Armstrong distances himself from Obama
He is one of the most powerful democrats in Virginia. The leader of minority in the House of Delegates and an often mentioned candidate for statewide office. But Del. Ward Armstrong, redistricted out of a safe district and forced to take on a republican incumbent, is the fight of his life. A fight where he appears ready to do whatever it takes to stay in office.
Armstrong has always been a blue-dog democrat. It is, to certain degree, a requirement in his Southwest Virginia District. But he has taken his moderate approach to a new level in a just released television ad where he describes himself as “pro-life and “pro-gun” and calls comparisons to him and President Barack Obama a “stretch”.
Armstrong is not the first democrat facing a tough re-election bid at the state level, to build some breathing room between their campaign and the president. Senator Phil Puckett, facing a serious challenge in Virginia coal country said that Obama was not “his choice for the nomination” and said he would not support his re-election bid. Puckett’s refusal to support Obama was national news even though despite being a member of the democratic Senate majority, he is not considered a major power player. (Puckett finished 4th in a democratic primary for Lt. Governor in 2005).
Armstrong is a vocal and prominent player in Virginia politics and as the ad leaked out the reaction was strong. Ben Tribbett, a prominent liberal blogger, was one of the first to post the ad. He called out Northern Virginia democrats in the House that elected Armstrong as their leader.
Republicans pounced on the news as well, sending out a release welcoming Armstrong into what they are dubbing the “Puckett Caucus, – a small but growing group of Democrats who realize that Barack Obama is toxic to their re-election chances.” The party also called out other endangered Senate Democrats to ask them where they stand on the president’s re-election bid.
Armstrong’s campaign has not returned a request asking specifically if the democrat supports President Obama’s re-election bid.
The ad can be seen below: