Tag Archives: hurt

Don’t average voters deserve a little representation?

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.

Tea Party disappointed by Hurt’s inaccessibility.

The Tea Party is upset with Rep. Robert Hurt:

The group gathered in the parking lot outside Hurt’s Berkmar Circle office for about half an hour. After a few speeches, the crowd dispersed, with some attendees going to speak to office staff who were inside handling casework.

Some were upset that no representative from Hurt’s office came out to the event.

“When we did this at [Rep. Tom] Perriello’s office, he always had a representative to come down and listen to us,” said Don Woodsmall. “And no Hurt representative down here today? I’ve got to tell you, I’m severely disappointed.”

It was just in October that Hurt said: “I can promise you this, I will certainly be as accessible if not more accessible than Congressman Perriello has been.”

Virginia Redistricting Competition winners announced.

Quentin Kidd (of CNU) and Michael McDonald (of GMU) held a competition for the best redistricting plans for Congress, the Senate, and the House. Fifteen teams from eleven universities participated. The winners, selected by folks from the the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, were announced today. Of all of the submissions, UVA won for best Congressional districts, a different team from UVA won for best Senate districts, and GMU won for best House districts. (Detailed maps are available, too.)

Take a good look at these districts. In particular, study what your own districts would look like. They’re definitely not going to be perfect, but keep them in mind. When the new districts are announced by the General Assembly—and that’s how it’ll work, they’ll just be dropped into our laps one day, fully formed—compare your district to what it could have been. Most of us will be disappointed by reality.

The winning Congressional plan keeps me in the 5th congressional district, which would wind up making some unfortunate cuts across northwest Albemarle, as well as a few surrounding counties, rather than following the county boundaries. The southern end gets cut out, and it winds up extending clear to Richmond, but it strikes me as a generally sensible district. More sensible than the existing district, anyhow. This would cut Rep. Robert Hurt out of this district.

The winning Senate plan moves me out of the 25th (Creigh Deeds’ district). Heck, it moves Creigh Deeds out of Creigh Deeds’ district, into one that makes more sense for a man from Bath County. I wind up in a district—the 15th—that looks a lot like the new 5CD, extending slightly farther south and not getting as close to Richmond. Although my district looks a little odd as it dodges around Charlottesville, I think it’s otherwise reasonable.

And the winning House plan keeps me in the same district—the 58th, Rob Bell’s district—but the district gets a lot smaller, because it would include Charlottesville. If I’m right in my understanding of where Bell’s home is, that puts Bell into a runoff with Del. David Toscano, who represents the 57th, which consists of Charlottesville and the urban ring. Bell would undoubtedly lose that runoff, because his district would become far more liberal with the addition of Charlottesville, reliably the second-best performer in the state for Democrats. (Petersburg is #1.) Personally, I don’t think such concerns should matter in nonpartisan redistricting, so I’m happy to set that aside. I think the new 58th makes plenty of sense, and I’d have no quarrel with it.

As I said, not perfect, but pretty good. I could live with these districts. I should be so lucky to have the opportunity.

Hurt has filed a $1M lawsuit over a campaign ad.

In what strikes me as terrible, terrible timing, Robert Hurt has filed a lawsuit against the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, and two C’ville TV stations. He actually filed the suit two weeks ago, but nobody noticed, so it’s becoming public now, on the eve of the election. Here’s the advertisement that’s prompted his lawsuit:

I’m insufficiently familiar with the claims made here to know if they have any veracity (I’d heard about the ad, but never seen it—I dropped my satellite TV subscription back in the spring). The logic of the suit is that the Sierra Club and the LCV paid for the ad, and he’s suing NBC-29 and Virginia Broadcasting/Gray Television because they broadcast it. He wants $740k in compensatory damages and $350k in punitive damages.

There are a few things about this that don’t make sense to me. The first is the legal logic behind filing the lawsuit prior to the election. If he loses tomorrow, it’ll be by a narrow margin. In which case he’d have grounds to pump up those compensatory damages, since he could argue that he didn’t win the seat as a result on the ad. The second is the publicity logic behind filing the lawsuit prior to the election. It’d be one thing if he’d filed this six months ago. But two weeks before the campaign? It looks desperate. The third and most surprising aspect is that he’s filing this lawsuit at all. I’m no expert in first amendment cases, but I’m no slouch, either. Hurt is a public official, meaning that to win a slander case, he’s got to prove actual malice—that is, that all four of the defendants made specific that they knew or strongly suspected were not true. That’s a very, very high bar, one that’s pretty difficult to clear.

