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October, 26th 2009

Signs of hope for Virginia Republicans, one week out from the 2009 election

– Liz Mair

I rarely blog about politics in my own backyard (i.e., Virginia), principally because the political scene here has been pretty demoralizing for Republicans over the last few years (see: Mark Warner (x2), Tim Kaine and Jim Webb wins, not to mention Democratic poaching of various Republican congressional and state Senate seats).  However, today I'm going to make an exception.  This is not as a result of any big, hot, sexy news pertaining to the gubernatorial race.  In all honesty, I'd expected to be writing about that more, but Creigh Deeds has proven to be so utterly incompetent that he's made what should have been a "must watch" race into nothing short of a gigantic snooze fest that seems to have Bob McDonnell walking at a steady pace towards the finish line while Deeds whimpers, limps and yells in the background, incomprehensibly.  The most I'll say on that is that this bumper sticker (H/T Mason Conservative) is extremely indicative of what seems to be going on, on the VA-Gov front.

No, the purpose of this post is to highlight a rather different indicator of a possible demonstrable improvement in Republican fortunes-- in Arlington County, of all places.

For those who don't know, Arlington County, in addition to being the place I call home, is also pretty solid Democratic territory-- or at least it has been to date.  We're part of the 8th congressional district here, which is represented by Jim Moran, a colorful (to put it kindly) character who has held the seat for getting on for twenty years now, and who won his last election with close to 70% of the vote.  Our 48th House of Delegates district (the one I vote in) is held by Bob Brink, who's been in office for about 10 years.  His Wikipedia entry notes that "Brink has normally run unopposed in his district," something that should give you a good sense of just how competitive an environment this particular portion of Virginia has typically been perceived to be.  Well, this year, he's not running unopposed-- in fact, Aaron Ringel, a young Iraq War vet, is running against him.  And-- here's the kicker-- the Washington Post has endorsed him, as well as Eric Brescia, who is running in the 47th district.

This is noteworthy both because the Washington Post is perceived by many Virginia Republicans as being overly Democrat-friendly (the paper endorsed Deeds, despite the fact that he has been flailing around miserably for weeks and weeks, and arguably even months, now).  It is also noteworthy because, of course, the 47th and 48th districts are within the Beltway, and the Washington Post is, to put it mildly, well-read and influential around these parts.  This is, in short, a big win, in and of itself, for Brescia and Ringel.  It is also a further reminder to all levels of the Republican party that there's no excuse for not fielding candidates to run against entrenched Democrats, and that good, credible, would-be candidates, who are worthy of the party's support, do exist-- even in deeply blue areas.

Because I live in the 48th, obviously, my focus is much more on that race.  Will Ringel win it?  I sure as heck hope so.  He's an engaging candidate with an interesting story who is committed to public service.  He's a doer, not a talker.  We need more of those in politics, in general, but in Virginia, specifically.  The WaPo endorsement should definitely help.  But so can you.  Click over to Aaron's website and make a donation.  This is bench development at its best, folks, and every little will help move the ball forward. [intro]

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