Romney & Allen Win Hob Nob Poll

This evening, the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber of Commerce held their annual Hob Nob event in Middletown, Virginia.  Unlike last year, which was marred by rain, overall attendance was up by around 30 to 40%.

The main attraction was both former Governors Tim Kaine and George Allen.  Each gave a brief speech, as did two members of the General Assembly who spoke on behalf of the campaigns of President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.  Although not offered a speaking role, Representative Frank Wolf, his Democratic and Independent opponents, Kristin Cabral and Kevin Chisholm, some of the statewide 2013 candidates, and a host of office seekers from either the city of Winchester or Frederick and Clarke Counties were also brought up on stage.

Each attendee to the Hob Nob had the option to participate in the 14-question straw poll with 211 choosing to do so.  For president, Mitt Romney emerged victorious with 127 votes or 60.2% as compared to Barack Obama’s 76 votes or 36%.  Unlike Virginia’s November ballot, none of the other candidates were listed.  Nevertheless, write-in candidates garnered 8 votes, but it is unknown whether one candidate won all eight or if it was spread among several or many.

Former Governors Allen and Kaine

In the U.S. Senate race, George Allen claimed 131 votes or 62.1% of the votes cast while Tim Kaine captured 80.  There were no write-ins in this race.

Moving on to the 10th district House of Representatives, Incumbent Frank Wolf easily won this straw poll with 72.7% of the votes as compared to Cabral’s 24.9% and Chisholm’s 2.4%.  As for the remaining contests, as the races were specific to certain cities and towns and likely unfamiliar to just about every reader, those results are not included in this report.

So does tonight’s straw poll herald a victory for Republicans in Virginia in November?  Or are a majority of the polls, which predict an Obama and Kaine, more accurate?  In less than two months we’ll have our answer.

Labor Day in Buena Vista

Although a small city in western Virginia, Buena Vista plays host to an important political event every Labor Day.  Earlier today, politicians, their campaigns, and throngs of grassroots activists descended upon the community to participate in their annual Labor Day parade.  This year, attendees included: Senator Mark Warner, former Governor and Democratic Senate hopeful Tim Kaine, former Governor and Republican Senate hopeful George Allen, former Representative and Constitution Party Presidential candidate Virgil Goode, Representative Bob Goodlatte, and his Democratic challenger Andy Schmookler.

The event had the one of the greatest concentrations of yard signs anywhere; from Interstate 81, the road into Buena Vista was lined.  Along the parade route, signage was even thicker, forming a virtual fence between the spectators and those walking in the procession in many places.  But which campaign was best represented in this aspect?  Of all of the candidates, Tim Kaine easily won the sign war; his total number of signs more than doubled his next closest competitor, George Allen, while Bob Goodlatte placed third.  Curiously, there were relatively few Mitt Romney signs and close to zero for President Barack Obama.  This trend could lead one to think that no one had much of an interest in the race at the top of the ticket.

Unlike previous years where I promoted either a candidate or the GOP, today I walked in the parade on behalf of We rVirginia, a conservative grassroots organization based outside of Richmond.  Although our group was considerably smaller than either the masses of Democratic and Republican volunteers, our folks were quite efficient, carrying our banner down the streets of Buena Vista while distributing hundreds of leaflets explaining both the purpose of the organization and comparing the stances of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

As the Buena Vista Labor Day continues to grow in attendance and importance, it is becoming a virtual can’t miss event for those seeking office in either the 6th Congressional district or statewide in Virginia.  Surprisingly, neither Lt. Governor Bill Bolling nor Ken Cuccinelli attended the gathering this year, but it is all but certain that whichever of these two men captures the GOP nod for Governor will have a huge showing in Buena Vista 2013 along with whoever wins the Democrats nominatation for Governor, as well as the various candidates for Lt. Governor and Attorney General.

See you again in Buena Vista on September 2, 2013!

Obama Comes to Charlottesville

Earlier today, President Barack Obama visited downtown Charlottesville, Virginia as he continues his campaign for re-election.  In 2008, Charlottesville proved to be one of Obama’s most favorable cities in Virginia, as he garnered 78.35% of the vote.

