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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Posts Tagged ‘Paul Goldman

Five reasons George Allen has bucked the uprising

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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.

Gingrich, Perry active in defending themselves in Virginia ballot squabble

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

The most important things happening in the 2012 presidential campaign are no doubt coming from Iowa, with their first in the nation caucus just a few days away. But while the candidates make their closing arguments, the Virginia ballot squabble continues to hang over the discussion.

In the most interesting development from today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich put the blame for missing the ballot on a single member of his campaign team that collected signatures on his behalf. During an event today, Gingrich explained his failure to make the ballot as the result of his staff member committing fraud.

“We hired somebody who turned in false signatures,” said Gingrich.  “We turned in 11,100 – we needed 10,000 – 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud.”  (h/t CNN)

Sources that were inside the room while the ballots were being counted say tell me that the Gingrich’s account “closely mirrors” what they saw that night. 

The conservative website Bearing Drift, reported the night of the counting that the rumor from the inside was that about 2,000 signatures were going to be tossed.

This unlikely scenario was actually predicted by a satirical twitter page, designed to make fun of NBC12. I have more on that on my facebook page.  

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry‘s campaign continues its legal challenge to get access to the Virginia ballot. Today they requested an emergency order in federal court to require Virginia’s Board of Elections to place his name on the ballot.

His campaign contends that the voters are the ones whose rights are being violated by leaving them fewer options for Super Tuesday.

In an interview on NBC12 First at 4, Perry Communications director Ray Sullivan told me from Iowa that despite his commitment to state’s rights, the Texas governor, believes the federal courts have every right to intervene.

“He (Perry) believes the Constitution gives both the voters and citizens of Virginia as well as the candidates the reasonable rights to the political process that we believe are being are infringed by onerous and restrictive ballot access rules,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan claims that Virginia’s requirement of 10,000 signatures, including 400 from each congressional district is particularly restrictive.

“The 10,000 requirement when you have 7 candidates seeking a pool of 119,000 republican voters is an unreasonable and onerous burden to put on the candidates,” said Sullivan. “That in effect, denies people the right to participate in the political process.”

But what Sullivan couldn’t explain, was how the campaign told the Virginia Board of Elections that they had collected more than 11,000 signatures when in reality, only 6,000 were handed in.

“I don’t have an explanation for you,” said Sullivan. “The petitions were turned in.”

You can see our entire interview with Sullivan below:

While the campaigns made moves of their own to re-establish themselves on the Virginia ballot, former Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Paul Goldman called for state lawmakers to enact “emergency legislation” to allow more people to get on the ballot.  A path that House Majority Leader Kirk Cox told us yesterday was unlikely.

Andy Jenks has that part of the story on NBC12.com.

And while all these different groups continued to make excuses and attack the Republican Party of Virginia, today the party struck back. They released a passionate defense of their petition certification process and reminded reporters of their intial assessment that Perry and Gingrich fell well short of the 10,000 mark.

“The failure of these two candidates to meet the state requirements does not call into question the accuracy of the Party’s certification of the two candidates who are duly qualified to appear on the ballot,” wrote party spokesman Garren Shipley.

Their full statement can be found after the jump:

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Written by Ryan Nobles

December 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Cox on chances of changing GOP ballot access: “zero to none”

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Virginia House Majority Leader Kirk Cox doesn’t like the odds of the General Assembly altering the rules to allow more candidates onto the GOP presidential primary ballot in March. In an interview with NBC12’s Andy Jenks, Cox said the chances of that happening are “zero to none”.

Cox sympathizes with Texas Governor Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who were kicked off the ballot after not getting enough qualified signatures, but said they knew the rules ahead of time.  According to Cox, their poor planning should not lead the state legislature to rush in to changing the standards.

“I think the biggest mistake you can make though is to jump into it and say, Oh yeah because one candidate was affected let us go back and completely change the law,” he said. “I think that makes bad policy.”

Cox is open to changing the law in the future, but doubts that there will be an appetite for rushing through legislation before March. His opinion is different that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who assailed the process in a e-newsletter to his supporters. While Cuccinelli’s opinion matters, Cox is among a small group of lawmakers with the power to actually change the law.  The fact that he appears unwilling to do so speaks volumes.

