There is only one candidate I am endorsing in the 2017 primaries and that is Republican Delegate Glenn Davis for Lieutenant Governor. Not only is Glenn Davis one of the smartest candidates to run for Statewide office in some time, he is also one of the only candidates running for Statewide office that has managed to run a clean, innovative, and issue-oriented campaign. I understand that most Americans are tired of “smart candidates”, but as our country becomes increasingly polarized, we need intelligent men and women focused on innovative policy solutions to help bring our two party’s together. Furthermore, neither Senator Bryce Reeves or Senator Jill Vogel can win a general election. They are both great human beings, outstanding candidates, with strong conservative records; however, both of their organizations (usually driven by satellites) have waged nasty, nonconstructive campaigns. Hatred between the two camps will depress turnout in November.
Meanwhile, Delegate Glenn Davis has run a positive campaign that has garnered a great deal of attention from Independents. In short, Glenn Davis is smart and Glenn Davis can win. Reeves and Vogel simply do not have enough support within the Republican Party to overcome the Democrat’s 5pt November lead.
From the Roanoke Times:
That’s where Davis, a delegate from Virginia Beach, cuts such an interesting figure. At last year’s annual Republican Advance (the party prefers not to call it a retreat), Davis sponsored a break-out session on coal. Instead of the usual twaddle about “bringing back coal,” Davis brought in two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to talk about their research into graphene.
Graphene is “an allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale, hexagonal lattice in which one atom forms each vertex.” Or, for the non-scientists among us, it’s a carbon-based compound with almost magical properties. Among them: It’s very thin, very strong and conducts electricity like nobody’s business. For computer chips, it could be even better than silicon.
Graphene was first observed in electron microscopes in 1962; most of the research into it has come in the past decade. Two British scientists won a Nobel Prize in 2010 for their work on graphene. Now two MIT scientists are working to figure out how to commercialize it for use in electronics, batteries and solar panels.
So where does graphene come from? Here’s the kicker: Graphene is best found in one particular rock that is incredibly complex, chemically speaking. It’s a rock that is also quite common in some parts of the country. We call it coal. Yes, powdered coal could replace silicon. Right now, this is mostly in the research phrase, but think of what that would mean for coal-mining regions if these MIT scientists could figure out the applications, and a business model.
Other candidates — on both sides — mostly offer bromides for the coalfields. Davis is the only one talking about graphene. This is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking we need more of. Other Republicans strangely discount or ignore science; here’s a Republican who embraces science.
The Democrats: Governor
The Democrat Party in Virginia has found themselves with a contentious race at the top of the ticket. On the one side, you have an ex-Congressman Tom Perriello backed by out-of-state money and endorsements from Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. On the other side, you have Virginia Democrat Party backed and current Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam. The Washington Post has an outstanding email-debate between these two candidates.
While Ralph Northam has years of experience pursuing smoking bans, higher standards for regulating concussions, and fighting man-made climate change, Perriello argues that,
The “Virginia Way” stopped working for average Virginians a long time ago; what we need is a new way that builds solutions directly among the people, across region and race.
Populism is increasingly popular. Experience is no longer as admired or required as it once was. President Donald Trump put an end to that. Anti-establishment rhetoric has grown exponentially in both parties, as voters are more prone to express their feelings during elections, rather than worrying about policy-positions, experience, and character traits like “trustworthiness” or “leadership”.
Northam argues that experience is important though.
I believe it’s a matter of experience in Richmond, a health-care provider and veteran versus experience in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. The politics of getting things done in Richmond can be very complicated, and it takes someone who has spent the time to know the issues and develop the relationships with key members of both parties to make progress.
Northam has a point. With a Republican General Assembly, as Governor, Northam would probably get along better with the Republican establishment and be able to compromise to get things done. One of Tom Perriello’s major campaign priorities is to take on Dominion Power, which has considerable influence over the Democrat establishment in Richmond. Yet, this is changing. Green-Energy Tech and Climate-Fear dollars are pouring into State politics. Massive, federally-sponsored tech companies looking for local and state subsidies could challenge Virginia Goliath Dominion Power and Perriello would be instrumental in helping that along.
Northam takes Perriello to task on his proposals which would require a $1 billion increase in taxes, something Northam understands is unlikely to pass through the Republican legislature, and which would likely drive dozens of Virginia’s largest businesses out of the Commonwealth to Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, or Tennessee.
Democrats have a choice between a Northam who has more experience and better relationships with the bureaucracy and the legislature, and Perriello who is looking to radically change the way Democrat politics are performed in the Commonwealth.
The Democrat’s biggest liability is the inexperience of the Lieutenant Governor candidates. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea who any of these people are – so are are some snippets from an article giving their backgrounds.
In the shadow of Virginia’s close-fought Democratic gubernatorial primary, three Democrats from the D.C. suburbs who have never held office are competing to be the state’s next lieutenant governor. […]
[Justin] Fairfax, 38, has picked up support from dozens of elected officials, including more than half of the Democratic state senators, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) and several national progressive groups. Neither Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) nor any of the other four statewide elected officials has made an endorsement in the race. […]
Fairfax said his top focus as lieutenant governor would be the economy. He said he’d promote a $15 minimum wage, ways to ease student loan debt and policies to make it easier for people to train for jobs such as electricians and machine operators that are in demand but vacant. […]
A veteran political operative, [Susan] Platt ran statewide campaigns for Virginia Democrats in the 1990s, including Sen. Charles S. Robb’s 1994 reelection bid and Don Beyer’s unsuccessful 1997 gubernatorial campaign. […]
Platt has sought to channel the anti-Trump fervor into support for her campaign. She announced her campaign with a video of her participation in the Women’s March and she plans to lead a protest of the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling during the Senior PGA Championship over Memorial Day weekend. […]
Rossi said his decision to run for lieutenant governor traces back to 2013, when he was watching the second inauguration of President Barack Obama from his hospital bed while undergoing treatment for a rare blood disease. […]
Rossi has struggled to raise campaign cash (his bid has been largely self-financed) and secure endorsements. And he acknowledges that he doesn’t attract the same kind of buzz as Virginia’s potential second black or female statewide officeholder.
Many Democrats are frustrated with the lack of high profile, diversity in their candidates for office. However, it seems clear that Justin Fairfax has the best chance of winning his primary. He’s a young, energetic candidate. If turnout is low, that’s a pretty good sign for Northam.
Popular Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is running for reelection.
Ed Gillespie appears to have learned a great deal about Republicans in the Commonwealth since his narrow defeat for the United States Senate. First, Mr. Gillespie has aggressively pursued the conservative wing of the Republican grassroots; securing loyalties and buy-in years before the real race for Governor began. Second, Mr. Gillespie has learned that there is nothing to be gained from antagonizing the populist wing of the party, no matter how awful, how nasty, or how dishonest they are about him personally and professionally. Third, Mr. Gillespie understands that campaigns are about monotonous optimism and allowing your surrogates to fight in the mud when fights in the mud are necessary.
Corey Stewart is a Supervisor from Prince William County. His campaign is fueled by excitement left over from the 2016 Trump campaign which came up short in Virginia. Stewart’s campaign is also fueled by the rise of White Nationalism in Virginia. Stewart has been a staunch supporter of preventing local city governments from removing monuments associated with the Confederacy. Corey Stewart’s campaign has been centered around his opposition to illegal immigrants, his opposition to political correctness, his desire to reduce spending and taxes, and his desire to stand up against outside special interests.
Unfortunately, the Stewart campaign has been deeply dishonest – pretty much since its inception. His attacks on Ed Gillespie have been dishonest and will likely be used by Democrats in the General Election if they believe there are still enough persuadable independents capable of being fooled.
Frank Wagner is running on tax increases, which is gutsy. Wagner has run a policy-heavy, honest campaign. I’m not sold on the idea that tax increases are either necessary or sufficient for raising enough money to afford infrastructure investment and to held build a strong trade-school community to offer young adults a low-risk high-reward alternative to the decreasingly valuable Bachelor’s Degree. However, Wagner’s priorities are incredibly important to Virginia’s future growth and if we don’t raise taxes, then we still need to find this money somewhere else. With Medicaid eating up so much of the budget that we’re having to cut funding for local schools, we either need to quickly increase our revenue through job growth, or we’ll have to raise taxes. Wagner’s experience in Virginia politics and his relationship with moderates and Democrats on the other side of the aisle, makes him a viable candidate in a statewide election. Unfortunately, Gillespie’s campaign started back in 2014 and none of these other candidates had the time or money to really compete.
I can imagine voting for Gillespie or Wagner, it really just depends which one you feel has the best chance of winning in NOVA and Hampton Roads (Wagner’s home base).
John Adams is the Republican nominee for Attorney General