The only press coverage that Goode is getting for his wacky fourth-party presidential bid is for the possibility that he may be a spoiler for Romney in Virginia. This is another story in that vein. If Romney does lose Virginia by Goode’s Tuesday tally, a lot of people will be upset, but I’m pretty confident that Goode will not be among them. This is his fourth political party in the past decade—if need be, he’ll just join a new one. →
Here’s the thing about Rep. Robert Hurt: he’s a perfectly average congressman.
It’s tough to campaign against average. There’s a reason why just a shade less than 100% of Congressmen seeking reelection are successful: they keep their mouths shut and try not to do anything, while their staff dutifully arranges tours of the Capitol, mails out American flags, and expedites agency responses to constituents’ requests.
Hurt is one of these congressman. In his first two years in office, he has passed no legislation, and introduced just four bills. He’s cast no brave votes. He’s taken no principled stands. He’s a standard nobody freshman, and as long as he remains in congress, he will continue to be a nobody in congress. He’s not a major figure in the district, certainly not nearly as visible as past congressmen. I’ll wager that there’s a solid majority of congress who could not pick him out of a two-man lineup.
(Keep in mind, being a nobody in congress still makes you a congressman. There are a few hundred nobodies in congress. It’s perfectly ordinary.)
The other day I got a slick, two-page mailer from Hurt—paid for by the Republican Party of Virginia—and nowhere on it does he mention that he’s a Republican. An informed voter would probably figure out that he’s a Republican, based on some of his positions, but a lot of people would have no idea. That’s the point.
Hurt stands in sharp contrast to our last two congressmen: Virgil H. Goode (D/I/R/C) and Tom Perriello (D). Like ‘em or not, nobody could doubt where these guys stood.
Goode was firmly against NAFTA, Muslims, the United Nations, and Mexican restaurants displaying the Mexican flag. He made national headlines on a few occasions, none for reasons that made the district look particularly good, but most of which I’ll wager he was proud of. Goode routinely took unpopular positions, and his legislative priorities were either bold or Quixotesque, depending on one’s perspective.
Perriello distinguished himself by being quantifiably the hardest-working member of Congress, holding more town hall meetings with constituents than any other member. He met with thousands of constituents to discuss healthcare reform, ultimately becoming a notably important vote in favor of the Obama administration’s overhaul. Perriello suspected that his vote would cost him his seat, and he was right—he was one of a handful of freshman Democrats across the U.S. who were unseated in 2010, losses that were attributed widely to backlash over healthcare reform. Casting that vote, knowing that it would cost him his seat, is the very definition of taking a principled stand, regardless of what one thinks of healthcare reform. Perriello introduced 23 bills in the same amount of time in which Hurt introduced four, with seven passing the House (three resolutions, four bills) and one (the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act) passing into law.
Hurt has distinguished himself among this trio by doing absolutely nothing to distinguish himself.
You’ve got to feel for…Douglass? Is that name of the Democratic nominee? I truly cannot remember the name of the nominee. (I looked it up—yup, it’s John Douglass.) He’s got no purchase on Hurt. Sure, he can run against Hurt as a generic Republican, and that’s what he appears to be doing. This is effective in a wave election, or a demographic-shifting redistricting. but there’s no sign of the former and the latter does not describe last year’s redistricting, which did turn the Fifth District into a sociogeographically bizarre district, but it became only more conservative. Hurt was nominated two years ago by virtue of being the sole non-Tea-Party-aligned candidate, so he can’t even be tied to that fringe group’s fading fortunes.
President Obama has been rising in the polls in Virginia and nationally, and it’s certainly not impossible that he’ll win by the same landslide electoral college margin that he won in 2008. If that’s the case, it’s likewise not impossible that he’d bring Douglass along with him, if only because independents turned off by Mitt Romney’s incompetent campaign decide to toss in for some other Democrats as long as they’re in the booth.
Short of such an event, it’s tough to see how Hurt loses his seat any time soon. He’s got a district that was tailored to him and he’s unlikely to ever do anything interesting. Inertia is a powerful thing.
Yes indeed, it’s happening. Goode is running on the Constitution Party ticket, as has been suspected for the past year. His campaign treasurer is, as always, his wife. The question is whether he’ll crack 0.5% of the vote. My suspicion is that, no, he won’t. →
- Chris Frashure: Virgil Goode Running for President?
Remember when Goode was a Democrat? Remember when he was an independent? Remember when he was a Republican? Well, now he's a member of the Constitution Party, and he wants to run for president. This should be hilarious.
- ThinkProgress: Herman Cain Pledges Not To Sign Any Bill Longer Than Three Pages
What a dope. His own restaurant's menu is too long to pass his test. I'll warrant this man's never read a bill in his life—he just pulled an arbitrary length out of his ass. Government is complicated. It's hard to run a country. Anybody who tells you otherwise is lying or a fool.
- UChicago News: Psychologist shows why we “choke” under pressure – and how to avoid it
"In one study, researchers gave standardized tests to black and white students, both before and after President Obama was elected. Black test takers performed worse than white test takers before the election. Immediately after Obama's election, however, blacks' performance improved so much that their scores were nearly equal with whites. When black students can overcome the worries brought on by stereotypes, because they see someone like President Obama who directly counters myths about racial variation in intelligence, their performance improves." Whoa.
Del. Rob Bell, quoted in today’s Daily Progress:
[W]e can all remember how negative mailings filled with innuendo and personal attacks helped defeat Virgil Goode in 2008.
Does anybody have the faintest idea of what he’s talking about? I’m not aware of a single such mailing going out. Rep. Tom Perriello ran a very clean campaign.
While winding my way home from Saratoga Springs this morning I was surprised to get word that Virgil Goode won’t be challenging Rep. Tom Perriello. (Or, parsing his words strictly, he won’t be seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Perriello.) This ought to result in a quick flood of folks announcing their candidacy for the nomination. I’m inclined to think that this is a bad thing for Democrats. Goode was one of those bizarre incumbents whose reelection is just inexplicable to folks outside of the district (and many within)—I can’t see that he’d have a shot at regaining his old seat now that he’s lost the power of incumbency.
Other than the random guy who’s already tossed his hat into the ring—nobody takes him seriously, and justifiably so—nobody’s running just yet, but a few people are floating their names. We ought to see a rush of folks wanting to occupy that first-mover position, unless somebody with some real clout steps up first and scares the others off. Delegate Rob Bell, by virtue of the huge pile of cash that he’s sitting on, fits the bill, though he says he’s not interested. I think Sen. Bob Hurt is also in a position to clear the field. Cordel Faulk and Ken Boyd, not so much.
Virgil Goode reports having raised a whopping $154 in the latest filing period, Brian McNeill reports for the Daily Progress. Goode has filed to run for his old seat, but he won’t commit to actually doing it. At this point it seems pretty unlikely.
Former congressman Virgil Goode Jr. said Thursday he plans to decide soon whether to run again for the 5th District U.S. House of Representatives seat.
The veteran lawmaker, a Republican from Rocky Mount, said his decision is “not too far off,” but “I haven’t set an iron clad deadline” for making it.
Goode added that if he does not seek the 5th District seat, eventually he may consider running for another political office.
Recall that Goode has already filed to run again.
I’ve been chewing over the news of Virgil Goode’s (potential) candidacy against Rep. Tom Perriello for the past 36 hours. Goode has filed to run, although he told The Hill: “I’m filing that because a few people have sent me donations.” (Translation: “I’m thinking about running, and I’ve raised some money to that end.”) I think that this is pretty good news for Perriello. Here’s what I think is at work here.
For starters, Goode doesn’t know what else to do with his life. He went to college, went to law school, and got handed a state senate seat. He did that for a while, and then took over L.F. Payne’s seat in Congress when he retired. Goode has spent the overwhelming majority of his adult life in office, and I don’t think he’s got the faintest idea how to not be a politician. And politician without an office is like a kiss without a squeeze.
I suspect that Goode is also wary of talk of other Republicans running for “his” seat. The solution is to file, while claiming that it’s just to keep up with popular demand and to stay within the law. He’s able to clearly mark the candidacy as his, but not actually commit to running. It’s one thing for some young pup to step up and run against a freshman Democrat; it’s another to implicitly challenge Virgil Goode for the seat.
It’s no mean feat for a defeated officeholder to regain his old office. Once Goode lost, it was safe for folks to start saying that they never liked him in the first place, talking about how badly-run that his campaign was, saying that he just wasn’t good for the party. Now, unless that politician is clearly done for, that’s a bit like telling your heartbroken friend that you always hated her ex-boyfriend anyway—what if they get back together? If Goode runs again, some folks will need to change their tune (again), support Rep. Perriello, or just stay out of it altogether. I suspect the latter would be the most popular option among many Republicans.
Goode is the sort of anachronism who gets reelected to term after term in Congress, and nobody ever understands why. (Exhibit A: Strom Thurmond.) Goode’s problem is that those guys just can’t get elected without already being incumbents. It’s a matter of inertia, and the straight-up power of incumbency. (Franking privileges, handing out oversized checks—which the stimulus bill will give Perriello in spades—constituent service, etc.) Lacking that, Goode is just an angry middle-aged guy who talks funny and hates Muslims and Mexicans. And, hell, we’ve got a thousand of them in the district—that’s Goode’s base—that’s hardly a qualification for office.
I think Goode is probably the best-case challenger for Perriello.* Of the Republicans in the district who could potentially challenge him, it’s tough to summon a candidate who could actually get nominated who would be worse than Goode. Better still, Goode will appear viable to folks outside of the district, and may well find himself receiving contributions from Republicans around the state and the nation who are looking to win back a seat in a race that was so tight last time around. So the race becomes a money sink for Goode.
Let’s see if anybody else steps up to the bat. But I think Goode has just cleared the field, and I couldn’t be much happier about it.
* With the caveat that I didn’t think Perriello had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning last year’s race. I spent about six hours hunting crows after the election, along with my brother, so as to eat one as penance, but never did get one of the little bastards. They’re smart, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Former congressman Virgil Goode went on a little goodbye check-handing-out tour of the district, telling them that he’d gotten them federal funding. The trouble is that he hadn’t gotten the funding at all; the bill didn’t pass. Goode left these groups high and dry. He knew that the money wouldn’t come through, and didn’t tell them. That job fell to Rep. Tom Perriello. I have a hunch that Perriello staff is going to find a bunch of Goode’s little messes that need cleaning up.
A couple of Fifth District papers are taking a look back at former congressman Virgil Goode’s history as a career politician.
In the Roanoke Times, Janelle Rucker finds that Goode isn’t saying what he’ll be doing next. I can’t imagine he’d do real well as a lobbyist; he was so ineffective in Washington, and was proud that he spent so little time there, that he couldn’t be in much demand. His chief defender, Tucker Watkins, bizarrely declares it to be “unfair” for Rucker to ask what Goode will be doing next.
And in the Franklin News-Post, Joel Turner sees this as the end of a seventy-year political dynasty, stretching to 1940, when Virgil H. Goode Sr. was first elected. Goode Jr. was elected to the state senate at the age of 27, fresh out of law school, the youngest-ever member at the time. (Has anybody younger been a member since? I suspect not.) Turner writes about demand from Goode’s supporters that he run for something else. Just tell me where to send the check. I want him to run for a statewide office, preferably against Sen. Webb. That’d be a hoot.
I’m told that Virgil Goode has refused to pass along his district office numbers to Tom Perriello, as has been tradition since Dan Daniels. If that’s true, I think that says a lot. It’s not exactly salting the earth and poisoning the wells, but it shows that he doesn’t have the best interest of the district at heart. Goode was the lone Republican to represent the Fifth in the past 120 years; I think we can see now that he was an anomaly.
On Monday, Left of Center’s monthly meeting is all about how Tom Perriello managed to unseat Virgil Goode:
Left of Center Jan. 5 Event: How Perriello Won
When: Monday, Jan. 5, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Rapture, Downtown Mall
A Left of Center speaker panel will discuss how Virginia’s 5th District Congressman-Elect Tom Perriello pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the country, squeaking past 6-term incumbent Virgil Goode with a razor-thin margin of 700 votes. Speakers will include two reporters that covered the campaign closely—the Hook’s Lindsay Barnes, and Will Goldsmith from C-Ville Weekly; two senior campaign staff—Tom’s personal assistant Brian Bills, and Rachael Klarman, a lead organizer in Danville; Kelli Palmer, who led efforts that registered 5000 new voters in Southside; and 5th District Democratic Chairman Fred Hudson, to provide some historical perspective. The event is free and open to the public.
