- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RICHMOND — A day after statewide primaries set the stage for the fall elections, Republican leaders touted their candidates and their party’s chances of retaking the state Senate and gaining unfettered control of Virginia government for the first time in 10 years.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling; Senate Minority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., James City Republican; Republican leader pro tempore Ryan T. McDougle, Hanover Republican; and Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins all sported “21” pins at a news conference, signifying the total number of Republicans needed for an outright majority in the state Senate. Democrats now hold a 22-18 edge.

“I am absolutely euphoric about the lineup we will have this fall,” said Mr. Norment, who defeated tea party candidate Mark Frechette by a nearly 3-to-1 margin Tuesday night.

Twelve of the 16 Republican senators seeking re-election in November have no Democratic opposition, while 16 of the 20 Democratic senators running for another term will face a Republican opponent, the group noted.

“We are going to playing offense, and the other side is clearly going to be playing defense,” Mr. Bolling said.

Republicans now hold a huge cash advantage over Democrats. Including political action committees, they had $13.7 million on hand as of June 30, compared with $7.4 million for Democrats, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Still, Mr. Bolling said that money wasn’t everything.

“You can raise all the most money in the world and not be successful if you don’t have a good ground game,” he said.

Right now, Virginia Republicans control the governor’s mansion, the lieutenant governor and attorney general’s offices, and the state House of Delegates.

Democrats are at the very least confident voters realize that giving the GOP control of the Senate would also give them absolute power.

“Virginians understand that the Senate Democratic majority is the last line of defense against an extreme Republican agenda that puts divisive social issues ahead of jobs and the economy,” said Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Brian Coy. “We’re looking forward to pitting our results-oriented Democratic leaders against the Republican slate of fringe tea partiers.”

Among the more closely watched races in Northern Virginia will be 13th District Senate contest, in which former Delegate Dick Black, a Republican and one of the Assembly’s most conservative members when he was in office, will face Loudoun County businessman and Democrat Shawn Mitchell. The district is composed of parts of Prince William and Loudoun counties.

“The focus of our race is on jobs and the economy,” Mr. Black said. “The Democrats under the Obama administration have drawn us to where our economy is near collapse, and Republicans are going to have to bring it back.”

Mr. Mitchell said his campaign would also focus on jobs, as well as education and transportation — issues about which voters keep talking to him.

“As I’ve knocked on doors and talked with voters over the last couple of months, it’s clear they want a senator who will go to Richmond and fight to keep our classroom sizes small, work to support businesses in Loudoun and Prince William, who will create and maintain jobs here and work to find practical solutions to our transportation crisis that is decreasing our quality of life,” he said.

Another closely watched race in Northern Virginia will be former Delegate Jeffrey M. Frederick, a Republican, squaring off against longtime incumbent state Sen. Linda “Toddy” Puller, Fairfax Democrat, for the 36th District Senate seat.

A state Democrat official said Mrs. Puller will be tough to beat, no matter what GOP candidate she faces because of her strong connection to the district.

Mr. Frederick, who was ousted as state party chairman in 2009, pointed out the district he ran in — and won — as a delegate was more Democratic than the new 36th District, which stretches from Fairfax to Stafford County.

“We have a broad coalition — Republicans, Democrats and independents,” he said. “They can say whatever they want. As far as I’m concerned, let them say it’s impossible for me to win.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide