Carter Turner (above) and the lovely Morgan Griffith in a kindly pose (left)<
It strikes me as sad that the 8th District version of Virginia’s Democratic Party simply cannot come up with a substantial candidate to oppose Morgan Griffith for his seat in the Virginia General Assembly. Over and over the Dems put up one good person/bad candidate after another without ever realizing what they must do if they are to defeat one of Virginia’s most entrenched politicians.
The Democrats over in the 5th U.S. Congressional District understood fully what they had to do to defeat Virgil Goode in the last election and did it. Goode was every bit as dug in as Griffith—and every bit as awful a representative, though he appeared untouchable in a district that leans so far right that it almost falls over. It took three cycles to beat him, but beat him, the Dems did.
Radford University nursing teacher Ginny Weisz was the first sheep-to-Griffith-slaughter for this year’s election, but she finally pulled out, saying she wanted to work on her doctorate degree. My guess is she saw the futility of the situation. Now, we seem to be getting yet another Radford assistant professor (if bloggers are right), a party activist named Carter Turner. The Dems will tell us all who it is today at noon and the campaign will begin. (I would say begin again, except that Ms. Weitz’s campaign didn’t seem to get started. I never saw an ad, a mailer, a press conference, anything. She was all but anonymous.)
If Griffith is to be ousted—and it won’t happen this round—the loyal opposition has to plan and quickly dispose of the notion that logic, good sense and the noble argument are good enough. This Democratic candidate has to come out throwing hard truths—not quite mud, not quite debate society. The Dems must—must—go after Griffith’s record, something that very rarely gets any kind of examination. A minute, vote-by-vote account, release of the names of supporters with dollar amounts (and the legislation or government investment that resulted), accounting of public statements and any miscellaneous negatives that can be piled on (Griffith is a drunk driving lawyer, for example).
The attacks have to continue unabated for the next two years with breathless, end-of-the-world press conferences, dire position predictions and a microscopic investigation of everything Griffith does.
Selecting two college professors—from the same university or not—in one election cycle is suicide. As candidates, college professors rank somewhere between gay rights activists and steel-eyed feminists for wide acceptance in a district where “liberal” and “professor” are not only synonymous, but also spell “ineligible for office.”
I still believe that, like Goode, Griffith is vulnerable because he is so extreme, so unwise, so rigid and so thoroughly arrogant. But you’re not going to beat him with an assistant professor. Or a team of them.