Brevy Cannon has put together a great event here. Whether you were a true believer all along, or somebody who would have bet cash money that Goode would beat down Tom Perriello, this is bound to be interesting. I hope to see you there.
It’s official—Tom Perrillo has won the recount. Rep. Virgil Goode is soon to be, simply, Mr. Virgil Goode, a bigoted old man who can spend his remaining years complaining about Mexican flags and the evils of Islam to his morning group at Hardee’s.
The Fifth District is Democratic. The majority of Virginia’s congressional delegation is now Democratic. Goode has lost. Hell has frozen over. Life is good.
Quoth Tom Perriello on December 11th:
Our brave troops serving overseas absolutely deserve to have their voices heard and their votes counted in this election and all elections as they fight for our Democracy. That is why I strongly believe that those military ballots in question that arrived late and were held aside should be included in the vote count of Virginia’s 5th District. I have consistently and fervently expressed my support for our troops, whether through my work as a national security analyst in advocating better strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan, or by my early support of Senator Jim Webb’s 21st Century GI Bill.
In a statement Tuesday, Goode’s campaign criticized Perriello for only offering his “faint support” for counting the disputed ballots.
Perriello’s court filing, however, still insisted that the disputed military votes be counted.
“Nonetheless,” it concluded, “to avoid any further politicization of this issue, and because Congressman-elect Perriello values the contribution and sacrifices made by members of the military, he agrees that such votes should be counted in this recount.”
It’s just hours before his obvious defeat, and Goode’s telling lies. That’s OK—soon enough he’ll just be a bad memory. Good for Brian McNeill for not just printing Goode’s claim, but actually comparing it to the court filing.
The final campaign finance numbers are in for the 5th District race, and it looks like Tom Perriello just buried Virgil Goode in money. Goode spent $1.8M, while Perriello spent $1.7M, but the difference was made up by outside groups. Various political committees spent $150k on behalf of Goode, compared to $1.2M on behalf of Perriello. The final tally is $3M to $1.9M, or a 50% advantage to Perriello. He got twice as much money into this district as I thought he could manage.
The crazy thing is that Goode didn’t spend all of his money: He still had $200k come November 24. He’s a notorious cheapskate, but I didn’t know he was that cocky. What the FEC doesn’t provide yet is a breakdown of his income and expenses after October 15, so it’s not clear to me whether a) he raised a lot of money after election day, planning for a recount b) he actually had a lot more on hand come election day, but spent it gearing up for a recount or c) a combination of the two is the case. My suspicion is that he didn’t get close to spending all of his money, because while the rest of us figured out that Perriello had a fighting chance about ten days before the election, you could have knocked Goode over with a feather come about 11pm on November 4th.
Rick Sincere tells me that it’s official: the 5th District recount will be held on Tuesday, December 16. The specific rules dictating how this recount will be conducted will be set by the circuit court on the morning of Friday the 12th.
As I’ve said, it’s just hugely unlikely that the results are going to change meaningfully, but with a race this close, it’s reasonable for Virgil Goode to request a recount. Presumably both Goode and Congressman-elect Perriello will need volunteers in every locality to serve as witnesses to the recount, but I’ve heard nothing about that yet.
Tom Perriello has been certified as the winner in the 5th CD election, with a lead of 745 votes. Rep. Virgil Goode is challenging the outcome, and understandably enough. It’s being called a “recount,” but no actual recounting takes place. It’s more of a re-canvas, making sure that the total number of votes on each machine matches the recorded total, and that those add up to the recorded total for the precinct. The numbers will change a little, maybe by a few dozen votes, but the odds of Goode gaining 746 votes are slim-to-none.
Perriello is proceeding with his transition, planning to start his new job as Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) come January.
I’m just going to write that one more time: Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA). Oh. That’s nice.
Lloyd Snook explains the years of ground work that were necessary for Tom Perriello to win here in the Fifth District.
Virgil Goode complains that Tom Perriello outspent him by $3,000,000. Does anybody have the faintest idea of what he’s talking about? Does this have some basis in crazy-math, or did Goode just invent this astronomical figure?