These last few days have proved to be some of the more interesting in Virginia, both politically and otherwise. Of course, this thought may lead you to ask why I haven’t written about it before Friday. Well, when you are working a bunch of ten-hour days straight, I find you have time for little more than sleeping and eating. But enough about myself; let’s dive in.
I suppose the most talked about news has to be the Virginia earthquake. Based right outside the town of Mineral, VA, at 1:51 PM on Tuesday, a 5.8 magnitude quake shook the eastern U.S. At the time, I was about sixty miles away, across the Blue Ridge Mountains in Weyers Cave, VA. Although I certainly felt the tremor, I didn’t know it what it was at the time. Fortunately, the damage was limited and there have been no reports of any fatalities. However, any time there is an earthquake near a nuclear power plant, I suppose there should be cause for concern.
Moving on to political matters…also on Tuesday, there were a number of primaries across the Commonwealth. Republican and Democratic hopefuls squared off against each other to secure their party nominations. Although there weren’t really any great surprises, there were a few disappointments. Running through the most interesting contests for Senate, we find Senator Norment easily fended off a challenger, former Del. Dick Black making a successful return to state politics, former Delegate and former RPV Chairman Jeff Frederick wiping the floor with Tito Munoz, Jason Flanary denying Steve Hunt another chance to reclaim the seat formerly held by Ken Cuccinelli, and Tom Garrett edging out a win in a five-way contest in the 22nd.
Switching to statewide issues, a recent rift has developed between Senate candidate and former Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke and RedState editor Erick Erickson. If you may recall, Erickson was early supporter of Radtke’s, promoting her over the “establishment retread” of former Governor and former Senator George Allen. Although many of the details are still being sorted out, Erickson recently published negative comments about Radtke after her recent speech at a convention sponsored by RedState in Florida. With allegations flying that her discourse was extremely lackluster and that Allen supporters fund RedState, it is proving difficult to sort out the facts from the conjecture. Although it is certainly true that I respect both Radtke and RedState, I recommend letting the dust settle before delving into wild speculation.
Moving to local issues, a new candidate has entered the race for Sheriff of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. His name is Kevin Shifflett and he is from Harrisonburg. Although details are limited, he is currently a captain in the Army National Guard. Running as a second independent candidate, it should be interesting to see how his candidacy affects the field of Hutcheson & Hess. Is he a strong contender? I suppose we will discover the answer to this question very soon.
Lastly, I wanted to touch on last night’s Tea Party meeting. As a result of featuring Delegates Tony Wilt, Steve Landes, and Rob Bell, the gathering was extremely well attended. Just as impressive, the media covered the event for the first time. Both WHSV (the local T.V. news) and the Daily News Record were present. Although tea parties are waning in certain parts of the state and country, does this event herald an era of new success for our local tea party? I certainly hope so. I wish that I had brought my camera to capture it all.
Although there are other topics to consider, I believe that the ones listed above are far and away the most important in Shenandoah Valley politics these last several days.
Earthquakes, primaries, and political intrigue…wow! What a week!