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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Archive for the ‘VA 2010 Congressional Races’ Category

More evidence that Virginia is a swing state

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It is a good day for Republicans in Virginia. In fact it has been a good two years. But while the GOP is still reveling in a series of victories that have delivered all three statewide elected seats and now eight of the Commonwealth’s 11 Congressional districts, don’t expect this to usher in dominant Republican rule.

It may actually point to evidence that the Virginia voter is fickle and willing to change its mind in a very short turn of events. Remember the Old Dominion’s two senate seats still belong to Democrats and Virginia went Blue for Barack Obama in 2008.

2012 is still two years away and much can change. I broke down the changing map last night during NBC12’s Decision Virginia coverage. Our political analyst Dr. Dan Palazzolo helped to put things into perspective and predict what it could mean for the future.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 3, 2010 at 8:55 am

Cantor cruises to victory, poised to become leader in Congress

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The results are still coming in, but local Congressman Eric Cantor has posted an expected victory over two opponents in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.  With 70% of the votes counted, Cantor leads Rick Waugh and Floyd Bayne 59-43-7 respectively.

The early returns look good for Republicans taking control of the house and that could mean Cantor will be the next Majority Leader in the House of Representatives.

Cantor’s address to supports from the Hilton in Short Pump, was broadcast live to NBC affiliates across the country. Perhaps an indication of how powerful he is about to become.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Decision 2010 has arrived

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

Election day 2010 has arrived. The federal midterm elections are never as important in Virginia as they are in the rest of the country. The Commonwealth elects its state based offices on opposite years of the federal elections. But regardless, today still carries tremendous weight, because all 11 of Virginia’s seats in the House of Representatives is up for a vote. Several of them are among the hottest races in the country, and because Virginia is one of the first states to close its polls, it may provide some clue to the rest of the country as to how the night will progress.

We have complete coverage tonight on NBC12 News. NBC is carrying a special two-hour Decision 2010 special and within that broadcast we will have local updates on how the local races look. In addition we will have the local results continuously scrolling along the bottom of your screen.

NBC12’s live crews will be spread across the region to bring you immediate reaction from the winners and losers:

*Andy Jenks will be live in Short Pump, where Rep. Eric Cantor will watch the results. Results that could lead to him becoming the presumptive Majority Leader in the House of Representatives.

*Rachel DePompa will be in Charlottesville covering one of the most watched races in the country. She will be there when Rep. Tom Perriello finds out if he was able to hold on to his seat.

*Tara Morgan will travel to Chatham to cover State Senator Robert Hurt‘s bid to unseat Perriello.

*Nicole Bell will cover the interesting developments in Petersburg. One of the few local races of interest. Longtime Mayor Anne Mickens is trying to hold her seat through and unconventional write-in campaign.

*I will be live in the studio with Curt Autry and Sabrina Squire. As we watch the returns, I will put Virginia’s results into context of the national picture on how our local races could impact the rest of the country.

*University of Richmond professor, Dr. Dan Palazzolo will have analysis of what we learn throughout the night.

If you are still unsure who to vote for, here is a look back at our “Meet the Candidates” series, which featured live interviews with the candidates in all of the Congressional candidates in the NBC12 viewing area:

D- Krystal Ball
R- Rob Wittman*

D- Bobby Scott*
R- Chuck Smith
L- James Quigley
IG- John D. Kelly (Did not appear)

D- Dr. Wynne LeGrow
R- Randy Forbes*

D- Tom Perriello*
R- Robert Hurt (did not appear)
I- Jeff Clark (did not appear)

D- Rick Waugh
R- Eric Cantor*
I- Floyd Bayne

*denotes incumbent

In addition to the candidates running for office. There are also three proposed amendments to the Virginia constitution. You can get a full rundown of what to expect on NBC12.com.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 2, 2010 at 9:48 am

Cantor rejects notion that he is hiding from his opposition

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Election 2010 appears to be one of the most important of Rep. Eric Cantor‘s political career.  The local Congressman has been one of the lead architects in the GOP resurgence that is on track to retake the House of Representatives and  by extension make Cantor the 2nd most powerful member of Congress.

But while Cantor has been rallying Republican troops around the country, his own re-election has inflicted a bit of damage on his local persona.

There is a perception that the Congressman hasn’t not been very accessible during his campaign.  Cantor’s opponents Democrat Rick Waugh and Tea Party candidate Floyd Bayne have complained about Cantor’s unwillingness to stand with them and debate the issues. Both have used unconventional means to get the Congressman’s attention.  Waugh has sent a man dressed in a chicken suit to interrupt Cantor events. Bayne confronted Cantor at a recent book signing with a video camera in tow.   Of course, all of these incidents get captured on YouTube.

