Foolish wishes from the WaPo…and Chap!

Citing the example of the late Harry Parrish, Michael Shear writes that the efforts of folks like Bob McDonnell and Ed Gillespie suggest that there might be a return to the gentlemanly “Virginia Way” of legislating, where legislators could agree without being disagreeable.

Well, if the Chap Petersen (henceforward Chap!) announcement offers any ideas, I doubt it lasts past the current GA session.

As expected, Chap! announced his candidacy to challenge Jeanmarie Devolites-Davis (henceforward JMDD) in the Virginia State Senate 34th district. After describing a litany of positions that seem better suited to Southwestern than Northern Virginia, Petersen also said he had trouble with a married couple each holding office:

“As the top two officials in this area, that’s too much power concentrated in the hands of one married couple,” said Petersen, a lawyer and two-term delegate from Fairfax City who lost the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor last year. “I don’t think it’s democratic. It bothers me that sometimes that type of relationship breeds cynicism.”

Naturally, JMDD differed on the subject:

Devolites Davis…shot back that Petersen doesn’t have many campaign issues to run on.

“Apparently I’ve done a good job because he can’t run against anything I’ve done,” said Devolites Davis, 50, a three-term delegate serving her first Senate term.

“I don’t think it’s unusual for family members who are interested in politics to be in the same career,” she said. “It’s advantageous.”

She noted that Virginia has numerous political families, including Fairfax Supervisor Sharon S. Bulova (D-Braddock) and her son, Del. David L. Bulova (D-Fairfax), and Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D) and his brother, Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria).

Congressman Davis also disagreed…

Said Davis: “Jeannemarie has won four terms without being married to me. To sit there and say it’s not okay for a woman who won the seat in her own right to serve. . . . Chap is a fine young man, but it looks to me that you have an ambitious politician who lost his last race, looking for an office.”

I have harbored this idea that with all the substantive differences that appear to exist between the two parties in Virginia, that the state house races would be fought by serious people on serious issues. But I never thought that I would hear a candidate for high office say in an announcement that a reason to vote against his opponent was because she was married to another elected official…although apparently as long as you aren’t married you can have multiple family members in elected office.

Come on! If you don’t like her positions, say so, and in detail. If you don’t like her philosophy or performance, say so , and tell us why. But to say someone shouldn’t hold elected office because their spouse also holds one?

Please wake me when the substantive part of the campaign begins…but if the Petersen announcement is any indication, it won’t be any time soon. In fact, it sounds like Chap! intends to get very personal in this campaign…certainly a vast array of bloggers may do to…and some already have.

And if all that happens-then the civility of the “Virginia Way” doesn’t have much time left on the clock.


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