Posts Tagged ‘Bob Marshall’
It is now less than a week before voters go to the polls in Virginia primaries and the most marquee match up of them all has turned out to be anything but exciting. One time senator and governor George Allen will be on the ballot next Tuesday in a primary that his campaign has for the most part publically ignored. Despite a relentless attack from three conservative opponents, there is nothing that indicates that the primary vote will be anything but an easy day for Allen.
It is not from a lack of trying. Each of the candidates has the make up to mimic the kind of uprising that politicians like Allen have faced in other states. Establishment republican candidates like Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in Texas and Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah have either lost primaries or been faced into difficult runoff elections or primary votes they were not expecting. Their difficult times are all the result of conservative/tea party support that has coalesced at the right time to push the establishment candidates in to a difficult position.
Despite having all the ingredients for the same type of scenario in Virginia, Allen has survived and arguably thrived as he coasts to the nomination, setting the stage for a one on one titanic showdown with fellow former Gov. Tim Kaine in November.
Why? I’ve come up with five reasons:
1- Divide and Conquer
The fatal mistake the conservative/tea party made came early in this primary campaign. They couldn’t come up with one candidate. By facing three other candidates, Allen has successfully split the loyalty of a small, but active group of voters that would have to be together in order to be successful. Del. Bob Marshall is a hero with social conservatives. Former Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke is popular with the libertarian, fiscally conservative wing (although she is socially conservative herself). Bishop E.W. Jackson is a talented speaker and is able to excite a crowd, but by battling two other challengers, he has been unable to gain any traction.
The lack of outsider unity in challenging the establishment is what drove businessman Tim Donner out of the race. It was something he told me last summer was a necessity in overcoming Allen’s immense natural advantages.
“It is clear that a single challenger to the establishment candidate George Allen will emerge in this race,” he said. He went on to say that if was not him he’d get out-of-the-way. “I will not do anything to impede the conservative movement, and impede the movement of grass-roots conservatives.”
Donner got out, but the other three candidates never came together, and he ended up endorsing Allen.
2- Securing the base
One thing George Allen never forgot about was his base. The base helped him get elected governor and senator and despite losing in 2006, they were still there for him in a losing effort. Allen knew that it was the base that would guarantee him the nomination in 2012.
While his opponents spent a lot of time reaching out to “non-traditional” political groups, like the tea party, Allen appeared at every traditional GOP event that would have him. Women Republican Club Teas, Golf outings for legislators seeking re-election, Congressional Committee meetings. If grassroots republicans were meeting, Allen was there. There was no meeting he was above and many of those still volunteering at these events were raised on his campaigns for governor and senator. They were all too happy to have him and continue to support him.
Allen’s rock solid support from the base was most evident when the influential righty blog Bearing Drift offered their formal endorsement Monday night.
3- Raising money
No matter how hard these candidates tried, there was just no possible way for them to overcome the ability of a former governor and senator to raise money. Money not just from Virginia but from across the country. The massive cash advantage allowed Allen to hire a great deal of full-time staff. It allowed him to travel the state with ease, build a state infrastructure and take away any type of advantage his opponents could hope to muster.
Granted, in the toppling of establishment candidates, the momentum of the movement overwhelmed significant cash advantages. But in Virginia that momentum never materialized and Allen was able to stifle any appearance of it with spending.
4- No high-profile endorsements
Or perhaps this should say.. “no high-profile endorsements of anyone but Allen”. Allen quickly gobbled up the endorsement of Gov. Bob McDonnell, Rep. Eric Cantor and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. He successfully (at least for now) kept the unpredictable Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli out of the race and even earned the support of high-profile tea party favorites like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).
Meanwhile, his opponents stumbled over opportunities to get national voices to endorse their campaign and bring with it the attention that could lead to money and momentum. Former Alaska governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who has offered her support in a few of these races, has seem disinterested in joining the fray, despite her similarities with Radtke. South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint has been noticeably absent. Radtke thought she had the endorsement of influential republican blogger Erik Erickson, only to have it taken away after an embarrassing conflict at Erickson’s annual Red State event.
This category is in flux because one of these endorsements could still come in with less than a week to go. But the chances of it having a game changing impact at this point are slim.
