You know, there’s no primary in my district. That means I get to wake up at my normal time and go to work without detouring to a polling place at 6 a.m. That’s only one of the benefits of having no contested races in my district. The other is that I actually don’t have to make endorsements. There’s wisdom in not going out my way to make enemies.
So, against all commonsense, I’m going to give you my endorsements anyway.
Let’s start with the Greg Galligan-George Barker race.
I have all the respect in the world for George Barker and could absolutely support him against Jay O’Brien if he comes out the victor tomorrow. He has a long resume of public service and has been involved in the community and Democratic politics for years. He’s capable and bright.
But Greg Galligan did the difficult thing last time. When the Republicans were in the ascendancy in public esteem and Democrats couldn’t win certain districts, Greg went out and challenged a popular incumbent. That took courage.
In addition, Greg, in his much shorter career, has proven himself equally capable and bright. He simply hasn’t lived long enough to rack up the credentials that George has. This time, I’m going to choose courage and conviction over experience.
Another reason I’m for Greg is because I think it’s time the Democratic Party started being future oriented and thinking like people who could actually win and leave a legacy. For too long we’ve elected placeholder politicians. Those are officials whose ambition is limited. They run for a local or state office and that’s where they stay.
And we need some of those people who are at exactly where they want to be and who will build up seniority within the system. But we also need a farm team that will move on. We’ve been caught short in races for Congress and the U.S. Senate because we don’t have candidates who have served at the local level and build up their names and their public recognition to run for higher office. We got lucky with Jim Webb but we almost had a vacuum that would have catapulted George Allen into the frontrunner status in the 2008 Presidential race.
Judy Feder, Andy Hurst, Ken Longmeyer were all great candidates. But they went up against Goliaths and they just weren’t Davids. They shouldn’t be expected to be. Sending beginners, with virtually no name recognition and no experience with elective office, into battle against popular incumbents in leadership positions in Congress is not a winning formula.
We need to elect young, ambitious people to local and state offices who will move up a ladder, whether aspiring to higher statewide office or going on to the federal level. We need to nurture and develop the Chap Petersens, David Bulovas, Steve Shannons, and the Greg Galligans. There is nothing wrong with George Barker. But I don’t want more placeholders who played it safe, waited for an opportune time, and whose ambition begins and ends at one office.
So, if you live in 39th District and you are a Democrat, vote your party’s future and vote for Greg Galligan to go against Jay O’Brien for state Senate.
The other race I’m going to make an endorsement in is the Supervisor for Providence District. As with George Barker, I don’t have the same animus as some other bloggers do with Linda Smyth. But I do think Charlie Hall has more of a vision of where to take Providence and Fairfax. We need somebody independent of the developers, more responsive to their constituents, and with a better vision for Fairfax County.
I do think Gerry, Linda and the other Board members are on the right track with the Cool Counties initiative and mixed use, smart growth development around existing Metro stops. But I also think Charlie Hall has more determination to walk the walk and really stand up for things like the tunnel rather than an aerial rail to Dulles.
As for the Margi Vanderhye vs. Rip Sullivan Delegate’s race in the 34th, I think Margi is the better qualified candidate. Here my logic is the reverse of Galligan-Barker race. Margi is a long time activist who has proven herself capable and knowledgeable on the issues. Sullivan is very promising. The difference between him and Galligan is that unlike Greg, who was the Democratic standard bearer and took on a difficult race that nobody else wanted to take on, Sullivan is a newcomer who needs to pay some dues. Although I support Margi, I hope he sticks around.
As for Morris Meyer vs. Rex Simmons races, I have to admit I have no opinion. I thought that it was ridiculous of the Simmons campaign to compare Meyer to George Bush in a flyer that said that like another Texan, he didn’t know much about Virginia.
It was a dumb tactic. But it’s true the Meyer just moved here and his main issue seems to be the environment and Global Warming in general. Can’t fault him for picking the future of the entire world to run on. But I think he does need to spend a little more time in Virginia getting to know the local issues, including the environmental impact of specific projects and developments here at home. I’m going to go with Tip O’Neill’s famous statement “all politics is local.” This is another one where I want to see Meyer active for a few more years and then run again.
Having said all this, I’d like to add that despite all the heat and light generated by the more controversial races, the whole field of Democrats is good. We have bright, capable people who can govern. When this is over, please come together and don’t let sour grapes get in the way of Democratic victories. At some point, we all need to take a deep breath and ask ourselves what matters most. It should be voting for those who most clearly share our principles and values not voting sour grapes and personal resentments.
So, good luck to all our candidates. And after the smoke clears tomorrow, let’s get together and make this a Democratic year again!