Northam v. Obenshain?

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Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam presiding over the Virginia Senate January 19th, 2015

Are the 2017 gubernatorial elections in Virginia beginning to take shape?  Rumors of candidates and potential candidates for a contest still two years away have been swirling these last several months.

On the Democratic side of things, it appeared likely that there would be a showdown between Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring in much the same way that then Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli fought over the Republican nomination back in 2012 and 2013.

Moving on to the Republicans, State Senator Mark Obenshain from Rockingham County seems to be the most likely choice as he lost his 2013 statewide race by a razor-thin margin.  However, there are other possibilities too.  Some of the possible candidates being mentioned include: Representative Rob Whittman from the 1st district and 2014 Republican senatorial candidate Ed Gillespie.

As for the Libertarians, although I would be surprised if they didn’t run a candidate for governor, I haven’t really heard any names bandied about; their 2013 nominee, Robert Sarvis, seems like a possibility.

Well, now the 2017 picture has become at least a little more clear.  Attorney General Mark Herring has announced his plans to seek reelection to his current post, which leaves Ralph Northam as the likely Democratic nominee.  Personally, I think this a wise move for the Democrats as I believe Northam would be the stronger candidate for governor.

Right now, my prediction is on a Northam v. Obenshain contest, but a lot can happen in the next year or so.  Who will be the next candidate to officially announce his or her plans for 2017?

The RLC Scorecard

Today, the Republican Liberty Caucus released their scorecard for members of Congress.  Not surprisingly, Republicans generally fared much better than their Democratic counterparts.

Over all, according to the RLC, the Virginia delegation performed well in matters of economic liberty, but not as well in personal liberty.  Representative Morgan Griffith (VA-9), claimed the top overall score in the state with 84%, while Robert Hurt (VA-5) and Scott Rigell (VA-2) both were rated 100% on issues of economic liberty.

Ratings for VA legislators are as follows:

Representatives

Name              Economic        Personal         Liberty Index

Cantor             95                   25                   61

Connolly         20                   35                   28

Forbes            80                   40                   60

Goodlatte        95                   50                   73

Griffith            90                   79                   84

Hurt                100                 53                   76

Moran             0                      55                   28

Rigell               100                 53                   76

Scott                10                   68                   39

Wittman         95                   40                   68

Wolf                85                   47                   66

 

Senators

Name              Economic        Personal         Liberty Index

Kaine              15                   5                      10

Warner           15                   24                   19

 

You may agree or disagree with the RLC and their scoring system, but it seems to me that Virginia is in need of more liberty-minded legislators in Washington D.C.  2014 will provide that opportunity as the state will be electing a senator and all eleven members to the House of Representatives.  Will Virginia voters support more liberty or less in the primaries and in November?  We shall see.

Tuesday’s Results

If you were like me, around 7:00 PM yesterday your browser was fixed on the Virginia State Board of Elections website as results began to pour in from around the state.  Unlike traditional Republican against Democrat contests, I had no strong perception of which cities and counties would go toward what kind of candidate.   In the early moments and until about 60% or so of precincts had reported, Matthew Berry maintained a lead in the 8th.  Although he ended up winning both Arlington and Alexandria, his loss in Fairfax County and, to a lesser extent, Falls Church led to his downfall.  Another interesting statistic in this contest was voter turnout.  Every district statewide had at least 6% turnout with the 2nd district exceeding 9%.  The 8th was the exception where turnout was only slightly above 3%.  3%!  I know there aren’t nearly as many Republicans in Northern Virginia as there are in the Shenandoah Valley, but 3%?  Only 13,787 voters determined the result.  Now I’m not saying that one more voter would have made a difference, but only 522 more dedicated Berry voters could have swung this election the other way.  Turnout, turnout, turnout!  Turnout is key in these sparsely attended elections.  Then again, given their voting patterns, maybe there are only 13,787 Republican voters in the suburbs of D.C.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about the results.  Berry didn’t win nor did a few others I would have liked to see victorious, but there were a few bright spots in the evening.

So you don’t have to look elsewhere, here is the rundown from the VASBE as of 12:15 AM June 10, 2010:

1st District

Rob Wittman 87.96%

Catherine Crabill 12.03%

2nd District

Scott Rigell 39.5%

Ben Loyola 26.78%

Bert Mizusawa 17.4%

Scott Taylor 8.09%

Jessica Sandlin 4.44%

Ed Maulbeck 3.76%

5th District

Robert Hurt 48.51%

James McKelvey 25.83%

Mike McPadden 9.74%

Kenneth Boyd 7.39%

Feda Morton 4.58%

Laurence Verga 2.27%

Ron Ferrin 1.65%

8th District

Patrick Murray 51.88%

Matthew Berry 48.11%

11th District

Keith Fimian 55.93%

Patrick Herrity 44.06%