VCC Spring 2021

V irginia C apitol C onnections , S pring 2021 9 Parking available adjacent to building Phone 804-644-1702 FAX: 804-644-1703 E-Mail: Web Site: hen it comes to events no one throws a party like David Napier. Known throughout Central Virginia for his wonderful food and hospitality, David is delighted to have opened his catering facility in the heart of Shockoe Bottom. No event is too small or large. Delicious Box Lunches delivered. O ne of Richmond’s most elegant dining rooms is now exclusively available for your private parties and special events. Our award winning chefs produce an array of dishes from steaks and seafood to vegetarian and international masterpieces that will satisfy the most discriminating palate. The Old City Bar is the perfect place to celebrate. Who Will Win? Virginia’s Back in the Spotlight By Chris Saxman Welcome back to Election Nerd Disneyland a.k.a the Commonwealth of Virginia and her annual election of consequence. The work of democracy’s crucible is never finished and here we are again. World, you’re welcome. The most often asked question I am receive these days is which party will win Virginia’s elections come this fall. Since we are at the stage (as of this writing) where neither party has nominated their statewide tickets, it is difficult to handicap the outcome. Given recent electoral results, however, one would be correct in suggesting that the Democrats have a structural advantage. Most observers agree that this year’s races start with a a Slight Tilt in their direction. That means about a two point advantage in a two person race or a 51-49 expected outcome to start. This year, however, the stakes could not be higher as the outcome of the gubernatorial as well as legislature elections will set the frame work for the 20s here in the Commonwealth. They will also be seen as an important bellwether for next year’s congressional midterms. Here’s the talking point that leaders and candidates in both parties know and use—Virginia Republicans have a legitimate shot at winning back not only the three statewide offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General but also the majority in the House of Delegates. The primary reason is that Donald Trump - the great turnout machine for suburban Democratic voters—is no longer President. As such, the turnout models for 2021 will be completely different than 2017 when Democrats flipped 15 House seats while they won the Big Three state offices by nine points. Fours years ago, voters were so intent on sending Trump, and the nation, a message that they were actually voting against their own Republican family members. That antipathy and desire no longer exist. Now, the Democrats are defending their majority and statewide incumbency with the political winds turning into their faces with Joe Biden now in the White House. So let’s get straight on the construct for this fall. If we go back to the last Big Three statewide election before Donald Trump famously descended his building’s escalator on June 15, 2015, the year was in 2013. That year, Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli by 56,000 votes finishing with less than 48% of the statewide vote. Independent/Libertarian Robert Sarvis received over 146,000 votes more than enough to make up the won/ lost margin. And that was with McAuliffe outraising and outspending Cuccinelli almost 2 to 1. Note – candidates often complain that they were out spent, when in fact, they were out raised. There’s a difference. Political campaigns usually are in full gear by Labor Day as candidates are working on final ad pushes and turn out operations. National money is required down the stretch in order for campaigns to withstand any unforeseeable circumstances—October Surprises, etc. Well, in 2013 there were two huge events. The first was the September federal government shutdown led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz who was seen as an ally of Cuccinelli. Federal workers in Northern Virginia were unenthused by this development but unencumbered when it came to voting since Virginians can start voting by absentee ballot as early as 45 days out or mid September. That came just when Cuccinelli needed to be within or close to the Margin of Error in the polls. Outside the MOE and you will be outside the money. The government shutdown, as a result, made funding the GOP nominee’s campaign a more dangerous bet. See WhoWillWin?Virginia’s Back in the Spotlight, continued on page 10