Archive for March 6th, 2012
It was largely an uneventful night in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but we did learn a little bit about the electorate and where it may lead us in November. For the most part the news was mostly good for former Massachussettes Gov. Mitt Romney.
Here is a look at some of the more interesting numbers that came out of Tuesday nights vote:
VA Primary Results:
*Total up grabs- 46
(If all had made the ballot)
Romney vote totals
Richmond area- 59%
Hampton Roads- 58%
D.C. Suburbs- 59%
Northern VA- 52%
263,186 of 5,155,342 total voters (5.105%)
Now on to the general election for Virginia voters.. no rest for the political talk as President Barack Obama comes to Prince George on Friday.
Today on NBC12 First at 4, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz joined me live to discuss the republican presidential primary and Virginia’s role in the general election. Among other things, Rep. Wasserman Shultz said that Virginia democrats should vote in today’s open republican primary, although she stopped short of saying who they should support.
She also defended President Barack Obama‘s frequent visits to swing states including Virginia, as official White House visits, saying “the president is being the president.” Republicans have charged that the president is “campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime”.
My full interview with Rep. Wasserman Shultz can be found below:
I also interviewed Virginia Victory Chairman Pete Snyder, a close ally of Gov. Bob McDonnell and a potential candidate for statewide office in the Commonwealth. He defended his party’s lack of candidates in the Virginia primary and argued that the heated battles during the nomination process will be long forgotten once a candidate is officially nominated.
His full interview can be seen below:
Today is the biggest day in the Republican Presidential Primary contest, but unfortunately Virginia’s role is expected to be a minor one. With only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul on the ballot, Virginia was not really in play. None of the candidates made much of an effort to garner votes and as a result the focus will be on other states with closer contests and more delegates at stake.
However, that doesn’t mean the vote is not important. Virginia will still contribute 49 delegates to the eventual GOP nominee and the state is still one of the most important come the fall election. We will have complete coverage today on air and on-line. Including the latest returns when the polls close at 7pm.
Also.. today on NBC12 First at 4, we will talk live with DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Democrats are ready to put Virginia in play for November, wasting no time after the Virginia primary. President Barack Obama will visit the Central Virginia on Friday.
Update: In addition to Rep. Wasserman Schultz, I will also be joined by Virginia Victory Chairman Pete Snyder. Synder is a close ally of Governor McDonnell and rumored to be considering a run for statewide office in Virginia.
As always, I’ll be looking for your view of what is happening at your polling location. Send me your tweets @ryanobles or post your perspective on my facebook page. I’ll update what you are seeing throughout the day.
Our Tayleigh Davis was at a polling location in Church Hill from the time it opened at 6 am until 7 and did not see one voter. Church Hill is not a very GOP heavy area, but the fact that not one voter showed up to cast their ballot, could give us an idea as to how slow the turnout will be today.
The view from the ground:
@PatrickSmithRVA just voted at gordon elementary, was voter number 261. crazy low turnout today.
@MzInvestigator I was # 125 to vote. That’s 80 people on my precinct since 1:00.
@BradfordAmbrose Just voted with my mom for the first time at the Dorey Park Precinct in Eastern Henrico. We were the only two voters in sight.
@bollach- at 9:42 I was the 47th in my precinct (Southampton Baptist serving Stratford Hills/Oxford/Cherokee).
@Joseph_Taylor: I was voter 16 at 8:30, one campaign worker for Paul/Bob Marshall outside. I voted for Ron Paul
@notashamed87: I voted at 7:40 in Mangohick. I was #7. #5, #6 and #8 were there, too. Polling lady said, “We’re having a rush!”
@MzInvestigator: my bf just voted at Beulah precinct in chesterfield. He was #48.
@taotetek: Just got back from the Battery Park polling place – no one else there but the workers, I was voter #8
@MCPollock: It was a very slow day, at about 8:30, only about 12 had voted at my precinct #204, I voted for @MittRomney
@blairmatfleet: I voted 4 #RonPaul in Hanover at about 10:30. I was the 51st vote at my precinct.
Kristen Bartholow Anderl Only 27 people so far at Providence Middle School by the time I voted at 815. It was a ghost town.
Jeff Dzado - I saw a whole lot of nothing at my polling place. The place was a ghost town except for the 3 or 5 workers.
@pjsykes- 6:30am about 7 people were working but I was the only one voting. I didn’t see any other voters leaving/arriving.
This morning I previewed what to expect from the Virginia primary on NBC12 News Today. You can see my chat with Gray Hall and Heather Sullivan below:
Republicans and Democrats have picked sides in a battle over the response by State and Capitol Police to an abortion rights protest that led to several dozen arrests on Saturday. Democrats spent Monday attacking the decision by Capitol Police to call in State Police reinforcements to break up what they describe as a peaceful protest. In press releases, on social media and on the floor of the House and Senate, democratic leaders evoked strong language as they expressed their displeasure with police in riot gear breaking up the protest and forcibly removing protestors from the steps of the Capitol.
Many of these democrats found a way to lay much of the blame on Governor Bob McDonnell.
Fairfax Senator Chap Petersen (D), a potential candidate for statewide office said the response was overblown. “We are a free society. This is a public square,” he said from the Senate floor. ”People have a right to protest, without harassment or intimidation.”
Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Brian Moran took it a step further. He intertwined the response to the policies of the McDonnell administration and continued to push the narrative that McDonnell himself may have called for the State Police to act in the fashion that they did.
“While I cannot say whether or not the Governor authorized or had knowledge of this weekend’s regrettable arrests,” Moran said. ”There is no question that this unfortunate situation could have been avoided by a leader with the courage to resist the extreme elements of his own party and focus on making life better for Virginia families.”
But McDonnell forcefully defended his role in the Capitol Square showdown. When asked directly by our Andy Jenks if he ordered the State Police to break up the protest the governor did not mince words.
“Absolutely not. See, that’s the problem. And that’s been the problem for about a month up here,” McDonnell said. “People saying things of which they have no direct information. And saying things that are just flat not correct.” McDonnell said he was at the CAA basketball tournament during the protest and did not learn what occurred until well after the situation had ended.
But while McDonnell defended his own role, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and GOP members of the House and Senate attacked democrats for their criticism of law enforcement. Bolling, a candidate for governor in 2013, said that they “owe Capitol Police an apology” for the way they assailed them on the floor of the General Assembly.
Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R) explained that leaders of the House and Senate had worked with Capitol Police to develop a contingency plan in the event that protests in the 2012 session threatened the civil assembly of the legislature. He said those plans were agreed to by republicans and democrats. He contended that the police were just doing their job and hinted that democrats were encouraging the partisan divide as a way to avoid talking about the stalled budget process.
“There are some in this body, that have done everything that they can to exacerbate the tarnishing of that public image based social issues to try to deflect what they are not doing in other issues.”
And as the rhetoric heats up, the ultrasounds before abortions, which sparked the protest, remains sitting on Governor McDonnell’s desk waiting for the final salvo in what has been a divisive fight over social issues.
A fight that has drawn clear lines between republicans and democrats and in most cases, where you sit on those issues seems to be directly linked to how one views the response to the weekend protests.
See Ben Garbarek‘s report on NBC12 on those arrested on Saturday, which includes an explanation from Capitol Police as to why they responded in the way they did.