Virginia Democrats take Senate, but not House of Delegates (11/07/07)

Today’s cartoon by Milt Priggee (email, website) .

Before last year’s election, Newsweek published an online feature by Marcus Mabry, “Are the Faithful Losing Faith?: Two weeks till midterms, the NEWSWEEK poll shows Republicans in danger of losing a big chunk of their base. And a growing consensus for a bread-and-butter Democratic agenda.” Although the article is no longer available from the pollster or from Newsweek, and the Internet archive failed to grab the second page, the Google cache reveals that regarding the agenda item of impeachment.

47 percent of Democrats say that should be a “top priority,” but only 28 percent of all Americans say it should be, 23 percent say it should be a lower priority and nearly half, 44 percent, say it should not be done. (Five percent of Republicans say it should be a top priority and 15 percent of Republicans say it should be a lower priority; 78 percent oppose impeachment.) all.

As others pointed out at the time, 28 plus 23 equal 51 percent, saying that Bush should be impeached as a high or lower priority. Then the Dems took the House and the Senate and Democratic Congressional leaders took impeachment off the table.

I have to wonder if the Dem’s failure to start “redeployment” from Iraq, to override vetoes. and, yes, even to investigate the validity of impeachment frustrates the public, making the party appear ineffectual, rather than reasonable. Yesterday’s election in Virginia, giving the Senate to the Dems for the first time in a dozen years, was not so much a leap of faith, as one of demographics. As Walter Fiske of the Virginian-Pilot pointed out today in his article, “Democrats seize control of state Senate with election victories,”

Of the four Senate seats that switched to Democrats, two were in Hampton Roads and two were in Northern Virginia.

Yesterday was the odd-year election in Virginia and every seat in the House of Delegates and the State Senate were up for grabs. Sort of. Because, of course, there was no opposition for 81 of the 140 seats and of the 59 contested, given the way districts were drawn and the power of incumbancy, Fiske noted that

only about 20 races were considered competitive.

The Roanoke Times endorsed Republican incumbants Dave Nutter in Montgomery County and James Fraline in Roanoke. The one Democrat in our region to receive an endorsement by the Times, retired physician Michael Breiner lost by less than 800 votes. He was running against former Ronaoke mayor Ralph Smith, a Ollie North accolyte, who forgot to mention the fact until after he unseated David Bowers.

But thanks to the quirks of redistricting, Smith was not running in Roanoke City or parts of Montgomery County, a fact that confused some of the voters who turned out at polling places. Even though the redistricting rules for the Senate specify that:

District plans shall be drawn so as to avoid splitting counties, cities, and towns to the extent practicable. In drawing district plans, consideration shall be given to preserving communities of interest

Virginia’s 22nd Senate District bypasses those areas, but includes more Republican-friendly Roanoke County, Salem and Radford, .

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Also on the web: Daryl Cagle had a great piece in his blog today interviewing Mr. Fish, aka Dwayne Booth.

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