But while those confrontations did not amount too much, one incident attracted national news. A supporter of Waugh, Jon Taylor attempted to attend an event advertised by the Cantor campaign as “open to the public”.  Depending on which perspective you read, Taylor was either minding his own business or causing a disturbance.  Regardless he was asked to leave and refused and was eventually arrested. His arrest, which he resisted, was caught on camera by his son and has now received over 50 thousand views on YouTube.

The series of conflicts at Cantor events led well-known Bacon’s Rebellion blogger and respected journalist Peter Galuszka to say that Republican “has a tendency to surround himself with layers of defense.”  Galuzka’s column was cross-posted on the Washington Post’s  “All Opinions Are Local” page.

Monday on NBC12 First at 4, Cantor flatly rejected that claim.

“We’ve had,  a series of events where there have been people of all political persuasions and ideologies that have come,” said Cantor  “(It’s) about trying to make sure the voters understand where I am, where my voting record is.”

And when I pressed him about the lack of access and specifically about the incident in Louisa, Cantor claimed that was an isolated occurence and that Democrats and Independents are always welcome at his events.

“I think what had happened there was there was an individual intent on violating the law, and that’s why the law enforcement took the action they did,” Cantor said.  “It wasn’t anything on the part of our campaign, but, you know, again, we’re always open for folks who want to come and, you know, participate in the discussion.”

Cantor went on to say, that his role in the national debate make him a known quantity.  If a voter wanted to know where he stands on an issue, its not hard to find out.

“I’ve been in the middle of the national debate leading the opposition to the  Obama agenda, whether it’s the Healthcare bill or whether it’s Cap and Trade bill, the Card Check Measure,” said Cantor.  “I think my positions are fairly well known and we’re continuing, though, to talk to people about the problems they face and how we can find a better way.”

You can see the complete interview with Rep. Cantor below. The full transcript is available on NBC12.com.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 1, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Details on President Obama visit to Charlottesville

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

President Barack Obama comes to Charlottesville tomorrow to stump for Congressman Tom Perriello‘s re-election bid.  Unlike the President’s invitation only event in Richmond a few weeks ago, this event is open to the public on a first come, first serve basis.

If you are interested in attending here are the details:


A Rally with President Obama
Charlottesville Pavilion on the Downtown Mall
Doors open at 5:00 PM

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

Public entrance is between 5th and 6th Streets NE, on the Downtown Mall.

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras are permitted.


I will be there reporting live for NBC12 starting at 4pm. I’ll try to post interesting tid-bits here on Decision Virginia, but I am sure my twitter feed will be busy. If you aren’t following me now, join the thousands who already are! Twitter.com/ryanobles.

Meanwhile the Richmond Tea Party is planning a counter rally to the President’s rally. The details for that event can be found on their website by clicking here.

State Senator Robert Hurt, Perriello’s opponent will be pretty far away from Charlottesville. He is hosting a small business round table in Martinsville.


Quigley attempt to defy the two party system

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Like many of his counterparts in this unconventional election season, Libertarian candidate James Quigley is hoping to overcome incredible obstacles to win this November.

The third-party candidate for Congress is challenging longtime incumbent Bobby Scott to represent Virginia in Washington.

Quigley believes Scott has let down the people of the district, but he also feels that the Republican alternative Chuck Smith, isn’t much better.

Quigley’s interview on NBC12 First at 4 was unfortunately canceled because of severe weather.  We still to the opportunity to tape an interview with the candidate. You can see what he had to say, uncut, below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Wittman “surprised” by national attention to Ball photos

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It was an incident that drew his re-election bid into the national spotlight, even though he had nothing to do with it. Rep. Rob Wittman was facing a low profile, but fiesty challenge from first time candidate Krystal Ball.  It was low profile of course, until suggestive photos of Ball leaked on the internet.

From there Ball quickly became a national media sensation. She appeared on all three national cable outlets and wrote an editorial in the Huffington Post. 

Meanwhile, Wittman himself didn’t comment on the issue, and for the most part wasn’t sought after for his take. In an interview on NBC12 First at 4, the incumbent Republican said he was surprised at the reaction the story recieved.

“There’s so many important things facing this nation, it was surprising to me that we shouldn’t be out there talking about those issues,” he said.  “I was surprised by the nature of the conversation that came about because of those pictures.”

Surprised in particular by the number of national apperances Ball made. An argument can be made that Ball has actually benefited by pictures being released. That was something Wittman did not want to speculate on.

