Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Rep Schrock steps down, David Ashe now has clear run for Congress!

Via Matt Stoller at BOP News:

[Virginia] Republican Congressman Edward L. Schrock resigned because of the work of this blog. Well, he's gay, hard-right, and cosponsored the FMA, but it was Blog Active that broke the story.

UPDATE: The Washington Post says it's 'unspecified allegations that have "called into question" his ability to serve.' Like gayness.

I HOPE this is a pick-up seat...I don't know if the GOP can airlift a cherry-picked Alan Keyes to run against Ashe, but we'll find out in the next few days, I suspect. Virginia's Republican Attorney General, Jerry Kilgore, recently established that the rules for getting on the ballot don't apply to friends of the GOP.

In the meantime, this story is a testament to the power of cannon-fodder candidates.

You'll note that Ashe has until now been rated as a "David vs. Goliath" candidate by ActBlue. In fact, Virginia's 3 incumbent Democratic Congressmen are all rated as "favored" or "stronghold" -- while ALL of the 7 challengers are "David vs. Goliath." (Virginia has 11 congressional districts but the Democrats have not run a candidate against Joann Davis in the 1st Congressional District.) The difference in the races has nothing to do with the caliber of the candidates and everything to do with redistricting. As Samuel Issacharoff, of Columbia Law School, has stated: “Voters no longer choose members of the House; the people who draw the lines do." Despite the steep odds created by redistricting, a well-qualified, well-backed, well-funded Dem with a commitment to shoeleather politics can still win in Virginia if he/she started far enough in advance.

Running Democratic candidates in 10 out of 11 congressional districts, in addition to Gov. Warner's groundbreaking campaign in 2001 and the Virginia state Dems's historic pick ups in 2003, have combined to put Virginia in play this year for the presidential race. The big payoff in Virginia will be when all of the field data from the Democratic Congressional races (especially party ID's) goes towards Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine's campaign for governor in 2005. In the short term, we're forcing the Republicans to spend money in Virginia that they'd rather divert to other races in swing states, and we're turning out the vote for Kerry. And, again, with real grassroots politics some of these campaigns have a longshot to actually win this year.

This one will be exciting to watch: in terms of how the GOP tries to bend the rules, and how the race effects presidential results in Virginia.

Picking up the 2nd Congressional District seat would be a major coup for Virginia Democrats. And everything I have heard about David Ashe supports that he is a superb human being who would do an excellent job of representing his constituents in Congress.

Go help Ashe!

Or click here to contribute to the Ashe campaign!