With its endorsement today of Mickey Chohany in the 1st Senate district, The Virginian-Pilot editorial board is done for this cycle, the result being that I was correct with five of my seven predictions. I won’t make any excuses for being wrong in the 1st except to say that my predictions were done prior to the breaking of the story, first reported by Brian Kirwin at Bearing Drift, about incumbent Senator John Miller.
Miller co-patroned a bill that provided a tax break to a Newport News company, Orion Air. After the session, Miller was offered a job by the same company, which he accepted.
But for what the board sees as an ethical lapse by Miller, it is clear from the editorial that they preferred him over Chohany:
His [Chohany’s] positions on various issues, including transportation and offshore drilling, won’t serve the best interests of constituents in the 1st District.
Miller has been a reasonable moderate, supporting the governor’s budget and transportation plan and opposing offshore drilling.
John Miller has to be one of the most politically savvy people I’ve ever met. But he obviously had a brain fart the day he decided to accept this job offer because it simply looks bad. I have no doubt that Miller did not see his vote on the bill as being connected to the job offer; after all, the House companion bill, introduced by Glenn Oder, had three Democratic co-sponsors, all members of the legislature who represent portions of Newport News.
I have to admit: I didn’t see it, either, but then I’m not an elected representative. Or maybe I’ve just gotten a wee bit cynical about what to expect from the elected officials.
In a tight race – the 1st is one of the few competitive races this year – this misstep could prove to be the difference. And that would be a shame – not because it may cost the Democrats control of the Senate, because it might, but because it deprives the voters in the 1st of a representative who serves their best interests.