5- Hard work
This category might be best illustrated through a personal anecdote. It was December of 2010, a cold night in South Richmond. Former Senator George Allen was scheduled to appear at a forum on education with former DPVA chair Paul Goldman. I had received a press advisory so I thought it would be worth it to check it out. Allen had not announced his plans to run, but everyone assumed he was going to. Keep in mind this was just a little less than two years before the 2012 election.
I got to a small community center on the south side and there was no one there. Literally. The doors were locked. We had to be let in by a night janitor. We thought we were in the wrong place. He told us no, there was something happening, but we were just a little early.
About 20 minutes later, a few people trickled in. By the time it was time for the event to start, there may have been 20 people in attendance. Allen was among them. A one time governor, senator and even potential candidate for president came in ready to wax poetic on his thoughts on school choice and private/public education partnerships to a group about the size of a small church choir. We talked for a bit about his potential campaign, and then we left. He stayed. The event was scheduled to go for two hours, on a weeknight, three weeks before Christmas.
I said to my photographer Jerry Brown as we were leaving “there is NO way this guy is not running.”
Of course he was, and of course he knew what it was going to take to win. This is not to suggest that any of Allen’s opponents have not been working just as hard. I believe they actually are. But the difference between Allen and his contemporaries in other states is that they assumed that being who they were was enough to win. 2006 was clearly a wake up call for a man who did not really know what it was like to fail and its clear he doesn’t want something like that to happen again.
Now, I firmly believe that we truly have no idea what could happen on Tuesday and I am confident to leave the outcome to the voters. The point of this post was to illustrate why I believe Allen is in a strong position to win. The hardest part for this Virginia political heavyweight is that the hard work hasn’t really begun. If he is fortunate to get past this initial test, he has the biggest fight of his political life ahead of him.
Just one of the many reasons it will be the most watched race in the country.
If the 2012 Virginia General Assembly accomplishes nothing else this year, it will at least be able to claim the mantle of the state legislative body with the most headlines. Controversial debates over social issues, guns and education, has Virginia splashed all over national web sites and newspapers for the last two months.
Many of those headlines come directly from legislation authored by the colorful and provocative Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William). The conservative delegate, who is also running for in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate has always been outspoken on issues like abortion and gay rights. He is the author of HB-1 a bill that would designate life beginning at conception. A policy commonly called “personhood”. Marshall is also a strong support of a measure that would require woman seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound prior to the procedure.
The heated debate over those issues led Saturday Night Live to group the Virginia in with other hot button issues related to abortion and contraception. In a segment called “Really? with Seth & Amy” Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler mocked Marshall and his colleagues for supporting personhood and ultrasounds before abortions.
“The Virginia House of Representatives this week passed a bill that required women to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound before having an abortion. Really?’ asked Poehler. ”Now don’t get me wrong. I love transvaginal. It’s my favorite airline.”
Marshall hadn’t seen the sketch before our Sarah Bloom asked him about it. He took time to watch it and then called her back. Then he came down to NBC12 to respond on camera.. and provide a little comedy of his own.
“I was scandalized, shocked at the rampant sexist nature of this,” said Marshall, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. ”I mean for example, that chauvinist Seth answers a question about pregnancy when in fact, it should have been Baby Momma who answers the question about pregnancy. I’ll bet Seth has never been pregnant.”
Of course personhood is Marshall’s signature bill. Filed as HB-1 before any other legislation. Meyers enjoyed poking fun at that as well.
“They also passed a bill saying life begins at conception. What’s next?’ asked Meyers. ”Life begins at last call? Life begins when you press send on your Match.com profile?”
Marshall told Sarah that he thought they could do better than that.
“If it’s up to me, look, we tell kids in Virginia 3rd graders, that life begins when sperm and egg meet. They’re kids…what do they know? Adults know life beings when the kids get married and leave home,” Marshall joked. “That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.”
But while the fiery delegate was quick to return his version of comedic fire, he got serious in defense of the bill claiming the media and pro-choice protestors have it all wrong.
“People need to read the bill. This doesn’t do any of the stuff that 95% of the people are saying out there,” he said. ”It doesn’t abolish abortion, it doesn’t get rid of birth control, it doesn’t affect in-vitro.”
