The Roanoke Poll

Several days ago, I wrote a piece highlighting the fact that after weeks of silence a new poll came out in the Virginia U.S. Senate race.

Some Republicans spoke against the poll.  For example, one doubted the result given that it was conducted over the course of an entire week.  I think that is a reasonable concern.

However, now Roanoke College has released a poll on the election conducted from October 20th to 25th.  Perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, these results show an even bigger gap between the Democratic and Republican candidates.  When including those leaning toward a candidate, Democrat Mark Warner clocks in at 47%, Republican Ed Gillespie at 35%, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis at 4%.  However, the poll also shows that a staggering 15% of the electorate are undecided or are for someone else.  The margin of error is listed at 3.6%.

Compared to the CBS poll from a few days ago, Warner sheds 2%, Gillespie loses 4%, Sarvis picks up 2%, and the number of undecideds jumps 4%.

As with every poll, the race is not predicted to be particularly close.  The narrowest margin between the Republican and Democratic candidate was 9% in the Quinnipac poll of mid September.  Since then, the two have fluctuated between 10 to 12%.  Unless something earth-shattering happens in the next day or two, Virginia will be a safe Democratic hold.

To me, the most curious aspect is still the large number of undecided voters.  What accounts for this situation?  Have the candidates failed to bring their message to the people of Virginia?  Is voter apathy high?  Is there a large segment of the population who aren’t happy with any of their choices?  After all, the Roanoke poll says “Likely voters are not enamored of either political party. Many of them hold unfavorable views of both the Democrats (47% unfavorable, 33% favorable) and the Republicans (46% unfavorable, 28% favorable).”

The Latest Poll

For enthusiasts of Virginia politics, I’m sure many of us have been eagerly waiting for the next poll of our U.S. Senate race.  Given that most politicos have predicted that Democratic Senator Mark Warner will easily win re-election, there has not been a lot of national attention paid to the Commonwealth.

I’m pleased to say that finally we have the latest poll.  This one comes from CBS News/New York Times/YouGov.

For the record, their last poll ending on October 1st showed Warner with 51% to Gillespie’s 39% with Sarvis at 1% and 9% undecided.  However, many Republicans have claimed that Gillespie has been gaining ground and that the gap is narrowing.  So what does this poll say as compared to the last?

Well, now Warner sits at 49% with Gillespie at 39% and Sarvis at 1% with 11% undecided.

Given the previous margin of error of 3% and the current margin of error of 4%, this poll seems to indicate that there has been little to no change in the opinions of the electorate over the last couple of weeks.  Warner surrenders a couple of points to the undecided column while Gillespie and Sarvis remain stable.

On November 4th, I would expect the numbers for both the Gillespie and the Sarvis to rise a little as the undecideds finally make their decision.  Nevertheless, as I predicted a month and a half ago, and this latest poll seems to indicate, I still believe that Warner will win by a comfortable margin.

Will there be any new polls that will show that Virginia in is play?

Will the Real Libertarians Please Stand Up?

A guest post by James Curtis.

This article appeared the October issue of Virginia Liberty, the LPVA newsletter.  It has been reposted here with permission.

One of the results of the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election has been to demarcate a clear divide between libertarian Republicans and Libertarians. For this discussion, “libertarian Republicans” are defined as members or supporters of the Republican Party and/or its candidates who self-identify as “libertarian” in philosophy. (“Big L”) “Libertarians” are defined here as philosophical libertarians who are members or supporters of the Libertarian Party and/or its candidates.

While there has been talk of “litmus tests” and the measure of one’s “libertarianism,” these discussions have detracted from the real separation between the two groups. One division between the groups seems to be a tolerance, or even acceptance, of bigotry by libertarian Republicans. By any definition of the word, Ken Cuccinelli has demonstrated his belief that homosexuals do not have the same rights as heterosexuals. Examples of such can easily be found through any internet search. These are not just words on his part, either. Cuccinelli has a track record of letting his prejudice affect his performance in public office. Two glaring examples are his support for the Constitutional amendment prohibiting the Commonwealth from recognizing “same sex marriages” and his recent efforts to reinstitute anti-sodomy legislation.