Maybe this late hour is simply too late to affect the outcome of this election. In which case, Hurt got plain lucky.

Update: PolitiFact ranks the ad as “barely true.” The facts are true, but their effects have been exaggerated. Hurt received a total of just $2,000 from Virginia Uranium, and over the course of seven years, at that. Also, Hurt went to the senate ethics committee to see if it would be a conflict of interest for him to vote on the bill; they gave him the green light. A political ad in which the facts are true, but their effects are exaggerated? That’s what you call a “political ad.” It ain’t right, but it’s par for the course.

Hurt says he’d be more accessible than Perriello.

I’m just going to enter this into the record:

Hurt was also asked if voters should expect him, if he is elected, to hold a similar number of town hall meetings as Perriello has over the last two years. During the run-up to the health care reform debate, Perriello held more town hall meetings with constituents than any other congressman.

Hurt declined to commit to holding a specific number of town hall meetings, but promised to listen to constituents.

“I can promise you this, I will certainly be as accessible if not more accessible than Congressman Perriello has been,” Hurt said.

Depending on how things turn out next week, this might be a pretty interesting promise—yes, he used the word “promise”—to look back on in a year or two. Perriello has been enormously accessible (recall that he’s repeatedly addressed Tea Party groups), setting a pretty high bar.

Robert Hurt, flaming liberal?

Sen. Robert Hurt has repeatedly accused Congressman Tom Perriello of being in the pocket of House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi for voting with her 90% of the time, including just a few minutes ago, during their debate here in Charlottesville. Assuming that statistic is (I have no idea), I thought I’d run a quick comparison of Hurt’s own voting record.

I compared four years of the votes cast by Hurt in the state senate (in which he is the most conservative member) to those cast by Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (in which she is the most liberal member).

Sen. Hurt and Sen. Whipple voted the same way 1,833 times out of 2,342 shared votes, or 78% of the time. And they’re members of the opposite party—the two farthest-apart members of the senate!

For a comparison more like what Hurt is lobbing at Perriello, I looked at the farthest-left Republican in the senate, Sen. Fred Quayle. Hurt and Quayle voted identically 87% of the time.

The point of this isn’t to say that Hurt is a Democrat. The point is that calculating batting averages like this is meaningless. Votes that survive the committee process to finally get a floor vote tend strongly to pass. The point of the committee process is to weed out the bills that aren’t likely to pass; the ones that make it to the floor are ones that most members agree on. Knowing that Perriello and Pelosi vote together 90% of the time tells us absolutely nothing. Hurt must know that, having served in the General Assembly for eight years. It’s disappointing to me that he keeps claiming that statistic means something, when obviously it does not.

That explains why Hurt didn’t want to debate.

In tonight’s debate between Congressman Perriello and Robert Hurt, I’m surprised at how badly Hurt came off.

Although I don’t think I’ve ever met Hurt (I just can’t remember), we have a bunch of friends in common, and I know him to be a nice guy. He’s no dope. But with his performance this evening, one wouldn’t know that. Here I’d been giving him the benefit of the doubt that his refusal to debate was because of the involvement of a conservative third-party candidate and the usual sturm und drang that goes into arranging a candidate debate. Apparently, it’s because he’s totally unprepared.

Host Jay Warren asked no surprising questions. If Hurt’s staff was going to prep him for just a half dozen topics, those covered surely would have been among them. But Hurt could muster no meaningful responses, nearly all of which were somewhere between weak and just plain wrong. The fact that he couldn’t name a single federal program that he’d cut was pretty amazing. Hurt’s campaign, like those of many Republicans this year, has been based substantially on cutting spending. The man’s running for office on the promise to do that. But he can’t name anything that he’d actually cut? Nothing? That’s a shell of a candidate right there.

Maybe I gave Hurt too much credit. Or maybe, like post-2000 and pre-2008 John McCain, he’ll have to lose this election to regain the credibility that he’s losing now.

Well done, WSLS.

WSLS hosted a debate between Rep. Tom Perriello and challenger Robert Hurt this evening, and they deserve credit for how they did it. They simply tossed their six o’clock newscast out the window, and dedicated the entire time to having anchor Jay Warren question the two candidates. By airing it at that time, WSLS surely wound up with far more viewers than if they’d broadcast it in any other time slot. Good for them.

Clark has abandoned his professed beliefs for his own ambitions.

Jeff Clark, the far-right independent candidate in the 5 CD race, is considering filing a lawsuit to force his way into debates with Congressman Perriello and challenger Robert Hurt:

He has been working with the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization headquartered in Albemarle County, to challenge his exclusion from the debates. Clark said the organization may file a legal challenge to force his access into the debates.

What we’re seeing here is Clark tossing his professed beliefs out the window in support of his own political ambitions. Like the rest of the Tea Party, Clark is all about the supremacy of private property…unless it’s somebody else’s private property that he wants. Next week, Perriello and Hurt will be debating on Roanoke’s WSLS, a TV station owned by Media General. This is not a public resource. WSLS is not government-run. The FCC does not require that media outlets provide equal time. Clark has no more legal right to appear on WSLS than he does to walk into my front door and have a seat at my kitchen table. (Whether it is right for Clark to be excluded from debates is another matter.) If he were a socialist candidate I’d figure, “hey, at least he’s consistent.” Kelo, anyone?

The Tea Party talks a good game, but when push comes to shove, these guys are just politicians, in the worst sense of the world. This has to be a tough lesson for the political newbies backing this guy. Here they thought they were overthrowing the established order with an idealistic guy who would stand up for what’s right, no matter what. But Clark’s just another hypocritical political hack. Welcome to politics, kids.

Congressman Perriello’s got cojones.

Whatever one might think of Rep. Tom Perriello, only a fool or a liar would deny that the guy has cojones.

Just look at what he did this evening: speak at the monthly meeting of the Jefferson Area Tea Party. Consider that for a moment. Perriello is, for the second year in a row, holding dozens of town hall meetings across the district. Last year he held more such meetings than any other member of congress, and I imagine he’ll set the record this year, too. That’s really quite remarkable. Those of us in the district have come to regard this as normal, but it’s really not.

Can you imagine Virgil Goode having ever done this sort of thing? Speaking at—to use the left-wing equivalent of teabaggers—a meeting of angry socialists? Taking questions, some hostile, from audiences of hundreds of people? Of course not! Save for the minimal number of debates with challengers, I don’t remember Goode ever addressing an audience more challenging than his own donors, and that includes when he was a Democrat, independent, and a Republican.

I wonder if Robert Hurt might be willing to commit to doing the same thing, if elected. Would he agree to hold two dozen public forums throughout the district each year, take unscreened questions from audience members, and respond to all of them? Like all challengers, he’d almost certainly say “yes,” but the important thing is to get him on the record, in case he does win. If he does emerge victorious next November, I’d put $50 up against anybody that he won’t meet or exceed the bar established by Perriello in this regard.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more responsive, more open congressman in the nation than Rep. Perriello. Don’t lose sight of that.

Conservative poll shows Hurt leading Perriello.

I’m trying to figure out how to get back into the swing of things here after an extraordinarily trying month, but I do want to point out the first reasonable poll in the Fifth District. (And understand that I’m using “reasonable” loosely—this poll was conducted for the American Action Forum, a conservative group, making it inherently suspect.) Their survey shows Rep. Tom Perriello behind challenger Robert Hurt, 49/43. They do not specify the margin of error, but assuming it’s around a reasonable 3%, then they’re tied within the margin. Hurt’s got 75% name recognition, Perriello has 95%.

It’s entirely possible that Perriello is a few points behind Hurt now, given the political climate—these results may well be correct. And I think it’s good news that Hurt’s name recognition is comparatively low, because that gives Perriello a chance to define him. With this poll, I finally feel like this race can be assessed. Let the games begin.

Hurt will, won’t debate his opponents.

Republican congressional nominee Robert Hurt can’t seem to make up his mind as to whether he’s going to debate his challenger from the right, Jeff Clark. In a recorded interview with The Daily Progress a week ago, he had this exchange with the paper:

DP: [Are you] going to be willing to debate Jeff Clark and Tom Perriello?
RH: We need to work out all of the details, but debates are a very, very important part of elections and obviously we want to make ourselves available to all of the citizens who will be judging us and we’re committed to doing that but obviously we have the details to work out. We haven’t talked with the Perriello campaign—I don’t think—about what they’re interested in.
DP: But would you be willing to?
RH: Absolutely.

That couldn’t be much more clear.