Marshall pointed to a similar standard passed in Missouri in 1986 that hasn’t outlawed abortion, cut down on in-vitro or contraception. Marshall said the goal is protect a parent’s legal interest in their unborn child.
“Parents have a protectable interest in children,” he said. “It is a legal interest they should have the right to say, I lost a child. I didn’t lose a tadpole or kangaroo or you know, some stuffed bear. This is a person of great importance to me. The law doesn’t’ recognize that right now.”
Of course pro-choice groups, which staged a large silent protest today disagree. They believe Marshall’s bill is part of a slow creep to end abortion at minimum and outlaw contraception at the most.
Marshall who is using his strong conservative credentials as an asset in the race for U.S. Senate credited his primary opponent, former senator George Allen for being on the same page with him on personhood. “He supports House Bill 1,” said Marshall. ”Yes, I thank him for that. Yes, I do.”
You can see Sarah’s entire story here.
Extended clips of Sarah’s interview with Del. Marshall can be found below:
While much has been made about the circus that Sen. Jim Webb‘s exit has made for Democrats in the 2012 Virginia U.S. Senate race, not much attention has been paid to the impact it could have on the Republican field. While two candidates have already forged ahead, not knowing if Webb was in or out, several more have been sitting on the sidelines waiting to make their move. In addition to those mulling a run, a new reality in the race may even prompt some even more prominent names to jump in.
Former Sen. George Allen didn’t seemed concerned about that possibility when I spoke to him just a few hours after he learned one time rival was out. “I don’t know how many may get into it,” Allen said about the Republican field. “All I know is that since we announced the support has been so encouraging.”
Allen, who enjoys the support of party loyalists, has had a difficult time capturing the emerging Tea Party influence in the Republican party. That has opened the door for new names and fresh faces like Jamie Radtke, the Tea Party activist from Chesterfield to emerge. In a statement shortly after Webb’s announcement, Radtke said his absence “presents the Republican Party and all Virginians with a great opportunity to change the direction of our country by presenting Virginia with a clear choice for their next Senator.”
Right now, Radtke has the alternative spotlight all to herself, but even she admits with the primary election more than a year away there is a much better chance that the field gets bigger, not smaller.
“Regardless of Sen. Webb’s decision, there always was the possibility that others would enter the primary,” Radtke said. “But we have been thrilled with the momentum we’ve been able to build.”
And while potential candidates like Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart and the outspoken Delegate Bob Marshall continue to flirt with the idea of running, could there be an even bigger name, not on anyone’s radar, be willing to take the rare opportunity to run for an open seat?
Former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder seems to thinks so. “Let’s see what the field portends,” Wilder said during a phone conversation yesterday. “Virginia is going to be incredibly pivotal in 2012 for Republicans and Democrats…I’m certain they will all come out.”
Wilder casually brought up the name Ken Cuccinelli in our conversation and said the two had recently had lunch. He said they talked about Webb’s future and the Senate race in general. Wilder said Cuccinelli did not express an interest in running himself. While the Attorney General is an example of the kind of electrifying name that could shake up the Senate race, his political spokesman Noah Wall told me in an email that he will not run for the seat.
Meanwhile Allen, shrugged off the idea that more competition could hurt for his chances. “(The voters) know my record, they know that I actually know communities and people throughout Virginia.”
And Radtke welcomed the challenge.
“I think Senator Webb’s decision is an exciting development, whether others enter the Republican primary or not, because it will really focus the attention on the primary, and on the choice between voting for the old Washington Establishment or for a new generation of conservative leadership,” she said.
You can see my full interview with former Senator Allen below. The full statement from Radtke responding to Sen. Webb’s decision not to run can be found after the jump.
If we have learned anything over the past several years, it’s that no election should be taken for granted. It is a fact that George Allen has to have in the back of his mind as he mounts a comeback for his old seat in the U.S. Senate.
Before if he even officially announced his plans, Allen had one official opponent in the Republican primary and three other “potential” rivals. In an interview on NBC12 First at 4, Bill Kristol, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine said a competitive primary will be good for the Commonwealth.
“I respect George Allen; I think he was a good governor of this state. But no one should anoint him,” said Kristol. ” Other people are free to run against him, free to challenge different votes he cast and different things he can as governor.”
