First off…Congratulations to all the primary 2011 winners-and may you be prepared for the sprint to November! Thanks go to those who were not successful-it takes courage and grit to offer yourself for public office and endure the winds of outrageous fortune and campaign advertisements, but our democracy cannot function without energetic debate of the ideas.
Now, some ruminations…
You Have to Play to Win
John Stirrup (Va 13) and Mark Peake (Va 22) both made conscious decisions to focus on areas of strength and ignore areas they were weak-and paid the price. Stirrup focused on Prince William County and ignored some Loudoun areas. Peake focused on Lynchburg and surrounding counties, and ignored the smaller counties to the east. Both got beat up in the areas they ignored and lost. If you want to represent an area, you have to campaign there.
The Trail Always Ends
Bob FitzSimmonds and Steve Hunt are both long time and energetic Republicans, but it seems they should turn their attention to working within the party. FitzSimmonds, finally running for the state Senate in a district not represented by Chuck Colgan encountered the same result. Steve Hunt, haveing lost relection to the Fairfax School Board some years ago and also in the special election in Va 37 in 2010, again lost. Guys, we appreciate your drive and desire to serve, but I think the time has come to shift your sights to some other goal.
Bosses Must Choose Well and Fight Hard
Sharon Bulova chose Christopher Wade as her pick for Democratic nominee for Braddock District Supervisor. Dick Saslaw tabbed Barbara Favola as his pick to succeed Mary Whipple. Wade lost, Favola won. Although Favola was not the favorite of the Lefty wing of the Democratic Party, she was an incumbent office holder with significant backing from her patron. Wade has no history in the Democratic Party, and it seems that beyond paying for an endorsement mailing Bulova did nothing but stamp her foot and say “But I want him”. Much as I don’t care for Gerry Connolly, had ole Ger’ tabbed Wade he would have quashed opposition and been working the voter lists and the precincts like a mad man. Bulova was apparently on vacay. Compare this to Chap!, who was apparently out and about all day in support of our good friend The Hoot.
It is not enough for leaders to indicate support. They must be out there pushing hard.
Be Careful What You Wish For
Given her lackadaisical showing and close loss to Ken Cucinelli in 2007, I am sure some GOP folks are licking their chops at the thought of a Hoot candidacy. Be careful what you wish for. While I am confident that Cook will defeat The Hoot, her presence on the ballot will ensure enthusiastic help for the Democratic ticket among the lefty branch…and the biggest recipient of this is Dugout Dave Marsden, who once again chose the easy way to go by endorsing Wade (probably because Bulova told him to and Connolly did not dissuade him) instead of waiting to see the full extent of the field. Oleszek’s nomination may have made Supervisor Cook’s life easier but made Jason Flanary’s candidacy more difficult.
Pointing Fingers get Chopped Off.
There seems to be a substantial amount of finger-pointing blaming Bob FitzSimmonds for John Stirrup’s loss. I suggest folks get over it. Sour grapes from nominating contests never yield bountiful crops in November. By all accounts John Stirrup did not run an inspired campaign in Loudoun…so in a close race like this the first guy who has to be blamed is John Stirrup. Ideologically, Fitz is about as conservative as Dick Black. I imagine there are a whole lot of voters who were with FitzSimmonds who are a lot more sympatico ideologically with Dick Black than with John Stirrup, and would have voted that way in a two-way race. Even if you think this is a Loudoun v. PrWm fight, I do not think it is a given that Stirrup wins a heads up contest. Consider this-if you take yesterday’s results, and assign all Fitz votes in Loudoun to Dick Black and all Fitz votes in Prince William to John Stirrup…Dick Black still wins.
It’s easy to say that all John had to do was “convert” 57 votes and he wins. Such a contention is silly. He would have to convert 57 Dick Black votes, and Dick Black supporters will stay put to the last ditch. What he really needed to do was to have gotten 114 FitzSimmond voters to back him instead, bring out enough folks in PW Co to allow him another 114 votes (which means probably 250 voters), found enough votes in those Loudoun precincts he ignored, etc. All these scenarios point not to FitzSimmonds as a spoiler but to Stirrup for not running a good enough campaign.
Chap!-The Big Man in Fairfax
It occurs to me that the big winner yesterday may have been Chap! Petersen. He endorsed The Hoot over Chairman Bulova’s choice (an in doing so made common ground with his 2005 primary opponent LB3-Leslie Byrne). He campaigned hard for her, sent out his own mailing for her…and she won. His stated policies are generally moderate and even conservative (from a Democrat perspective), and he showed his ability to work with the Lefty unions backing Hoot. With Bulova somewhat in tatters and Connolly coming off a narrow victory in 2010, it seems the big Democrat at the moment in Northern Virginia is Chap!.
Have a great day…I have to get about finding a Chase Utley bobble head…