Why the rush?

With the announcement of the retirement of Del. Tom Gear and the Governor’s setting of the date for the special election for March 8, one would expect that the contest for the Republican nomination would be around mid-February.

Not so. The party-run firehouse primary is set for next Tuesday, January 18. What, exactly, is the rush?

As best as I have been able to piece together, the rush is about eliminating the competition. First out of the gate was Chris Stuart, who was just elected to Hampton City Council – his first elected office – in May. Also in the contest are attorney Chad Green, Poquoson mayor Gordon Helsel, who ran against Gear in 2009, and Teresa Schmidt, who has the endorsement of Gear. It is Stuart, though, who appears to have the edge – and the resulting target on his back.

A YouTube video surfaced last week in which the anonymous poster claims that Stuart is not a Republican. Although his website boasts pictures of Stuart with Republicans, his record of contributions to candidates is sparse; in fact, the only contribution listed was made to a Democrat. (And no, the contributions weren’t made in his wife’s name.) Among the contributors to his council campaign were a number of recognizable Democrats, including the Democratic candidate for LG, Jody Wagner. I have been told that Stuart hosted an event at his home for candidate Wagner.

Perhaps to counter all of this, Stuart has tacked hard right. He has a picture on his website of him with Ollie North. He has signed the “No Taxes” pledge.

Don’t get me wrong: I happen to like Stuart, even though I can’t say I know him well. If he is a moderate Republican, that benefits me in the long run, even though I don’t live in the 91st.

What bothers me is that somebody has decided that he will be the next representative of the district and the other candidates – I haven’t even been able to locate a website for any of them – will not be given a reasonable opportunity to compete.

That’s not democracy, in my book. The citizens of the 91st – and the rest of Virginia – deserve better.


10 thoughts on “Why the rush?

  1. I think you’re on to something. Rob Wittman endorsed Green today.
    Timing on this whole thing seems off. Why did McDonnell schedule the election so late? I think it could have been scheduled a couple of weeks before this.

  2. Chris and Nicole used to be my next door neighbors, when I lived in Hampton.

    They were great neighbors, and Chris will be a superb representative, whether he stays on the Hampton Council, or is elected to the House of Delegates.

    Still, even a good candidate should have to face an opponent so that the issues of the day can be debated, and real solutions proposed.

    The filing deadline for the special election is January 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    The election is on March 8, 2011.

    So far, our Democrats have made ovations to a local Hampton businessman, but to no others. Some Democrats have told me that Gordon Helsel would be someone that they could, “work with” if he is elected.

    I have asked the Libertarians and the Constitution Party to run candidates, but so far, they have not produced anyone to run.

    The voters deserve to have a rigorous and honest debate of the issues. So- called political parties that do not provide candidates, are in my view, fraudulent, and such organizations should be required to return donations made to them by the citizens.

    1. Mr. Ballance,
      I am sure you are familiar with how candidates are chosen and that they need to step forward. The parties can only ask individuals if they are interested. how is that fraudulent if a party cannot find someone to run in an election where the performance is 33% for a Democrat in the 91st.I would also say it works the other way around since many Dems have not been opposed in the past.It is not the fault of the party it is the fault of the individual within the area. They are the ones who might not be interested in hearing the two sides of the story.

  3. I believe the primary must be 45 days out from the special.

    And on the Chris Stuart note. He doesn’t live in the district. I’ll bet money that if he doesn’t win he’ll move back into the house that he owns in Wythe and out of his Mother in Laws.

    Chad Green is an excellent candidate and has lived in the district his whole life. In addition to that he doesn’t have a record of failed businesses. In fact he’s a successful practicing attorney and active leader in the community.

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