Kristol will actually be with Allen in two weeks when the two appear at the Central Virginia Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner at the Richmond Marriott.
For Kristol, Allen’s past both good and bad will not be the primary focus when voters cast their ballot in 2012.
“If he seems to be running on the fact that I was governor and senator, voters might say it’s time for a fresh look,” said Kristol. “So a lot depends on how George Allen chooses to run the campaign.”
As it stands right now, Allen will be facing Chesterfield Tea Party Activist Jamie Radtke in a Republican primary. Several other conservative leaning Republicans have considering a run. Among them Del. Bob Marshall, Corey Stewart, the Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and Bert Mizusawa, a former Congressional candidate from the Virginia Beach area.
You can see my entire interview with Bill Kristol below. To learn more about the Central Virginia Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, which will take place February 5th, visit their web site: lincolnreagandinner.com.
You can see a complete transcript of the interview on NBC12.com.
Radtke confirmed the information to me this morning.
While there are many presumed candidates, Radtke becomes the first to confirm that she will indeed enter the race. As of now, she is the only actual candidate for the seat. That includes the incumbent Democrat, Jim Webb who has yet to decide if he will run for re-election.
Radtke’s political profile skyrocketed in 2010 after she steered the organization of the very successful Virginia Tea Party Convention. The convention brought in thousands of political diehards from across the Commonwealth and hosted many high-profile national politicians. Radtke was front and center during the lead up to the convention and now appears on a regular basis to give her take on politics on national cable outlets like Fox News Channel.
Originally from Florida, Radtke is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and a stay at home mom to three children. She recently stepped down from her Tea Party post in what many presumed was designed to pave the way for her to mount a bid for the Senate.
While she is the first to jump into the race, it is expected that Radtke will be part of a very crowded Republican primary field. The biggest name being the former Senator and Governor George Allen, who has been crisscrossing the state and acting very much like a candidate. Allen has said he will announce his intentions sometime in early 2011, but few doubt he is anything but in.
Radtke will no doubt go after the conservative base of the Republican party, but she might have some competition from Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart, who has yet to formally announce his intentions, but has taken a few public shots at Allen and has formed his own political action committee. Also vying for the conservative base, Del. Bob Marshall who came within a few votes of upsetting former Governor Jim Gilmore for the nomination in 2008. That was during a convention, the 2012 GOP candidate will be decided in a primary. Bert Mizusawa, who lost out in a primary bid for the 2nd Congressional district seat is also mulling a run.
Keep in mind, this is for the 2012 election, which is close to two years away.
George Allen isn’t officially a candidate yet. However the man who has served at just about every level of Virginia politics is already being attacked like a front-runner. The problem is, that those attacks aren’t coming from Democrats, they are coming from his own party.
Allen was a rising conservative star in 2006 when he was upset by current Senator Jim Webb. Allen was floated as a candidate for President and was on top of the world, before Webb took advantage of a series of campaign gaffes and increasing angst of Republicans and George W. Bush to knock him from his perch.
Since his surprising loss, Allen has been rebuilding his political image. He has been courting grass-roots Republicans, raising money and speaking about political issues. You would think that a man who proudly proclaimed his conservatism, even in environments where it wasn’t popular, would be the perfect fit for a resurgent GOP.
Unfortunately for Allen, many of those people who were his biggest supporters 4 years ago, would now like a crack at the GOP nomination in 2012 themselves. Among them Corey Stewart, the Chair of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. Stewart is not very known outside his constituency and the activists upset about illegal immigration.
Stewart has championed controversial laws in Prince William to reign in illegal aliens to the praise of Tea Party supporters. Stewart’s influence has risen enough where he feels bullish enough to consider a challenge to Allen in 2012 for the GOP nomination. He already has a political action committee and has already started attacking Allen, calling him a “mediocre” Senator.
Stewart isn’t alone. Conservative Delegate Bob Marshall feels Allen is vulnerable enough that he is considering a challenge and Richmond Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke is also mulling getting into the race. Radtke even stepped down from her influential position as the Chair of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot group.
There are several other potential candidates as well.
All of these threats to his return to the top of the political mountain could not shake the smile of George Allen’s face. Tuesday night, before speaking to a group of about 40 people in Richmond’s Southside, Allen told me that the idea that he isn’t conservative enough is “laughable”.
