With the resignation of LG-elect Ralph Northam set for noon on January 11, Governor Bob McDonnell announced that the special election for the 6th Senate district will be held January 7. Democrat Lynwood Lewis will face Republican Wayne Coleman in the contest. While the turnout for special elections is always different from those of general elections, it’s worth noting that the 6th is a Democratic-leaning district and Lewis has been representing a portion of it since 2004.
Things have been pretty quiet since the nominating contests. My mailbox literally overflowed with literature from the candidates and the phone rang constantly from November 6 to November 21. Since then, I’ve not received a single piece of mail. I have received one phone call and one canvass. A couple of Coleman signs have sprouted in my Republican-leaning neighborhood, significant only because there were no CUJO signs in the run up to November 5.
I did participate in a rather lengthy poll of the district on 11/23, just after the nominating contests. I’m hearing that Lewis performed well. But just like everything else related to special elections, polls are notoriously suspect.
With the date set, I’m guessing we’ll start to see some signs of life this week and next. Christmas is the week after that, during which time I expect we’ll see little in the way of voter outreach. But the gloves will surely come off on December 26.
Until his last piece of mail, Coleman ran a middle-of-the-road campaign. His last piece attacked not only his fellow Republicans but laughingly referred to Lewis as a “Liberal career politician.” I was disappointed to see Coleman adopt the tactics of one of his opponents, Richard Ottinger, who came out of the gate with the kind of right-wing hyperbole we see at the national level, scary Obama pictures and all. I can only hope Coleman doesn’t continue down the negativity path. After all, it worked so well for Ottinger, right?
Voters in the 6th who were not already familiar with Lewis were introduced to him through his primary mail. Lewis is a good fit for the district and his primary win was no fluke. I expect a strong campaign from Lewis, who will benefit from having Northam’s help.
Never a dull moment in Virginia politics 😉