Former Governor and potential GOP senate nominee Jim Gilmore and his allies put the screws to Tom Davis last December by selecting a convention to pick the 2008 GOP nominee to replace John Warner. Seems like Davis is getting the last laugh…and if not Davis, then certainly Lowell seems to be.
The WaPo reports that the candidacy of Delegate Bob Marshall is showing surprising strength. The article goes on to talk about how Marshall is showing unanticipated strength, especially in rural areas that were thought to be the backbone of a Gilmore effort.
An unbriefed observer may think “how can a 9-term delegate even begin to run even with a former AG and Governor?”
Good question…and although I think Gilmore will win the nomination, let me suggest some fertile ground where Marshall should be able to make hay.
1. Marshall is actually to the right of Gilmore in the Right-to-Life realm. Gilmore’s position essentially dovetails with Roe v. Wade, where a woman has the right to an abortion in the first trimester. Marshall is against abortion almost completely, although I think he does not oppose it if the life of the mother is in danger-sort of the Cuccinelli position.
2. Gilmore did not get the car tax eliminated, he changed the car tax calculation once he was elected, and state spending rose under him. Despite his protestations to the contrary, Gilmore bathed in the IT-explosion money that was coming into the state pre-2001 and the related filled state coffers. Gilmore talked a good game as a fiscal conservative, but did not really walk the walk.
3. The personal touch, where Marshall is a clear winner…
First off, Marshall is a sense a throwback legislator. As the WaPo story puts it:
Marshall, despite what some regard as his extreme views, is well-liked by moderates and even Democrats, who admire his collegiality, intellect and principled stands, even when they’re not popular. Marshall also charms his colleagues in a way that Gilmore does not.
An example of Marshall at work…when Bob first ran in the GOP primary back in 1991 in the new 13th district, he was going door-to-door when he caught my father puttering about in the yard. They started talking, and the subject hit abortion. My father is pro-choice, but as a physician has a scientific and also a libertarian perspective on it. Marshall could have gingerly extracted himself from a conversation with my father on the matter when it came up…instead they talked for at least thirty minutes. No minds were changed, but Dad came away thinking Marshall was bright and doctrinaire with out being domineering or insulting.
Gilmore acted as if any act of opposition was an act of treason or of evil. His popularity in the GOP has been based solely on the fact that he won elections, and not on any degree of personal magnetism or being liked. Now it looks like some of those nasty eggs he lobbed at other people are not hatching in ways he did not anticipate.
As noted, despite all this stuff, Gilmore will likely win a sizeable majority in the May convention. Of course, if the Tom Davis folks back Marshall to put the screws to Jim Gilmore, and if delegates who were done wrong by Gilmore at some point vote for Marshall, and folks who are unhappy they still pay a car tax vote against Gilmore, it could get interesting.
Funny thing, though…Gilmore would surely crush Marshall in a primary, the same primary he sought so fervently to avoid.
Well, as the good book says, that which ye sow so shall ye reap…