Well, it is only three and a half months to the next RPV convention. Excited yet? You should be. Although 2008 was my first, I eagerly look forward to the second. It is a great time to meet fellow delegates, speak with candidates and elected officials, and party like it is 1984…er maybe like it is 1985…1984 is a bit too Orwellian for my tastes. You should really go to the convention if you get the chance. As Republicans, we will have the opportunity to select our three candidates for statewide office in November: Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. So let’s have a brief rundown of each office.
Unless something wacky happens between now and the convention, Attorney General Bob McDonnell will be the Republican nominee for Governor. Although it would have been interesting to see the campaign between McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Boiling and would give the candidate for governor a bit more campaign experience and even more name recognition, it is likely better for both the chances of the party and the candidates to remain unified.
Yes, we do have a nomination fight for Lt. Governor. Current Lt. Gov. Bolling is looking to return to office by fending off a challenge from Patrick Muldoon. In some ways, this race reminds me of the Gilmore/Marshall contest as a current (or former) statewide officeholder squares off against someone who bills himself as the more conservative alternative. Another unusual comparison between the two races is the rematch of campaign staff, Wells vs. Waters. Matt Wells, who was the political director for the Gilmore campaign, now head the campaign for Bolling, while Steve Waters, campaign manager for Bob Marshall, is presently listed as a Muldoon “spokesperson”. The first question you might ask is, “Who is Patrick Muldoon?” It is certainly an important and valid question that requires an answer. At this point, the Muldoon campaign styles itself as being more anti-Bolling than pro-Muldoon, and although there are a handful of folks who dislike Bolling scattered across the state, I sincerely doubt that such a tactic will produce much success. Another point to consider is that in the area of fundraising as the Lt. Gov holds a massive lead. Unless the Muldoon campaign message coalesces quickly to explain why delegates should support Muldoon over Bolling, I predict an easy win for the Bolling camp.
Ah the hot tamale, the one race that everyone is talking about. A three way contest between John Brownlee, Ken Cuccinelli, and Dave Foster. I’d had the opportunity to meet and listen to both Brownlee and Cuccinelli so far. Alas, I missed the chance to visit with Foster when he came to Harrisonburg last week as a result of illness. I hope that I will get another opportunity prior to voting in the convention. Therefore, I cannot speak either positively or negatively about Mr. Foster at this time. Once I gather more information about the candidate, I can form a clearer picture of his electability, principles, and qualifications. Nevertheless, I must say that I am quite impressed with both Mr. Brownlee and Sen. Cuccinelli. Both show a strong commitment to conservative values and while Brownlee bring valuable experience as U.S. attorney and ties to the western part of the state, I am constantly impressed by Cuccinelli’s steadfast commitment to standing for his principles, even when that requires him to walk alone. In the early part of this campaign, Ken Cuccinelli was the clear favorite by leaps and bounds. He has the greatest name recognition and so many of the Marshall supporters’ hold the state senator in similar regard. Therefore, although the gap has narrowed considerably, if I had to bet, I’d still expect Senator Cuccinelli to emerge the victor. It will be interesting to see the ways in which the Brownlee and Foster camps via for support and which tactics (if any), prove to be successful at wooing voters.
So the take home message here is this: Learn more about the candidates (I know that I need to) and then get out there and vote at the convention. You know how I hate uninformed voters. Ok, I’ll make it even easier for you. Here are the links to all of the Republican candidates: