Suffolk News Herald Sort of Covers Mark Herring’s Visit.

The Suffolk News Herald covered Mark Herring’s visit to our city, but a large portion of the article was devoted to defending Mark Obenshain from one of Senator Herring’s campaign talking points. The article briefly mentions how Senator Herring described Senator Obenshain’s bill:

Herring said his fellow senator supported a bill that would require women to report miscarriages to police within 24 hours “like they were a potential criminal.”

, then continues to summarize Senator Obenshain’s explanation,

With filing deadlines approaching, Obenshain introduced the bill with the intention of fine-tuning the language during the session. However, he ultimately dropped the bill after concluding that any bill addressing situations similar to the Rockingham case “would have unintended consequences for women suffering a miscarriage,” Garst said in Logan’s statement.

You can read Senator Obenshain’s own words on Not Larry Sabato.

After receiving backlash, Senator Obenshain stated that he would rewrite or withdraw the bill. But the backlash was easily predictable by the reaction to John Cosgrove’s very similar bill in the House.

No amount of fine-tuning could have kept that bill from being exactly what Senator Herring described it to be. A major rewrite could have made the bill less extreme, but then it wouldn’t have been the bill that Senator Obenshain introduced.

Another unfortunate aspect of the article was it lacked any mention of Kerry Holmes, who spoke before Senator Herring. Kerry Holmes is running for the State Senate 14th District against Delegate John Cosgrove, in a special election to replace Harry Blevins on August 6th. It was John Cosgrove who introduced the miscarriage bill in the House.

Gathing at Campaign Office

McAuliffe has Already Agreed to Debates

Ken Cuccinelli has been trying very hard to generate the false rumor that Terry McAuliffe doesn’t want to debate. It is patently false, but Cuccinelli can’t be accused of patently lying because he can always say that by accusing McAuliffe of “Dodging Debates”, he’s only referring to unusual fifteen debate schedule that McAuliffe refuses to play along with, not the traditional five debate schedule that McAuliffe has already agreed to. Cuccinelli doesn’t mention those five debates when he accuses McAuliffe of dodging. Says Cuccinelli:

Since my opponent threatened to walk away from the only debate scheduled, and refuses to engage in other debates across the Commonwealth […]


As the Louden Times well summarizes:

[..] the Cuccinelli camp has persistently charged that the Democrat McAuliffe refuses to accept these debates.

But the Republican campaign has avoided mentioning that in early April, more than a month before Cuccinelli officially became the GOP nominee, McAuliffe’s campaign announced the debates its candidate will be participating in.

While debates are in important way to confront candidates with tough questions and to give voters a chance to compare the contenders side-by-side, debates are also a way to emphasize one-liners and jabs rather than substance, and a way to slip in false or misleading statements in highly televised settings which will reach more low-information voters than the analytic articles which follow. Ken Cuccinelli seems to feel that his strength is in one-liners, jabs, and misleading statements.

Debates also take time away from other campaign functions, such as connecting with supporters. That’s less of a problem for a campaign which hopes to be funded by energy companies and Koch Industries, rather than Firefighters and Teachers.

Challenging McAuliffe to an intensive debate schedule, reminiscent of the comedy tour the Republican presidential primary candidates treated us to in 2011 and 2012, is a win-win for Cuccinelli. Either he prevents his opponent from reaching out to supporters and running a substantive campaign, or he accuses his opponent of being afraid to debate. Thoughtful voters should see through this dishonest tactic.

My Favorite Candidates & Committees

I made an Act Blue page for some of my favorite candidates and committees, and it includes some of the intelligent, kind, and motivated people who I met last night at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner. What may seem like striking omissions are Terry McAliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring. Of course I support the those campaigns very strongly, but I wanted to use this post and the Act Blue page to highlight some of the committees and campaigns that won’t get as much attention as the statewide campaigns. On the Act Blue page, you can make a single contribution and have it split among each candidate and committee on the list, or you can select individual entities and customize your contributions.

At the top of the list is the Suffolk Democratic Committee. Your contribution to the SDC helps its members arrange fundraising events for Suffolk, regional, and statewide Democratic candidates, like the event this Tuesday, July 2nd, for Mark Herring. SDC members also work to register new voters, help those who have lost their voting rights regain them, and educate the public about important issues.

SDC Logo

Also on the list is the Isle of Wight County Democratic Committee. IOWCDC just won the Grassroots Committee of the Year (in medium sized committee category). IOWCDC members have been following the “Boots on the Ground” philosophy which the Democratic Party of Virginia has been endorsing and which will put Democrats in the offices of Governor, LT Governor, and Attorney General this year.

The first candidate on the list is Kerry Holmes, running for the 14th Virginia Senate district. We have a special chance to turn the Virginia Senate Blue this August, thanks to the retirement of State Senator Harry Blevins, a Republican. Kerry is the epitome of what Republicans want you to believe Democrats aren’t, a church-going, fiscally conservative veteran. There’s room in the Democratic party for conservative ideas and values but there no longer seems to be any room in the Republican party for reasonable ideas which conflict with the Tea Party agenda. Electing Kerry Holmes will restore some sanity to the Virginia Senate.

Susan Hippen is running for Virginia House of Delegates district 21. Master Chief (retired) Hippen wants to create better opportunities for families in Virginia. During her service in the Navy, Hippen served as Command Master Chief of CNATTU, Naval Air Station Oceana and the Division Leading Senior Chief Petty Officer of the Avionics and Armament Intermediate Maintenance Department (IM3) onboard the aircraft carrier USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71). She has the endorsement of Terry McAuliffe, Creigh Deeds, and host of other impressive personalities.

Traci Dippert is running for the seat in the 30th House of Delegates district. She is the chairperson of the Cullpepper Democratic Committee and an elementary school teacher. She entered the race because is concerned with her opponent’s record on education, and believes teachers should have all the necessary resources to prepare our children and grandchildren with a well-rounded education to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

William Quarles is running for the 65th. He has experience as a teacher, a supervisor, and a small business owner who believes in education and that his opponent is out of touch on issues such as education, womans’ rights, and healthcare.

Jennifer Boysco, who says “It’s hard to believe that Richmond is still debating things like birth control”, is running for House district 86. I can’t do better than to pull this quote from Blue Virginia:

Jennifer will breathe fresh air into the House of Delegates. She’s a wonderful person, as evidenced by near endless community service. If someone is hurting, Jennifer is there. After Katrina, Jennifer was there to help collect donations. I have lost count of all the philanthropic efforts and kindnesses Jennifer models for the rest of us. Whether it is in efforts for schools, seniors, or the poor, she’s an inspiration.

Finally, two candidates who aren’t on my ActBlue page because they aren’t using ActBlue for fundraising:

Linda Bryant is Army Veteran, an attorney, and a law school professor who’s husband is a Naval Special Operations Officer with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit stationed at Little Creek. She is a powerhouse with a long and impressive resume of applying her legal skills to public service including putting criminals behind bars, training on internet safety, and providing advisement on ethics compliance.

Elizabeth Jones, is a retired educator with 32 years experience and the chair of the Pittsylvania County Democratic Committee. She is running for the 16th House district and plans to conduct a clean, positive campaign that will listen to the residents and focus on solutions to move the 16th District’s economy forward.

These are just some of the important Democrats running this year. Every year is an election year in Virginia and this year is just as important as last year. Please visit my ActBlue page and/or (especially in Linda Bryant’s case) visit the websites and learn more about these individuals who will make an important difference in Virginia.

Update (2013 June 30) Added photos, & cleaned up some embarrassing grammatical errors.
Update (2013 July 1) Added Elizabeth Jones.

Sneaky, Slimy Gerrymanders

During the President’s inauguration, Senate Republicans pushed through a surprise redistricting bill and wrote out a Democratic district. The bill narrowly passed because they held the vote while there weren’t enough Democrats on the floor to defeat it.

As DPVA Chair Charniele Herring urges us:

Knowing that they had no chance to pass this legislation by following the rules, Senate Republicans went around protocol to sneak in a re-redistricting vote.

This is outrageous, and it must be stopped. Please join me in calling on Governor McDonnell to veto this overt gerrymandering.

Next Time, Bring the House

In Virginia’s 4th District, the votes for Obama, Kaine, and Ward were respectively 21,2091, 21,6638, 14,9798, and the votes for Romney, Allen, Forbes were respectively 22,9422, 22,3837, 19,9032, according to calculations I made based on numbers from the Virginia Board of Elections .

The counts for presidential votes were very close to the counts for senatorial votes. The count for each house candidate was much lower, but incumbent Randy Forbes received about 87 percent of the Romney vote, while Ella Ward received closer to 71 percent of the Obama votes*. It seems like a lot of Virginia’s 4th district voters who voted for Obama also voted for Tim Kaine, but failed to vote for Ella Ward.

I make two conclusions. First, this election wasn’t just about race. Second, getting the word out about house races is extremely important. I’m certain that people who voted for Obama and Kaine but not Ward didn’t know who Ella Ward was. Randy Forbes significantly outspent Ella Ward because of his big money supporters, and he had the power of incumbency.

Perhaps I’m in no position to second guess the president’s or Tim Kaine’s successful campaigns, but while volunteering for OFA, I handed out a lot of literature about Obama and Kaine, and nothing about Obama, Kaine, and Ward together. It was a prevailing myth among OFA coordinators that people who vote for Obama will vote down the line, and that it wasn’t worth the effort to tailor the call scripts and the literature for each congressional district. Volunteers were instructed to put in a good word for Dr. Ward, but it wasn’t in writing.

It’s understandably more difficult to find a photo of each house candidate and more expensive to place a photo on the literature that includes photos of Obama, Biden, and Tim Kaine. But we handed out literature customized with information about voting locations. That literature should also have included information about Ella Ward, even without a photo.

I don’t how much Obama-Kaine-[Other Congressional Candidate] literature was distributed throughout the state, and since Obama and Kaine both lost the 4th, it’s possible that house candidates in more hopeful districts received more support from OFA and TK4VA than Ella Ward did. But I do know that the House of Representatives didn’t change very much this time, and I think a little bit of ink would have gone a long way to giving the president a Congress he can work with.

*Quick update (at Nov 9th 19:00): The Virginia Board of Elections just updated their website with absentee ballots. Ella Ward took Suffolk! She was behind when I checked the numbers just yesterday. It seems now that Ella Ward got 77 percent of the Obama votes, and Randy Forbes got 106 percent of the Romney votes.

A New FB User Asks Questions of Ella Ward

Last night, a Samantha, a new Facebook user appeared and immediately posted two pointed comments on the Ella Ward for Congress page. She has a large, eclectic group of likes for such a new user, and a beautiful profile picture, for which she credits a friend with a professional camera. Yet she seems to have no friends and no internet presence for such an attractive young lady with friends who have professional cameras.

The mysterious, friendless beauty had two things to say. First, she took issue with the grammar in some of the campaign’s posts.

Who runs your posts? You have horrible grammar and punctuation
on several posts. Yet you support education and want us to invest
in you? Doesn’t add up to me.

Second, she asked about Dr. Ward’s view on sequestration, and said that Randy Forbes has been clear about his views.

The comment about grammar contains at least three grammatical errors, but it can still be answered. Dr. Ward’s campaign team is a group of dedicated volunteers, and is not a staff of polished professionals. The campaign’s earliest posts were, indeed, filled with errors, but the cause of that problem has been fixed. I don’t believe there are any recent mistakes worthy of any fuss, but if there are, they reflect the roughness of Ella Ward’s grass-roots campaign team, and not any deficiency on the part of Dr. Ward herself. I ask those who vote on grammar not to hold it against her. Dr. Ward supports funding for public education and wants to improve early educational programs and job training programs. That fact is unchanged by any amount of poorly written Facebook posts.

The mysterious user hasn’t posted anything about Randy Forbes’s grammar, despite gems like:

Just arrived at the Romney 2012 rally in Chesapeake. Lamar is with Governor Romney and does a great job!

but since Randy Forbes doesn’t support public education, I suppose his writing is in keeping with his views.

Randy Forbes is one of the few Republicans who manages to stay on message about defense cuts. Unlike Americans for Tax Reform and Cross Roads GPS, who have been calling me several times a day, and other Republican politicians, Congressman Forbes remembers to mix his Keynesian hypocrisy with alarmist warnings about losses of defense capability. But the warnings can’t hide the fact that Forbes and other Republicans know that government spending does create jobs. If the sequestration results in nothing more than the closing of unnecessary commands, like JFCOM, and the reduction of the manufacture of unwanted assets, like the M1 tank, than it will result in no loss of military capabilities. We may actually be safer if the military is forced to make decisions based on defense necessities without being distracted by the requirement to distribute tax dollars to influential state politicians and defense companies. But the sequester will result in the loss of military jobs. Fortunately, those jobs can be replaced by government spending in other areas, such as transportation, scientific research, and of course, education. The problem with such spending is it gives too much advantage to the disadvantaged. With public transportation, poor in a city can compete for more jobs. With universal broadband, poor in the country have greater access to information. It’s counterproductive for Mr. Forbes and his peers to support such forms of spending. It’s better for them that we build tanks.

If Congressman Forbes is concerned about military capabilities, it isn’t his biggest concern. Congressman Forbes voted against sequestration but was just as unwilling to compromise on tax cuts for the wealthy as those Republicans who voted for it. He may have been clear about where he stood, but clearly, he has higher priorities.

