Shields kicks off campaign against O’Bannon
He has already spent many hours cris-crossing the 73rd district of Virginia, but today University of Richmond Professor Tom Shields officially kicked off his challenge to Republican incumbent John O’Bannon.
Shields is part of a group of serious challengers to Republican House members across the state, as the Democrats attempt to take control of the lower house of the General Assembly. It’s a position they have not been in since reconstruction.
While Shields has attempted to run a relatively upbeat campaign, he has not been afraid to go on the attack of his opponent. Shields has characterized O’Bannon, a neurologist from Henrico, as “out of touch”. He has also taken advantage of a coordinated attack, hatched by the Democratic Party of Virginia, to slap incumbent Republicans that prevented the Commonwealth from taking advantage of stimulus funds connected to unemployment insurance.
Shields struck a tone of independent leadership in his announcement before about 75 supporters at Tuckahoe Elementary School. He laid out a vision he claims goes above party labels to improve the economy, education and health care. Not surprisingly, his opponent didn’t agree. O’Bannon said the Shields roll-out was nothing more than a negative attack.
“Usually some time lapses between a candidate’s announcement and the initiating of negative campaigning,” O’Bannon said in a statement today. “Judging from his comments today, Mr. Shields is content to misrepresent and – in some instances – falsify my record before explaining to voters his own plans.”
And Shields was not afraid to draw differences between his campaign and how he views O’Bannon. “Time and again, O’Bannon has put his party leaders and the special interests above families in his own district,” said Shields. “I believe that the 73rd district deserves a new generation of independent leadership, and I look forward to a serious debate about the major issues facing Virginia.”
O’Bannon’s district is as reliably red as any in Virginia. However, the district did vote for Barack Obama last fall, as well as supporting Tim Kaine as well. It looks as though both of these candidates will not go down without a fight. There is a good chance though, that the overall mood of the state could have more to do with who wins in Henrico than the personalities of either of these candidates.
The Shields release and the O’Bannon response can be found after the jump..
TOM SHIELDS LAYS OUT VISION OF INDEPENDENT LEADERSHIP IN ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANDIDACY FOR 73RD DISTRICT
Today, in front of a crowd of over 75 people, Tom Shields officially announced his candidacy for Virginia’s 73rd House District at Tuckahoe Elementary School. Focusing on the need for a new generation of independent leadership, Shields promised to always put the needs of his constituents above those of party leaders and special interests. During his address, he laid out stark differences between himself and incumbent John O’Bannon on the economy, education, and health care.
“I’m proud to finally make my candidacy official,” said Tom Shields of his announcement. “Obviously, I have serious disagreements with John O’Bannon. His votes have cost Henrico County nearly 3,000 jobs, sent back $125 million in unemployment benefits that Virginia taxpayers aleady paid for, and cut $10 million in health care for kids and pregnant moms. Time and again, O’Bannon has put his party leaders and the special interests above families in his own district. I believe that the 73rd district deserves a new generation of independent leadership, and I look forward to a serious debate about the major issues facing Virginia.”
“Usually some time lapses between a candidate’s announcement and the initiating of negative campaigning. Judging from his comments today, Mr. Shields is content to misrepresent and – in some instances – falsify my record before explaining to voters his own plans. Not surprisingly, he deftly sidestepped informing voters that his solutions will mean higher taxes, fewer jobs, and bigger government. Despite the caustic nature of his announcement, my campaign will continue to stress my record of service to the people of Henrico and Richmond, and my vision for the Virginia’s future.”
-Dr. John O’Bannon