Prior to Obama’s speech, the Jefferson Area Tea Party and Americans for Prosperity held an “Oust Obama” rally at Lee Park, which began at noon, three or four blocks from the Pavilion where Obama’s event was slated to be later in the day.  Featured speakers at this meeting included: former Republican Party of Virginia Chairperson Kate Obenshain, Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle County, and E.W. Jackson, a former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.  The crowd at this event was estimated to be approximately 160 people, most came from either Charlottesville or the surrounding Albemarle County, but there was also a sizable contingent from Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro as well.

Attendance to Barack Obama’s speech was far more tightly regulated that the relatively informal tea party event.  Each person had to have a ticket, which meant filling out a form that requested a name, address, phone number, and email address.  Once the gates opened at 1:00 PM, the line quickly grew to stretch from one end of the downtown mall to the other, a distance of about a half a mile.  As warned, the attendees had to path through “airport style security” which included emptying pockets and passing through a metal detector.  Fortunately, neither full body scans nor removing shoes was required.  However, as no outside beverages were allowed, many people simply threw their trash on the ground as opposed to finding a proper trashcan.

Although it was difficult to gauge a specific number, attendance had to have been in the thousands.  People were packed as tightly as sardines within.  A vast majority of the area was standing room only; ticket holders gathered both inside the structure and on the grassy slopes around.

After a bit of live music and some brief introductions from some of the local Obama field staff, the politicians spoke.  First up was Tom Perriello, the former member of the House of Representatives for the Charlottesville area until he lost his re-election bid in 2010.  Next was former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine who is looking to claim a seat in the U.S. Senate in November.  He made a handful of jabs against George Allen, his Republican opponent.

Around 3:30 PM or so, Barack Obama took the stage for about a half an hour.  He spent quite a bit of time reminding folks of the November election, as well as his accomplishments and plans for the future.  He spoke on an abundance of topics that would please the mostly liberal audience such as: Obamacare, his support for abortion, and his desire to increase fuel efficiency of automobiles.  One surprise, however, had to be his call to begin the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan beginning in about a month’s time.

Although it was not difficult to leave the downtown area via car, the Charlottesville police did close off traffic in or out of Route 29, one of the busiest arteries of the city, for over an hour until the presidential motorcade had passed by.  One does have to wonder how many thousands of citizens had their schedules disrupted by this unexpected delay.

Even though WSLS 10 reports that enthusiasm for Barack Obama has waned from its high water mark four years ago, today’s event in the liberal bastion of Charlottesville showed that there are still a vast number of people in Virginia who are willing to wait for hours on a fairly hot summer day and in a packed crowd to hear him speak.

Statistics show that Virginia will be one of the most important battlegrounds in the November 6th race for the President.  Whether Barack Obama carries the Old Dominion, as he did four years ago, remains to be seen.  However, as we draw nearer to the election, Virginians should expect more visits from Obama and Mitt Romney as well as counterbalancing gatherings of their detractors.

A Political Fourth

For many Americans, the Fourth of July is a day filled with cookouts and family gatherings capped off by a night filled with a colorful fireworks display.  However, given that the date serves as the commemoration for the birth of the nation, it is also steeped in politics.

On Wednesday afternoon, the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia held its annual parade to celebrate the day.  The weather was quite hot and sunny, a marked difference from last year when a virtual monsoon threatened to cancel the affair.

The parade boasted the usual assortment of floats and vehicles: musicians, fire and rescue teams, antique cars, and, of course, political groups.  This year, there were four different sets of folks who entered: the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the Tea Party, and Abe Shearer for City Council.

Overall, the candidate who could claim the largest number of visible supporters in the parade had to be Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6).  There was a veritable sea of matching blue Goodlatte shirts among the Republicans.  Other Republican candidates were promoted as well including: Mitt Romney, George Allen, Mark Obenshain, and the various City Council hopefuls.

The Democratic Party had an impressive showing as well.  They waved signs in favor of Barack Obama, Tim Kaine, Andy Schmookler, and two City Council candidates. I spoke with Deb Fitzgerald, one of the Democratic candidates running, to ask if the Democratic Party only fielded two folks for the three seats up in November.  I discovered that although Kai Degner is running for re-election, he apparently had no signs printed to be used in the parade.

