Category Archives: Richmond Politics

Three 2018 GOP Gubernatorial Races Downgraded

With continued predictions of a blue wave in November, three gubernatorial races have seen ratings changes, according to Geoffrey Skelley, Associate Editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball at UVa’s Center for Politics.

Three Republican governors up for reelection are facing tough races as their Democratic opponents gain ground in the latest round of ratings. From Thursday’s Crystal Ball:

Arizona and Iowa have few obvious things in common, but they do both have incumbent Republican governors seeking election in November. Another commonality is that the Crystal Ball now views both states’ gubernatorial contests as increasingly competitive, prompting ratings changes that move the Arizona race from Likely Republican to Leans Republican and the Iowa race from Leans Republican to Toss-up. In addition to these two changes, we are also shifting Illinois’ gubernatorial contest from Leans Democratic to Likely Democratic, another downgrade for Republicans.

Skelley digs deeper into the reasons for downgrading these races for Republicans, and notes:

With the three ratings changes in Arizona, Illinois, and Iowa, the Crystal Ball now rates nine gubernatorial races as Toss-ups, with 18 others favoring Republicans to some degree and nine more favoring Democrats to some extent. We now view Illinois as the likeliest party flip among the 36 gubernatorial contests in 2018.

Despite the negative news, Skelley gives a caveat of hope for the GOP:

The RGA continues to have a substantial money edge on its rival, the Democratic Governors Association. Granted, the RGA is defending a lot of ground — Republicans already control 26 of the 36 governorships on the ballot this year — but the committee has the financial wherewithal to move the needle and potentially snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in some close races. The RGA’s deep pockets are always a factor to consider in close gubernatorial races.

Read the entire report here. Find all the 2018 gubernatorial races here.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Trump fails to fill Richmond Coliseum for Friday campaign rally

Pictures and reports show that the Donald Trump rally in Richmond, Virginia, Friday night failed to fill the 12,000-seat Coliseum. This is a campaign that is used to turning people away at the door.

Here are Tweets with photos leading up to and after the rally began (see PHOTOS: Donald Trump’s Richmond rally draws unusually small crowd).

The Hill reported, ” ‘This arena is 25 percent full at best. No line outside either,’ the tweet said, with 30 minutes until the scheduled start time”  (see Trump’s Virginia rally draws smaller crowd).

Some reports said the crowd filled one-quarter to one-half of the venue, far below its maximum seating. The Washington Post wrote, “A half-full coli­seum erupted into Indian war whoops as Donald Trump called a U.S. senator ‘Pocahontas’ on Friday at a rally here, where the mogul-candidate was back to his teleprompter-free ways” (see Trump apologizes for Pocahontas remark — to Pocahontas).

There will surely be more on this as pundits speculate on the reasons Trump was off his mark in Virginia’s capital city.

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2016 RPV Convention … photos #2

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Ed Gillespie for Governor 2017

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Willie Deutsch

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Matt Colt Hall and Martha Boneta (Paris Barns)

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Attorney Eddie Whitlock is new Henrico GOP chair

Whitlock for Henrico GOP chair
It was a decisive victory for Eddie Whitlock who won the open chairman seat at Tuesday night’s Henrico County Republican Committee mass meeting held at Deep Run High School. A large crowd of 667 registered to participate in the election between Whitlock, who received 410 votes, and his opponent Jim Herring, who received 235 votes.

Whitlock, who is a graduate of the University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law, practices as a partner at Lafayette, Ayers, and Whitlock, and has been involved in Republican politics. His Facebook page on Wednesday was full of congratulations from supporters who wished him well as he began his two-year term.

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Chesterfield Republicans win big with 23 out of 24 elected offices

Chesterfield County Republican Committee 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

When Republicans achieve almost 100 percent success, that’s something to celebrate.

Members of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee (CCRC) are some of the most active in Virginia. When Terry McAuliffe declared he would win the Commonwealth for Hillary Clinton in 2016, CCRC decided to put a few road blocks in the way. As a result, they ended up painting the county deep Republican red by winning 23 of 24 offices, ranking Chesterfield as one of the most Republican locations in Virginia.

Not bad for a group of dedicated volunteers who started the 2015 campaign season by holding regular Sunday night coordination meetings, beginning in the spring, that brought together campaigns, candidates, and leaders.

Propelling election day with state senate candidate Glen Sturtevant, the Republican winners included all five school board seats, four of five supervisors, all Constitutional officers, five House of Delegate positions, two state senators — heck, they even won both Soil and Water Directors. In January when everyone takes office, all but one local elected official in Chesterfield will be Republican.

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Vietnamese community commemorates 40th anniversary of Fall of Saigon at Va War Memorial

Tony Pham 3By Tony Pham
Guest Post

Tony Pham 2On April 26th there will be an event at the Virginia War Memorial with the Vietnamese community. We will be remembering the fall of Saigon and the sacrifices of the many Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and our patriots who fought for the Republic of South Vietnam. It will be an emotional day for sure.

However, while I honor, I will also remember how blessed we were by God’s grace, 40 years ago, to have made it to the land of freedom and opportunity. I see my parents’ faces light up with pride when they talk about how I am running for public office. Enduring sacrifice, heartache, and struggle went into building the young man who seeks to serve the very community which provided us our start in America.

To each and every single one of you, good or bad, THANK YOU for being a part of this journey. Thank you for welcoming our Phamily 40 years ago and helping us.

It is now my turn to return the favor and “reignite the promise of America!”

