That Curious Robocall

By now, many of you have heard about the anti-Brownlee robocall sent out yesterday.  To recap, many of the delegates to the RPV convention received a pre-recorded phone call from a childlike voice lamenting “John L. Brownlee put grandpa in jail!”  The brief call goes on to repeatedly urge the listener to visit the website  You can find the call itself over at Bearing Drift.

Now last minute attack ads are nothing new.  I recall hearing several, right before last year’s convention, and certainly the recent contest between McCain and Obama had numerous.  The real question with this robocall is, who paid for it?  In accordance with state law, all political ads must include a disclaimer mentioning who sponsored the ad.  However, this call did not have such a tagline.  So then, who made it?  Let’s throw open the door to wild speculation.

Across the Virginia blogging community, most everyone seems to have some opinion as to who sent out this call.  First of all, who would have had a list of the delegates phone numbers?  Supposedly only the RPV and each of the eight campaigns would have such access.  So who did it?  First of all, what about Senator Cuccinelli’s campaign?  From the polls I’ve seen, it appears that John Brownlee is Cuccinelli’s strongest competition and therefore lessening the threat of Brownlee would be seen as a priority.  On the other hand, polls also tend to show that Cuccinelli is leading, so would the campaign gamble on a rather poorly created phone message?  What about the Brownlee campaign?  Could they have created the message in order to disgust delegates about the anti-Brownlee material floating out there?  Then again, a good bit of what is posted at has not had much press time, so I doubt they would want to draw attention to that material.  What about the Foster campaign?  They could make such a call in the hopes of pinning it on Cuccinelli so that both Brownlee and Cuccinelli destroy each other.  However, I haven’t really seen much either positive or negative coming from the Foster folks, so why would they spend the effort on a call like this one?  How about Brian Gentry, the creator of, which the call repeatedly references?  Certainly this call has generated considerable traffic to his site and his message.  But if he did so, why would he not claim ownership of the call?  After all, he isn’t shy, clearly listing his name on his website.  Perhaps it is some other unknown pro or anti Brownlee group in conjunction with a campaign?

In the end, unless some person or group comes forward, I doubt that we will ever know who sent out the call.  The real question is, will this call have any impact on the voting this weekend?  Only time will tell.

Onward to the Convention!

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.

Lt. Governor

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.

Attorney General

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:

Bob McDonnell for Governor

Bill Bolling for Lt. Governor

Patrick Muldoon for Lt. Governor

John Brownlee for A.G.

Ken Cuccinelli for A.G.

Dave Foster for A.G.