John Fredericks is in New Hampshire for tomorrow’s primary but has sent us his thoughts to us on Virginia’s 2nd and 4th districts.
FORBES VS. TAYLOR CD-2 – TOSS UP
U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA/4) announced today at 1:30 p.m. in a live stream press conference originating from his Facebook page that he will run for election in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. Forbes appeared with current 2nd District Congressman Scott Rigell (R), who is retiring after serving three terms. Rigell has pledged to endorse Forbes and actively campaign for him. In a short video appearance, Forbes made his case for keeping his seniority in the region, arguing that tens of millions dollars in military funding is at stake.
“I believe voters choose leaders based on their priorities, not their zip code. This region knows that my priorities are protecting national security, defending our defenders, and serving the veterans who served our nation”, Forbes said.
Rep. Rigell will be on our radio show Tuesday at 6:40 a.m., followed by
Rep. Forbes live in studio tomorrow at 8:05 a.m.
GOP PRIMARY VOTERS IN A SURLY MOOD?
But a restless and contentious GOP primary voter might not be in the mood for what some critics call a bold attempt by a career politician to keep power by running in a safer district.
Forbes’ decision to seek election to a 8th term in a neighboring district is driven by a recent lower court decision that ruled Virginia’s 3rd District as unconstitutional under the federal Voting Rights Act. The court redrew boundaries primarily affecting Virginia’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th districts. The only district that dramatically changed in political-electoral makeup is Forbes’ 4th district, which went from cozy GOP to likely Democratic pick-up. Barack Obama carried the new district with a 61 percent majority in 2012. The redrawn boundaries now include Richmond City and Petersburg, tilting the election prospects to the Democrats while adding a significant number of African American voters.
Forbes, although hugely popular in his district, decided to go for greener pastures in lieu of opting to stay and fight for re-election in the new 4th.
DOGFIGHT ON HIS HANDS
But he’ll have to win a June 14th primary first.
Although the 16-year Washington veteran lawmaker has racked up a boatload of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach elected official endorsements, he’s drawn the public ire and opposition of political powerhouse Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle.
The Stolle machine in Virginia Beach is not to be underestimated.
SCOTT TAYLOR NOT GOING AWAY
Standing between Forbes and new life in the 2nd district is Delegate Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach) who has already announced for the seat and initiated a robo-call campaign in Forbes’ current district in an effort to undermine the district-switch gambit.
Taylor, a former Navy Seal, is primed to wage the type of nomination battle the Forbes camp doesn’t relish. He wasted no time in lambasting his new opponent.
“There is nothing in my DNA that tells me it is acceptable to leave your people behind to save yourself, regardless of the argument to do so. One of the beautiful things about the military is that we sacrifice ourselves so that others may gain. What is wrong with many in the career political class is that they sacrifice others so they may gain,” Taylor charged.
In a preview of what’s in store for the Forbes campaign, Taylor launched this haymaker: “Leaders choose to look after the person to their left and the one on their right. They run to the fight, not away from it, putting their physical or political self at risk for those who have committed their blood, sweat, and tears to get them where they are. Leadership is a responsibility and an honor, not a rank or title.”
Taylor will raise enough money to be competitive. His campaign manager, Scotty Weldon, is fresh off a very combative state senate re-election victory for Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Va. Beach).
Weldon takes no prisoners. He will not hesitate to go negative to win the seat.
Forbes has not run a competitive race in 15 years.
Taylor and Weldon have.
As a result, I currently rate this race a toss-up.
A third candidate, local Virginia Beach attorney Pat Cardwell announced his candidacy last month. Cardwell had planned to challenge Rigell for the nomination.
DISTRICT 4 RACE – DEMOCRATS
National Democrats are salivating at the likely prospect of picking up this seat. The nomination favorite going in is longtime State Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond), second in command of the Democratic state senate minority. McEachin is expected to announce his candidacy the day the General Assembly adjourns.
He’ll be challenged by Chesapeake City Councilwoman Ella Ward, who ran against Forbes in 2012, getting a respectable 43 percent. While Ward will get 40 percent of the vote for just putting her name on the Democrat primary ballot, its a long way for her to 50 percent plus one.
The wildcard is State Sen. Kenny Alexander (D-Norfolk) who is planning a Norfolk mayoral run.
But if the popular and venerable Alexander jumps in, he’s makes this race no more than a 50-50 prospect for McEachin. His entry is, however, doubtful.
DISTRICT 4 RACE – GOP
Chesapeake City Councilwoman and business owner Suzy Kelly is expected to make a decision to enter the race for the GOP nomination sometime this week. Kelly has built a formidable company — Jokell, Inc., a woman-owned electrical distribution and solutions provider serving the military, commercial marine, and defense industries.
Kelly has a powerful base in Chesapeake, and rates a daunting favorite to win a June 14GOP primary should she enter the race.
Although the Chesapeake entrepreneur and Councilwoman enters the race a decided general election underdog, she is not to be counted out. Kelly has promised to campaign vigorously in the African American communities of Petersburg and Richmond.
Kelly has a reputation as a relentless tireless campaigner.
Morning Line Odds D-4: McEachin – 6 over Kelly 53-47 percent
Listen to John:
Monday to Friday 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on WHKT AM 1650- Hampton Roads, WNTW AM 820 – Richmond/Central Virginia and WBRG AM 1050, 106.7 FM and 105.1 FM –Lynchburg-Danville-LexingtonScheduled To Appear on #JFRS Tuesday – Feb. 9
6:15 a.m. – U.S. Rep. (Ret) Nan Hayworth (R-NY)
6:35 a.m. – U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA/2)
7:35 a.m. – Donald Trump, Jr.
8:05 a.m. – Randy Forbes (R-VA/4)
8:35 a.m. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
9:35 a.m. Stephen Stepanek – State Rep. NH (R-Amherst