Running as an independent for City Council, Abe Shearer also made his presence known.  Even though some might be tempted to disregard independents, recent elections have shown that they offer beat the two party candidates for this particular office.  The outcome for this race will hinge heavily upon the battle between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at the top of the ticket and the strength of the campaigns of each of the council candidates.

During the trip down Main Street, I walked alongside the Tea Party float handing out copies of the Constitution.  In general, the crowd was very receptive and so I ran out of materials a good distance from the end of the route.

Given that the Fourth is now five days passed, you might find it odd that it has taken me so long to write about it here.  Well, I’m afraid that I didn’t feel much like writing on the evening of the event.  On the drive back to the parking lot, I decided to catch a ride on the Tea Party float.  As we turned onto a side street, the mast holding the tea party sign struck a low-hanging branch and came loose.  Unfortunately, I happened to be in the path of the heavy wooden board as it fell to the ground.  Although it was only a glancing blow, the plank did graze the side of my head and collided with my shoulder.  At the time, I was worried about the severity of the injury, and, as a result of the pain, did very little for the rest of that evening.  However, I’m pleased to say that several days later, only a yellowish bruise and a bit of residual soreness seem to be the only lingering effects.

I suppose that one could see a bit of irony in the idea of a person who opposes the idea of government-run health insurance and also does not presently have health insurance due to the tremendous cost involved, becoming injured himself and possibly in need of assistance.  Nevertheless, if a person does find him or herself in such a state of need, should one demand that the government redress this problem?  Although freely given charity is laudable, the idea of a person compelling his or her neighbors to care for his or her needs through either force or coercion seems to completely reject the basic political tenets of liberty and freedom under which this country was supposedly founded.

Anyway, to sum up, except for the surprise accident at the end, I would say that the parade was a rousing success for all of the parties who choose to participate.  Speaking specifically of the tea party, I hope that I’ll see a few new faces at our meeting later this month.

Primary Musings

Karen Kwiatkowski at the Keister Precinct in Harrisonburg

Well, nearly a week has come and gone since Virginia’s Tuesday primary.  I suppose that the end result did not yield any great surprises.  Across the Commonwealth each incumbent House of Representatives candidate emerged victorious.  In the Senate contest the virtual incumbent, former Senator George Allen, also won.

According to the Virginia State Board of Elections, with all precincts but one reporting, George Allen captured the GOP nomination with 65.45% of the vote.  Tea Party favorite Jamie Radtke finished second with 23.05%.  Delegate Bob Marshall and Bishop E. W. Jackson finished a distant third and fourth with 6.76% and 4.72% respectively.

George Allen polled relatively well throughout Virginia.  He only lost two cities and counties; Jamie Radtke won a plurality in Charles City County and Bob Marshall did likewise in Manassas Park.  Other notable results showed very close contests between Radtke and Allen in Amelia, Hanover, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Northampton, and Powhatan Counties.  Although Radtke captured a clear second overall, E. W. Jackson took runner up in Albemarle and Botetourt Counties while Marshall boasted second in and around his House of Delegates district, Prince William and Manassas.

Although Jamie Radtke attempted to secure the title of the conservative alternative to George Allen, the fact that both Jackson and Marshall were competing had to hurt both her fundraising and numbers at the polls.  However, given his monetary and virtual 100% name recognition, it still would have been a monumental hurdle for Radtke to defeat Allen one-on-one.  Now that the dust has settled, one important question to ask though is, given their low vote totals, why were Jackson and Marshall in the race?

Except during the final months of the campaign, it did not appear that Jackson was actually trying to win the nomination.  He had a pretty small campaign staff and I’ve heard that he made a number of speeches where he didn’t actually reference his candidacy for Senate.  One popular theory is that he was trying to build name ID in order to establish himself for a future political run.

As for Delegate Marshall, it is clear that he entered the race far too late.  If you will recall, he didn’t make an official announcement of his candidacy until late January or early February of 2012.  By comparison, by that point, the Radtke campaign had already been in full swing for more than a year.   Although I cannot comment on the rest of the state, the fact that Marshall spent very little time or effort campaigning in the Shenandoah Valley made his poor showing here a virtual inevitability.

Moving on to the 6th district House of Representatives race, incumbent Bob Goodlatte turned back a conservative/libertarian challenge from retired Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski.  With 100% of the vote counted, Goodlatte captured 66.49% of the vote as compared to Kwiatkowski’s 33.5%.

With her campaign headquarters based in Harrisonburg, Kwiatkowski won my hometown with 50.57% of the vote.  She also did quite well in Rockingham County, losing by 240 votes and in Page County where Goodlatte won with 13 votes.  However, Goodlatte finished very strong in most of the higher population centers, winning Roanoke County with 76.95%, Lynchburg City with 75.65%, and Roanoke City with 70.93%.

The burning question here is what will happen in 2014?  First, what will Bob Goodlatte do?  After all, Tuesday marked his first Republican primary challenger in twenty years.  Will he move in a more conservative direction, repudiating his earlier efforts to expand the size and scope of government through SOPA/CISPA, federal prohibitions curtailing online gambling, and liberty-weakening measures like the Patriot Act?  And, if he does not, will Kwiatkowski, as she hinted earlier, challenge him again?  Or will a new challenger emerge?

Here are my predictions for November.  Given past trends, the race for the House was more or less decided last week.  The 6th district is far too conservative and Bob Goodlatte has a massive campaign war chest, so he should roll over his colorful Democratic challenger, Andy Schmookler.  However, polls have shown the Senate race to be a tight affair.  Although the outcome of the presidential contest will certainly influence all down ticket races, at this point, I believe Tim Kaine will be our next Senator.  George Allen still has a number of fences to mend on the right and conservatives do not share the great fear for Kaine as they do for Obama. As for the Obama vs. Romney fight, I think the race is too close to call.  Virginia is a toss-up between the two.  However, I cannot envision a path to victory for Romney that does not involve him capturing the Commonwealth.  Obama, on the other hand, doesn’t require a Virginia victory to gain four more years.  For that reason and several others, I would give a slight edge to Obama…at least at this point.

Let me end by thanking all of the candidates who ran, the activists who volunteered, and the citizens who voted on Tuesday.  As we saw, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the most conservative candidates don’t always win.  However, if we remain true to our principles and remain organized and active, we will prevail in the long run.  We must continue to fight because it is good for our party, good for Virginia, good for our nation, good for our children, and good for their children.  The sake of the present and the future demands no less of us.

The primaries are over.  Onward to victory!

Tax Day Rally 2012

Well ladies and gentlemen, the time for the 2012 Tax Day Rally has come and gone.

On April 14th, the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party held their annual event in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.  The event boasted an impressive list of speakers including Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.  Even if you missed the gathering, you can still either read about it on examiner.com or watch a slideshow video on youtube.

Enjoy and make certain to attend in 2013!

The Conservative Dilemma

On Friday, the Republican Party of Virginia announced that four of the five candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Virginia’s Senate seat had successfully submitted a sufficient number of signatures to appear on the June 12th primary ballot.  These candidates are: George Allen, E.W. Jackson, Bob Marshall, and Jamie Radtke.  Only David McCormick failed to submit any signatures and thus was denied a spot in this contest.

Although many voters likely welcome the opportunity to select between four candidates, this particular situation heavily favors one candidate, George Allen.  Unlike the others, George Allen has held a multitude of political offices including serving as both the Governor of Virginia and a Senator from 2001-2007.  Therefore, due to his decades of political experience and campaigning, he has a much higher name identification rate and a massive campaign war chest when compared to any of the other candidates.

It should be noted that some of George Allen’s positions as well as his votes while serving as a senator do worry some conservative activists.  Although one can find a more extensive article on this subject here, George Allen voted to raise the debt ceiling many times, he voted to strip away our civil liberties via the Patriot Act, and he supported No Child Left Behind.  In addition, his refusal to take a public stance on either NDAA or SOPA may lead some people to believe that he will continue to support big government policies if he is elected senator again.

However, even though there are three alternatives to George Allen, it is highly unlikely that any of these challengers can mount a successful bit to deny the current frontrunner in this present situation.  Collectively, Radtke, Marshall, and Jackson may very well end up with more votes that Mr. Allen in the primary, but as a winning candidate only needs a plurality of the votes and not a majority, it will be difficult for any of the three to do so.  Jamie Radtke has a considerable following among the tea parties, Bob Marshall still has remnants of his loyal followers who nearly propelled him to victory in the 2008 Senate contest, and E.W. Jackson has done quite well among the social conservatives.  Other conservatives will support George Allen due to the belief that he has the best chance of the four to win the seat.  Thus, we find the conservative dilemma.

