What with Christmas now receding from the rear-view mirror, and 2008 barrelling down the road, it is time to once again focus on our upcoming U.S. Senate race, and why Bob Marshall is the best choice.
Almost none of the reaction I have encountered questions Marshall’s record; this does not surprise me, as the record is fantastic. Instead, the main concern seems to be about electability, and its mainly coming from folks who are not in Northern Virginia. I can understand that, too – if you haven’t followed Northern Virginia politics, you wouldn’t see how Marshall has repeatedly defied every effort by the lefties to get rid of him. IN fact, as I mentioned earlier, Marshall ran ten points better than his up-ballot State Senate candidates last month. He even beat the Democratic Senate candidates by six points (58% for Marshall, 52% for the Democratic Senate hopefuls – three of whom went on to win their seats, while the fourth held the Republican victor below 50%).
Also, as I must mention again, Marshall’s district at the top of the ballot (State Senate) was more Democratic than the rest of the state (the Dems only won 48% of the vote statewide). Translated to a Presidential election, that means Marshall could pull out a win even if the GOP nominee loses Virginia 60-40, which is all but certain not to happen here.
Yes, I know, that’s a rough, swiss-cheese-like extrapolation, but my larger point still holds: Bob Marshall can win Democratic and independent votes; indeed he has for the last 16 years.
Two ancillary concerns spread from this, one of which was presented by outgoing Senator Brandon Bell, while the other has been unspoken so far. Bell expressed his concern (see comment five here) thusly: “guys running in a generally homogeneous state house district have issues speaking to the concerns of broader constituency-in this case the entire state.” The second one deals with whether Marshall - a Delegate since 1991 – can handle the shifting political sands that Virginia has witnessed in this decade.
Oddly enough, both concerns can be addressed in the same manner – by looking at Marshall’s district. In the fall of 2001, Marshall represented 47,108 voters. This was already larger than most districts despite the redistricting of the past spring, but it was nothing compared to what was coming.
Last month, the number of active voters in Marshall’s district totalled a whopping 81,709. That’s an increase of over 34,600 voters over six years. To give the reader an idea of how dramatic that is, the following is the list of Delegates who had fewer than 34,000 total voters in 2007: Matt Lohr (R-26th; 32,630), Adam Ebbin (D-49th; 28,981), Jackson Miller (R-50th; 32,214), Franklin Hall (D-69th; 31,041), Dwight C. Jones (D-70th; 33,528), Jennifer McLellan (D-71st; 32,076), Paula Miller (D-87th; 28,179), Kenneth Cooper Alexander (D-89th; 32,765), Angie Howell (D-90th; 30,468), and Lynwood Lewis, Jr. (D-100th; 30,629). That’s a count of ten Delegates who have fewer total voters than Bob Marshall has in post-2001 voters alone.
For Mr. Bell (who I’m guessing is more familiar with Matt Lohr’s District than any other on the list), think of it this way - take Matt Lohr’s entire district and move into Marshall’s; you’d still be almost 2,000 voters short of what actually happened there. In other words, Marshall has felt the demographic wave in northern Virginia as much as any other elected official (yes, I’m answering second concern first), but as Prince William and Loudoun County shifted to the Democrats (Kaine and Webb carried both), Marshall has remained strong.
Hopefully, this by itself will allso show Brandon and others that Marshall’s district is hardly “homogenous.” Still, just in case, I have one more interesting tidbit to mention. With over 81,700 active voters, Marshall represents more voters than Yvonne Miller, Ralph Northam, and Henry L. Marsh, III. Here’s the significance: the aforementioned three are State Senators (Marshall easily has the most populous district in the House; his closest competition on that are Loudoun delegates Bill May and David Poisson – neither of which are within 20,000 voters of him).
For what it’s worth, Marshall also won more votes (14,826) than five Senators, although only two (Harry Blevins, R-18, and Marsh) had opponents; the other three were Miller, Maime Locke (D-2), and Ken Stolle (R-8). Of course, the next time Stolle opens his mouth to justify tax hikes, runaway spending, or some other nonsense, feel free to remind him that Bob Marshall won over 1,500 more votes than he did.
To conclude (I know, waaay too late), Bob Marshall is no ordinary Delegate, and his district is no ordinary district. He has stayed true to his convictions, and because of that, he has succeeded in a dramatically changing environment that sunk many Republicans of weaker stomachs. For these reasons, he is the ideal candidate, and will be a terrific Senator.
Cross-posted to Bloggers 4 Bob Marshall