(Campaign) Fiscal Responsibility

A few moments ago, I received an email from the Ed Gillespie for Senate campaign.  Entitled “a last request”, the campaign makes one more pitch for funds asking, “Will you click here to contribute a suggested donation of $10 to help our campaign pay our final bills?”

Yes, campaigns are certainly expensive endeavors.  Each one seems to demand greater resources than the previous cycle.

Looking at it from my own personal experience, my run for city council always seemed to press me for more cash.  Did I want more money?  Of course!  With additional funding I could have done so much more, such as placing ads in the newspaper or on the radio or perhaps creating a few yard signs that some people seem to think are absolutely necessary.  But, at the end of the day, I allocated my resources the best I knew how and avoiding spending money I didn’t have.  My reasoning was that if a person is unable to exercise fiscal responsibility in his or her campaign, why should we entrust them with such power in local, state, or national government?

The Gillespie campaign came amazing close to victory and campaign deficit spending is certainly not unique to their effort.  Nevertheless, I’d recommend that campaigns exercise a little more discretion in their spending.  After all, who wants to send out an email after the election is over asking for money?  And who is willing to donate at this point, especially to a candidate that didn’t win?

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XVII)

After a two month hiatus, I (Joshua Huffman) have returned to 550 AM WSVA.  Together with Andy Schmookler we discuss the political issues of the day.

The big topics up for consideration today were: reflections about running for political office (as I ran for Harrisonburg City Council this year and Andy ran for House of Representatives in 2012) and thoughts about the surprisingly close U.S. Senate race between Mark Warner, Ed Gillespie, and Robert Sarvis.

In case you missed it, you can find the program here.

Gillespie Stumps In Staunton

IMG_2693A guest post by Drew Massengill

Tweed jackets and seasonal sweaters began to fill up the side dining room of Rowe’s Family Restaurant. The windblown and rose-cheeked cautiously chose their seats, ensuring they were near others with whom they were sufficiently familiar. They came from all over. Some wanted to see, and others wanted to be seen. Some came to voice their opinion, while some had yet to form one.

“He’s running a smidge late. Just mingle amongst yourselves.”

Like all politicians, Ed Gillespie was running the ubiquitous twenty minutes behind schedule. An older man mused why he and his wife even showed up; they had voted early, fearing an imminent death might cost them the chance to cast their ballot for the man they hoped could wrest control of the Senate from the iron grip of Mark Warner.

Gillespie wasn’t the only one to benefit from the impressive turnout of the Republican base in Augusta County and beyond. Blue blazers and bow ties swirled around the room as state representatives and Republican personalities took advantage of the lull to make connections and garner support for their own political ambitions.

Conversations quickly ceased and gave way to applause once the Senate hopeful walked into the room. The crowd had grown tired of its pie and pleasantries. They were ready to hear from the man on whom many have placed their hope for a Red Virginia.

Capitalizing on the momentum of his well-received entrance, Gillespie started rousing the troops. Amidst the typical campaign boilerplate, there was bit of call and response. Like a preacher of old-time religion, his fervor and confidence seamlessly spread amongst the crowd until whoops of assent echoed through the restaurant. Cheering and rounds of applause followed each vague promise of policy change as if it was tribute to the modern State of the Union.

Sensing the end of the speech, the crowd entered into rhythmic clapping and offered a standing ovation. And, as quickly as it began, Mr. Gillespie’s time in Staunton was finished. A customary “God bless the United States of America”, some glad-handing, and he was gone.

Trailing by near double-digits in every major poll, Ed Gillespie’s enthusiasm and energy defy reality. He ostensibly believes that, though out-spent, his supporters have out-worked Warner’s campaign machine. In a little over twenty-four hours, we will find out if all that hard work will have paid off.

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?

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

A Republican Revolt?

Ed Gillespie speaks to a reporter

Lately, Virginia Republicans have been touting a Quinnipac poll which shows that only nine percentage points separate Mark Warner from his Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie.  Although certainly positive news for the Gillespie campaign, which has previously been down by over twenty points, it is the only poll thus far that shows the race separated with single digits.  To be fair, the race is getting closer, but not necessarily close yet; the Roanoke College poll several days before Quinnipac had Gillespie down by twenty and the PPP and CBS/New York Times polls since Quinnipac show Gillespie back by thirteen and twelve points respectively.  Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate, pulls somewhere between six and one percent.

