Sock Puppets 101

Thanks to our crack team of bookies and oddsmakers, VOM can now reveal that we now know who a very sloppy pseudonymn named Alex P. Keaton is. 

Our question is why on earth would he anonymize himself, since he already has a blog?  Perhaps the 51st HOD primary didn’t go as well as he’d like… but that’s probably too much information. 

 Unfortunately, since it’s against a pre-drawn agreement here at VOM to out such individuals, we won’t do this.  Just enough to send the message.

Of course, not a single one of us will be at Blogs United this weekend.  But we’ll send spies (we always send spies).


Given the July 4th holidays, we figured it would be pretty quiet in the blogosphere.  Some movement in the Big Line over last week,  and our weekly Blog Rankings are up!

It’s coming… Georgia’s Speaker of the House is predicting that a few lawsuits will snap those bloggers back into line.

It’s coming to Virginia sooner than you think.

This is a stupid, sophomoric thing to do.

We hope someone gets sent to jail for this.

$3,000 Abuser Fees

…does anyone remember that this was Tim Kaine’s idea?

Just a friendly reminder that for all the political fingerpointing, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans chose to remove this portion of the transportation compromise.

Oh yes, and don’t tell us that you’re not driving 65mph everywhere you go after these abuser fees were enacted!  If the goal was safer and more responsible driving, misson accomplished!

To the right!  With new and improved Tricia Stall vs. John Miller stain fighting action!

…the GOP’s a comin’!

Veteran Republicans say they have quietly raised millions of dollars for a pair of nonprofit organizations that will launch this fall with the ambitious aim of providing a conservative counterweight to the liberal, has learned.

The eight-year-old MoveOn family of organizations — which boast a deep fundraising base, including major support from liberal financier George Soros — has become synonymous with the left’s ability to influence elections outside the party structure. Political Action says it raised $31.9 million in 2004. It spent much of that to try to defeat President Bush.

Whether this arrives in time to influence the 2007 Virginia elections remains to be seen, but as we’ve seen from Act Blue Virginia’s activity, the netroots are a Democratic advantage unrivaled anywhere, and especially effective in places like Northern Virginia.

Interesting analysis by Kenton Ngo over at 750 Volts:

While the Republican coalition splinters, the Democratic coalition grows no stronger. I would credit a good portion of current gains for the Democratic side to simple disgust with the Republicans. In the zero-sum game of two-party politics, the Democrats have found themselves on the up and up. As Democrats grow insulated in one-party rule, their common enemy–George W. Bush–will have been castigated to the dustbins of history. I see no signs that the party can maintain unity after George W. Bush. I remain optimistic only because the Republicans are markedly less able to.

People are sick of both parties, just less so with the Democrats than Republicans?

What is interesting here is that both parties seem to be sick with the same flu. Liberals, progressives, and populists tear at one another on the left, while conservative, libertarians, and moderates tear at one another on the right.

Sounds about right. Question is, who is holding things together (on either side)?

The Bush-Kennedy-Reid immigration plan is dead (again).

Score one for conservative bloggers.  What the netroots do for the Democrats in fundraising, the netroots do for the Republicans on issues and policy.

Virginia Federalist (a pseudonymously run blog) has been running a great series on blog ethics.  You can read the first three installments below:

This is following in the wake of at least two websites devoted solely to the topic of blogging ethics in Virginia, notably God Save Virginia and Blogging Ethics, most of whom are following in the wake of the hibernating Shaun Kenney weblog, a long time defender of ethical blogging (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and in his swan song here)

Most of these sites have inspired themselves in the wake of Ben Tribbett’s IP implosion, Lowell Feld’s continuing hackery at Raising Kaine, and the content and tactics employed in the 24th Senate District race by the SWACers

We here at VOM want to know your thoughts.  What makes an ethical blogger?  Should there be a code of ethics?  Obviously, we’re all pseudonyms, but as the tabloid bloggers start to implode and the greater Virginia blogosphere (Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian) becomes more sensitive to the unethical blogs, what’s next?

Sic Semper Tyrannis’s Norm Leahy blasts Lowell Feld at Raising Kaine for a blatantly dishonest attack on AG McDonnell.

This is what is so disgusting about the blogosphere, and what we hope to reform.

Anyone paying attention to the 87th HOD race?  Paula Miller is in real trouble against Republican Henry Giffin

If Giffin can keep up the fundraising, Miller may be in her last term.  Of course on the flip side, the 88th District race between Mark Cole and Carlos Del Toro is a dead heat in terms of fundraising.

Of course, one might instantly point towards $11K of self-financing and $5K from Act Blue Virginia for Del Toro… but that’s not good news.  More on this Democratic advantage later…

The resident VOM liberal disagrees with this post.  VOM’s conservative and libertarian asked for some clarification (just what are the Democrats running on this year?) and she verbally berated us.

 …which must mean Brian is right!

 Of course, the DPVA does have an agenda, to which the RPV rightly responded.  Still, BD has a point.

Kimball Payne over at The Daily Press has the scoop:

Democrats are scrambling to pick a candidate in the district after Republican Tricia Stall defeated Sen. Marty Williams in a GOP primary earlier this month, opening up the conservative leaning district.

Speculation had centered on Mugler and one-time House of Delegate candidate John Mil(l)er – who now works at Christopher Newport University. Mugler said in a release that he wanted to unite Democrats rather the subject them to a “quickly constructed firehouse primary” which could prove financially and politically expensive.

Sources say that while John Miller is ready to run, time (as in Miller’s ability to give 40+ hours to a full time campaign) may be an issue.

Should Miller choose to run, he faces an energized GOP base in a heavily Republican district. Add to it an already thinly stretched DPVA and Miller may not have the money or the time to make this a true contest.

