Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Anyone But Jim

With the loss of the State Senate to the Democrats, there is a lot of talk in Republican circles about what went wrong in 2007 and what steps we as a party can take to reverse our recent misfortune. Some say we need to move in a more conservative direction. Others think moderation is the answer. For me, the key to rebuilding our party is nominating conservative candidates, but those that can actually win!

The 2008 US Senate race will be critical for the Republican Party in Virginia. We know that Mark Warner will most likely be the Democratic nominee. Warner is immensely popular and will be very difficult for any Republican to beat. However, if we learned nothing else from George Allen's loss in 2006, it's that there is no "sure thing". Mark Warner is beatable. We just need the right candidate.

With Tom Davis declining to run, former Governor Jim Gilmore is the only Republican officially in the race. And Jim Gilmore is not the candidate that can beat Mark Warner. Early polls have Mark Warner up by 20 points. Granted, those margins will shrink as time goes by, but Gilmore will definitely lose this election and the Democrats will capture their second US Senate seat in as many years.

Gilmore's unfavorable rating is much higher than his favorable. Virginia voters know Jim Gilmore and many of them won't even consider him as a candidate. You simply cannot win with such high disapproval ratings.

I would also predict that Gilmore cannot count on carrying Western Virginia--a part of the State any Republican candidate must win. The reason? The Car Tax State spending program. Most in Western Virginia believe the car tax program was a giveaway to Northern Virginia and they hold Jim Gilmore responsible.

So, if Gilmore is not the right candidate, you are probably asking who is. Delegate Chris Saxman has shown some interest in running. I served with Delegate Saxman in the General Assembly and found him to be a thoughtful, capable legislator. He certainly has solid conservative credentials. If this is the only choice, I would support Saxman over Gilmore.

I would personally like to see Lt Governor Bill Bolling throw his hat in the ring. Having served with Bolling in the Senate, I have first hand knowledge of his grasp on the important issues and his dedication to our Commonwealth. Bolling has won a statewide campaign and understands the challenges facing each region of our state. He has acknowledged that we must re-tool our message in Northern Virginia. Despite what some Republicans may think, Bolling knows that we simply cannot write off this vote-rich area and expect to win. And unlike Gilmore, Bolling could count on the Republican base in Western Virginia. Bolling can run hard for this Senate seat with little risk. If unsuccessful, he still has the opportunity to run for re-election in 2009. Running for re-election also allows him to avoid a three way race for Governor with fellow Republicans Allen and McDonnell.

24 comments:

Peewee said...

Jim Gilmore can not win. Look at his trial baloon for President. It did not get off the ground.

He will not carry Southwest Va.

Audio Man said...

As a Roanoke Republican, I would be very hard pressed to cast my vote for Jim Gilmore. I think that Senator Bell's analysis is right on the mark.

Halifaxcentral said...

Chris Saxman? Who is he?

How about Virgil Goode? Bob Goodlatte?

Both are established U.S. Representatives.

Witt1611 said...

I totally agree with the comments and Mr. Bell. Gilmore cannot win against Warner. But who can? Someone mentioned Goode...well, why not? Apparently, someone likes him or he wouldn't keep getting elected like he does...or is it because people like to hear him talk? Sorry, just a little humor :)
I also think that our Lt. Governor should give it a shot, why not? The VA GOP has got to stop churning out weak candidates. Is there not someone out there that can beat the Dems?

Spank That Donkey said...

Jim Gilmore can remind me of over $1,000 that is still in my pocket due to the car tax cut...

To surmise that the average joe thinks that what we do as citizens has any effect on how the 140 elected officials who spread around the loot is ludicrous. i.e. how the $$$ are spent, not to mention which region benefits...

We look at which people are responsible for giving us tax breaks, such as George W. Bush and Jim Gilmore...
Conversely, we also look at who is reponsible for raising our taxes.

That is what the average person votes on....

Gilmore can win by simply asking "which one of us two will raise your taxes?", and "Do you really want to send up another Democrat to Help Sen. Reid, Kennedy, Pelosi, Murtha and Crew?"

Brandon Bell said...

Spank--I called it the car tax spending program for a reason. The "relief" is a billion dollar a year state spending program. In fact, it was one of the fastest growing spending programs over the last 10 years. If you want to cut taxes, fine. But this was not a true tax cut.

Myron said...
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republitarian said...

Praise Jesus!

Mr. Bell, I don't know you from Adam, but I commend you for being willing to put your opinion out there and taking any political hits that will definetly follow.

republitarian said...

You'll have to pardon Spanky.

He sees things on an extremely superficial level. In other words, if it's on a bumber sticker that supports a republican....He believes it.

Spank That Donkey said...

Sen Bell:
With all do respect... the VA budget has doubled in ten years with only one tax increase (mainly increase in sales tax) so we know that it has been based on increased revenues provided by high NOVA income taxes, and a housing boom bringing higher sales taxes....

Cutting taxes raises revenues... i.e. George W. Bush & Jim Gilmore delivered the Commonwealth thousands of extra dollars in our pockets, which we citizens invested or spent in our economy.

Not the govt. spending... it is our money... not yours.... We had a transportation crises because over that time the Senate Leadership built govt. programs, and did not invest in transportation infrastructure...

Ya'll created this crisis yourselves, and now we are in the minority because ya'll tried to bully the House into a tax increase.

Here's the bottom line, Tax cuts deliver greater revenues by juicing the economy... Taxes and inflation retard growth....

If Senate Leadership had lived within the means of what what an explosive extra revenue stream, and quit the theatrics of two over time GA sessions to raise taxes when it was uneccessary....

I dare say you would still be in the Senate....

Myron:
which part of you is the tax raising part, Republican or Libertarian? Oh, we've already discussed that you are a hypocrite on the tax issue.

Notice how you intercede in a conversation with personal attacks and not on the issues... like a 12 year old in class we will call on you if you could actually add something to the conversation...

yoder said...

Senator Bell,
I'm so glad to see that you will still be active politically. I hope to see you running for office yourself soon. We meet when you came to our tree lot last year for your Christmas tree. I agree with you, Lt. Gov. Bolling would make a great Senate candidate. He was very active statewide, helping candidates in the Nov. election. It's time for us to repay the favor.

Larry Gross said...

I was curious. A statement was made that SW Va would not support Gilmore because of the perception that NoVa benefited at SW Va's expense.

so.. two questions:

1. - first, explain why there is that perception...

and

2. - do you think that Gilmore can carry NoVa?

bonus question:

What percentage of NoVa would Virgil Goode get?

I see the reason why the R's are split. Both sides look at the same facts and come away with different explanations.

Politics with Pam said...

Go Spank That Donkey!~

I would not be driving a new car unless there was 70% relief from the Car Tax. Every time I look at my car tax bill, I am thanking Jim Gilmore AGAIN.

Jim Gilmore legislated all that money OUT of RICHMOND....sound like a master stroke to me.

Witt1611 said...

In the part of Southern Virginia that I live in, ANY GOP candidate is going to have a problem, because the Republican party is blamed for the NAFTA and job loss situation. The average Joe on the street will tell you this. Here in the former furniture capitol GOP=Loss of Jobs, Dems=More Jobs. I'm not saying this is so, just that this is the way it is seen. And, yes, we do have new jobs moving in...but, that means nothing to the factory worker that knows nothing but manufacturing. I know this because I am one and married to one.

Spank That Donkey said...

Thanks Pam, and don't forget SB708 that included a 5% wholesale gasoline tax increase, but an increase in new and used car sales tax from 3% to 3.75%, and a grantors tax increase, etc. etc.

Senate Finance was out of control !

witt:
I hope you are a Duncan Hunter for President supporter, because he is the only candidate talking jobs! You are hitting the nail on the head...

Witt1611 said...
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Witt1611 said...

Spank That Donkey:

Actually I like Hunter, but I think I'm leaning more towards Huckabee right now. I am interested to see who gets the nomination.

GOPHokie said...

Larry,
The original car tax rebate was set up to give the localities the money that they would otherwise have collected from car tax revenues.
Since counties like Floyd arent growing very fast and dont have alot of Beamers driving around, while Fairfax county is exploding and has many more expensive cars; folks in western VA saw this rebate system as giving money to NOVA (which it is).

Spank That Donkey said...

Hokie:
That is precisely correct, the tax dollars are being returned to their owners...

One important aspect of the Car Tax elimination is how it helps the poorest residents of the state more than higher income folks...

It is far better to hand $100 to someone working two jobs to pay the bills, than $300 - $500 to someone who knocks down $75,000 + in one income....

Jim Gilmore has done more for lower income people in VA than all the Liberal do good talk that the Dems spout.... I suspect they realized this, and that is why Kaine agreed to sign Delegate Ben Cline's State Income Tax reduction bill last year, raising the personal exemption...

Smart move by the Governor!

Witt:
I prefer Hunter over Huckabee b/c of his past history of raising taxes. I am not going to follow the pack and let the MSM determine who I will support... I look at the candidates past record and current stances.... Hunter is the Man!

Witt1611 said...

Spank that Donkey:

I agree, I don't let the main stream media tell me who I'm voting for either. I actually have liked Huckabee before this recent surge in polls, etc. But, I like Hunter, too. I like him WAY better than the other GOP candidates, with the exception of Huckabee, of course. Time will tell who's going to get the nomination, I'm afraid that you and I will both be disappointed.

Larry Gross said...

so... it looks like the folks in NoVa will vote in thanks for Gilmore while the folks in SW will vote for Warner?

All those 75K Beamer owners will turn the tide in NoVa for Gilmore?

well.. I have to say. I'm starting to understand why there are two "wings" in the Republican party.

:-)

Spank That Donkey said...

I don't know Gross:
There are plenty of $30-$40-K Pickup up owners in SWVA that are grateful to Gilmore also....

It's all about the bottom line... and it's obvious that Gilmore has not 'cottoned' to the 'Rockerfeller' raise them taxes because we can affordem taxes types in our party....

Gilmore just needs to flesh out the issue down there clearly... and remind the people of the facts... Who has left more dollars in your pockets?

Almost an Elephant said...

Brandon,

First of all, a pat on the back to you for setting up this blog. We've met before and although I'm not a party member, I tend to vote Republican most of the time.

I agree that Gilmore can't beat Warner. Doubtful that anyone can. Several reasons:
First of all, Warner came into the Governer's office on a high note and left on a high note, that doesn't happen very often in politics. Gilmore just kinda stay in the middle somewhere.

Secondly, Warner's stayed in the public eye since leaving office (Gilmore hasn't). The younger independent voters still remember Warner as a good governor and his involvement in the 9/11 aftermath. That will be a huge factor.

Also, Gilmore does not have the chrisma to sway the small percentage of voters who go to the polls with no idea as to why they are voting in the first place.

Gilmore's not the total package the GOP needs.

We can't compare a Warner campaign to Kilgore's. That election was Jerry's to lose and he gave it away by the negative advertising (it doesn't matter who started it first, the voters were sick of it from both parties, thus the slim margin of victory for Kaine).

Whoever the GOP sends up as a candidate, they need to be MODERATE! Even though Ralph Smith won his seat, the margin of victory was thin. The Dems will almost certainly be back again for a shot at Ralph.

If the GOP wants to secure a seat for more than one term, they need an overwhelming victory. Slim margins don't give the independent voters the "warm fuzzies" about the winning candidates, and they'll bring those doubts back to the polls next time.

One thing the GOP needs to do is find younger candidates. Someone who appeals to today's younger Republicans, college grads, and women voters. Fresh faces, not old farts!

Thanks again for letting me sound off! As a Great Hollywood Political Scholar once said "that's all I got say about that .."

Larry Gross said...

well the papers say this morning that Saxman is out and Spank apparently thinks that Gilmore is the strongest R to run anyhow.

It does appear that Gilmore is much more a fiscal conservative than a social conservative - at least the perception among typical non-base voters.

Does anyone know the geographic places in Va where Gilmore did NOT do well before in his Gov campaign?