The race for Virginia's state wide offices this year will likely be determined by suburban and ex-urban counties like Louduon County in Northern Virginia. What's interesting is that Loudoun County, Virginia, has a track record of voting for winning candidates. And the local newspaper, the Loudon County Times Mirror has just endorsed a straight Democrat state wide ticket ticket. Blue Virginia sums it up this way:
The Loudoun Times-Mirror is out with its endorsements this morning, and they're significant for a couple big reasons.
1. Loudoun County is basically THE prototypical suburban/exurban, large "swing" county in Virginia. It also usually picks the winner. For instance, in 2005, Loudoun County went by 6 points for Democrat Tim Kaine over Republican Jerry Kilgore for governor. Kaine won. In stark contrast, in 2009, Loudoun went 61%-39% for Republican Bob McDonnell over Democrat Creigh Deeds. McDonnell won. In 2006, Loudoun barely went (by about 1 point) for Democrat Jim Webb over Republican George Allen. Webb barely won. In 2012, Loudoun went for Democrat Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by about 4 points. Obama won Virginia by...about 4 points. Sensing a pattern here? :)
2. The Loudoun Times-Mirror is a paper that endorses a LOT of Republicans -- Mitt Romney for President in 2012; Bob McDonnell for Governor in 2009; and John McCain for President in 2008; Frank Wolf pretty much every year; and several Republican House of Delegates incumbents (Randy Minchew, Tom Rust, Jim LeMunyon, Tag Greason) this year (note that they also endorsed Democratic House of Delegates candidates John Bell, Mary Daniel and Kathleen Murphy - all excellent picks!). No, this is not a monolithically Republican paper like the Richmond Times-Dispatch has essentially been over the years, but it's got a strong lean towards the right side of the political spectrum.
All of which makes the Loudoun Times-Mirror's endorsement of this year's entire Democratic statewide slate - Terry McAuliffe for Governor, Ralph Northam for Lt. Governor, and Mark Herring for Attorney General - so striking.
Here's what the Times Mirror had to say in its endorsement of Terry McAuliffe:
The radically conservative nature of the Republican ticket this year leads us to favor the Democrats for statewide office, Terry McAuliffe for governor, Ralph Northam for lieutenant governor and Mark Herring for attorney general.
There has been reticence by many given the choice for governor this year. Even so, you vote for the choices you have in front of you. We endorse Terry McAuliffe for governor. Having prospered for four years under the pro-business focus of Gov. Bob McDonnell, McAuliffe’s hyper-focus on economic issues is one we’re comfortable with. His push for expanding resources at the community college system is one to be lauded and he has taken a solid, reasonable approach on the issues of the day.
The criticism laid against McAuliffe has landed largely on his reputation as a salesman and deal-maker. Ranked among the best states for business, we must continue attracting large businesses to the commonwealth. To do that, the state needs a governor who is comfortable in a corporate boardroom pitching the virtues of the Old Dominion. Virginia needs someone like McAuliffe to be a salesman for the commonwealth. Whether or not his overtures will be accepted, he is also a man likely to extend a hand on bipartisan compromise. For those concerned with his lack of legislative experience, we point to the success of Sen. Mark Warner, who likewise was without experience as an elected official before his term as governor.
Ken Cuccinelli . . . . his tenure as attorney general demonstrates that he cannot resist placing his own ideological concerns above the business of governing. Whether it’s conducting an independent investigation into climate change research, attempting to limit nondiscrimination policies for gays and lesbians at colleges and universities or his continued push to limit women’s options on abortion, Cuccinelli cannot divorce himself from social issues and an economic platform of lowering taxes without specified budget cuts is suspect. His tendency toward the crusade du jour makes him ill equipped to serve as a mediator between political parties, an Achilles heel shared by far too many of our public officials today.
The choice for lieutenant governor appears easy. Ralph Northam is an experienced legislator with a level demeanor and a desire to reach across the aisle to improve the commonwealth. His experience in the Virginia Senate should prove invaluable upon inheriting an evenly divided body. A pediatric neurologist by trade, we’re eager to see his contribution to future debates on health care and Medicaid expansion. Alternatively, to call the campaign of E.W. Jackson disappointing would be an understatement.
For attorney general, we choose Mark Herring. We’ve watched Herring’s work as state senator representing Loudoun and Fairfax. He has fought to protect the elderly from financial abuse, supported the region on transportation issues and worked across party lines for his constituents. More important, Herring cares deeply about each and every issue he espouses and understands the human cost in bad legislation and missed opportunities. Our sole regret is that should he win, Loudoun wouldn’t have Herring to represent us in the General Assembly.
Mark Obenshain has a strong record on public safety legislation, but his introduction of the personhood bill gives us serious pause. It leads us to believe that an Attorney General Obenshain would be as activist as the Cuccinelli administration ending this term.
Ouch!! The Times Mirror's analysis is 100% on point. It is most telling that a GOP leaning newspaper should find it impossible to endorse a single one of the Christofascist/Tea Party candidates. Virginians may be conservative, but that doesn't translate into their wanting lunatic extremists at the reins of government.