Hob-nobbing Here Among The Elite

On Friday, September 9th, the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their twelfth annual Hob Nob event.  Perhaps the most important political event in the area, it featured a number of politicians and hopefuls from Winchester, Clarke County, and Frederick County, as well as two (or three) statewide office seekers.

I last attended this gathering four years ago.  Back then; my purpose was a little different.  I had heard that representatives of the Ron Paul campaign would be present and I had been eagerly trying to secure employment with them.  As I recall, when I arrived in 2007, the grassy field next to the parking lot was jammed with tents of political campaigns and causes.

This time, the outside ground was barren politically.  Due to the recent rain, all of the activity had moved into the building.

Although this statement might sound strange, I want to express thanks to the local Democrats.  Because of them, I was able to get my ticket for a reduced price.  All they asked in return was for me to visit the Democratic table and pick up some literature.  So what’s the take home lesson here?  Although the easiest course of action is to simply ignore those with differing political opinions, dialogue is often beneficial.

As for the political displays themselves, although both the Republicans and Democrats hosted a table, there wasn’t much else in the way of swag.  None of the presidential campaigns were there.  Besides a few Allen and Kaine bumper stickers, the Senate candidates had nothing either.  Sure, they had info for the General Assembly candidates, commonwealth attorneys, sheriffs, and the like, but, for an out-of-towner like myself who knew little of local politics, I desired hunks of statewide and national meat.

Speaking of meat, the meal was beef or pork BBQ with sides of potato salad, fruit, and potato chips.  It was acceptable.

The real highlight of the whole affair had to be their two featured speakers, former Governor and Senate candidate Tim Kaine and former Virginia first lady and wife of a Senate candidate Susan Allen.  As I didn’t see any other bloggers there I knew, it is possible that these videos maybe fairly exclusive to The Virginia Conservative.  Sorry that they are a bit shaky.  I’ll get a real video camera one of these days…I hope.

Perhaps even more important than these speeches was the opportunity to speak with both Mr. Kaine and Mrs. Allen.  I took the opportunity to strongly encourage them to attend the Senate Tea Party debate in Verona in October and I hope that you will come likewise.

I suppose that I should mention that there was also a straw poll at the Hob Nob, but as the poll made no mention of either the Senate or the President, I didn’t stick around to hear the results.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed with the event.  It is not as exciting to hob-nob here among the elite if many of them are unfamiliar faces.  Also, given that there is not much at stake in this corner of the Shenandoah Valley, I’ve already turned my eye to 2012.  But, with the exception of Allen and Kaine, the local 2011 races dominated the night.

I suppose that situation does make sense.  As far as I could tell, there may have only been three people who attended from the Harrisonburg area: Nick (a JMU student and friend who traveled with me), Senator Obenshain (R-26), and myself.

Why was the good Senator there you might ask?  Well…if you don’t know the answer to that question, then chances are you haven’t been following Virginia politics much at all.

3 Replies to “Hob-nobbing Here Among The Elite”

  1. You don’t need a “real” video camera, all you need is to get a friend with one to come with you. That saves you a few thousand and you don’t have to figure out how to do the post-production editing.

  2. Thanks for highlighting this event. I consider myself something of a student of Valley/Virginia politics, but I’ll admit this is an event that I don’t know the entire history of. To sum it up nicely, though, it’s pretty much what all straw polls are, a fundraising scheme, with a unique twist: the focus is on local politics.

    The Hob Nob has always been something of a “micro-regional” event, and with Harrisonburg and Winchester growing apart in many ways, in my view, I think the sponsors like it that way. In fact, when I went in 2009, many were taken aback by the light turnout–no statewide Democrat even bothered to show. Throw in some hot local races, though, and they get a much bigger crowd.

    The Nob has always been dominated by the GOP, which is no surprise–heck, its sponsored by the Chamber, which in turn means alot of businessmen, which typically means–you guessed it–alot of Republicans. So the outcome is no surprise.

    My suggestion to the Chamber–want to double, or even triple your money? Put the Pres. or Senate elections on the ballot the year before. If I know my Ron Paul supporters, and I think I do, they’ll go to any length to win a straw poll. Alas, though, since this is likely Paul’s last run, the best they can do now is note that in the event Rand runs in 2016. Or maybe, as I pointed out, they really don’t want the event to be about national politics…..

    As an aside to the camera remark, I DO have a “real” camera (i.e. one that can’t make phone calls) and a tripod to boot! If you ever have any events up this way you’d like to have filmed, lemme know a bit in advance and we’ll see what we can do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *