Good afternoon, readers.
Glad to be with you once again. First, let me apologize for the two-week hiatus in posts. If you are wondering why the lengthy break took place, every time that I would come up with a topic that I wanted to write about, my mind would keep drifting to thoughts of a rather remarkable woman. But the Virginia Conservative must go on and go on it will!
Now that Virginia Republicans have come to terms with the disappointing results of 2012, they are turning their attention to the 2013 contests. After all, every year is an election year here in Virginia. Next November, Virginians will vote for a new governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. In addition, all 100 seats in the House of Delegates will be up for grabs.
Normally, the race for lieutenant governor is a rather low-key affair. In most circumstances, the lieutenant governor has about as much relative clout and power as the vice president of the United States. He or she presides over the Virginia Senate, only casts a vote to break a tie in legislative matters, and assumes the role of governor if the sitting governor resigns or is incapacitated. Typically, the office is also a placeholder for a person who will seek the role of governor in the next election.
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling also was given the role of Chief Jobs Creation Officer from Governor McDonnell, a rather curious title. After all, don’t conservatives believe that it is not the role of government to create jobs, but rather to create the most business friendly environment possible where taxes are kept low and bureaucratic red tape is minimized? But we can delve into that topic on another post.
However, after the 2011 election, the lieutenant governor gained an additional function. When the dust settled in November of that year, the 40-member body of the Virginia Senate was split evenly between members of the Republican and Democratic Parties. In that rare circumstance, many people assumed, given that neither party held a majority in the body, a power sharing agreement would be the outcome. However, as the lieutenant governor was a Republican, the GOP declared that they controlled the Virginia Senate and thus no power sharing agreement was reached.
Although the move to claim victory in the Virginia Senate may have been politically smart for the Republican Party at the time, I personally opposed the plan. In some ways, it felt as if it circumvented the will of the people. After all, the voters elected an equally divided Senate and ought to have a Senate that reflected this result. However, this action gave the lieutenant governor considerably more power. As a result, I knew that it would put a greater emphasis on a race that is typically considered second tier. After all, even though we will not elect a single new senator on November 5th, 2013, control of that body will hinge upon the outcome of the lieutenant governor race. If the Democrats win, given what happened in 2011, I’m certain that they will ignore any pleas for a divided Virginia Senate.
Unlike the election for governor and attorney general, the Republican nomination for lt. governor is very much up in the air. There are a whole host of candidates: former State Senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, 2012 U.S. Senate candidate E.W. Jackson, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, State Senator Steve Martin, Chairman Corey Stewart of Prince William County, Chairwoman Susan Stimpson of Stafford County, and 2012 Virginia GOP Victory Chairman Pete Snyder. Although many liberty-minded folks that I know are lining up behind Stimpson, I still need to learn more about the candidates and thus remain uncommitted at this time. At this point, none can claim front-runner status and, if the field remains so large, the outcome of the 2013 GOP convention could very well yield surprising results.
On the Democratic side, we have Aneesh Chopra, the first person to hold the role of the Chief Technology Officer of the United States and State Senator Ralph Northam.
Will the Libertarian, Constitution, and/or Green Parties field a candidate to run for lieutenant governor as well? And, if so, what sort of impact will he or she make in the race?
The bottom line is that due to outcome of 2011, the 2013 race for Virginia’s lieutenant governor is far more important than it has been in previous cycles. Therefore, I encourage all of my fellow conservative activists to consider each of our choices carefully before selecting or dismissing a candidate prematurely.