Thursday, October 24, 2013

Harrisonburger Predicts Victory in VA AG Race by Harrisonburger Republican

I am the Harrisonburger making the prediction that fellow Harrisonburger, Mark Obenshain, whom I have known for decades, will be elected Attorney General of Virginia in the nationally watched election coming up in VA shortly.  OTOH, I expect that the Dems, McAuliffe and Northam, will win the races for Governer and Lieutenant Governor, although neither of those is a sure thing, particularly the second.

Of course, the most important race is that for Governor, and if the current polls showing Terry McAuliffe ahead of Ken ("the Cooch") Cuccinelli prove to be correct in the end, this will be the first time since 1973 when Republican Mills Godwin (a former Byrd Machine Dem) was elected Governor while someone from the same party sat in the White House, Republican Richard Nixon.  The state has had a rebellious contrary streak since to always go for someone of the opposite party to the person in the WH.  But, moderate Republicans are angry at how Cuccinelli grabbed the nomination in a stacked conventino rather than having a primary over Lt. Gov. Bolling, GOP business leaders in NoVa have been unhappy at the Cooch's opposition to the transportation plan put forward by GOP Gov. McDonnell (whose scandal problems have not helped and in which the Cooch is also somewhat involved), although now the Cooch says that he will not undo the plan, on top of which there are the impacts of the government shutdown, massively unpopular across the board here in VA, which the Cooch has said he might have voted for, on top of which Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis is scoring 10% in the polls reportedly drawing more from otherwise likely GOP voters than from likely Dem voters.  The two have their final debate tonight, but unless one of them makes some massively idiotic statement, I doubt it will affect things much.

However, I suspect the outcome will be much closer than most polls show.  I see three reasons: 1) Cuccinelli has intense support from his base, which will turn out, and WaPo today reported that in the final stretch he is leaning to the base, not playing ads in NoVA and trying to get it out; 2)  Some of those Sarvis voters will probably "go home" to whomever they initially supported on "don't waste your vote" argument, with that probably adding a few points for the Cooch, and 3)  Two weeks is the limit of short-term memory, and while now only one week after the end of the shutdown many are very angry and motivated against Cuccinelli, by election day a lot of those softer supporters, minorities and younger voters will have gotten past that immediate annoyance and may lose their anger and motivation.  The Cooch can still pull this off, particularly if McAuliffe stumbles and says something stupid.

BTW, my own personal opposition to him has many grounds, but probably at the top of the list is the lawsuit he brought against the University of Virginia as AG demanding all the emails and other records of climatologist, Michael Mann, from when he was at UVa.  Mann has been at Penn State for some time, so this was a dredge through ancient history to try to find some nonexistent smoking gun disproving global warming, which did get rejected by the courts.  But, quite aside from the specifics of the global warming issue, this assault on academic freedom is simply beyond the pale for me.

The Lieutenant Governor race is more important than one might think because the state Senate is evenly split between the parties.  Who is LG determines who controls the Senate, and currently that is relatively moderate but still GOP Bill Bolling.  If Northam beats Jackson, as polls suggest, the Dems will gain control.  I note that Jackson is further to the right to the point of complete insanity, claiming that modern libearlism is worse for African-Americans than was slavery or the KKK.  I note that he is an African-American minister and got the nomination out of 7 candiates at the convention that was heavily dominated by Tea Partiers impressed by whomever could be farther and crazily to the right than the others.  That proved to be Jackson, who is so far out that the other two GOP candidates have clearly avoided being seen with him.  But, the lack of a Libertarian distraction and as a spinoff if turnout strongly favors the right wing base, Jackson couild win, and very likely will if Cuccinelli does.  This is not out of the question.

Which brings us to my fellow resident of Harrisonburg, the GOP AG candidate.  Mark has long been asociated wtih the conservative wing of the VA GOP, with his late father having been one of the main leaders of that wing in the past.  His cred with the Tea Partiers is solid, and there is little distance between his and Cuccinelli's views.  Indeed they are personally close, having shared a desk apparently in the state Senate, where Mark is still our local Senator, while the Cooch was there prior to getting elected AG four years ago.  Nevertheless, Mark looks like the rational moderate compared to the other two and also does not have a Libertarian distracter.  The polls show his Dem opponent Herring slightly in the lead, but that race is clearly much closer than the other two.  I suspect in the end the enthusiasm factor of the TP base, plus some more moderate types willing to vote for him as he has assiduously avoided saying obviously crazy things, will put him over the top. 

Nevertheless, he really is a social and otherwise conservative along Cooch lines, and when he was on the Board of Visitors that oversees James Madison University (JMU) where I teach economics, he made his biggest splash making the student health center not be able to hand out contraceptives.  If  elected, he will not be undoing the moves that Cuccinelli made to close down abortion clinics and other such policies.

Barkley Rosser

Update:  One more serious problem with Cuccinelli is that unlike the previous 6 VA AGs who ran for higher office over several decades, he has not resigned his position prior to running.  As it comes down, there are major legal issues arising over this election, most noticeably the purge of 57,000 voters from the lists, supposedly illegal, although it is increasingly clear that a substantial minority of them are properly and legally registered, although there is no way to adjudicate all this prior to the election, and, guess who?, is responsible ultimately for overseeing this?  Well, Ken Cuccinelli, candidate for Governor and sitting Attorney General.  This scum must not become Governor.  Period.


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As of Nov. 1, Cuccinelli only 2 points behind McAuliffe. He could win this. Running ads about Obamacare rollout failure, which has dominated the news for the last week. I fear my point about short term memory is turning all too real. If the election were last Tuesday, Mac would have swept it, probably winning by double digits. Now, he may lose.