Many libertarian Republicans dismiss or discount these and other efforts and comments. Some have suggested that Cuccinelli would be the “most libertarian” governor in recent Virginia history. They point to such efforts as the lawsuit filed against the federal government in regard to some aspects of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and his general touting of using Amendment X (US Constitution) as a means to thwart other federal abuses of authority. While these efforts may be laudable, they do not adequately demonstrate that Cuccinelli is “libertarian,” especially given his record on social issues. And this is not to suggest that all social conservatives are bigots. While words such as “bigot” or “racist” sometimes get used too freely, there is no denial that such sentiment exists, and has adversely affected Republican policy positions.

Many Libertarians point out that the philosophy is not just an economic model, nor one that values “states’ rights” to the point where the States may tread on civil liberties in areas where the federal government is prohibited. Libertarianism encompasses economic, personal, and even moral aspects of personal liberty that cannot be separated from the others. In these regards, bigotry is simply unacceptable. Ron Paul, the definitive libertarian Republican, dismisses allegations of racism by pointing out it is a form of collectivism that ignores individuality. While this is true, and Paul calls for more liberty with a focus on individuality, he seems to stop short of calling out the immorality of such comments and actions. The true Libertarian challenges the moral failings of bigotry, and challenges those who defend, dismiss, or downplay such sentiments to reexamine their respect for libertarian philosophy. In short, Libertarians reject bigotry, whether involved in public policy or not.

Another division between the groups was the unawareness of, dismissal of, or even hostility towards the “libertarian left” by libertarian Republicans. Many downplayed, or even attacked, Robert Sarvis’ focus on “social issues” during his campaign. Others twisted his responses to economics questions to argue that he was not libertarian at all (or not as much as Cuccinelli). Those arguments on economic issues have been well analyzed elsewhere. The suggestions that Sarvis was a “social liberal,” or that his focus on such issues somehow demonstrated he was not really libertarian, pointed out the failings of many libertarian Republicans. As alluded to above, such arguments place too much emphasis on financial matters at the expense of personal civil liberties. And as some of the vitriol showed, many libertarian Republicans do not apply the libertarian philosophy consistently, by downplaying or dismissing the importance of social issues to many voters, Libertarian or other.

Many Libertarians came to libertarianism through a focus on civil liberties. Subsets of libertarianism such as left-libertarianism or libertarian socialism exist and attract many newcomers to the libertarian movement. Groups such as “LGBT Libertarians” and “Libertarian Democrats” also help spread the libertarian philosophy with a focus on social issues. And we have to acknowledge that just as there are libertarians who choose to work within the Republican Party, there are some who choose to work within the Democratic Party, often citing similar “pragmatic” arguments for doing so. Many Virginians who voted for Sarvis were independents who were at least equally attracted to his positions on social issues as on economic issues.

The most obvious division between libertarian Republicans and Libertarians is the division over which political party to support. Good faith arguments can be made for either approach as the best tactic for promoting libertarianism to Virginians. But, as these other divides may suggest, neither “side” should expect the other to abandon its chosen path.

But I challenge libertarian Republicans to consider these points. Are you really comfortable ignoring, or even defending, the prejudices of some of your Republican colleagues? If not, you either need to work harder to drive such intolerance out of the Party, or quit supporting such an un-libertarian organization. Do you believe enough Libertarians, including the libertarian left, can be persuaded to come and work within the Republican Party to reform it? Even if some voters can be convinced a reformed Republican Party is actually a libertarian party, the Republican “brand” may have been too damaged for many Libertarians to comfortably take up its mantle, or for many independent voters to support its candidates.

For these and other reasons, the Libertarian Party is the best vehicle through which to promote libertarianism and libertarian candidates for office. While there is much divergence of thought within libertarianism (a phenomenon that is dismissed or downplayed by our political opponents or others who wish to demonize our efforts), the philosophy does not allow for the social conservatism that Republicans accommodate nor the economic redistribution that many Democrats call for. The results in this election, coupled with polling data that shows growing numbers of Americans who agree with our positions on so many issues, suggests that the time is ripe for Libertarians to abandon their efforts in other political parties, and for others to get involved in partisan politics, so that we can become a more effective political force.

James Curtis serves as the Treasurer of the LPVA and has been part of their activities since 1996.  He is a Marine Corps veteran and holds two degrees from the University of Virginia.

