Predictions on Pilot endorsements 2013 edition

Virginian PilotI have no idea when The Virginian-Pilot, which covers the southside of Hampton Roads, will print its endorsements. But I don’t want to be caught off-guard, like I was with the statewide endorsements.  So I figured I’d get a jump-start on this.

I don’t know whether the entire board has embraced editorial page editor Don Luzzatto’s de-emphasis of incumbency. Usually, there is a guide column, like this one from 2012, but that hasn’t been forthcoming.

Take note that although I write a weekly column for the Pilot, I have not been privy to the editorial board interviews of the candidates. Also, be aware that the paper generally doesn’t consider electability in its endorsements.

On to the contested race predictions!

House of Delegates

  • 21st District – Incumbent Ron Villanueva.  There is an advantage to being an incumbent, one that editorial board member Shawn Day hinted at in his column last week: they have the upper hand on the intimate details of the job which they seek. So the bar is high for a challenger to demonstrate the depth of that knowledge. For this reason alone, I’m going with the incumbent. Villanueva’s support of light rail, as referenced in the 2011 endorsement, should help as well.
  • 78th District (open seat) – Linda Bryant. Everything I’ve seen so far indicates she tries to understand issues, and not just embrace talking points. That should be enough for her to garner the endorsement.
  • 82nd District (open seat) – No endorsement. The recent antics of Bill DeSteph on the mosque should have disqualified him.  Bill Flemming may not have sufficient grasp of the issues to sway the board in his favor.
  • 84th District (open seat) –  Glenn Davis. I think this will be the toughest call for the board. Both Davis and Brent McKenzie have been previously endorsed by the board for other elected positions – city council and school board, respectively.  And they both have experience with the legislature, so I doubt if either of them were the ill-prepared candidates Day was frustrated with. I expect the board’s nod to Davis will be effusive with praise for McKenzie.
  • 85th District (open seat) – Bill Dale. In its 2012 endorsement of Dale, the board said, “He would be an asset on the council.” Expect similar language for this endorsement.
  • 100th District – Incumbent Lynwood Lewis. In fact, I’ll bet his opponent didn’t even show up for the interview!

Note that the competitive contested races in the 93rd, and 94th, and 95th House districts are outside of the Pilot’s readership area. The Daily Press will make endorsements in those contests. UPDATE: See DP endorsements here.


  • Commonwealth’s Attorney – Incumbent Nancy Parr.
  • Sheriff – Incumbent James O’Sullivan

I expect these two endorsements to be rather short. Both incumbents face independent challengers.


  • Commissioner of the Revenue (open seat) – After defeating the incumbent in a June primary, Evans Poston will get the endorsement. I doubt his challenger will even be mentioned.
  • Sheriff – Incumbent Bob McCabe. Expect something like, “The sheriff deserves re-election.”
  • Treasurer (open seat) – This is my wild card pick. I think the board will endorse Jim McDonnell, using words like “a breath of fresh air,” referring to the toxic environment that has existed between this office and that of the Commissioner of the Revenue.


  • SheriffNo endorsement. Can the endorsement read “Anybody but Watson?” 😀 Seriously, I have a hard time coming up with who the board might endorse, because this isn’t the strongest group of challengers. But incumbent Bill Watson has just made too many mistakes during his tenure to garner the endorsement.


  • Sheriff – Incumbent Raleigh Issacs. Expect some good words about challenger Jen Pond.

Virginia Beach

  • Commonwealth’s Attorney (open seat) – After expressing misgivings about having one family with so much power, I expect the board will endorse Colin Stolle, with significant props to Greg Turpin.

So there you have it. We’ll see soon enough if my crystal ball still works 🙂


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