Thursday, January 2, 2014

On Tuesday, a Vote for Sam Rasoul is Vital

Sam Rasoul for District 11 seat.
On Tuesday, the Republican Party in Virginia is hoping to increase its majority in the Virginia House of Delegates to 68 of 100 seats by flipping the vacated Democratic seat in Roanoke. Onzlee Ware left the seat recently after being overwhelmingly re-elected in the severely gerrymandered district, put together from two Democratic districts several years ago.

The Republicans have nominated--without opposition--Octavia Johnson, who was recently defeated for re-election to the Sheriff's office in Roanoke City. She was an ineffectual leader and was bounced for it. But the Republicans saw a black Republican in a city where the black vote is crucial and thought it might be an opportunity. The money started rolling in. Today, this unlikely Republican candidate, who has been compared to a local Sarah Palin in the sense of her almost complete lack of knowledge of any issues, has more money than the popular Democrat Sam Rasoul and she is getting personal tutoring from Bob Goodlatte, a far right-wing, Tea Party-influenced U.S. Congressman.

This is an election where the Democrats will need to pay attention. There are quite a few more "D" voters in Roanoke than "R" voters, but in special elections like this one, turnout is very low and a far right candidate can count on turnout from her base. Johnson is likely not far right in her political views. In fact, my guess is that she doesn't have any political views, but she would quickly be co-opted by the extremists if she were to win. She has never espoused any philosophy, has balked at campaigning and has refused to appear in a candidate forum with Rasoul (where she would be buried).

All this gets to a single point: vote Tuesday. Sam Rasoul is an excellent candidate and  a man deserving of the seat. This could be the beginning of turning around this viciously bigoted, anti-woman governmental body with the 1830s political philosophy. It's time to get that going.

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