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Archive for November, 2011

VC Note:  This brief article regarding the 2011 election comes from the Republican Party of Virginia.

Election 2011: What it Means

 – GOP Supermajority in House, Majority in Senate, Solid Start for 2012 – 

The votes are counted. The canvass is done, and the dust has settled. What does it all mean?

First, let’s look at the lay of the land.

House of Delegates

* Republicans picked up 7 seats in the House of Delegates.

* Republicans now have a 68 seat caucus in the House, the most in history.

* Republicans won 13 of 14 open seats in the House.

* Republicans defeated 2 Democrat incumbents in the House.

* All 52 incumbent Republicans seeking re-election won.

 

Senate of Virginia

* Republicans have won a working majority in the Senate.

* Republicans gained two seats to make it 20-20 with Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling holding the decisive tie-breaking vote.

* Republicans won 3 of 5 open seats in the Senate.

* Republicans defeated 2 Democrat incumbents in the Senate.

* All 15 incumbent Republicans seeking re-election won.
 

So what does it all mean?

First and foremost, Virginians overwhelmingly voted for a Republican controlled General Assembly.

 

Just look at the numbers:

 

House GOP Votes: 757,000, about 61% of all votes cast

House Dem Votes:  419,000, about 33% of all votes cast


Senate GOP Votes
: 771,000, about 57% of all votes cast
Senate DEM Votes: 554,000, about 41% of all votes cast

 

2011 caps a remarkable three-year run for Virginia Republicans:

 

* In 2009, Virginia Republicans won all three statewide offices by massive margins and picked up 6 seats in the House of Delegates.
* In 2010, Virginia Republicans defeated 3 incumbent Congressional Democrats and came within a few hundred votes of defeating a fourth, moving the Congressional delegation to 8-3 and clearing the way for our own Rep. Eric Cantor to become U.S. House Majority Leader.
* In 2011, Virginia Republicans picked up 7 more seats in the House of Delegates and picked up 2 seats in the state Senate.

For three years running, the message from Virginia voters has been clear. We expect them to send the same resounding message again in 2012.

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This morning, citizens across Virginia awake to a day much like any other.  The sun has risen, the temperature is fairly warm, and life proceeds steadily onward.  The politicos among us, still weary from the toils of yesterday, look to the results of Election Day and are instilled with either hope or dread depending on one’s perspective.  So what are the results?

The biggest topic is the Virginia Senate.  So far, the Republican Party has netted one seat with Bill Stanley’s narrow win over Roscoe Reynolds in the 20th district.  The 17th district is still too close to call with Republican Bryce Reeves currently enjoying a 136-vote lead over incumbent Edd Houck.  It seems very likely that a recount in that district is coming soon.

Although the GOP has made gains, it certainly isn’t the slam-dunk that many conservative and Republican activists had hoped.  Assuming Houck emerges victorious, the Democrats will retain control of the Senate.  If Reeves wins, then the chamber will be evenly split with Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling likely casting the deciding tie-breaking vote in many circumstances.

One question that has troubled me throughout the campaign is, assuming the Republicans gain control of the Senate (or have a 20-20 tie), who will lead the party in that chamber?  Will it be a fiscal, social, and constitutional conservative?  Or will it be someone in the mold of former Senator John Chichester?  Even though I’ve been told by several sources that we will not return to such days, unless the GOP chooses a leader based on conservative principles, and not merely on seniority, I remain concerned.

Before moving on to the other races, I believe it is important to recognize that conservatives could have made their gains greater, but they spread their resources too thinly.

Looking at the unofficial results, the GOP ran pretty close campaigns in the 1st, the 33rd, the 36th, the 37th, the 38th, and the 39th.  However, the party devoted efforts to wide range of other races and thus ended up short in so many places.  As Bearing Drift stated in the most recent issue of their magazine, the 36th and the 38th districts leaned Republican and yet both were lost.  If money and volunteers were used in a wiser fashion, would the GOP now have a 21 or 22-seat majority instead?  To use a sports analogy, why gamble so much and swing for a homerun when a simple base will win (or at least tie) the game?

Here at home, Republican Bryan Hutcheson will be the new Sheriff of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.  Even though the city was close, Hutcheson captured an amazing 66% of the vote in the county.  Congratulations to Mr. Hutcheson and his campaign team for their decisive win.

Moving north, Craig Orndorff emerged the top vote getter in the four-way race for Soil and Water Conservation Director in Shenandoah County.  Best wishes to him in his new position.

With the House of Delegates firmly in Republican hands, not too much attention has been given to that chamber.  However, given my ties with a particular House of Delegates seat, the last area of interest is the 93rd district.  As I mentioned previously, this district became a little more Republican after redistricting.  Mike Watson of Williamsburg capitalized on shift by defeating freshman Delegate Robin Abbott of Newport News.

Over all, things haven’t changed too much here in Virginia.  I’m sure pundits from both sides of the aisle will spin the results to declare victory for their cause boldly stating that either President Obama has been repudiated or vindicated.  Personally, I don’t think this election demonstrated a huge shift, but rather serves as another testament to Virginia’s conservative-leaning principles.

As the ink begins to dry on Election Day 2011, we prepare for 2012.  Given the limited space on my car, today is the annual ritual of bumper sticker removal.  So long Delegate Wilt and Senator Obenshain.  I expect to see both your names on my vehicle for the 2013 cycle.

The ceaseless political battle continues again soon.  But, for the moment, let’s come together as Virginians united and savor a respite.  The time for reflection and introspection is at hand.

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In about eight and a half hours polls across the Commonwealth of Virginia will open.  On the ballot, we will find each member of the House of Delegates, the Virginia Senate, and a whole host of local and constitutional offices.

The most talked about aspect of this election statewide is control of the State Senate.  Currently, the Democratic Party enjoys a 22-18 majority in that chamber.  Most commentators, myself included, believe that the Republican Party will pick up several seats.  The two questions are: how many seats will the GOP gain and where will they enjoy the greatest success?

Here in the Shenandoah Valley, neither the House nor the Senate races are particularly interesting.  Most incumbents are unopposed and the one Delegate who is challenged, Delegate Dickie Bell of Staunton, should win handily.  As I’ve mentioned, the race for Sheriff is the most exciting contest in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.  Of course, I’m also interested to hear the outcome of the school board race in the county too.

In years past, you would often find me outside polling places, working for a candidate or the party.  This year, though, I’m trying something new.  I’ll be working for Rockingham County to help oversee one of their many polling places.  From 5 AM to 9 PM, you will find me at this post.  It’s going to be a long day, but whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or an Independent, we can all agree that ensuring proper voting and fair play is a central element of our election process.

Anyway, if you live in Virginia, I want to remind you to vote tomorrow.  Sure, this election may not be as glamorous as the 2012 Presidential race to come, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.  After all, if you want to have a voice in your state and local government, now you have your chance!  Polls are open from 6 AM to 7 PM.

Vote Virginia!

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On Thursday, I received a rather negative comment on this blog regarding an event going on at James Madison University.  After reading such news, I decided to head over to the university to see what all the fuss was about.  Well, it seems that the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform had put up their Genocide Awareness Project (or G.A.P.) in the middle of campus.

For those who haven’t heard of G.A.P. before, it is a colorful display that contains graphic images of both abortions and various mass murders through the ages such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan butchery.

Now, I can understand why these pictures would upset most people, like the person who sent me the comment yesterday.  After all, when I first started working for Students for Life of America, I had a rather negative impression myself.  Who wants to see such horrible pictures?  Of course the answer is no one.  Won’t they just serve to turn people off from the movement?

But then I got to thinking about my own experience.  Back in high school, what motivated me to be a pro-life activist?  Wasn’t it the same terrible pictures adorning literature from Heritage House 76?

Dukes for Choice Protest

But don’t these images serve to weaken the pro-life cause?  Well, how many people do you suppose are either so disgusted (or so pleased) by these pictures that they decide to have an abortion as a result?  I doubt anyone could make such a claim.  Abortions aren’t pretty, nor are the images that result from this choice.  Some pro-lifers may reject these tactics, but if any choose to abandon the movement when confronted with them, then I doubt they had a very strong commitment in the first place.

No one likes to see these pictures, nor should they.  They are meant to show the real-life consequences of abortion.  You can argue the philosophic merits or detriments of abortion all you like, but when you face the brutal images of the deed, you cannot help but feel revulsion.  It is both natural and human.

After touring the Buchenwald concentration camp outside of Weimar and seeing the photos of what went on there during the Nazi regime, I gained a new-found understanding of the barbarous ways that a man can treat his fellow man.  It wasn’t a journey for fun or pleasure, but it was nevertheless important.  Hopefully, by making such knowledge public we can decrease the likelihood of such events happening in the future.

So too is the goal of the G.A.P.  The organizers don’t like these pictures anymore than you or I.  So then why do they do it?  Well, as a result of this gross panorama the life of even one unborn child is saved, is it worth it?  I believe the answer is yes.

Below are several thumbnail pictures of Thursday’s event.  You are free to look at these graphic images or not.  If you have never seen pictures of the results of an abortion, I encourage you to do so.  Consider yourself warned; you won’t like them, of course, but they do serve as a valuable tool.

So what will your reaction be the next time G.A.P. and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform comes to your campus?  Will you protest, like one reader and Dukes for Choice, demanding restrictions and squelching the 1st Amendment right of free speech?  Or will they motivate you to take a stand for those who cannot speak for themselves?  I suppose that there is only one way to find out.

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In about a week, Virginians have the opportunity to elect delegates, state senators, sheriffs, and a whole host of city and county officers.  Although most contests are uncontested here in the Shenandoah Valley, I want to draw your attention to one race in Shenandoah County.

Two newcomers are challenging the incumbents for spots for Soil and Water Conservation Director in the Lord Fairfax District.  I believe that Craig Orndorff is a candidate who deserves your support.

I’ve known Craig for a good many years now through our mutual involvement in valley politics and the blogosphere.  On my last trip to Shenandoah County, I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Orndorff speak about this position he is looking to fill, and let me tell you that I was impressed.  He possesses a very strong knowledge about the duties and responsibilities of the director and has a multitude of ideas for improvement over the current system.  He also demonstrates a real passion to expand both the openness and accountability of this position, two traits that are sorely needed at every level of government.

I encourage you to watch this video to learn a bit more as to why you should support Craig Orndorff for Soil & Water Conservation Director:

Although I cannot vote for him considering that I don’t live in Shenandoah County, I strongly recommend that my readers, friends, and neighbors who call the county home support him next Tuesday.

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