His perspective seems to be in line with Governor Bob McDonnell, who in the wake of the ballot controversy told us that the rules are the rules.

“If somebody doesn’t like the rules, maybe the legislature can change it next time,” said McDonnell.  “But everybody knew this was the rules to compete with.” Extended clips from McDonnell’s remarks can be found below.

But the legislature may be one of several paths that supporters of the candidates left out may be able to take. Former Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Paul Goldman is exploring some of those options with the conservative “Citizens for the Republic’.  Today on First at 4, Goldman told me it’s not about Gingrich or Romney it is about the voters who will have fewer options to choose from.

UPDATE: It appears Goldman is not the only looking into a non-leglislative solution to the ballot access problem. Late today the campaign for Rick Perry announced that they have filed a Federal Court Challenge to the RPV’s decision to deny him access to the ballot.

His challenge can be found here.

Goldman hopes to reveal his plan to help get more candidates on the ballot as soon as tomorrow.  My conversation with him from First at 4 can be found below:

Governor McDonnell’s comments on the subject can be seen below:

RPV presidential petition process marred by controversy, tragedy

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

At a time when Virginia is expected to be considered one of the most important states in the 2012 presidential election, its first moment in the national spotlight was overshadowed by only two of the potential seven candidates gaining access to the ballot and a party volunteer losing her life in a car accident.

Two different GOP officials confirm that a woman, that was helping count and verify signatures submitted by presidential candidates, was involved in a serious car crash after leaving the signature canvassing session. She was killed in the accident.

Her identity was not immediatley available.

The fatal accident was the capper of a difficult and somewhat embarrassing night for the state republican party. Of the seven potential candidates for president, only four attempted to submit the necessary 10,000 signatures to get on the March 6th ballot. Of the four that decided to participate only two, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, were certified as official candidates.

Texas Governor Rick Perry fell far short of being certified. A GOP activist said that despite telling the state Board of Elections that he submitted more than 11 thousand signatures, the Perry campaign handed in somewhere between 4-6 thousands qualified signatures.

Then early Saturday morning, The RPV determined that House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had just spent two days drumming up support and cash for the state party, also did not qualify for the ballot. Gingrich was disqualified at 2:50am.

The credible conservative blog, Bearing Drift is reporting that one of the Gingrich’s petition gatherers was not qualified. According to BD, that accounted for as many as 2 thousand of the speaker’s signatures being tossed, but could open the door to a legal challenge.

Losing both Gingrich and Perry from the Virginia primary ballot is shocking, given that both have worked to develop strong ties to the Commonwealth. Gingrich is a Virginia resident and has spent quite a bit of time traveling the state over the past several years. Perry is close with Governor Bob McDonnell and headlined a very successful fundraiser for the party in September.

In the wake of this petition drama, pundits from both sides of the aisle are saying that this process has separated the true contenders from those just going through the motions.

Norm Leahy wrote this morning that the Virginia Republican petition process actually became the first actual presidential primary. “A hardened cynic might say this result exposes those campaigns for what they are: glorified book tours,” Wrote Leahy. He went on to say, “Getting on Virginia’s ballot was a test of organizational skill and grassroots strength. It was also something much more mundane: it tested whether campaigns could pay attention to a calendar and read instructions.”

Former Democratic Party of Virginia chairman Paul Goldman, who predicted Perry and Gingrich wouldn’t make it, said the failure of the major candidates indicates problems with their campaign infrastructure. “This is a failing of the national Perry and Gingrich campaigns who are supposed to helping locals get it done,” he said. However, Goldman believes the people are the ones who suffer. He believes the General Assembly should entertain the idea of changing the law to give these candidates a reprieve in time for the March primary.

Meanwhile Virginia Democrats certified President Barack Obama as their only candidate for the March primary.

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

McDonnell invites Obama to tour Louisa quake damage

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Governor Bob McDonnell sent a letter to President Barack Obama today asking him to add a visit to Louisa County to his bus tour next week through Virginia and North Carolina.

McDonnell’s letter comes in the wake of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to deny Louisa individual assistance to victims of this summer’s earthquake. As reported on Decision Virginia, many residents are dealing with damage in the tens of thousands of dollars. Damage that is not covered by insurance.

Former Virginia Democratic Chairman Paul Goldman wrote an essay encouraging the president to include a visit to Louisa and compared the potential public relations nightmare that could occur from the FEMA ruling to Hurricane Katrina.

In the letter McDonnell asks the president to visit Louisa so he can see the impact of the quake first hand.

“This additional stop in your previously scheduled tour will provide you the opportunity to meet citizens who were at the epicenter of the earthquake,” wrote McDonnell. “It would benefit your administration to understand the devastation brought on by this historic earthquake.”

I have an inquiry in to the White House to see if the governor’s request will compel the president to add a stop in Louisa.

*Update*  A White House Official told me on background that they have recieved the letter from Governor McDonnell and are in the process of reviewing its contents.

Written by Ryan Nobles

October 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Should Obama reroute visit to include Louisa County?

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People in Louisa County are frustrated.

Take Todd Hall, a body shop owner outside Mineral, Virginia. Hall has more than $40,000 in necessary repairs from the summer earthquake. A recent decision by FEMA to deny funding to individuals impacted by the earthquake, means Hall will have to find away to come up with the money all by himself.

This is the frustrated exchange he had with our Andy Jenks:

TODD: “I ain’t voting for whoever’s in the office. I’ll vote for the next man coming in.”
ANDY: “You serious?”
TODD: “Yeah. Only thing I can do.”

You can see Andy’s entire story here.

Hall is just one man. But he is a man in a swing state. One of many that are voicing concerns over the federal government’s decision to bypass Virginia’s earthquake victims. It is not a Katrina level disaster, but it has the attention of powerful Commonwealth lawmakers like Governor Bob McDonnell and Senator Mark Warner.

Warner tweeted “If damage from a once-in-a-generation, 5.8 quake doesn’t qualify for FEMA aid, then I don’t know what does.” after learning of FEMA’s ruling.

One prominent Virginia democrat is concerned that this small issue, could lead to big problems for President Barack Obama. Paul Goldman, the former Chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party believes the president should use his upcoming bus tour as a way to reach out to the people of Louisa.

Obama is scheduled to make four stops in Virginia, but Louisa is not one of them. Goldman thinks it should be. In a recent essay Goldman argues that a stop in Louisa is not only good policy, but vital politics.

“Is the Obama Administration on a mission to embarrass the boss when he comes through Virginia on his bus tour in a few days, or just make sure he loses Virginia’s 13 electoral votes?” Goldman asks. “In fact, given the proposed itinerary of the bus tour, it would seem the President is going to be motoring right by Louisa County on his way to other parts of the state.”

I look into the issue of FEMA’s denial of funding on NBC12.com.

Obama’s itinerary has not officially been released. The tour was leaked by a democratic official to the Associated Press. It wouldn’t take much to change course, or make an “unplanned visit”. The question is, will it happen?

Paul Goldman’s full essay can be found after the jump.

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McDonnell vows to “answer every concern” legislators have on ABC privatization

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Democrats in the Virginia Senate are ruling out Governor Bob McDonnell‘s plan to privatize to ABC stores before he even unveils his formal proposal.

Following the Governor’s address on the state surplus, Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw said that he believes the concept will have no success in his house.

“I would say right now it would not pass the Senate, nor is it even close,” he said.

Thursday night Governor McDonnell held his third town hall on government reform where he built his case on getting the state out of the liquor business.  The Governor said that Senator Saslaw is getting ahead of himself.  “I don’t have a plan announced yet, so it seems to be a little premature,” he said. Adding, “All Senator Saslaw wants to do is raise taxes.” McDonnell said that he will answer every concern the legislature may have on topic.

You can see my complete report on the ABC debate on NBC12.com.

Also earlier that day on NBC12 First at 4 we welcomed two people with expertise on the topic of ABC privatization. Paul Goldman and Norman Leahy outlined arguments against and for the idea respectively. You can see their very interesting discussion below.

You can see a complete transcript from the Goldman-Leahy debate on NBC12.com

Written by Ryan Nobles

August 20, 2010 at 12:06 am