Changes continue in Virginia political campaigns
Statewide Campaign Changes
Vogel for Lt. Governor
Veteran Virginia campaign operative Pat Trueman was named campaign manager for the Jill Vogel for LG race, giving him his first shot at running a statewide race.
Well regarded, Trueman ran Rob Bell’s shop until the Delegate dropped out of the AG race for personal reasons.
Formerly with the political consulting firm Carlyle Gregory, Trueman ran Eddie Whitlock’s unsuccessful state senate primary bid in 2015.
Trueman sold suits for Brooks Brothers in Georgetown prior to getting into political campaign management. “I still sell suits,” Trueman said. “Only now they have people in them.”
Reeves for Lt. Governor
Bryce Reeves lost his campaign manager, Brittany Carter, who got a gig with the Trump transition team in D.C. Sources say Trump Administration chief of staff and former RNC Chair Reince Preibus called her personally.
Replacing Carter is Jordan Wiggins, former director for the Virginia Marco Rubio for President campaign.
Editor’s note #1 to Jordan: We at Team Trump kicked your butt last Super Tuesday in Virginia dude. Just sayin’.
Wiggins also did field work for Rubio in Iowa and most recently was National Field Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Editor’s note #2 to Jordan: Yeah, we at Team Trump beat you in Iowa, too. So welcome back to Virginia, where you’re 0-2 Vs. Team Trump.
Emily Brewer for Delegate
Oh, what could have been.
Suffolk entrepreneur and former Republican political operative Emily Brewer launched a GOP nomination challenge to embattled incumbent Rick Morris in HD 64, which includes parts of Suffolk, Prince George, South Hampton and Isle of Wight.
Morris had been charged with a number of felonies involving abuse and child endangerment, which prompted House leadership to call for his resignation.
At the time, Morris looked like political dead man walking.
That’s when Brewer jumped in the race.
Since then, Morris has been cleared of all but one felony charge, and is likely to request a continuance on the last one until after the nomination selection process is complete.
In an email to supporters after his initial hearing, Morris wrote that the one felony child cruelty charge he still faces is “extremely broad, ambiguous, and undefined” under state law, which leaves much to the interpretation and discretion of police, prosecutors and the jury. His email said the presiding judge also expressed concern with the statute.
“I am confident that in due time I will be completely vindicated,” Morris wrote. “However, this process must play out and I respect that…I will continue to defend myself from these false accusations until the sole remaining charge is dismissed as well.”
This turn of events puts Brewer in an underdog scenario.
If Morris chooses an open primary in lieu of a convention or a firehouse caucus, Brewer would be positioned as the tenth name on the GOP primary ballot, not a good place for an upstart challenger against an incumbent.
Right now, Morris is a heavy favorite to win re-election – assuming it’s a primary.
But don’t count Brewer out.
Mike Kemp, former political director with the Glenn Davis for Lt. Governor campaign, has been named campaign manager for Brewer.
Kemp’s background includes stints as regional field director for Wayne Coleman, Ben Chafin and Nancy Dye for state senate. His presence, and Brewer’s tenacity, put this race in play.
Delegate Ron Villanueva vs. Bill Haley
Here we go again. Powerful House Transportation Chairman Ron Villanueva (R-Va. Beach) is being challenged for the GOP nomination by Tea Party activist and Chesapeake resident Bill Haley.
Haley ran a primary against Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) in 2015.
Haley is becoming the Harold Stassen of Chesapeake politics. Oh wait: Harold Stassen actually won a race.
This is a Villanueva blowout.
SPECIAL ELECTIONS January 10
House District 85 – Turn Out The Lights, This Party’s Over
Rocky Holcomb is heavily favored to replace U.S. House Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA/D2) in Virginia Beach’s 85th District. His Democratic challenger, Cheryl Turpin, although running a spirited campaign, is grossly underfunded in a solidly GOP district. Holcomb is running a risk-free say nothing controversial-just turn out my vote base-and get to Richmond campaign. Wake me up when it’s over.
Senate District 9 – Snooze Fest: Jen McClellan Mails It In
House member Jennifer McClellan – a rising star of the VA Dems — is the overwhelming favorite to win U.S. House Rep. Don McEachin’s (D-VA/4) old state senate seat. Her ballot opponent is colorful Libertarian candidate Corey M. Fauchonier. This is another snooze fest. Mail it in, Jen.
The Godfather Lurks: Senate District 22 – Toss up
Now it gets interesting. Saslaw’s been much too quiet these days. Makes me wonder.
The former state senate district occupant, U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA/5) is going to Washington, D.C.
A Democratic upset here flips the state senate to The Godfather, and makes State Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) the majority leader. On paper, this should be an easy win for GOP nominee Mark Peake, who routed former Goochland Supervisor Ken Peterson in a December district convention.
Garrret and Trump carried the district handily five weeks ago.
But the Democrats have managed to wage a competitive race and have fielded a very viable candidate, former Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington.
Washington appeared on our show yesterday. To add Republican insult to injury, Joe Hines, director of economic development at a local engineering firm, is running as a self proclaimed “independent conservative” and could cut into Peake’s GOP vote margin. Combine that with Democratic enthusiasm in the first post Trump election that matters, and this could be a barnburner.
Hines is for real. This is not some gadfly candidate who filed signatures. Hines, a Duke graduate, is a serious contender running a viable campaign. He isn’t likely to win, but he can change the outcome.
If Hines gets 12-15 percent of the vote, Washington wins and The Godfather takes over the state senate.
Some Republicans in the district I’ve talked to are taking this race much too lighlty. It could bite them.
Editors note: Joe Hines is on our show Weds. Jan. 4 at 8:05 a.m.