The Council Candidates on WSVA

Chris Jones, D.D. Dawson, and Joshua Huffman in studio

Chris Jones, D.D. Dawson, and Joshua Huffman in studio

This week, the six candidates for Harrisonburg City Council took to the airwaves of 550 AM WSVA to share their thoughts regarding policies for the city as well as their political principles.

On Wednesday, Ted Byrd (R), Alleyn Harned (D), and Helen Shibut (L) spoke.  This morning, D.D. Dawson (R), Joshua Huffman (I), and Chris Jones (D) had their turn.  In case you missed either show, you can listen to them on the links provided above.

IMG_0119IMG_0120On a personal note, I have to say that I appreciated the opportunity to speak about the race from WSVA and enjoyed today’s conversations with Ms. Dawson and Mr. Jones both on and off the air.  Although we certainly have our similarities and differences, it has been great journey, exploring and discussing a variety of topics.

Less than two weeks until Election Day!

A Letter About W.I.S.H.

Several days ago, I wrote about increasing dissatisfaction among some conservatives with Virginia Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ed Gillespie.  As mentioned, several folks that I know say that they are planning to write-in Shak Hill as their choice on November 4th.

Well, today I received an email from some of the folks from the W.I.S.H. effort (which stands for write-in Shak Hill).  Although it says as much in the letter itself, as additional disclaimer, the author of this letter wants to remind everyone that this effort is neither part of the Apple Valley Tea Party campaign nor is it from Shak Hill either.

Anyway, here’s what they have to say…

 

Greetings to all,
Some info for the W.I.S.H. effort (Write in Shak Hill for senate)

Mike and Josh (my husband and stepson) started this campaign shortly after Labor Day. We are using social media, facebook (“Write in Shak Hill” page), twitter, and I am including a video in my newsletters (Apple Valley Tea party…along with the all candidates stuff). Some feedback is beginning to come back to us. We figured they would ignore us first, then they would begin to attack us. we’ll see how that pans out.

This write-in effort first of all, is NOT spearheaded by Shak Hill. Also the Apple Valley Tea Party is NOT behind this effort. It is an independent effort of folks who are not enthused at all about the candidates we have for the Virginia Senate Race.

How amazing it is to me, that folks can be so caught up into one phrase “We’ve GOT to get rid of Harry Reid”, that they can’t see the forest for the trees. The messaging for the Republican party this election cycle is right out of the Democratic playbook. Never mind, that all across the nation, good solid Americans, with the kind of values I thought we all believed in, have been trampled by the Republican Party for the ousting of Harry Reid. Never mind, that if, indeed, you did get those folks into the Senate…they would be very difficult to beat as an incumbent. Never mind that they may go to DC…but who knows whether they have the principles to actually vote to keep the Freedom that is ours.

Is the Republican Party really trying to win this race? Doesn’t seem like it. Up until the latter part of September there has been very little mention of the Senate race at all. Many people, who are average folks like us, have no idea there is an election going on out there. No signs..no ads, and If they do hear of the election, they know Mark Warner is running, but they have no idea who is running against him. If the Republicans really wanted to win the Senate, don’t you think they would have been coming out of the gate swinging for the election win, as soon as the convention was over with?  Many people who do know that Ed Gillespie is the candidate, aren’t even wanting to get out and vote. If those of us who are paying attention, and know the serious state this country is in, won’t get out and vote, do you really think anyone else is going to bother to pay attention? Let’s see, on that Tuesday, if there is something else going on in their life, or taking time out to vote, what do you think people are going to do?

People are tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. Many people don’t think their vote counts, and that is because the political parties keep running candidates that reflect the $$ donors, instead of the values people hold dear. I don’t want to vote for somebody because of how electable they are (certainly according to different sources than what I use). People are clamoring to be able to vote FOR somebody. As for my sources, I go by what I hear from the customers in my place of work. the grocery store, Mike does the same thing, with the guys he works with. Together that’s several segments of the population that get covered…under the radar of the involved members of both political parties.

We have seen what voting Party over principle has done to this Country. We are living it now, and the only way to save this nation, is to start putting citizen legislators back into office (the way the founders intended).   Mike and I both believe in the principles that we have seen exhibited by Shak Hill. Principles that I know many folks share. He is an honest man, a decorated combat veteran, and a sucessful businessman. Principles I know he will keep when he gets to DC. Gillespie may have those values, but I remember his name mixed up with Enron. That was the first thing that came to my mind, when I heard his name back in January. And that is what most folks who are not affiliated with either party will remember.  I am sorry to say that regardless of any poll that comes out, and there are several being cited( have to look at the demographics on those), Warner will hand Gillespie’s behind to him in Nov. Those same poll #’s were given out in 2012 too, when Kaine easily beat Allen, and Allen had a whole lot more name recognition. The most informed folks, that have given us a comment, haven’t asked why we will take the victory from Gillespie, only why we want to make the margin of defeat greater. What does that say about the chances of a victory?

On a different thought, what if the Republican party isn’t really trying to win the election? They can raise a ton of money with their mantra. But they managed to pick Ed Gillespie, who has ties to the Bush administration, and rumors of wrongdoing with Enron. Ed did make a comment supporting using the IRS to enforce individual mandates for health care (Obamacare), so he will not hammer that as much as he should (that’s a winning argument). So Ed has absolutely the slimmest chance of winning, that the Republican party could find, while actually fielding a candidate to try to make it look like they wanted to win this race.

Campaign Finance
Candidate                            Raised            Cash on Hand
Ed Gillespie (Republican)    $4,164,818    $3,111,992
Mark Warner* (Democrat)    $9,927,477    $8,914,812
Robert Sarvis (Libertarian)    $47,167    $7,073
Groups spent an additional $2,205,473 in independent expenditures to influence the outcome of this election. Details current as of 06/30/2014

If you look at the pattern, the Republican party is gonna come out of this election cycle spending maybe half to two thirds of what they keep begging folks for. So, they still make money(lots of money), we still get screwed. And they don’t have to deal with a pesky person in DC, who actually believes in the Constitution. The bottom line is that most folks have been debating whether they even want to get out and vote.

Here is a thought , the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. And so…the idea of Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush comes to mind for the future. Let’s start to make some clear distinctions on the candidates we run, because if these “Party Faithful” get the nomination in 2016(assuming we make it that far)….well, need more be said?  Get used to saying President Clinton again.

I am sending this link, which is for the website that Mike and Josh put together  Friendsoftheconstitutiongroup.com. . Quite frankly, people have told us all along, since we became involved, that we have to keep fighting. Our fight is going to be for folks WE CAN believe in and trust to fight for our freedoms. Not the lessor of two evils. I keep hearing we have to do this now…principled candidates can be elected later. When is later? If not now…then when, and if not us… then who?

I hope you check out the more detailed explanation. If you like this info…contact us , we need help!! Have ideas…share. Share with the folks you know. share the videos etc. Everything we put up there is for people to use to share and get the word out that we CAN choose our own candidate.Like the templates for business card to hand out to remind folks of the name and the reminder to write Shak Hill in,and the date of the Senate Election  Those can be found on the “Write In Shak Hill” Facebook page, as well.

Thanks to all, God bless America!

arcbead52@yahoo.com and dodykins1@yahoo.com
Mike, Josh and Dody Stottlemyer

Why the wish?
http://tinyurl.com/lu82bzx

Here are some video’s we have been putting on social media

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cau6iGt1FOQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zWG10FSh_4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBRoZT6zdnk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWIkDEetQ28

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99HDxXo155s&feature=youtu.be

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XVI)

Today, Andy Schmookler and Karen Kwiatkowski took to the airwaves of 550 AM WSVA to discuss the political issues of the day.  Given my run for city council, like last month, I wasn’t able to participate in this show.  Nevertheless, I think it was quite entertaining and I hope that give it a listen by clicking on this link.

Thanks and I look forward to joining Andy and you once again in November!

JMU Debates The 2014 Election

The debaters on stage

The debaters on stage

Last night, the James Madison College Democrats, College Republicans, and Madison Liberty took to the stage to discuss the 2014 Senate race and current political topics.  Representing the Democrats was President Megan DiMaiolo and a fellow named Kevin, for the Republicans it was First Vice-Chair Jake Lee and Political Director Cole Trower, and for Madison Liberty it was President Emery Siegrist and Vice President Nicholas Farrar.

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A view of the crowd

About seventy five people came to watch the debate.  Most were students, though there were a handful of local residents.  I was a little disappointed to discover that I was the only candidate for local office this year that attended.

