Thursday, March 23, 2006

Speculation Abounds in the 27th

With speculation at an all time high in the 27th Senate District, it is time to show some real numbers. For folks outside of the Valley, the 27th is made up of all of Winchester City, all of Frederick Co, all of Clark Co, Western Loudoun (basically west of Leesburg, only including one precinct in Leesburg), and a majority of Fauquier Co (Remington and Bealeton at the southern end, all of Warrenton is in the 27th).

Now by my understanding of party rules, voting strength for a convention would be based on Bush 04 vote totals and Kilgore 05 vote totals. These numbers would also work well when thinking about locality strength in a primary.

Winchester is about 8%
Frederick is about 34%
Clark is about 7%
Loudoun is about 25%
Fauquier is about 26%

Scenario One is that Sen. Potts runs for re-election in 2007.
Sen. Potts is in.
Jill Holtzman would run.
Mark Tate would run.
Phil Griffin would be out.
Chairman Schickle would be out.
Mayor Fitch would be out.

If this where to happen I do not foresee the "conservative" challengers staging a conservative convention to agree upon one true conservative to run against Sen. Potts in the Primary. This strategy was implemented in 2003 and Mark Tate of Loudoun edged out Phil Griffin of Winchester and Jill Holtzman of Warrenton for the conservative "nomination". Rumor has it that both Griffin and Holtzman feel if they won the mock convention they could have defeated Potts in the Primary. Neither of them would be willing to risk sitting 2007 out by agreeing to a mock convention.

If Sen. Potts seeks re-election in 2007 there is no need for a Chitchester backed moderate to run, so Chairman of the board of Frederick Co, Dick Shickle is out. Phil Griffin has made it known that he is interested in other political opportunities and would not seek to run again. This leaves Jill Holtzman and Mark Tate.

Jill leads Mark in the money game. After all her family owns an oil company and is very political in the Valley. In 2003 Mark won the hearts and minds of the grass root conservative’s district wide. There is no way to know if this is enough to hurt Jill's monetary advantage. In my opinion, Jill's money advantage would win out with conservatives by simply out spending Mark in direct mail.

This does not matter in the long run, because if Sen. Potts seeks re-election, without a conservative convention, Jill and Mark will simply be running for second place.

Further, if Warrenton Mayor and failed gubernatorial republican candidate George Fitch were to run he would not significantly change this scenario.

Scenario Two is that Sen. Potts does not seek re-election is 2007.
Jill Holtzman would run.
Mark Tate would run.
Phil Griffin may get back in.
Dick Shickle (backed by Chitchester and worse possibly Sen. Potts) may get in.
George Fitch would be more than likely to get in.

In this wide open scenario, it comes down to regional turnout. Conventional wisdom says Mark would carry Loudoun, Jill would carry Fauquier, Phil would carry Winchester, Chairman Shickle would carry Frederick, and Mayor Fitch would carry Warrenton. The vote would be much diluted. But conventional wisdom is wrong.

Based on talk thorough the district, Jill Holtzman thinks she is strong in Frederick with support of most of the BOS members including the Chairman. Her support has never been tested in Fauquier, and she is taking that for granted since she lives there. Jill has been seen at GOP meetings in Frederick, Fauquier, and Loudoun. Again in this scenario with Chairman Shickle in the race, her support in Frederick evaporates. With Mayor Fitch in the race, the voting block of Warrenton in Fauquier Co evaporates. Suddenly Jill is a paper tiger.

Even if Phil Griffin where to run, his support is only in Winchester City, with 8% of the vote that is not enough for a strong campaign. I feel Phil would defer to his friend Mark Tate to carry the conservative banner.

If Chairman Shickle runs, his support would come from Frederick, taking from Jill and from Winchester simply because of local media being centered in Winchester. His may be the strongest position to run from.

Mayor George Fitch takes Warrenton and that’s about it. He hurts Jill Hotlzman.

Mark Tate recently moved to Purcellville from Middleburg has 25% of the district as his base. He would not face the same challenges Jill would have with a possible campaign from Mayor Fitch or Chairman Shickle. Mark also has strong ties to the Clark Co GOP, and without Phil in the race, Winchester becomes split between Mark and Chairman Shickle.

Now it gets even more interesting. In 2003 Jill Holzman made a comment at the conservative convention that scared the pro-life wing of the party. If there is long term memory of this, Mark can use that to mobilize traditional church going conservatives. Folks in the district may remember the "bloody Sunday" literature drop the Sunday before the Primary where Mark effectively mobilized the church goers in Winchester and Frederick. Most of these people are not regular attendees at GOP committee meetings and are the type of people who would be less impressed by an endorsement like that of the BOS members or a campaign by the Chairman of the Frederick Co BOS. They have a long memory and will remember that in 2003 Mark was the true conservative who was pro life.

That alone further splits Frederick Co, the largest voting block. The BOS and moderate crowd would go with Chairman Shickle. The party and activists may go with Jill. And the regular attendees of the large evangelical churches the Valley is known for would go with Mark.

So in my opinion in a crowded field with no Sen. Potts, Mark Tate has a slight advantage. Jill Holtzman's huge money advantage would be spent on direct mail and radio district wide to cover her losses of Mayor Fitch and Chairman Shickle.

Scenario Three is that Sen. Potts where to resign his seat to take an administration job or a private sector job.
Sen. Potts is out.
Jill Holtzman is in.
Mark Tate is in.
Phil Griffin would be out.
Mayor Fitch would be out.
Chairman Shickle may be in (backed by Potts or Chitchester).

