2009 VA Lt. Gov. Primary

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Out of nowhere, Bowerbank launches an ad

John Bowerbank has launched an ad entitled "Leadership". This is a well done, professional quality, television ad. Likely the best to have come from any LG candidate so far. I guess this is the kind of stuff a campaign can have created for them when the candidate is able to fund it himself.

for Virginia Lt. Gov - Mike Signer

We have three statewide offices in Virginia this year. Most of the attention in the blogosphere has gone to the increasingly heated Democratic primary among Brian Moran, Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds for Governor. We have only one candidate so far (with the opportunity to file only a few weeks away ) for Attorney General, Steve Shannon. We have four declared candidates for Lieutenant Governor - Jon Bowerbank, Pat Edmonson, Mike Signer, and Jody Wagner. I am fortunate to know all four to varying degrees. I have decided to support the last to join the race, Mike Signer. In this piece I will offer my reasoning. Mike has known since Friday March 20 that I was going to endorse him. He has no prior knowledge of my reasoning. And I have contacted all three of the other candidates to let them know I would be endorsing someone else, but that I wished them well.

Fighting the smears and personal attacks

(This is serious business, and I hope those behind these despicable, personal threats are found and prosecuted -- promoted by code)

Pat EdmonsonI've half-jokingly said in the past that all's fair in love, war, and politics. This isn't exactly true. There are lines that shouldn't be crossed, ever. For as much as progressives push for campaigns which heighten the level of debate and dialogue, there are those who reach low in order to smear candidates. For most, smears are expected. Some ignore the smears, and some combat them. However, when those who wade through filth go from spreading smears to making threats against a candidate's life, the whole of the political community should condemn and support appropriate action to hold these people accountable.

Pat Edmonson's campaign recently sent out an e-mail revealing that Edmonson has been receiving hate emails containing racist, sexist, and homophobic rhetoric. These e-mails have included threats to her physical well being. The seriousness of these threats can not be understated. The campaign is taking them seriously, and has hired a security detail to travel with Edmonson.

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Congressman Connolly Straw Poll Results

1. McAuliffe: 58%
2. Moran: 30%
3. Deeds: 12%

Lt Governor
1. Wagner: 48%
2. Signer: 28%
3. Bowerbank: 12%
4. Edmonson: 12%

Amy Gardner at WaPo:

Former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe overwhelmingly won an informal straw poll in Fairfax County tonight against his two Democratic rivals for governor, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds.

At a jam-packed St. Patrick's Day party hosted by U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), McAuliffe earned 58 percent of votes, Moran took 30 percent and Deeds earned 12 percent. Connolly told the crowd of about 1,400 that a total of 934 ballots were cast.

If nothing else, the vote sprinkled a healthy pinch of fish food into Virginia's political aquarium. McAuliffe outshined his rivals in both organization and spirit at the event, arranging for donors to purchase 400 tickets for his guests, staffing the party with 60 paid campaign workers and prompting the loudest cheers when he spoke to the crowd.

Edmonson reaches out to GLBT community

Pat EdmonsonLast evening, I joined Pat Edmonson and members of her campaign staff at In Between, a gay bar in Virginia Beach. She joined patrons who were there for a show hosted by Fushia Deville, and was given a few minutes to speak about who she is, her campaign for Lt. Governor, and how she would represent the GLBT community. After speaking, Pat made her way around the room, speaking with everyone at length. She and her campaign spent over three hours at In Between, and were enthusiastically accepted and supported; raising over $600, effectively over $1,200 with current matching donations from a generous donor. All in all, I'd say it was a really good night for Edmonson and her campaign.

Many have asked what Edmonson's affinity for the gay community is based on. Some have even taken to extremely personal and ridiculously inappropriate attacks on her and her staff on the issue. It's no secret that one of Edmonson's beliefs is the "inherent worth of all people." She has been the only state-wide candidate who has openly spoken about GLBT issues and has proactively reached out to the gay community.

Pat Edmonson on Inside Scoop

Pat Edmonson was interviewed by George Burke on The Inside Scoop last Sunday evening. For those who didn't catch it, you can watch it below.

Updated Inside Scoop TV Shows Sun 3/08 and Mon 3/09

Inside Scoop Sunday
March 8th, 2009 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM EST
"Meet the Candidate – Pat Edmonson"

URL for the 58 minute show:

George Burke, our regular Virginia Host lead this Inside Scoop Virginia show with Democratic Lt. Governor Primary candidate guest, Pat Edmonson. Pat’s website has much more information and can be found at URL: http://patedmonson.com/about-pat.html

Inside Scoop Monday
March 9th, 2009 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM EST
"Debate with a Republican – It's The Economy Stupid"

URL for the 58 mnute show:

Mark Levine’s guest this week was Republican Strategist and regular, Mike Lane. Mark with recap the events of the past two weeks since his last show with lots of spirited discussions

More Information and where to view these shows follows…….
As well as Watch them "Live" and post comments in the Ustream Chat Room

Finally, a plan to make public education relevant

For many years now, perhaps since high school, I have argued that the way we educate students in our nation beyond grade school is fundamentally flawed. For too many students, the program of study they embark on through middle and high school has very little connection with what they do after graduation. These programs have lacked relevancy.

When I moved to Virginia Beach for my senior year of high school, and saw how the city was implementing various academies to provide a more relevant curriculum for its students, I was impressed. Still, a vast majority of students are left behind. Opportunities to attend the various academies are limited, and graduation requirements don't include any relevant studies for those who may not be attending college after high school. The reality is that there are too many students who graduate without any useful skillset to be successful after high school. In addition, the knowledge gap between a basic high school education and the expectations of college can be extreemly difficult for students to cross, setting them up for failure.

We need to think differently about public education. It needs to work for our students.

Pat Edmonson has announced her proposal to change the way we educate students in Virginia. Her plan, E21VA (Education in a 21st Century Virginia), outlines significant changes to education from Pre-Kindergarten to the completion of a 2-year degree from our valuable community colleges.

Here's a quick overview. You can read the entire document by clicking here.

Jody Wagner - Ready to Lead

cross-posted at DemRulz.Org

Why is it that we spent so much time asking if Sarah Palin would be ready to be President, but no one asks if Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor candidates are ready to be Governor?  True, the Virginia Governor doesn’t get the “nuclear football” and no Lt. Governor candidate has become Governor through a vacancy in the last 100 years (if ever).  Nevertheless,  there is “no higher honor” than being Governor of the Commonwealth and our Lt. Governor candidate has to be ready to lead through these tough times should a vacancy occur. 

Brian Moran handily wins the Mount Vernon Straw Poll, & Terry McAuliffe is a no-show

Tonight was a real demonstration of grassroots retail politicking, and every single statewide candidate in the running for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General on the Democratic side, with the exception of one, was present. Almost a few hundred people packed the Stone Mansion house in Alexandria for good retail politics, Mardi Gras beading, and cajun goodies.

The Mount Vernon Democratic Committee sponsored its second annual Mardi Gras Party & Straw Poll, and for the second year in a row, it was standing room only. There was great food, a terrific line-up of silent auction items that political people loved, and the secret hit of the night: Jeff Myhre's amazing Shenandoah-home-brewed beer! The lines for his beer were the biggest story of the night!

But actually, all the candidates who came gave some excellent speeches, some of the best I've heard this year from both Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran. On the Lt. Governor side, Pat Edmonson probably made the biggest strides in terms of identifying herself as the most unabashedly progressive candidate, but it was Secretary of Finance Jody Wagner who brought home the big win, with Jon Bowerbank's cavalcade of signage taking a fairly close second.

Results are after the fold, and as soon as I can get them uploaded, I'll put some photos behind the fold too.

Shining a light on a politically closeted issue

Politically speaking, a candidate or elected official takes a great risk when they support and protect a minority population when the majority includes those who oppose that minority group. It's much easier to shy away from related issues and hope that you're never placed in a position where you have to stand on principle and risk losing a portion of the majority vote.

To this end, we see our leaders sidestep difficult issues, defining their positions through explanations of political process and how their views are irrelevant. When we hear an elected leader say something akin to, "that's an issue for states to resolve individually," or, "that's not likely to be something I'll never need to make a decision on," what they are doing is attempting to avoid one of two things. Either they are proponents of protecting a minority, and don't want to risk losing the votes of the majority; or they are opponents of protecting a minority and want to avoid any backlash from that group.

All too often the rights of citizens are restricted due to being minorities, and the leaders we elect are not willing to take a stand for the preservation of those rights because doing so isn't seen as being politically expedient.

Jody Wagner Was On The Inside Scoop (With Video)

This is crossposted at Left of the Hill

As I have mentioned before, I am in the studio almost every Sunday to watch the taping of The Inside Scoop Virginia (I have also been a guest on the show to talk about economic justice issues and blogging). This week's guest was Jody Wagner who is one of the Democratic Candidates for Lt. Governor.

The show's format allows for people to call in and ask questions, which usually leads to a caller or two during each hour long show. Last night, however, there were a large number of people who either left comments on the shows website, emailed in questions, and called into the studio to ask their question on the air. This is worth mentioning because I think it helps to illustrate how there is an interest in the race for LG even in the relatively early stages.

I had asked for a specific example of a policy Jody had promoted or work she had done during her time with the Warner and Kaine Administrations. My reasoning behind this question was that I have heard a lot about how she had experience, but wanted a specific example of what that work actually was and how it prepared her to be Lt. Governor. Towards the end of the show (at the 50 minute 40 second mark), Jody got asked my question and spoke about her role in some legislation surrounding higher education. I thought she picked a good example of her work and, as I told her last night, look forward to seeing her talk more about these specifics as she continues on the campaign trail.

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Savage Takes His Case To Virginia Beach

Rich Savage spoke at the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee breakfast Valentines morning. After thanking Jody Wagner for encouraging everyone to sign petitions for every candidate, Savage introduced himself by telling the group that he is a businessman who lives in Richmond and has been involved in Democratic politics for about 16 years.

About six or seven years ago he began getting heavily involved in his community, coaching football and working with at-risk youth. From that experience, he came to believe that he could do more and should get more involved. About a year ago he started an education foundation designed to remove financial barriers for youth who were academically gifted. One way the foundation has reached out has been to sponsor transportation for Richmond high school students who want to attend the University of Virginia “Fall Fling” which promotes campus diversity. Another way was to begin addressing education issues. His run for Lieutenant Governor is a part of this effort.

State of the races in Virginia - one man's view of the Democratic contests

this also appeared at Daily Kos

This past weekend saw the quarterly meeting of the Democratic Party of Virginia, combined with the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, keynoted by Bill Clinton. I arrived Friday afternoon and stayed until late Sunday morning. I had no official capacity as party official or as accredited blogger, although I did participate in the first meeting of the newly blessed Veterans and Military Families Caucus. I had an opportunity to talk with all of the candidates for the three statewide offices, and many of their staff members. I went to various hospitality events they hosted. I talked with and listened to a number of important Democrats, some of whom are committed and advocating for their favorites (and sometimes bashing their opponents), many of whom are undecided in at least one of the two competitive races. And I watched and listened in general.

I am myself uncommitted except for the Attorney General's slot, where Delegate Steve Shannon of Fairfax County is so far unopposed for the nomination. My observations and analysis do not represent an endorsement.

And as of now, I see a very real possibility that the Democrats will field a ticket of three men from Northern Virginia.

I invite you to keep reading.

Jody Wagner talks about Her Vision if elected

Talking with Jody Wagner, one cannot help but be impressed with just how comfortable she is with her plans as Lt. Governor, and just how intensely focused she is. Reconciling Business with Labor issues is one way she wants to keep Virginia at the forefront.

Jody spent a few minutes last night to talk with me about her campaign and issues foremost on her mind.

(Forgive the poor audio, it's really hard to find a quiet spot in the middle of several hundred people!)

Say Hello to Mike Signer!

Michael sat down with me last night, to introduce himself and lay out his vision. Having been involved with many political campaigns and being an activist for many years, he has a singularly unique perspective view.

I hope you will take a moment to watch this video.

Edmonson's commitment to progressive values shines at JJ Dinner

Pat EdmonsonPat Edmonson's foray as a candidate into the spotlight of statewide Democratic politics at this weekends Jefferson-Jackson Dinner and associated events should give her campaign a significant boost. Edmonson's uncompromising dedication to progressive politics and improving the quality of life for people in Virginia, and her fearlessness to speak about the issues important to her without regard any worries whether Virginia is ready for a a true progressive as Lt. Governor, made her a standout among the crowd of candidates for that office.

At the meeting of the Virginia Democratic Central Committee, Edmonson asked those in attendance what it meant to be a Democrat and a progressive. She spoke of how she was tired of Democrats abandoning their values, and how she would not run from them. She called for Democrats to be Democrats and for them to act on their progressive values and get involved. She called on Democrats to stand up for the rights of minorities, for the reformation of Virginia's justice system, and against offshore drilling. Near the close of her address, Edmonson declared that, "it's time to return commonsense to the commonwealth."

Savage for LG campaign Video "Coach Rich"

This is a GREAT video!! I also noticed that the Savage campaign has a new look on its website www.getsavagevirginia.com

Pat Edmonson's fundraising momentum

Pat EdmonsonIn a remarkable display of fundraising ability and commitment from her supporters, Pat Edmonson has raised over $78,000 in her first three weeks of campaigning for Lt. Governor of Virginia. Pat Edmonson's campaign reports $52,372.00 in large contributions (in excess of $1,000.00 each). Pat also announces approximately $25,700 in small contributions.

For those running the numbers, that's over $26,000 a week. This is $6000 more per week on average than fellow candidate Jody Wagner, who reported raising about $400,000 in the last five months of 2008, of which approximately 30% has already been spent.

Other candidates for Lt. Governor include incumbent Bill Bolling, raised $313,000 within the last six months of 2008; Jon Bowerbank, who raised $317,000 during that period; and Rich Savage, whom the Virginia Public Access Project reports raised just $15,000. [Washington Post]

Pat Edmonson pushes VA legislators to cap title loan rates

Pat EdmonsonPat Edmonson, candidate for Lt. Governor, says she finds the fact that car title lenders can charge interests rates of 300% "shocking", and she's pushing legislators in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates to bring these lenders in line with regulations placing a 36% cap on interest rates, which all lenders regulated by the Consumer Finance Act must adhere to.

Edmonson says, "All lenders should be governed by the same Consumer Finance Act. To make matters worse, car title lenders also hold security interests in their customer's vehicles. If the customer misses even one payment, they stand to lose their cars. The vehicles are often worth far more than the loan, and car title lenders use this as a form of intimidation to the borrower. When the borrower loses their car, they often face losing their jobs, homes, etc."