Although the debate was designed to center around the three candidates for U.S. Senate: Mark Warner (D), Ed Gillespie (R), and Robert Sarvis (L), these names weren’t mentioned all that often.  However, this switch also meant that the forum had a heavier focus on the issues of the day rather than simply rehashing repetitive partisan attacks.  In addition, there was a live Twitter feed from the audience which allowed folks the opportunity to express their thoughts of what was transpiring on the stage.  Each group has their share of supporters and detractors, with some tweeters going back and forth depending on the issue.  I found it interesting that all three groups opposed the Harrisonburg Police Department’s ownership of an MRAP.

As student political activism is extremely important to me, I have been attending these twice yearly events for the last three years.  In previous semesters, I recorded a portion or all of the debate as was done in 4/3/13 and 4/19/2012.  Unfortunately with the extreme age of my video camera, I am unable to do so anymore.

I’d like to take a moment to offer my gratitude to each of the students who took to the stage last night.  I know firsthand that it isn’t always easy to express your opinions publicly, but it is an important way to help advance political dialogue, which is sorely needed.  I’d also like to commend those who took time on a Monday evening to listen to this discussion.  Lastly, thanks to JMU and the Student Government Association for hosting the event.  Every semester has been great and I appreciate the fact that you don’t discriminate against any of the three groups.

For those who weren’t able to attend Monday’s gathering, I hope you’ll consider coming in April 2015 when the JMU Dems, JMU GOP, and Madison Liberty take to the stage once more.  I’ll see you there!

Marshall On The Court Ruling

Delegate Bob Marshall

Delegate Bob Marshall

With the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear an appeal regarding marriage laws in Virginia and elsewhere, it seems almost certain that marriage between any two consenting adults will be legalized across the nation.  In response, Delegate Bob Marshall, co-author of the 2006 amendment to the Virginia Constitution which prohibited gay marriage, authored the following statement:

Dear Friends,
The US Supreme Court has left the scene of a “hit and run” it caused by letting stand the decision of two federal Appeals judges striking down Virginia’s voter-approved Marriage Amendment.
By failing to gain the support of four justices to hear the appeal of Virginia’s marriage case, the Supreme Court has placed the Government of the Commonwealth in the hands of two federal judges whose very names are unknown to “We the people.”
The Supreme Court’s decision disregards the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” and will fundamentally compromise and seriously erode the bonds of allegiance by the most patriotic of citizens, to government at all levels because this is not the America of the Founder’s vision!
Nor did the Founders establish a system of Government whereby a few unknown appointed federal judges could establish and impose their own law on the the populace which contradicts the laws passed by the people’s duly-elected representatives.  
Shortly before he was appointed Chief Justice in 1969, Chief Justice Warren Berger noted, “A Court which is final and unreviewable needs more careful scrutiny than any other.   Unreviewable power is most likely to self-indulge … no public institution, or the people who operate it, can be above public debate.”  
The Founders gave Congress vast authority over the cases federal courts are permitted to rule on:
Congress has “unlimited control over the Court’s appellate jurisdiction, as well as total jurisdiction of the lower federal courts. … Congress is in position to restrict the actual exercise of judicial review at times, or even to frustrate it altogether.”
          (Edward S. Corwin, Understanding the Constitution)
Failure of Members of Congress or candidates for Congress of either political party to rein in such abuses of power by federal judges by abolishing their ability to hear such cases as is expressly provided for in the Constitution should be disqualified from holding office.  
Make no mistake: Once natural marriage is abolished, marriage will soon include polygamy, or threesomes, leaving innocent children to suffer the consequences and other far reaching consequences of attempting to force legal acceptance of so-called same sex marriage.

Thank you for your continued help!

Sincerely,

Delegate Bob Marshall

Hammer’s Video

Today, Will Hammer, the Libertarian candidate in the 6th District of Virginia, released a campaign video.

This November, Mr. Hammer is challenging Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte.  Representative Goodlatte is seeking his 12th term.

Given the somewhat unusual last names of both of these candidates, the ad plays upon that fact, showing Hammer smashing a multitude of containers of “good latte” bearing labels such as the drug war, NDAA, and the Patriot Act.

So, what do you think?

Is the ad effective?

Does anyone else have the the urge to get a cup of coffee?