Recognizing this situation, the ideal solution would be for two of the candidates to withdraw so that voters can decide if they would prefer George Allen or someone who bills him or herself to be a more conservative alternative.  However, at this point, such a move seems unlikely.  Jamie Radtke has been campaigning for well over a year, likely has the best defined campaign, and has spent more time, energy, and money than either Jackson or Marshall.  Jackson continues to electrify audiences with his passionate speeches as has recently expanded his campaign staff.  Marshall, even though he is the newest entrant into the race, still probably commands a higher ID than either of the other two combined.  Thus, believing each is the strongest candidate to face Allen, none of them will withdraw and, chances are, the anti-Allen vote will be split in such a way as to be more or less irrelevant in the June 12th contest.

Will conservatives band together, rejecting two of the others, and rally behind one of the non-Allen candidates?  Conversely, do conservatives believe that George Allen shares enough of their principles to hold this office once again?  And, once the primary is over, can any of the four candidates capture the hearts and minds of conservatives to cobble together a successful coalition of his or her rivals’ supporters and independent voters in order to beat the Democratic nominee former Governor Tim Kaine in November?  What a dilemma!

Allen Calls The Kettle Black

This morning, I received an email from George Allen’s campaign.  Included within is an ad that attacks the presumptive Democratic nominee, former Governor Tim Kaine.  Towards the end of the video, I found this argument particularly amusing:

From the George Allen Campaign

Given his more or less steadfast support of President Obama, one can certainly make the claim that, if elected, Tim Kaine will be more of an agent of Obama than he will be for the citizens of Virginia.  But what about George Allen’s previous record in the Senate?  Anyone remember him supporting No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the conflict in Iraq, and raising the debt ceiling time and time again?  During his six years in the Senate didn’t he endorse a lot of troubling bills and programs that flew in the face of limited government conservatism that then President George W. Bush supported?  Therefore, using this same logic, couldn’t you easily scratch Kaine and Obama out of the picture and replace them with Allen and Bush?

This year, the citizens of Virginia have a choice for both the Republican and Democratic nominees for Senate.  If you like the big government policies of Obama, then you should choose Tim Kaine.  Then again, if you preferred the big government policies of Bush, then you should support George Allen.

Frankly, I want a Senator who will always stand up for my values and not simply be another mouthpiece for a president.  We can do better than either Kaine or Allen.  We have that choice.  The only question is will you have the courage to make it?

Denouncing the NDAA?

Last week, I contacted the campaigns of all of the Republican candidates for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat as well as Democratic frontrunner Tim Kaine.  My purpose in doing so was to discover each of their positions regarding the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act.  As you might imagine, I am quite dismayed about the prospect of giving the president the authority to indefinitely detain any person, be they an American citizen or not, without a trial.  I had hoped that each of the candidates would take a strong stance against this potential injustice.

Well, seven days have passed since my inquiry.  What to do you expect each of their responses was?  First, I didn’t get a reply from Tim Donner.  Given that he ended his campaign shortly after receiving my question, this outcome comes as no surprise.  Nor did I get any sort of answer from either E.W. Jackson or David McCormick.   The reasoning for this lapse likely stems from the fact that neither seem to have very organized or responsive campaigns and likely do not have a person devoted to answering such questions.

Then again, neither George Allen nor Tim Kaine offered any sort of opinion either.  My guess here, given their records, is that like John McCain and Mark Warner both support increasing the power of the federal government at the expense of minor things like the Constitution.  Of course, I could be wrong.  I hope that I’m wrong.

At this point, to the best of my knowledge, only one of the Senate candidates has come out in opposition to NDAA.  That candidate is Jamie Radtke.  As she wrote in a recent article, “Today, men and women of zeal are pushing through legislation that will seriously undermine our Constitution and set back the cause of liberty that men and women have fought and died for since 1775.”  She goes on to add, “The NDAA writes into law the unconstitutional authority claimed by the president to indefinitely detain American citizens suspected of supporting terrorism and denies them the right to due process or trial. Worse, it allows the U.S. government to detain Americans as long as we are at war with terrorists, and this is a war with no end in sight.”  You can read all of her thoughts on her website.

