Goode is positioning himself for a rematch.

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.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

14 replies on “Goode is positioning himself for a rematch.”

  1. First of all, I had never heard the phrase “like a kiss without a squeeze.” That’s… pretty special. :-)

    Second, I’m glad you didn’t manage to kill any crows. I love those guys.

  2. Yes, speaking of crows, we finally have perfected the way to keep them from stealing the corn before it germinates. (and the gardens are plowed, but not disked (sp ?))

    Lay chicken or other wire on the ground on top of your crop, and because crows don’t like to get stuck, they won’t come near it.

    As for Virgil, I still think there will be that lone Republican who will want to challenge him for about… two weeks. Then it’s Virgil’s turn.

    It is interesting to read in the R blogs about how Tucker Watkins was the real problem with Virgil’s candidacy. Actually, I thought it all sucked pretty badly.

  3. I didn’t think TP had much of a chance either. He won though. Still, it was a great cycle for Dems nationwide and it’s not like it was a landslide. Rematch will be interesting. And close.

  4. +1 on the post, except for the part about crows being particularly hard to hunt. There are a whole pile of dead crows around my grandpa’s old corn field, courtesy of my 10 year old self and a BB gun. And I was a pretty sorry hunter (I was always horrified when I actually killed one).

  5. Part of the difficulty is Virginia’s laws regarding hunting crows, which come from the U.S. treaty with Mexico. The two countries agreed something like a century ago that America would only permit hunting of migratory birds for half of the year, and a few decades ago, crows were included in that classification. Each state is break up the year as they see fit. In Virginia, you can hunt them four days a week, seven months out of the year. (The season ends on Monday.) The only weekend day is Saturday, and about the time of the election, we turned the clocks back, so it was dark by the time I got home from working, leaving one day a week for crow hunting. It only took a couple of bangs from the shotgun before the crows learned it was a bad idea to hang around the house. They’re smart like that.

    It’d have been nice to reduce the number around here. They’re not gentle on the ol’ crops.

  6. I know everyone here is looking at 2010. But has everyone forgot we have an election this year? Could Virgil be eyeing something this year?

  7. Exactly right on the first part. Goode is marking his territory so that Robert Hurt doesn’t make his forced retirement a permanent one.

    The way that the district is drawn now, all a candidate has to do is win Southside and then Charlottesville becomes irrelevant (Looking at you, Al Weed!).

    What other viable candidates do Republicans have to offer in the 5th?

    Clarke Hogan? He just self-destructed last week. He’s out.

    Kathy Byron? It’s possible, but she’s unknown to many on the NC border.

    Danny Marshall? Possible, but he’s still hurting from the expensive win over Adam Tomer.

    Don Merricks? Watch out for him, he’s moving up fast.

    Steve Newman? See Byron, Kathy.

    Charles Hawkins? Instant win, but he’s not going to do it.

    My money’s on Robert Hurt. Lock it in.

  8. Remember Virgil Ran as an Independent after switching from the democratic party before sitting with the Republicans. He is in Poindexter Territory. What has he done in 2 years.

  9. MB,

    You had a corn field to keep them coming back. We were mostly just hunting out in my lower meadow with no particular food source to bring the crows in. All we had to work with was patterning the birds and figuring out that there were certain points on the property where they tend to fly over on their way from point A to point B on other people’s land. So every time we had one remotely within range, by definition it was moving high and fast and was usually a passing shot. The only exception was one crow that wheeled in quick, tight circles just over the treetops almost directly above Waldo’s head. How in the hell do you figure the lead on that?

    Hunting small parcels of land is always a unique challenge, whether its deer or crows or anything else.

  10. ilovepolitics – If Goode is filing with the FEC then this is eying 2010.

    There are many folks in the 5th who’d like to see Goode run again and have probably sent money to him to that effect. It’s not too far fetched to believe that he has broken the $5000 threshold and was forced to file accordingly. Does this mean he is definitely running? It’s certainly too early to tell, but it’d be hard to fault him for not considering it if he is getting money. If someone cut you a check for your Congressional bid when you hadn’t been thinking about running, well, it might make you consider it.

  11. Mark: Virgil is like a crow, annoying, thuggish, smart, opportunistic, adaptive…and a nasty dirty bird.

    Jackson: Try a turkey load, straddle a stump, rest the butt between your legs and pump that 12 gauge while rolling it about to create a sky full of shot. Wear your safety glasses and prepare for a lead/crow shower. What you don’t kill you’ll scare out of the area. You have got to be crazier than a crow.

  12. Ok, I guess I was not looking at the big Picture. Sorry. I guess with all the local stuff going on I had that in my head.

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