Then, shortly after midnight this morning, Hurt’s campaign released a written statement to the paper, in which he said that “we cannot allow the important debate in this election to be sidetracked by a candidate who is not serious about his campaign or his ability to win.” The campaign claims that Hurt wasn’t answering the question of whether he would debate Clark, but instead was…uh…well, they’re not saying. Apparently, if you ask Hurt if he’s willing to do something, he just says “absolutely.”

Hurt’s campaign is right to want Clark excluded from debates. I imagine the guy is polling below the margin of error. Not only would his involvement in debates probably not be useful, but it would be a bad political move for Hurt to give Clark any attention. Congressman Perriello quite naturally wants Clark included, because every vote that Clark gets is taken from Hurt. The problem here is this business of saying one thing one week and another the next, without explaining the change and, worse still, pretending that the Progress is at fault here. It’s OK to change your mind in the face of new information—in fact, it’s often the only reasonable thing to do—but you’ve got to share those facts with others if you want to be perceived as reasonable. Attempting to discredit a newspaper whose endorsement will be important this November is a foolish move.

I’d put money on the Progress endorsing Hurt. Or, rather, I would have. Now I’m not so sure.

Sen. Hurt is, in fact, the most partisan member of the senate.

I just finished adding a new feature to Richmond Sunlight—the ability to sort through legislators by a variety of attributes like location, race, sex, year they started in office, etc.—and when I was done, I found a bug. For some reason, my code was listing Sen. Robert Hurt as the most partisan Republican in the senate. And I knew that couldn’t be true, because I mentioned earlier this month that he’s the least partisan Republican in the senate, a fact that I repeated on Weekend Virginia a few days ago. After a good half hour of debugging, I realized that the fault (dear Brutus) was in myself. There was nothing wrong with my code. Hurt is, in fact, ranked as the single most partisan member of the senate.

For the curious, a quick explanation as to how I made this particular error. Partisanship is ranked within the database from 0-100, with 0 arbitrarily assigned to Democrats—meaning “this person cosponsors bills exclusively with Democrats—and 100 assigned to Republicans. The effect of that is that the lower Democrats’ numbers, the more partisan that they are, but the higher Republicans’ numbers, the more partisan that they are. In the course of writing a blog entry about bipartisan Democrats, an offhand mention of just one Republican left me in a prime position to misread the data, using the inverse scale.

The moral of the story here is that it is far better to interpret publicly verifiable data than data that only I have access to. Not only does it make that interpretation a springboard for further exploration of the data by others, but it enables peer review, which helps make sure that cited facts are, indeed, facts.

I’ll close with a fun fact. Ignoring freshmen, for whom there’s little data just yet, the most partisan member of the General Assembly is Del. Todd Gilbert R-Woodstock. Don’t believe me? (And who could blame you?) Look it up.

McPadden on “when the going gets tough.”

This Fifth District Republican primary is really separating the men from the boys:

[Robert] Hurt is a likable person personally, [Mike] McPadden said, but “Democrats and moderates like Hurt will vote to raise taxes when the going gets tough.”

That’s right—if the U.S. were (say) invaded by China, that namby-pamby Tom Perrillo or the spineless Robert Hurt would probably do something pathetic, like fund the war with a two point tax increase on the wealthy. When the going gets tough, it takes a real man like Mike McPadden to recognize a great business opportunity for Chinese language tutors. The free market to the rescue again!

5CD Republicans have started their debate debate.

Feda Morton is angry because Sen. Robert Hurt has declined to participate in a pair of proposed candidate forums, and the story behind why he declined turns out to be revealing. Both are among the seven Republicans looking for the nomination to run against Rep. Tom Perriello. The race is basically Hurt vs. everybody else. The six lesser dwarves basically want to have their debates in the parking lot in front of Perriello’s office while everybody burns a Muslim in effigy. Hurt isn’t thrilled with this, and suggests that perhaps the Republican committees for a few of the localities could hold debates.

I’d read Morton’s statement (below) and figured that the reason Hurt didn’t want to participate in the debates is because they’d be run by people who think that the president is a Kenyan and regard Borat as a role model. Nope. The debates are planned for Friday, January 22 and Monday, February 8. You know, during the week. In the middle of the General Assembly session. The General Assembly, that body of which Robert Hurt is a member. Senator Robert Hurt. Now, it’s possible that the Friday debate is scheduled for the evening, in which case I’d argue that he probably could make it—the legislature meets for mere minutes on Fridays, and once the gavel falls the place clears out like somebody called in a bomb threat. (Many legislators then have scheduled meetings back in their district, though—very few manage to just kick back their feet for the next two and a half days.) But from 6 AM Monday morning through 2 PM on Friday, it’s just not reasonable to expect a legislator to be doing anything that doesn’t pertain to legislating.