“I guess we’ll see on November the 2nd,” he said.  “I’m not going to be the judge of how much attention it brought or how much good it was for her or her campaign.”

Wittman also discussed the federal minimum wage and his proposals to cut spending. You can see the entire interview below. A transcript is available at NBC12.com.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Waugh supporter arrested outside Cantor event

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Here is an excerpt of my story on this incident outside a Louisa coffee shop from NBC12.com.

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) – It is getting ugly in Virginia’s 7th congressional district.

The campaigns are accusing each other of slimy tactics. The battle is getting so heated, one volunteer was forced into handcuffs by police.

It was supposed to be a friendly event where voters could meet Congressman Eric Cantor at a coffee shop in Louisa. It ended with a supporter of the congressman’s opponent being handcuffed and arrested.

Jon Taylor, a member of the Louisa Democratic Committee and a supporter of Rick Waugh refused to leave the private event. The owner of the shop then got police involved.

Louisa Town Police and the County Sheriffs struggled with Taylor for several minutes. The tangle required three officers before he was finally subdued. The fracas was captured on cell phone video by Taylor’s son Bradley.

He claims the sheriffs and local police we’re out to get him before he said a word.

“The Louisa county police department was basically used by Eric Cantor’s campaign to make a political statement,” said Taylor.

A charge the sheriff’s department strongly denies. Department officials say two other people were asked to leave and did so without having to be restrained.

Read the full story on NBC12.com.

The raw video, captured by Bradley Taylor, the son of the man being arrested, Jon Taylor can be seen below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 25, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Smith rejects race/party labels

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Chuck Smith is the Republican nominee in Virginia’s 3rd Congressional district. It is a district that was drawn by the order of the Justice Department specifically with the goal of giving minorities a voice in Washington. As a result of that decision, the 3rd has been a pretty reliable vote for Democrats.  Smith, himself an African-American doesn’t believe it has to stay that way.

“I don’t think there is a concept by which one race of people belongs to a certain party,”  said Smith during an interview on NBC12 First at 4.

Smith, a former JAG lawyer and member of the Marine Corps told me that the issues that he connects with are the issues that people in the 3rd district care about, whether they are white or black.

“I believe my values align with those in the 3rd district,” he said.  “I’ll go a step further and say my family values, my Christian values, my political values and my service to this country align with just about any place in America.”

But that doesn’t make him a lock step GOP vote. He said he won’t be afraid to challenge the Republican establishment when need be and vote in the best interest of his constituents.

“I am not a Republican because I follow the mantra of what other people are doing,” he said.  “I’m a Republican because I made a conscious decision early on in my life that I believe in lower taxes and smaller government.”

Smith has had a couple of high points in an otherwise low profile race. He received the endorsement of the Richmond Times-Dispatch over the weekend  and earlier in the month he welcomed Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to an event in Henrico.

Still, Smith’s campaign against Democratic incumbent Rep. Bobby Scott, has to be considered a long shot. A win would be considered a major upset and would represent a historic sweep beyond what even the most hopeful Republicans are projecting. 

You can see the complete interview with Chuck Smith below. The complete transcript is available at NBC12.com.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 25, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Scott emphatically supports ending Bush tax cuts

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It is a controversial position, even with some Democrats, but Rep. Bobby Scott is not afraid to give his opinion.

“The tax cuts put us in the ditch,” said Scott during an interview on NBC12 First at 4.

The Congressman supports a full expiration of the Bush tax cuts, even those that would go to middle class earners. President Barack Obama and many leading Democrats in Congress have pushed for an extension for people earning $250,000 or less.  Scott doesn’t agree, he believes that if the tax cuts wouldn’t have been passed in the first place, everyone would be much better off.

“(We would’ve had) no borrowing from Japan or Saudi Arabia or China, pay off the national debt after the reckless tax cuts that we couldn’t afford,” he said. He then went on to attack other Republican policies that made the problem worse.  “A prescription drug bill that wasn’t paid for, two wars, we’re in the ditch. We have tough choices to make.”

Scott, who represents a relatively comfortable Democratic district was not afraid to challenge Republicans who are running to reform the process in Washington.

“What’s the alternative?” he said. “What we have is the Republicans say we have a big deficit, let’s cut taxes. That is not a solution to the deficit.”

Scott’s solution is a simple one. A solution he knows is not popular, but he believes will cut the budget deficit before the next midterm election.

“Let the tax cuts expire. While we’re in a recession, use the money to create jobs. You can be in balance and close to balance in four years.”

You can see our entire interview with Bobby Scott below. A full transcript is available at NBC12.com.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 25, 2010 at 5:45 pm