As mentioned about a month ago, at that point in the race it seemed that the Ed Gillespie campaign had failed to capture the hearts and minds of the liberty wing of the GOP.  Although attitudes can and do change, a fair number have expressed plans to either cast their ballots Robert Sarvis or stay home.

Now, it seems that Gillespie is facing even more challenges.  Last night, one of my political Facebook friends indicated that she plans to write-in Shak Hill as her choice for U.S. Senate.  Mr. Hill, as you may recall, sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate but was defeated by Gillespie at the convention.  Apparently my friend is not alone as a website and a Facebook group have popped up encouraging voters to do likewise.

Photo from Reuters/Justin Reed

Although the number of fans of this Facebook group is quite small for a statewide effort, it could present an additional problem for a candidate some in the party view as a consummate political insider, close associate of Karl Rove, and not particularly friendly to the idea of limited government conservatism.

This information is fairly consistent with the CBS/New York Times poll, which shows that while 94% of Democrats plan on voting for Mark Warner, only 78% of Republicans will do likewise for Gillespie.  The gap grows larger when considering ideology as 95% of self-identified liberals say they will cast their votes for Warner, 1% for Gillespie, and 0% for Sarvis while 75% of conservatives will go for Gillespie, a rather large 10% for Warner, and 2% for Sarvis.

So, are the polls and my personal observations correct?  Is a significant portion of the Republican base revolting against the party’s nominee for Senate either through supporting Robert Sarvis, Shak Hill, or by doing nothing?  And, if this is the case, what, if anything, does the Republican Party of Virginia and the Ed Gillespie campaign plan to do to counter this rift?

Constitution Day Ads

Today is Constitution Day.  In commemoration, Virginia’s three U.S. Senate candidates have made mention of the day.

Mark Warner expressed these thoughts on Twitter and Facebook:

Warner Constitution

Ed Gillespie changed the cover photo of his Facebook page:

Ed Gillespie Constitution

And Robert Sarvis released the following comparison: 10606521_694315027325578_7570793499653124585_n

Is the Senate Race Over?

IMG_2662The biggest race to be decided in Virginia this year is the election for U.S. Senate.  Whether you agree with his policies or not, Democratic Senator Mark Warner is almost certainly the most popular politician from either party in the state.  However, plagued by his support for Obamacare and rising discontent over President Obama, Warner isn’t as invincible as he proved to be in 2008.  This year he faces two challengers, Republican Ed Gillespie, who previously served as the chairman of both the Republican Party of Virginia and the Republican National Committee, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who pulled 6.5% of the vote last year when he ran for governor.

So what do the poll numbers say?  Well, the latest poll, held by the Watson Center for Public Policy at CNU, shows that Warner has a 22 point lead over Gillespie with Sarvis taking 5% and the remaining 11% undecided.  This poll is not some kind of outlier, instead being fairly consistent with previous ones.  For example, the CBS/NY Times poll, which ended on September 2nd, had the race 51% Warner -39% Gillespie and the late July Hampton University poll showed the race with 53% Warner -28% Gillespie -5% Sarvis or 55%-32% if Sarvis is excluded.  The Republican Party of Virginia claim that “in most polls Mark Warner is struggling to break 50 percent” might be wishful thinking, but it simply isn’t true according to a vast majority of the polls I’ve seen in the last three months.

Now, I’ve heard it said that Ken Cuccinelli faced similar poll numbers last year against Terry McAuliffe last year and, given that race was decided by 2.5%, victory for Gillespie is still possible.  However, looking back at the statistics, by early September how many times did McAuliffe reach or crack the 50% mark?  The answer is zero, not even once.  Only in October did he enjoy such high polling.

Unfortunately, the statewide 2013 race devolved into a contest begging voters who was the lesser of two evils; both McAuliffe and Cuccinelli had fair numbers of detractors among their own party faithful.  Compared to last year, as the latest poll indicates, Warner loses only 9% of the Democrats while more than double the number of Republicans (20%) do not favor Gillespie.  These numbers aren’t terribly surprising, for I’ve heard complaints about Gillespie from many traditional Republicans in the state.  The simple truth is that the Virginia GOP is heavily fractured right now and, in general, the liberty wing of the Republican Party doesn’t support Ed Gillespie as he has painted himself as a fairly standard big government Republican.  As a result, at the end of the day some Republican votes will go to Warner, some will go to Sarvis, and some will simply stay home.  Unlike the last election, where exit polls showed that more Democrats voted for Sarvis than Republicans, given Warner’s popularity and Gillespie’s lukewarm support in GOP circles, I predict Sarvis will see far fewer Democratic votes but will find a noticeable upsurge from the traditional Republican base.