There are two possibilities here. One is that the rest of these candidates are so clueless that they don’t have the faintest idea of what goes into actually serving in a big-boy elected office, and they figured that they could schedule debates during the work week during the legislative session and Hurt could work it out. The other is that the candidates are so eager to make Hurt look bad that they’ve deliberately scheduled debates during the work week during the legislative session, which they will then use as an opportunity to beat up on him. With any other bunch, I’d discount the former, but most of these folks are dumber than a sack of hammers (Joe the Plumber, anyone?)—they really may just not know better.

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Robert Hurt has signed on with the free-lunch crowd.

Sen. Robert Hurt is courting the fringe right, Olympia Meola writes in today’s Times-Dispatch:

Some conservatives object to Hurt’s voting record—principally his support of a $1.4 billion tax increase pushed by former Gov. Mark R. Warner in 2004.

After he cast that vote, Hurt was among 19 Republican delegates and 15 Republican state senators featured in a “Virginia’s Least Wanted” poster issued by the Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform.

This month, Hurt went to Washington and attended a meeting of the anti-tax group.

“He basically made the case that this was not a vote he was comfortable with and that it wouldn’t happen again,“ Grover Norquist, head of the group, told CQ Politics.

Ain’t that a damned shame? Hurt’s reputation is as a reasonable, common-sense conservative. He’s a Republican, but he’s not angry about it. (He’s a Sorensen graduate.) A lot of his support comes from that reputation. It’s depressing to see him abandon his core principles for the sake of political gain, especially since the teabaggers aren’t going to buy it.

Hurt jumps into the fray.

Sen. Robert Hurt is joining the fray for the Republican nomination in the 5th CD. He’s the sixth candidate to enter the race to challenge Rep. Tom Perriello, and enters as the clear leader. Hurt only advanced to the senate last election, and before that served in the house since 2002. He’s never really distinguished himself in the legislature, and he’s also never made an ass of himself—like most legislators, he’s just a guy who has reliably shown up and done the work that needs doing.

Prior to Hurt’s unsurprising entrance, the leader was surely Albemarle County Board of Supervisors member (and my supervisor) Ken Boyd. Which isn’t saying much—BoS to U.S. House is a big leap, and being a member of a county BoS does nothing to lay the groundwork for running for a House race. But unlike his largely unknown opponents, Boyd has successfully run for office (twice) and knows what it is to serve in office. Hurt obviously ups the ante, having served in the highest legislative office one could serve in short of U.S. House. Also, Hurt is the only candidate from Southside, assuming one ignores the too-sad-to-be-a-parody campaign run by Bradley Rees, which is the rational thing to do. (Though I’d blithely asserted that Perriello couldn’t win last year, being from the north end of the district. Obviously that wasn’t true.) Hurt’s current and prior districts combine to include about a quarter of the geographic range of the 5th, which is a significant advantage not to be ignored.

No doubt, Hurt is the strongest candidate, and he’s the only guy in this race that makes me wonder if Perriello could have some trouble next year.

But, never fear, Virginian Republicans’ instinct towards self destruction is kicking in already. Brian McNeill explains:

One possible problem for Hurt’s candidacy is that he voted in favor of a $1.4 billion tax increase in 2004 that closed a gap in Virginia’s budget that threatened the state’s AAA bond rating and increased spending on education, public safety and mental health services.

The tax increase has been a sore spot for the Republican rank-and-file ever since. The issue has come up, for example, in this year’s gubernatorial race between Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. McDonnell has criticized Deeds for backing the 2004 vote, saying it was the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history — and unnecessary.

“People have long memories, especially of such a difficult time politically,” said Keith Drake, a former Albemarle County GOP chairman and leader of the Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance. “[Hurt] was on the wrong side of that vote.”

(God love Keith Drake. That man is the greatest gift to Albemarle Democrats in my lifetime.) Is it possible that Republicans could be so thick-headed as to nominate an ideologically pure candidate rather than one that can win? Absolutely.

Let’s see if any candidates drop out with Hurt’s entrance into the race. Unless Ken Boyd has the fervent backing of the fringe right in Albemarle County, his hand may have been trumped in this race, and I think it would be sensible for him to pack it in. I’m not sure that most of these folks have the sense to realize that they’re probably licked.