Thursday, May 19, 2011

Senators Moving To Find A Place They Can Win

Can you spell 'carpetbagger'?
It looks like former Roanoke Mayor Ralph Smith, a state senator that the Republican Party obviously believed expendable, will move to Roanoke County so he can run for office again--regardless of what the party thinks about it. After all, Landslide Ralph is the personal choice of former House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, the man picked to knock off Brandon Bell, who had the audacity to buck Griffith's wishes on the budget a few years ago.

Smith moved from Roanoke City to Botetourt County to run against Brandon Bell for the Senate seat a few years ago. Now, he'll move again, this time to a district represented by Bill Stanley, who will move into a new district, a short distance from his home in Franklin County.

Stanley will move to the 20th District from the 19th to take on Roscoe Reynolds, a longtime member of the General Assembly, who took the Senate seat left by Robert Hurt. Hurt, like Griffith, scored an upset of a respected sitting U.S. House of Representatives member in the last election. When the House lost Tom Perriello (to Hurt) and Rick Boucher (to Griffith), it lost a chunk of its soul and a lot of its ethical base. Two very good men replaced by two empty suits.

If Smith knocks off Reynolds, it will be an upset, but he has scored major upsets each of the two times he has run. The Democrats split their vote 33-33 for Roanoke mayor and Smith came in with 34 percent to score the landslide win. The win over incumbent Republican Bell was out of left field in the primary. Smith is often looked upon as a buffoon by those who have served with him, either on City Council or in the Senate. He is not the sharpest pencil in the box.

As confusing as all those moves are, none of it is surprising. Republicans are looking for a way to take over the Senate and, thus, all of Virginia's government and install their particular brand of ... well, whatever it is. It won't be pleasant for anybody with a progressive notion of any kind.


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