I sent a friend request to the new user. I await her response.

It is Randy Forbes, Not Ella Ward, who Refuses to Debate

Since we’re all talking about debates now, I should mention that the Virginian Pilot ran an article which correctly reported that Ella Ward didn’t want to debate Randy Forbes in July because she didn’t have a campaign manager at the time. What the article failed to report is that the Daily Press set up a debate for October, and Randy Forbes declined to participate.

From Rebecca Troyer, Daily Press, to Melinda Gainer, Ella Ward’s Campaign Manager:

Rep. Forbes has declined to debate, so we will NOT be conducting a 4th District debate on Oct. 8

Mr. Forbes’s feelings might have been hurt by the failure of a campaign manager that Ella Ward didn’t have to respond to his overtures to debate on his timeline. But instead of punishing Dr. Ward for what he took as a snub, he has decided to punish the citizens of the fourth district by denying them a chance to hear two appropriately prepared candidates in a fair debate initiated by a third party.

Randy Forbes also refused to debate his previous opponent, Dr. Wynne Legrow, in 2010.

The Pilot’s failure to mention Randy Forbes’s refusal to debate in October is very misleading after reporting that Ella Ward’s declined to debate in the early days of her campaign. The people of the fourth district should know that it is Mr. Forbes, not Ella Ward, who refuses to face his opponent on even terms in front of his constituency.

Ella Ward Emphasises Jobs & Education (They Go Together), Women’s Rights, and Supporting our Military and Veterans

Dr. Ella Ward spoke in a crowded restaurant at her pancake breakfast this Saturday, and emphasized three reasons why “You need to pick Ella Ward for Congress”.

1) Jobs and Education – “They go together”. Dr. Ward believes that supporting education and allowing educators to teach critical thinking skills, rather than cutting education funding and vilifying teachers, is an integral part of the strategy to bring jobs to America.

2) Woman’s Rights. Ella Ward wants to ensure that equal work is rewarded with equal pay, and believes that women should be able make their own decisions about their own bodies.

3) Protecting the Military and Veterans. “When they come home we have to make sure they are equipped with what they need to transition to civilian life.”

A common aspect of the second and third items is the Affordable Care Act, which covers vital services for women and enhances coverage our nations veterans, while not taking away coverage that veterans already have.

The breakfast was held at the Gourmet Breakfast Place on Old George Washington Highway in Chesapeake. Ella graciously thanked her host and her campaign volunteers for what turned out to be a successful and upbeat event.

Ella Ward Addressing Attendees at Restaurant Event

Ella Ward’s Pancake Breakfast in Chesapeake

Congressional Candidate Ella Ward is hosting an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast on Saturday, August 4, at the Gourmet Breakfast Place on 838 Old George Washington Hwy. N. in Chesapeake.

The cost of admission is $10.00, and admission can be purchased online with ActBlue.

This will be a great opportunity to meet Dr. Ward and her supporters, and to help her get to Washington and properly represent the citizens of Virginia’s 4th District in the United States Congress.

Please see the flyer for more information.

Saturday, August 4th, 2012
8:00am – 10:00am
The Gourmet Breakfast Place
838 Old George Washington Hwy. N., Suite 100, Chesapeake, Virginia 23323.

Portrait of Ella Ward

Forbes’s InstaPoll: Do You Support Young, Illegal Immigrants?

Randy Forbes recently sent the following instapoll question to his subscribers:

instaPoll: Do you support the President’s new immigration policy that would allow young, illegal immigrants to legally live and work in the U.S?

Push polls like Forbes’s instapolls lie twice. First, they lie to the respondent by presenting a misleading suggestion as a question, then to the public by presenting an opinion about a distorted idea as if it were an opinion about an actual situation. When Randy Forbes discovers, as a result of his judicious information gathering efforts, that (surprise!) his subscribers don’t support “young, illegal immigrants”, he’ll paint President Obama as a leader out of touch with is people, and turn even more people away from the president’s policies since so many of us are low-information voters who simply go along with the crowd, or at least with were we think the the crowd is going.

But it’s all lies. Many young, illegal immigrants will continue to be deported under the president’s new policy, and most Americans approve of allowing tax-paying workers or students, who only know America as their home because they came here as children, to apply for green cards.

Push polls are an insipid method of changing public opinion from one based on facts to one based on distortions, under the guise of seeking information. Randy Forbes is not interested in hearing the opinions of his constituents, and when he seems to be asking questions, he’s actually presenting ideas and gathering support for his own agenda, using distorted, misleading rhetoric if necessary.