This year, Virginians will be electing 140 members of the General Assembly to represent them in Richmond; 100 to the House of Delegates and 40 to the Virginia Senate.
The last time that we elected senators statewide was in the November 2011 elections. As you may remember, before that election the Democratic Party was in charge in the Virginia Senate with 22 seats. The Republican Party was pressing hard to gain control of that chamber. Although a member of the GOP at that time, I must admit that I was wary of the Republicans gaining the majority. After all, the Senator Minority Leader for the Republicans was Senator Tommy Norment (R-James City County), one of the least conservative Republicans in the Virginia Senate. Why did I not want him? Well, he supported many tax increases, including the massive hike under then Governor Mark Warner, and was a man who was arguably less concerned with reducing the size of government and keeping taxes low than some of the Democrats.
Prior to that election, I spoke about these concerns with a fellow activist who would later go on to lead the Young Republican Federation of Virginia. I asked why should we promote the Republican slate as a whole and win the Virginia Senate if our legislators would simply turn around and give enormous power to a man whose principles stood in stark contrast to the grassroots Republican base. However, I was assured that if the Republicans did win the Senate that November, they would not choose Norment, instead rewarding a strong, conservative leader. As such, like many other conservatives and libertarians, I promoted the Republicans.
What do you think happened next? Well, the Republicans did win in November and proceeded to elect Senator Norment as the majority leader. And, under his leadership, the Republican-led Senate then passed a massive transportation tax hike dubbed “Plan ’13 From Outer Space”. Should we be surprised? After all, as fellow blogger D.J. McGuire pointed out on the Virginia Virtucon, “every Republican-controlled State Senate in the 21st Century has enacted a tax increase.” Unfortunately, once again, conservatives had been betrayed. So much for the “New” GOP Senate.
So, here we are, a little over four months from deciding whether the Republicans will maintain power in the Virginia Senate. I’m sure that you have been told, as I have, once again we need to make sure that the Republicans continue to be in charge so that they can promote our conservative principles in Richmond. However, assuming that they win, I see no reason to believe that they won’t continue with Senator Norment (or someone equally bad) as majority leader. Therefore, I encourage you to ask your Republican incumbent or challenger that, if elected, will he or she pledge to vote for a new, principled majority leader. If the answer is no, or you aren’t given a response, just remember that there is a Libertarian, Carl Loser, available in one district. Or…you might just be better off casting your vote for the Democratic candidate. Otherwise, meet the new boss; same as the old boss.
Therefore, to my fellow conservatives and libertarians who think that electing Republicans to the Virginia Senate regardless of their individual positions will somehow make certain that our values are advanced, let me offer a quote from former President George W. Bush:
So, will the Republican or Democratic Party control the Virginia Senate as a result of the 2015 elections? For those who clamor for a Republican victory, just remember that with Norment back in charge I hope you like higher taxes. You will have no one else to blame when you are fooled again.