So, on November 4th will Gillespie get blown out by 22%?  I don’t believe so.

Is the Senate race over?  Well, that depends on your perspective.  Polls have been wrong before, but, given past trends, I expect the race to tighten a little and, barring any major surprises, at the end of the day Warner will emerge the victor by 6-12%.  If I had to offer a prediction today, Warner will beat Gillespie by about 9%.   With that said, Gillespie’s campaign does have value to the GOP as it has forced the Democrats to spend money in Virginia, as opposed to elsewhere, and thus will improve the chances for a Republican controlled Senate after these elections.  However, anyone who has their heart set on saying “Senator Gillespie” will almost certainly be disappointed.

Therefore, with Virginia’s Senate seat not really being in play, the most important question left to be decided is, how will the Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian Parties use this election to bolster their volunteers and support network for the 2015 elections when Virginians go to the polls to determine every single seat in the Virginia General Assembly?

Thank You Rep. Capito

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.  Image from her congressional website
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. Image from her congressional website

I must confess that Representative Shelly Moore Capito (R- WV 3) is not a person for whom I have a lot of praise.  In my research, it seems to me that, more often than not, she has consistently advocated policies that increase the size and scope of the federal government.  As such, she and I seem to have what might be considered a fundamental disagreement over the proper role of Washington D.C.

Nevertheless, today Rep. Capito did something some might consider remarkable.  This election cycle, Capito is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in West Virginia.  According to the Charleston Daily Mail, in accepting a debate with her Democratic opponent, Natalie Tennant, Capito “also requested every candidate who has qualified to be on the ballot for the election also be invited to participate in the debate.”  That means she believes John Buckley, the Libertarian candidate, and Bob Baber, the Mountain Party candidate ought to also have a place on the stage.

I firmly believe that when politicians do the right thing, they ought to be praised for it.  And so, today I say thank you to Representative Capito for helping to expand political dialogue in the state of West Virginia.  I hope the politicians from this side of the mountain will take note and learn from your example.

also requested every candidate who has qualified to be on the ballot for the election also be invited to participate in the debate. – See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140814/DM01/140819521/1298#sthash.684hIDoo.dpuf
also requested every candidate who has qualified to be on the ballot for the election also be invited to participate in the debate. – See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140814/DM01/140819521/1298#sthash.684hIDoo.dpuf
also requested every candidate who has qualified to be on the ballot for the election also be invited to participate in the debate. – See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140814/DM01/140819521/1298#sthash.684hIDoo.dpuf

News & Advance Does The Right Thing

Lynchburg’s newspaper, The News & Advance, recently posted a poll regarding the U.S. Senate race in Virginia.  In it, they asked respondents if they favored Democratic Senator Mark Warner, Republican Ed Gillespie, or none of the above.  The only problem, as readers of the blog already know, is that they failed to include the third candidate, Libertarian Robert Sarvis.

Now, if Sarvis’ name wasn’t actually listed on the ballot, then excluding him wouldn’t be any big deal.  However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, the fact that Sarvis had to jump through the additional election hoop of collecting signatures from at least 10,000 registered Virginia voters, meant that his campaign was unfairly burdened.  And then, to top it all off, he is erased from debates and polls.

Well, as a result of this oversight, either intentional or unintentional, a number of folks, myself included, contacted The News & Advance.  Here is their reply:

Good morning,
You are absolutely correct that Mr. Sarvis should have been included. It was an honest mistake, not any deliberate act of exclusion. We have reset the poll results and added him to the choices.
Best,
Matt Busse
The News & Advance
Shortly thereafter, the paper changed their website to include all three of the candidates that will be listed on the November ballot.  If you would care to express your opinion on this race, you can do so at this link.
This isn’t so much a matter of political preference, but rather one of fairness.  I hope there would be an outcry if Mark Warner or Ed Gillespie were omitted too.
I was glad to see The News & Advance do the right thing.