Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A lot at stake in upcoming November elections

Sen. John Edwards and Delegate Dave Nutter

There is always something new popping up in our local elections that could influence the outcome of the November 8 elections. Republicans want control of the state Senate so badly they can taste it.

The money that that the RPVA is putting into these races and the ads paid for by RPVA are hitting hard against incumbent Democrat John Edwards in Roanoke City’s 21st Senate District. His opponent Republican Delegate Dave Nutter is working Roanoke City hard especially the Lee-Hi precinct where he was heavily supported in the primary against Tea Party candidate Tripp Godsey.

Governor McDonnell has been here for Nutter. U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb were here for Edwards.

Forums show contrasts between Nutter and Edwards. Nutter says Edwards will raise taxes, kill jobs. Nutter signed the no-tax increase pledge. Edwards said Nutter voted to cut public education funding and that he has no plan for funding transportation. Nutter voted against outgoing Del. Bill Cleaveland’s work around that allows the Roanoke City School System to start their school year prior to Labor Day.

Sen. Brandon Bell - Senator Ralph Smith

Another closely watched Senate race between old rivals Republican Senator Ralph Smith and former Republican and now Independent candidate Brandon Bell. Old rivals that fought it out in a Republican primary in the 22nd Senate district with Smith squeaking out a win in 2007.

Senator Bill Stanley moved to the 20th district to challenge Democratic incumbent Roscoe Reynolds leaving his 19th district open for Smith to relocate. It seemed Smith would have no challenger for awhile until rumors proved to be accurate when Sen. Bell announced his run as an Independent.

This 19th Senate district race has become very interesting very quickly. At first Bell’s campaign seemed lackluster. Smith laid back as if to say why spend much money when his opponent barely has $6000 in his campaign fund. Then came the Bell press releases charging that Smith didn’t live in the cabin rented from his campaign manager, Steve Mabry.

The facebook page “Ralph Smith Don’t Live Here” became an amusing commentary source.

Bell charged Smith with lying about where he was living even producing ads showing a vacant uninhabited cabin on Bent Mountain. The first sign that Bell was getting funds from somewhere before the State Board of Elections disclosure deadline came with a plethora of TV ads. Where was Bell getting the money for those expensive TV ads?

When the disclosure deadline came it revealed that Senate Democrats contributed over $200,000 to Bell’s campaign. The majority leader in the Senate, Dick Saslaw saw Bell as a moderate compared to Smith. Bell still contends he will not caucus with the Democrats or the Republicans.

Sen. Smith has hit the airwaves with his TV ads disparaging Bell’s votes to increase taxes. November 8 will tell if it is too late or if Smith has an unshakable hold as the more conservative candidate.

Chris Head and Freeda Cathcart at NAACP forum

The 17th House of Delegates race with Republican Chris Head filling the shoes of outgoing Delegate Bill Cleavland is less contentious. His opponent Democrat Freeda Cathcart though mounting a heartfelt campaign with little funding has mostly kept a lid on rancor and it looks like Head has smooth sailing to the HOD seat.

Head as a conservative admits to bucking his Republican Party leaders on some issues. As owner of a senior living center Home Instead he believes regulations for the protection of senior’s welfare are warranted. Some regulations are sensible but too many make business operation difficult. Weeding out the unnecessary senseless regulations for business will be his goal.

Another surprise came when Head said he supports passenger train service. He said he rides the train south as often as he can.

Head’s Democratic challenger Freeda Cathcart has touted her midwifery initiative, support for public education and women’s rights. She homeschools her three sons.

Democrat Onzlee Ware in the 11th district, Democrat Clerk of Circuit Court Brenda Hamilton and Republican 8th district Delegate Greg Habeeb are unopposed.

Senator John Edwards says his record proves leadership

Delegate Dave Nutter says lack of leadership in 21st senate district

Dave Nutter takes Tripp Godsey in Republican primary

Senator Brandon Bell launches campaign to “fire” his opponent

Extended interview with Independent candidate Brandon Bell

Senator Ralph Smith’s preemptive strike

Sen. Ralph Smith announcement yields surprises

Republicans shuffling the deck hoping for a winning hand – video

Chris Head declares his candidacy for the House of Delegates – Video

Freeda Cathcart announces as the Democratic candidate for the 17th HOD

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2011, Politics, State Politics

Tags: , , , , , ,

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