Allen pointed out how he is often sought out as a fundraiser for some of the very same people who attack him. However, he refused to counter their criticism with attacks of his own.
“I know all these other folks and I’m not going to speak ill of them,” Allen told me. ” I don’t understand why they are lashing out but that’s the way they are. I think what most people want to see for our country are leaders who have ideas that motivate and inspire people.”
Obviously Allen feels he is still the man to offer that inspiration.
An extend the clip from Allen’s comments on GOP attacks can be found below:
A plan by former Governor Tim Kaine to extended health insurance benefits to domestic partners of state employees has screeched to a halt after an opinion issued today by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli‘s office.
Last week Governor Bob McDonnell told me on NBC12′s First at Four that he was holding off on dealing with the planned changes until he received an opinion from the Attorney General. In the letter to McDonnell, Cuccinelli cites a number of “defects” with the proposal that would prevent the Governor from implementing the plan that would dramatically extend benefits to adults in committed relationships, particularly those who are not married or in same-sex relationships. Based on the information received from Cuccinelli, McDonnell’s office withdrew the proposal.
But while this kills the movement to extend benefits in the short-term, the debate itself is far from over. Both conservatives and liberal groups weighed in on today’s decision from very different perspectives. Each side has already taken the fight to the next stage preparing for a long-term showdown over the rights of same-sex couples under state employment. The battle could have a great deal of influence on the rights of homosexuals across all of Virginia.
Conservatives, who have a great deal of influence in the House of Delegates and the Governor’s Mansion, have already worked to create a legislative remedy to prevent a Governor from taking this type of action in the future. Firebrand conservative Del. Bob Marshall has introduced a budget amendment that would take the power away from the executive branch to make these kind of sweeping administrative changes to the Commonwealth’s benefits package. Meanwhile, liberal groups that support the interest of same-sex couples are calling the ruling discrimination and claim that decisions like these put Virginia at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting quality employees.
Aside from the obvious changes to the administrative protocol of the Commonwealth’s benefits package, this story provides interesting political and strategic insight to many of the operators in Richmond. Obviously, the big white elephant in the middle of this discussion is gay marriage. An overhaul to the benefits package would not be necessary, were Virginia a state that legalized the practice. Despite the rhetoric on both sides about cost, access, etc. the real fight is over homosexuality. Conservative groups are working to stop any creep toward a redefinition of traditional marriage, while liberal groups are hoping break down barriers for same-sex couples.
We plan to take a close look at the this story a bit more in the coming week. Tuesday on First at 4, Victoria Cobb from the Family Foundation of Virginia will join me. The Family Foundation has fought the proposed changes and hailed today’s decision. Then later in the week, I will talk to a representative from Equality Virginia, a group that fights for the rights of gay community.
Del. Bob Marshall is floating a rumor, that is getting some buzz around a few conservative web sites. He sent out an email that claims current Virginia Senator Jim Webb would like to be considered for Secretary of Defense and if offered would accept the position.
Marshall sent out the email to supporters asking for help getting rid of the debt from his failed run for the republican nomination for U.S. Senate this past election cycle. He was trying to make the case to that he needs to be prepared for a future run for federal office and in order to do that, he must have his campaign debt eliminated.
Here is what Marshall said in the e-mail:
“In fact, two well-connected friends have told me that Senator Jim Webb is interested in the Secretary of Defense position in the new Administration. If he were offered the position and he accepted, that would leave Jim Webb’s U.S. Senate seat open. ‘
I have been in contact with a few well placed Virginia Democrats that were unaware of the rumor.
I wouldn’t expect Bob Marshall to be on the “inside” of negotiations for the next Secretary of Defense in an Obama administration, but the speculation does provide for good fodder. Webb’s military background, his opposition to the Iraq War and his experience in the Department of Defense offer Barack Obama an impressive combination of skills and experience. Webb could single handily placate the hard core left concerned that he is softening already on his Iraq position and military officials concerned that Obama lacks the experience and judgment to be commander in chief.
Warning: This is all heavy speculation. No one that I have read or spoke to has any rumors or leaks that come from individuals connected to the Obama Administration or Jim Webb himself.