There is much speculation this is about to happen, so why not game it out? In a short nomination process only the candidates with an established network would run. This means Phil Griffin and Mayor Fitch would be out. Jill Holtzman and Mark Tate would certainly run. The wrinkle in this scenario is "does Sen. Potts anoint a successor"? Would that be Chairman Shickle or a democrat? I do not buy the talk that Jill Holtzman is operating within an agreement with Sen. Potts. Although if that were found to be accurate, Jill would lose all conservative support.

In a short nomination process, name ID is the ball game. Mark Tate has it, Jill Holtzman is trying to buy that. The shorter the nomination process the better for Mark. The longer it is drawn out the more direct mail Jill can send out and raise her name ID. Jill has been sending out District Newsletters on a regular basis and a recent phone poll was conducted by the Holtzman campaign.

A moderate from the Winchester/Frederick area could turn the nomination process from a question of timing to a question of turnout. Without a moderate, a Jill vs. Mark nomination process would be a text book example of money verse grassroots. At that point the nomination would revolve around Jill's money and how it is spent and if Mark can mount a serious fundraising campaign and challenge Jill with direct mail and radio.

My conclusions.
Scenario One-Sen. Potts wins re-election.
Scenario Two-Slight edge to Mark Tate. Jill a strong contender.
Scenario Three-Slight edge to Jill Holtzman. Mark a strong contender.


At 7:16 PM, Blogger RedBull said...

Good analysis. Definitely the best I have seen to date on the 27th District race. Good job!

State law allows the incumbent to choose which type of nomination to hold, i.e., a convention or an open primary where anyone can vote. Hence, Potts always chose the open primary to get crossover Democrats and Independents to the polls.

I have no idea what happens if the incumbent chooses not to run. Who makes the decision as to what type of nomination to have? Does anyone know the answer to this?

I seriously don’t think Potts will run again. I also think he will finish out his term. So I would focus on scenario 2 as the most likely - with one exception. The only way Phil would carry Winchester is if Shickle were not in the race. Phil has never been elected and Shickle would trump him by playing the experience card.

If it goes to a convention, I would say it’s a total toss-up. Anyone could be the nominee. Also, if an ultra-conservative candidate is nominated the race could wind-up being a Mick Stanton re-run.

A moderate Democrat could pull it off.

At 9:20 PM, Anonymous SuomynonA said...

God I hate ultra conservatives. (anyone get the pun?)

I had forgotten about Jill's comment at the conservative convention. She's not 100% pro-life: giving every excuse in the book; you know: saving the life of the mother, rape, incest, not when the outside temp. is less than 98F or more than 37C (same temp.) and not when the sun is rising or setting. Just a few exceptions. That'll definitely fire up 'Del'gotta-go' in Loudoun, turning out the Tate vote.

But Mark is not an ultra conservative- in the mold of other Senators like O'Brien and Cucinelli. Why? Because he's also got (not so) common sense. Social issues are one, two, and three on his mind, but not in his speech. Perfect in my book.

Jill doesnt know Jack. Thus she's not going up (down) to the Hill to fetch anything.

Marcus Purcevillious Tatus, my redeemer, your redeemer, our redeemer. Faith will prevail.

When you sit down in a chair, you have FAITH that the manufacturer of that chair built it to hold the weight of a person.

When your wife fixes you that cup of coffee in the morning, you have FAITH that she did not put rat poison in it to kill you.

And when you go to vote in the that 2007 27th Senate Primary, you can have FAITH that Mark Tate will hold your values, beliefs, and principles close each and every year he goes to Richmond.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Mr. Brightside said...


Your post sounds like an MC battle between George Michael and the Rev. Billy Graham.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger ED Skywalker said...

After reading all that crap about "faith", the “faith” that my fat ass won't snap my steel chair like a bundle of twigs, or the "faith" that my wife didn't sweeten my green ginseng chai tea with a skull and cross bones powder or a green Mr. Yuk sticker. All of this has renewed my “faith” that I would rather crap in my pants than vote for Marcus (not even close to Aurelius) Tate. The man pours a fine cup of joe and can scramble a mean egg, but then so can my wife, yet I still have to worry about what she’s putting in them. Now maybe if he was running for the head chef of the House of Delegates or State Senate, then maybe I would vote for him. But to represent my interest in the state senate I just don’t think so. It seems to me that the absolute worst leaders in history all invoked religion in some form, as if they were some conduit of God (do you remember a guy that made funny stubby mustaches so popular in central Europe in the 1930’s and 40’s?). Or, what about the Ayatollahs of Iran, and the Mullahs in Saudi Arabia? They all invoked religion to overthrow and eventually take power over their governments. While many of the best leaders, guys like Marcus Aurelius, Jefferson, Madison, Washington, were more about following reason and pragmatism. Some would even say these men were atheists. Should it matter if they were or if they weren’t believers? I don’t think it should. It is great that Mark Tate has faith, I’m very happy for him and his faith. But faith does not make you a great leader, it doesn’t even make you a great person. Look at all of the Popes, Bishops, Priests, Reverends, Deacons, Ministers, and Evangelists, who have done horrible awful things. That have cheated, swindled, abused, misused, and even murdered other people. All men of supposedly impeccable faith. While I don’t think Mark Tate is like any of these horrible people, or has done any of the fore mentioned, I do think that it goes to merit what people use the notion or idea of faith for. Keep faith where it should be, inside you, and keep your hands off other peoples faith, you should only be touching your own faith and no one else’s. Now that should be a commandment, “thou shalt keep your hands off other people’s faiths.” Maybe if that was a commandment we wouldn’t have all these problems with priests and alter boys? But I’m not without faith, hey, thank god my chair’s still holding my fat ass up, now that takes some faith right there baby.

May the force be with all of you.

Oh, and by the way the original analysis was very good and very informative.


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