Posts Tagged ‘Chap Petersen’
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.
Not for some people. Including a grassroots movement hoping to convince Northern Virginia Senator Chap Petersen to consider a race for Governor in 2013. Today, they released this web video on the left leaning blog Not Larry Sabato (run by former Petersen staffer Ben Tribbett), offering Petersen as a viable alternative to a presumed Ken Cuccinelli candidacy:
The ad is more anti-Cuccinelli than it is pro-Petersen. But it is an early indication of how sides are already being drawn in what will be a competitive race for the governorship in 2013.
Perhaps the reason that the ad is more about Cuccinelli and less about Petersen is because the Democratic field, 3 and half years out, is already starting to get crowded. Supporters of Petersen are hoping to strike a chord of unification among Democrats and at this point of 2010, nothing unifies Democrats more than Ken Cuccinelli.
Democrats appear to be trying to get a head start, in an effort to prevent what happened in 2009. A bitter primary amongst three candidates, that didn’t really get their campaigns moving until late 2008, or in some cases early 2009. Instead of the field stocking up in late 2012, several Democrats are looking to make their name now, perhaps in an effort to “clear the field.” It is a prospect that is much easier given that there is no clear alternative voice to what is a Commonwealth with three statewide elected Republicans running the show.
So who is attempting to make a name for themselves?
First the Democrats:
*Terry McAuliffe- At this point any conversation about the Democratic candidates for Governor must begin with the former DNC chair. McAuliffe has the most money and the most friends in high places. (You saw him with Mick Jagger and Bill Clinton at the World Cup right?) McAuliffe was dismissive with me on First at 4 when we asked directly about his interest in running for Governor, but finding people who don’t think he is running is a difficult proposition. He and his formidable wealth will be difficult for any prospective candidate to contend with, but it has obviously been done before. This time around though, McAuliffe is spending 4 years building an infrastructure, instead of 4 months.
*Del. Ward Armstrong- The ranking Democrat in the House of Delegates is slowing building a reputation as an outspoken alternative to the McDonnell agenda. Armstrong is liked by many, is an eloquent speaker and has strong support in the south and west where Democrats typically aren’t very strong. However, Democrats are still smarting over their experiment with a similar candidate in Creigh Deeds and some are already sounding alarm bells about his stance on issues like gun control. Armstrong seem poised to take the leap and he will be difficult to ignore.
*Sen. Chap Petersen- who has attempted statewide runs before unsuccessfully is in many ways the anti-Deeds. A sharp, articulate Northern Virginian, Petersen is rock-solid on the key issues that Democrats care about. His problem is one of anonymity. Petersen’s name identification is low and he would be forced to raise a lot of money to change that scenario. It’s a scenario that becomes even more difficult when you consider Terry McAuliffe will be dumping millions to make sure he does not go 0-2 in Democratic primaries.
Other names are bound to emerge, such as former House Democratic leader Brian Moran, Sen. Donald McEachin a one time candidate for Attorney General and even Rep. Tom Perriello who if he is successful this year (which is not a given) has the potential to be a rock star in the Virginia Democratic party.
What about the Republicans?
While names may pop up between now and then make no mistake, this is a two-man race. The two men who have already been elected statewide and will have to meet face to face to determine who gets to be the party standard-bearer.
*Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling- Bolling has already stepped aside for the good of the party, when he did not challenge Bob McDonnell for the party’s nomination. Now he stands poised to be anointed the party nominee. McDonnell has already hinted at Bolling being his heir apparent and the LG is already raising cash in preparation for a tough race. Bolling is a rock solid, experienced politician who rarely makes a mistake. However, he is also not that kind that elicits excitement from the party base. He is hoping Republicans remember what he did to leave the field open for McDonnell to win by a landslide. He is hoping the same courtesy is extended to him.
*Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli- For the record, Cuccinelli has never expressed an interest in running for Governor. Privately, his close associates say that he is not interested in becoming the Chief Executive. He is a lawyer by trade and serving as Attorney General is for him the pinnacle. That was of course before Cuccinelli became a media super star. Love him or hate him, the AG has received perhaps the most exposure of any official in Virginia. He has turned that into a fund-raising network around the country. His support from the base is electric. His opposition on the left is dangerous. Cuccinelli will be in position to make a run. The question is, will he want to do it?
My guess is that it won’t be long until this post becomes old news. Many of the candidates will step aside and new ones will probably emerge. I think I answered my own question. It is never too early to talk about the next election.
Any guesses for candidates in 2017?