeks where things move so quickly, and with such unexpected force, that it feels like the laws of physics have been suspended, and that time is suddenly moving at twice its normal speed. So it was last week, when the political […]

Off to the races: The elections are over — long live the elections!

Off to the races: The elections are over — long live the elections!

Well, there you go. The feverish excitement of Virginia’s primary season is over, with literally dozens of voters flooding the polls, and now almost every general election candidate is busy preparing for the big show in November. We say “almost” every candidate, because there are still a number of too-close-to-call contests mired in recounts across […]

Joe Morrissey and his teen girlfriend and former staffer Myrna Pride shared this old-
timey photo of themselves and their infant son Chase with media.
Courtesy Joe Morrissey

Immortal Joe Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner

There have been, in the history of this column, a grand total of three all-timers. The first was U.S. Representative Virgil Goode—a genial doofus with a white-cloud coiffure and career-long propensity for grandly offensive pronouncements. The second was good ol’ George “Macaca” Allen, former governor, one-term U.S. senator and presidential aspirant, whose awesome display of […]

Tim Bostic and Tony London led the legal effort to end Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.  Photo courtesy American Foundation for Equal Rights

Culture clash: The times, they are a-changin’

As we have noted in the past, the Republican party’s traditional focus on the three G’s (God, guns and gays) has long served it well, electorally speaking. By embracing Christian piety and a maximalist interpretation of the Second Amendment while simultaneously courting social conservatives by fulminating against homosexuality and abortion, the GOP has made itself […]

Joe Morrissey. Photos: Scott Elmquist, file photo

Chamber piece: Democrats fight an uphill battle for Senate control

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 nation’s decennial census will trigger […]

Virginia’s Third Congressional District has been ruled unconstitutional by a panel of federal judges, who said lawmakers unfairly concentrated black voters when redrawing its boundaries.

Minority report: Race and politics in Virginia

There is little doubt that the subject of race relations is currently at the forefront of the American conversation. From “hands up, don’t shoot” to “black lives matter” to Starbucks’ condescending, widely derided Race Together campaign (in which a rich white business owner encouraged his majority-minority workforce to converse with coffee-craving customers about skin color), […]

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Family feud: The growing rift in Virginia’s GOP

You would think, following their spectacular showing in the 2014 midterm elections, that Virginia’s Republicans would be in a joyful, backslapping mood, and ready to present a unified front going into the November elections, when all 100 House of Delegates and 40 Virginia Senate seats will be up for grabs. And indeed, the recent conclusion […]

Photo: Cramer photo

Poor health: Meet the Virginians who might destroy Obamacare

Believe it or not, there is some actual good news concerning the Affordable Care Act (aka Obama-care) in Virginia. With the most recent enrollment period now ended, it turns out that the number of residents signing up for health insurance on the federal exchange has far exceeded expectations, with around 385,000 Virginians taking advantage of […]

Virginia's Capitol Building in Richmond. File photo.

The giving spree: The General Assembly swallows a bitter pill

Let us set the scene for you. As the Virginia General Assembly heads into the home stretch of its winter session, it has one currently incarcerated delegate legislating while on work release, another recent delegate serving a nine-and-a-half-year prison sentence for bribery and extortion and a former governor headed to the federal pen on multiple […]

In session: The General Assembly gets back to work

In session: The General Assembly gets back to work

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 traditionally held on the first day of the session. When the […]

(Left to right) Delegate David Toscano, Delegate Joe Morrissey and Senator Mark Warner. File photos

That’s a wrap! The annual Odd Dominion New Year’s quiz

Think you were paying attention to Virginia politics in 2014? Take our carefully curated multiple-choice quiz and find out just how much of an electoral obsessive you really are. 1. Although they won a pair of State Senate seats in January special elections, Virginia donkeys were dealt a huge blow when Democratic Senator Phil Puckett […]

Scandal-plagued Democratic Delegate Joe Morrissey has made a bold move in an effort to keep his seat despite copping to a misdemeanor sex offense involving a minor. Photo: Scott Elmquist

Delegate Jailbird: Joe Morrissey attempts to make history

Odd Dominion is an unabashedly liberal, bi-monthly op-ed column covering Virginia politics. We are not normally overflowing with good cheer this time of year, for one simple reason: Nothing ever freakin’ happens! We’re usually stuck covering something indescribably dull, like Governor Terry McAuliffe’s latest budget proposal. (Did you know that he’s still in favor of […]