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Winslow to run for Chesterfield supervisor

Chris WinslowBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Chris Winslow, a 35-year-old Midlothian attorney and Navy veteran, is hoping to replace outgoing Chesterfield County Supervisor A.S. “Art” Warren when Warren retires later this year.

After twenty years on the board, Clover Hill District Supervisor Warren is stepping down (see Art Warren stepping down from Chesterfield board after 20 years).

Warren did not respond to several requests for comment, but he has notified the party of his intentions according to Donald C. Williams, chairman of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee and a resident of Clover Hill.

“Art has been has been prudent and deliberate in handling his business which sets him apart from other politicians,” Winslow said Saturday. “He’s going to be tough to follow. There’s no question.”
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Sen. John Watkins won’t seek re-election in 2015

By Lynn R. Mitchell

State Senator John Watkins has announced he will not seek another term (see Powhatan senator Watkins won’t run again in 2015):

State Sen. John Watkins – the moderate Powhatan Republican who played key roles in landmark legislation covering transportation and stabilizing the Virginia Retirement System, but saw his overture to privately expand Medicaid succumb to partisan arm-twisting – will retire from the Virginia Senate when his term ends in 2015.

His planned departure could create an opening in the upcoming 2015 legislative elections for Democrats, who in two previous election cycles have won his district, which includes parts of Chesterfield, Richmond and Powhatan.

He’s one of the longest serving senators in the Virginia legislature. It will be interesting to see the juggle of who will step forward for that seat that represents the area where my parents live in Midlothian.

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NBC-12’s Ryan Nobles heading to D.C. to join CNN

CNNBy Lynn R. Mitchell

On Monday afternoon Richmond-based WWBT NBC-12 reporter Ryan Nobles posted to his Facebook page (on the day that coincidentally happened to be his birthday):

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Bob McDonnell, non-materialistic man of humility

Jerry BaldwinBy Jerry Baldwin

In an article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, former Governor Bob McDonnell’s sister Maureen described her brother as the least materialistic person she knew.  “His slippers had duct tape on them . . . he had holes in the bottom of his shoes.”

I can confirm this from personal experience. During his campaign for Governor in 2009, he made a stop by the Richmond City Jail and went to tier after tier talking about restoration of rights and rehabilitation. At the end of the tour we stopped in the Sheriff’s Office and I discreetly took these pictures of the soles of his shoes.

Bob McDonnell by Jerry Baldwin

I have always been impressed with his work ethic, but also his humility.

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With gratitude to Congressman Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor 6By Lynn R. Mitchell

Monday marked the last day of Congressman Eric Cantor’s time in the U.S. House of Representatives. As he moves into the private sector and on to what will surely be a life that will be equally as successful as his time in Congress while representing the citizens of the 7th Congressional District, I wanted to take a moment to express the gratitude of those of us who are appreciative of his leadership in the Commonwealth. He worked his way to the House Majority Leader — the first time a Virginian has held that position — and for his phenomenal success in recruiting Republican candidates and fundraising not only for the 7th but for all of Virginia, we say thank you.

Sadly, Virginians will soon realize what they have lost by losing the Majority Leader whose power has now gone to California. It takes work and time and connections to build up to positions in power. This will be a case of you don’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone.

But with the classiness reminiscent of the Bush family, Congressman Cantor has left with a dignity that many in today’s politics don’t recognize nor do they practice.

Best wishes to Congressman Cantor and many thanks to one of the hardest working representatives ever for the citizens of Virginia. We will see you down the road….

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Senator Steve Martin draws GOP challenger

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Virginia Public Access Policy (VPAP) published today that Senator Steve Martin (R-11th State Senate District) will be challenged by Amanda Chase. The district includes a majority of Chesterfield County and all of the city of Colonial Heights.



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Congressman Cantor to resign from Congress August 18

Eric Cantor 6By Lynn R. Mitchell

Thursday was Congressman Eric Cantor’s last day as majority leader and on Friday he announced his resignation from Congress effective August 18. He explained why he had asked the governor for a special election (see Cantor to resign from Congress on Aug. 18 by Markus Schmidt):

Cantor said he has asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the general election on Nov. 4.

By having a special election in November, the winner would take office immediately, rather than in January with the next Congress.

“That way he will also have seniority, and that will help the interests of my constituents (because) he can be there in that consequential lame-duck session,” Cantor said.

Cantor’s resignation marks the end of a successful 14-year congressional run that included his role as House majority leader for more than three years and the prospect of becoming the next speaker of the House.

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Video: Remembering the leadership of the Honorable Eric Cantor, Majority Leader

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Eric Cantor, Virginia’s congressman who rose to become the second most powerful Republican in Washington, steps down today from his role as majority leader.

Thank you, Leader Cantor, for your steadfast conservative leadership for the Republican Party.

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Breakdown of how Fred Gruber wanted to spend 7th Congressional District money

VA 7 DistrictBy Lynn R. Mitchell

As misinformation continues to circulate concerning the 7th Congressional District Committee’s disbursement of funds, perhaps it’s a good idea to look at it — again — and see what Gruber wanted to do with those funds and why the committee, with years of Republican volunteerism and leadership under its belt, voted to donate the money in more productive ways.

The correct information has been provided in many locations but there are those who are pushing their own narratives to cover personal agendas so here it is again, this time more in depth.

When the call for the June 7th District meeting went out, “budget” was on the agenda but no budget was provided pre-meeting by Gruber. The following information is provided from the Virginia GOP Now newsletter:

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