An independent has joined the 59th House race.

Connie Brennan Announces
Connie Brennan announcing her 2007 campaign.

Good news for my friend Connie Brennan: a conservative independent has become the third candidate in the race in the 59th House of Delegates district, which will surely split the vote on the right. This is the race for Watkins Abbitt’s seat, the conservative Democrat-turned-independent (caucusing with Republicans) who is retiring after 25 years. Connie, a Democrat who has long served on the Nelson Board of Supervisors, is already a quiet favorite among some Republicans, wary of Republican Matt Farris. He’s had far more than his share of run-ins with the law, is a political neophyte, and is rumored to need to skip every Monday at the legislature so that he can hold auctions at the Lynchburg Livestock Market, of which he’s an owner. (Mind you, I have no idea of knowing if that last bit is true. The important part is that this is what some people believe to be true, and it’s contributing to their souring on him.)

So how am I so confident that the entrance of Linda Wall into the race will help Connie? Well, this:

Wall said the laborer job gave her enough free time to be an advocate in Richmond for faith, family and freedom issues, including the marriage amendment to Virginia’s Constitution.

Wall said she organized a carload of people to travel to Chatham on Tuesday night to support Pittsylvania County officials as they considered a challenge from the ACLU against the county board’s practice of opening meetings with Christian prayer.

I’m pretty confident there’s no danger of her running away with the race. At the risk of over-quoting Ray Reed’s article, this really says it all:

Wall, who operates a tourism-oriented shop for making lapel buttons and putting people’s photos on faux magazine covers, is running as an independent against Democrat Connie Brennan of Nelson County and Republican Matt Fariss of Campbell County.

Wall listed the three pillars of her campaign as creating jobs by helping people start their own small business; reforming education by replacing Virginia’s Standards of Learning with a new system she will announce soon; and reducing federal government mandates in education and other state-level functions.

Yes, the woman who makes lapel buttons is going to single-handedly replace the SOLs with an entirely new evaluation system that she came up with by herself. Oh, and she’s running for a state office on a platform of reducing federal mandates. So, yeah. Let’s see how that goes.

Farris is the kind of guy who Republicans would probably prefer not to have in office, especially in the 59th, which has long been accustomed to having a Republican-caucusing independent represent them. In terms of his legal record, he’s a sort of a Joe Morrissey for the right, I suppose. (Hate mail in 3…2…1…) Nearly any vote that Wall gets, she’ll take from Farris, although it’s possible that some voters will be selecting among women and ignoring party.

Connie ran against Abbitt in a warm-up race four years ago, and did a perfect job. Her race was the envy of Democrats around the state. She was straight-up ethical, she did a brilliant job of raising money, and lost with grace. I expect a different outcome this November.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

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

4 replies on “An independent has joined the 59th House race.”

  1. Waldo:

    The bit about needing Mondays off was included in a newspaper column in a Campbell County paper written by a conservative columnist who was plugging Fariss’s Republican rival, Evans Thomas. Sorry I don’t have details for you; I wasn’t taking notes when I read the article. I know that Connie and her campaign have multiple copies of it. I assume that the Republicans know their own.

  2. It’s totally irrational that this information makes me feel like it’s somehow more legit. As if writing down a rumor and putting it in a newspaper column makes it more real, which surely it does not. :)

  3. I don’t offer it as Truth. I was just trying to show that the rumor is not a Democratic fabrication. It may be a Republican fabrication; wouldn'[t be the first time. I guess someone will just have to ask him, if he agrees to speak publicly. So far he has not.

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