Happy New Year from all of us at Red NoVA! To help celebrate the New Year, we’ll be reflecting on the top 2011 political stories in Virginia and Fairfax County. This will be a two-part series.
Our top 2011 Political Stories are:
Ken Cuccinelli runs for Governor
Drop Stan Berry
GOP Senate Primaries
Senate not gaining outright GOP control
Vice President Bob McDonnell?
David Ramadan and Muslims in the GOP
In Fairfax, we are lucky enough to have two qualified candidates for FCRC Chairman: Jay McConville and Matt Ames. Both candidates are currently members of the FCRC Executive Committee and have worked under Bedell for a number of years. In short, this will not be decided by experience, but by personality and leadership. Whichever candidate can convince the most members that they are an actual leader will win.
My prediction is this will be a very close race. Jay and Matt both
I will continue to follow this race for two reasons: It is very important for conservatives in Fairfax to have a good leader and because this could get very interesting. We’ll have to see what both candidates do to try and separate themselves from their opponent.
Current Prediction: Jay McConville wins.
Bob McDonnell: Vice President (Not Jim Moran)
With Virginia being a swing state in 2012, it will be very interesting in Governor Bob McDonnell is the Vice Presidential candidate. With both Governors Rick Perry and Mitt Romney courting him, its clear that Bob McDonnell is a key national figure.
McDonnell would also be a great choice for VP. He has executive experience, and can manage a diverse state. The Republican Party needs a conservative who is articulate, likable, and appeals to moderates and independents. That person is Bob McDonnell.
Why else is this important? If Bob McDonnell is the nominee (and wins), does that make it easier for Bill Bolling to become Governor?
Loudoun elections vs. Fairfax elections (Chris Farmer)
Loudoun and Fairfax share a border. But the election results in this year’s General indicated that
the two counties are separated by much more than just an imaginary line. Loudoun Republicans
brought out the brooms for their county-wide sweep on their Board of Supervisors and School Board.
Republicans also won in county-wide races for Commonwealth Attorney, Sherriff, Commissioner of Revenue and Treasure. Loudoun GOP had a fun night at their election parties. Fairfax, on the other-hand, did not have a Republican win in any county-wide race, save my boy John Peterson on Soil and Water.
The Loudoun School Board is filled with Republicans while Fairfax’s School Board is packed with Democrats. The surprise of the election in Fairfax had to be the lack of Republican gains on the School Board, with Lolita Mancheno-Smoak’s loss for an At-Large seat as the single biggest surprise. It was not a shutout. Republicans returned our only incumbent who sought re-election and we got a “hold” in Springfield, but we lost crucial races in other districts while not sending one Republican to the three At-Large seats. Best of luck to our only Republican School Board members, Patty Reed (Providence) and Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield), they’ll need it.
So here’s to the Loudoun County Republican Committee, their Chairman and leadership, their
membership and volunteers, and all the R’s who dwell in Loudoun.
DROP Stan Barry (Tory GOP)
This past November Republicans in Fairfax celebrated few wins, and bemoaned many losses. Some of the losses were predictable; others were heart breaking.
One example of a morally crushing defeat was Cooper for Sheriff. I really thought Barry was going to be sunk by the DROP campaign. In local elections, especially a bottom ticket seat, people tend to vote based on very narrow, recent news. In short, no one looked up Barry’s record or looked into Cooper’s history in the Sheriff’s department. Voters based their choice for Sheriff on two things: party affiliation and incumbency. This November was very good to incumbents and, for open seats, Democrats. Being a Republican challenger this year required Cooper to appeal to voter disgust that Sheriff Barry was slipping through a loop hole to pad his own pocket.
Now, if anything was going to rattle Barry, it was the DROP campaign. Cooper’s campaign had video of Republicans and Democrats attacking Barry on this issue and any excuse given by Barry could have been portrayed as “too little, too late.” Barry took $1 million (according to the DROP campaign), ripped off taxpayers (voters), and was publicly called out for it by both parties. How did Cooper lose?
The main problem was the mood of the electorate. Incumbents did very well this November, and voters in Fairfax have become used to voting for Barry. DROP was the silver bullet to take down Barry, but it didn’t take hold. Why not? Not enough of the black, “Hey Sheriff Barry,” signs.
The Fairfax County Republican Committee helped put up the black signs in 12 precincts spread around the county. In 8 of the 4 precincts, including Green Trails (Stan Barry’s home precinct), Cooper won with between 53% and 64%. In the 4 precincts that Cooper lost, he outperformed other Republicans on the ballot.
When running a local campaign, it is always difficult to tell what will affect a voter’s decision. If you ask campaign workers, you will get as many answers. I’ve heard the key is to go negative first, focus only on door knocking, cover the county in signs, ect. Cooper’s campaign did a reasonable job in covering most critical campaigning areas by working with the FCRC to make phone calls, going negative with the DROP campaign, and putting signs in every corner of the county. Cooper’s campaign had the perfect tool to win, but didn’t know how useful it would be. Hindsight is always 20/20, but the reason we are not celebrating a Cooper win: not enough money went into the DROP campaign.
Ken Cuccinelli is running for Governor! (PubliusPublicola)
A day before the Republican Advance this year our Attorney General announced that he planned to run for Governor in 2013, and that became the talk of the Advance. It came from both sides I heard its great and I heard that the AG was an idiot. I was disgusted by the attacks on Ken, not because of his policies or what he had done as AG, but because apparently it was not his “turn”. The Controversy came from a back room deal that did not involve the Atty General but between the Gov and Lt Gov. The Attorney General simply did what he wanted and felt was right for the Commonwealth of Virginia. This story is sure to heat up through 2013. Will it hurt the party or make it stronger? We shall see.
My Prediction: Ken wins the nomination in 2013.
John Cook re-elected! (ToryGOP)
This past November was a huge victory for Democrats in Fairfax. With all incumbents being
reelected,and pretty much every at large seat going blue, it seems that Fairfax has moved to the left. We are lucky to have strong incumbents, such as Frey, Albo, and Herrity, who don’t draw real challengers. One of the few Republican candidates to win a contentious race was John Cook for Braddock Supervisor.
Just as a disclaimer, I did work on the Cook campaign. However, this race shows the potential
for Republicans to win in more liberal districts. Now, I know that Braddock is not exactly the
People’s Republic of Arlington or anything, but Cook was the only candidate to win Braddock
this year (Yes, Albo won his TWO precincts in Braddock).
This should be a wake up call to Republicans in local government. John Cook didn’t win by going to the right on every issue. He won by listening to his constituents, by working to involve Braddock residents in every major decisions, and by having great staff (in his Supervisor office,
not talking about the campaign) to help with constituent cases. Did Braddock vote Democrat? Yes. Will they vote for any candidate they know, trust, and believe will actually help them? Yes.
Its hard to break into Fairfax politics, considering that we have a very stable government that doesn’t have a lot of turn around. Pretty much, we reelect incumbents and we don’t want to rock the boat. Unless you can find a very vulnerable candidate or you are running for an open seat, chances are you are fighting an uphill battle. John Cook was a vulnerable candidate to the Democrats, and they threw all of their resources behind Oleszek. And the Repubican won.
Now that we are in 2012, we need to stay focused on Fairfax residents, even has the Presidential campaigns get ever closer. The Presidential campaigns will be here for a short time; Fairfax residents will be here for a while. Lets make sure that we are expanding the FCRC membership, building new relationship with other conservative organizations, and working to promote conservative principals in order to build a lasting party committee.
Happy New Year! Be sure to check back soon for Part II of our “Best of 2011″ series.