As Virginians look to elect or re-elect a president, a senator, and eleven members of the House of Representatives in 2012, I believe that it is imperative that we choose candidates who respect our Constitution and the rule of law.  Giving the president new and unconstitutional authority to imprison us is not the kind of leadership that I’m hoping to find.  Therefore, I call on each of the candidates to join Jamie Radtke in denouncing NDAA.

Here’s my take home message for my fellow Virginians: If a candidate does not issue a firm commitment to protecting the people from overreaches of the government, then he or she should not be considered as a reasonable choice for any elected office.

The U.S. Senate, Up For Debate

On Thursday, four Senate candidates gathered in Verona to participate in the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party’s debate.  These participants include three Republicans, Tim Donner, E. W. Jackson, and David McCormick and one Independent candidate, Kevin Chisholm.  There were also three vacant chairs on the stage set aside for George Allen and Tim Kaine who both declined the invitation as well as one of Jamie Radtke who withdrew less than a week prior to the event.

The debate itself included a wide variety of issues: the size of the federal government, national debt, the 10th amendment and federalism, property rights, among others. It was gratifying, not only to be selected by the Tea Party to craft some of the debate questions, but also to hear the candidates discuss ideas that I think are important.  However, I would have liked to have the four gentlemen share their thoughts on foreign policy.  Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough time to cover everything.  Hopefully, the next debate will delve into this topic and more.

Here are a few impressions of the candidates.  In the early portion of the debate, Kevin Chisholm spoke favorably of Woodrow Wilson, the League of Nations, and the United Nations.  Presumably these viewpoints would not find much traction among the tea party faithful.  In addition, he was either unfamiliar with or offered no strong opinions regarding the Patriot Act, Agenda 21, and Kelo vs. City of New London.  Although no candidate can claim to know everything, this lack of knowledge could weaken his chances.

From earlier reports, I expected a great debate from both E. W. Jackson and Tim Donner.  They both have a reputation as forceful speakers and I think that this debate reinforced this idea.  Bishop Jackson seemed to win over the crowd as he garnered the most applause of any of the candidates.  Given his statements, I have mixed feelings about him.  He advocates removing U.S. involvement in the U.N. and supports state nullification of unconstitutional federal laws, which shows his commitment to federalism.  Conversely his almost unconditional support for Israel may needlessly embroil the nation into another unnecessary war.  Also, if I understood him correctly, although he opposes the invasive TSA searches, planning to vote to extend the Patriot Act creates worrisome questions regarding his support of civil liberties.

Switching to Tim Donner, his most memorable line came when he compared the government in Washington D.C. to our pre-Revolutionary oppression with Great Britain.  Although he held his ground well, he didn’t offer much in the way of any other bold comments and thus lost a bit of ground to the other candidates.

Flanked by both Jackson and Donner, David McCormick remained in the background for most of the debate.  His soft-spoken style seemed more akin to a storyteller than a debater.  Nevertheless, as the debate continued, I began to pay more attention to Mr. McCormick once he stated that he would not vote to renew the Patriot Act as well as the idea that the federal government ought to have no role in our health care.  He came alive toward the end of the event, but time expired before he could make serious inroads with the crowd.

There was also a straw poll at the debate.  Yesterday, I thought I heard unofficially that E. W. Jackson emerged the victor with around 45% of the vote.  A few moments ago, I received the official results and they are as follows:

George Allen 1%

Jamie Radtke 1%

Kevin Chisholm 1%

Undecided 3%

David McCormick 8%

Tim Donner 20%

E. W. Jackson 65%

Congratulations to Mr. Jackson for his convincing victory in the debate.  I once again encourage you to learn more about Mr. Jackson and the rest of the field, but in recognition of this feat, I’ll include a link to his website here.

I appreciate that these four candidates faced the voters to answer some very difficult questions.  Although the frontrunners were absent, one cannot win the hearts and minds of voters with mere mailings and T.V. ads.  Clearly advocating shared principles through personal contact is a key to representative government.

Overall, although attendance was less than I had hoped, I rate the event as a success.  Thanks to the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party for this event.  Hopefully all of the candidates will take the time to participate in the next debate.