I can now say for sure which delegates were actually present at yesterday morning’s vote on Tracy Thorne-Begland’s nomination, and just pretending that they weren’t there.
Anna Scholl was kind enough to send me the House of Delegates’ vote tallies for judicial nominations on Monday night / Tuesday morning, towards the goal of identifying who sat on their hands and didn’t vote. Of the 26 people who did not vote, Del. Jennifer McClellan reports that Habeeb, Tyler, Joannou, Brink, Englin, Ransone, and Howell were all legitimately absent. So now to find out what’s up with the remaining nineteen. There are two sources of information that help us figure that out.
First, the vote tallies. The vote on Tracy was held at 1:12:56 AM. There was a vote held on another judicial nomination mere seconds earlier, at 1:12:33. And a vote held on another judicial nomination just seconds later, at 1:13:19. Here’s a table listing every delegate who did not vote on each of those three occasions:
|Ware, O.||Ware, O.||Ware, O.|
One can immediately see who was present 23 seconds earlier, disappeared from the chambers (according to the official record), and then returned 23 seconds later: Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), Christopher Head (R-Roanoke), Joe Johnson (D-Washington County), Joe May (R-Loudoun), Jackson Miller (R-Manassas), Randy Minchew (R-Leesburg), Richard Morris (R-Isle of Wight), and R. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan). These are our eight “Profiles in Courage” legislators—guys who failed this little test of basic human decency, who knew that they were doing something wrong, but didn’t want it on their permanent record.
Then there’s our second source of data, Andy Jenks’ coverage for NBC-12. Jenks is doing something standard for blogs, but extraordinary for news stations—he’s e-mailed every legislator who did not vote, asking what their excuse is, and updating his story as their answers come in. Everybody who the tally indicates was absent who responded to him confirmed that they were, indeed, absent. Minchew confirmed that he sat on his hands. But the award for the biggest load of horseshit has to go to Delegate Ware. Here is what Jenks has to say about Ware:
R. Lee Ware Jr., R-Powhatan: By e-mail, a staff member wrote, “Delegate Ware had to leave before the final votes–after 1:00 a.m.–so he would be in a semblance of mind for his teaching duties at 7:30 the same morning.”
This is a bald-faced lie. Let’s look at his votes around 1:12 AM:
Del. Ware just kept right on voting through the entire block. He voted in all of them. Either his staff member is misinformed, or Ware is already attempting to dodge his own record.
Let’s revisit our math. It would have taken 51 votes for Tracy to have been confirmed. He got 33. There were ten abstentions and eight guys sitting on their hands, pretending they weren’t in the chamber. That’s…51 votes. Ain’t that the damnedest coincidence?