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 the commonwealth, including a pair of unexpected nailbiters in, um… oh, who are we kidding? To be honest, we don’t know jack about the election results, because the dead-tree edition of this column was being printed the very day those results were announced. A bit of bad timing, that.
But being unable to tell the future has never stopped us before, and it’s definitely not going to shut us up now. In a new twist, this time around we’re going to write up what we think didn’t happen. Because that’s the thing about state primary elections: With little to no public polling, incredibly low turnout and Virginia’s open primary law (which allows Republicans to vote for Democrats, and vice versa), almost anything can happen. And so while we’re pretty sure that none of the following events actually occurred, we wouldn’t be overly shocked if they did. Viva democracy!
Stimpson defeats Howell.
If Kewpie-eyed tea party darling Susan Stimpson actually managed to knock off Republican Delegate Bill Howell, it would be an upset of Eric Cantor-esque proportions. Howell is, after all, the current House speaker, and a prodigious fundraiser who enjoyed a nearly 7 to 1 fundraising advantage over his opponent. In addition, Stimpson recently failed in her attempt to stay a ruling by the State Board of Elections that allows for online absentee ballot applications. (Her lawsuit complained that the ruling “enabled Howell to plan, create and produce a website dedicated to generating absentee ballot applications with electronic signatures.”) But sometimes David actually defeats Goliath; just ask David Brat!
Francis defeats Gecker.
Another ideological clash, but this time on the left. In the Democrat’s 10th Senate District primary, Emily Francis, a progressive nonprofit consultant, mounted a spirited challenge to Chesterfield County planning commissioner Dan Gecker, a moderate Dem who, among various other liberal apostasies, represented Kathleen Willey in her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton. Although Gecker earned the endorsement of current governor (and noted Hillary Clinton confidant) Terry McAuliffe, Francis still pulled off an upset that warmed the hearts of Old Dominion donkeys everywhere.
Candidates of both parties donated all unused campaign cash to charity.
In a stunning move, every single candidate in Virginia who raised money for a primary race (even those who raised money while running unopposed) donated all leftover monies to various charities, and promised to do the exact same thing after the general election.
Turnout reached its highest level ever.
In a surprise that no political scientist saw coming, the normally anemic number of primary voters surged, with polling places reporting lines around the block, and particularly exciting races like the Arlington County Board Democratic primary had to extend voting hours late into the evening to accommodate all of the voters who wanted to exercise their hard-won constitutional franchise.
OK, we admit it: that last one is too ridiculous, even for us. If there’s one thing we’re sure of, it’s that the percentage of voters who cast a ballot on Tuesday remained in the low single digits. Some things, unfortunately, never change.
Odd Dominion is an unabashedly liberal, twice-monthly op-ed column covering Virginia politics.