Against Tricia Stall, Miller has two advantages: a sea of moderates disaffected by the primary, and Stall’s position on such issues as school choice and taxes.

Here’s the catch. Challenger campaigns must be flawless to have a chance at winning. If Miller can devote the time, if the grassroots can mobilize, if Miller has the connections to raise the cash, and if Miller can motivate moderate Republicans without alienating his Democratic base… then he has a chance.

This race isn’t a lock, but Miller faces a steeper incline than most challengers.

If true, then much ado about nothing.  Staff shakeups happen all the time without much effect. 

However, if Chuck Colgan is heading towards retirement, this seat’s potential as a GOP pickup becomes all the more realistic.

RTD reports today on that little known but highly influential tie-breaking vote known in the Virginia Senate as Bill Bolling.

“A 20-20 Senate is a 21-20 Republican Senate,” exhorts Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, whose district includes the overstuffed confines of The Homestead, where lobbyists played kissy-face with House Republicans two weeks earlier.Deeds’ point: Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a Republican, could cast the deciding vote as Senate presiding officer, ensuring the GOP maintains control of committees and the legislative calendar.

Bolling has said he believes that the lieutenant governor, the constitutionally designated tie-breaker, can even vote on organizational issues — and he is prepared to do so. But Bolling is more than a single vote. He is an insurance policy for fellow conservatives, who could finally dominate the Senate GOP caucus and, with Bolling’s “aye” or “nay,” the entire Senate.

Want more heartburn? Of the eight targeted seats in Virginia’s Senate (4 Dem, 4 GOP), the tectonics for massive change don’t appear likely.

6th Senate District (Nick Rerras vs. Ralph Northam)
Northam has money. Rerras has grassroots, money, incumbency, and a Republican-leaning district. Now the Dem bloggers have been arguing that grassroots aren’t so bad here, but the reality on the ground is that it’s not that great either. If Northam can pick up steam, he might make it a contest. But Rerras isn’t taking this for granted, and there’s nothing worse than an incumbent motivated to hold their seat.

34th Senate District (Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis vs. Chap Petersen)
Probably the most watched race due to personalities alone. JMDD has more money, more connections to get more money, and is just enough to the center on social issues to match her district. Chap (!) has the fundraising power, and certainly knows how to run a campaign. The question is, can it happen? If incumbency is any answer, Petersen is fighting an uphill battle, especially if DPVA chooses to widen the net to include races it cannot win (Holtzman-Vogel, Stuart, Stall, Hanger).

37th Senate District (Ken Cuccinelli vs. Janet Oleszek)
Cooch has the best grassroots organization in the Virginia GOP. Against his fanatically loyal base is a school board member whose politics are left-leaning at best. Still, Cuccinelli presents and inviting target to Democrats hungry for one of the most conservative members of the Virginia Senate. Can it happen? Incumbency plus a terrible habit of implosion point towards two factors arguing against a Democratic win here, plus Cuccinelli’s grassroots, plus his fundraising, plus his name ID…

39th Senate District (Jay O’Brien vs. George Barker)
O’Brien’s recent staff shakeup helps put some new blood into the campaign. On the opposite end, Barker is plowing along despite a nasty primary contest. Advantages here are surpisingly Democratic… though O’Brien gets points for incumbency and fundraising, Barker proved he had the grassroots to win. If the Dems pick up a seat, it could very well occur in the 39th.

Now before you go running off thinking all is rosy with the GOP, look towards the four GOP targeted seats:

17th Senate District (Edd Houck vs. Chris Yakabouski)
Does Yak have a shot? Sure he does. Chairman of the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors with a district heavily Republican, it should be a cakewalk. The problem? Edd Houck has strong support from the VEA, NRA, and is just centrist enough not to anger the folks back home.

20th Senate District (Roscoe Reynolds vs. Jeff Evans)
The question here is whether Evans can raise the money. Incumbency and fundraising once again bring things to a fine point, and this seat (barring some kind of change in the national climate) should be safely Democratic.

29th Senate District (Chuck Colgan vs. Bob Fitzsimmonds)
Probably the best shot the GOP has at picking up a seat this year. Why? Fitzsimmonds is making his second run here in a district that is very much Republican. The catch? Colgan is no lightweight and will fight for every precinct. Once again, incumbency and fundraising are all against the challenger…

33rd Senate District (Mark Herring vs. Patricia Phillips)
The GOP’s version of the 6th District. Incumbency, fundraising, grassroots all side with Herring. Phillips proved she can motivate the Republican base, but can she build a coalition that can win in the 33rd?

FINAL OUTCOME: The GOP holds on to their four seats, while the Democrats hold on to their four. Result? A much more conservative Virginia Senate with a 23-17 split.

One or two seats don’t do it for the Dems. In fact, the Democrats have to sweep all four winnable races in order to take the Senate, while the GOP has to be successful in either defending one seat, or taking one from the Dems to hold onto their majority, and with it, redistricting.

November looks more and more like “Mission Impossible” for the Democrats in Virginia. Not what everyone wants to see or read, but until something seismic happens to motivate the voters against incumbents and for their challengers, incumbency is a powerful weapon, and this sweep isn’t happening.

… to the right (ever to the right).

Yeah yeah, they’re 9 to 1 nationwide… but stuff like this right before the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner just smells funny.

(D) Richmond Times-Dispatch, Pam Mastropaolo, copy editor, $1,650 to the Democratic Party of Virginia in February 2007, and $1,165 in February 2006.Mastropaolo didn’t reply to messages. Nor did the managing editor, Peggy Bellows.

That’s not entirely appropriate.  But we’re sure benign, self-decpreciating explanations will be forthcoming. 

Frankly, we’d be more interested to see what percentage of journalists are not donating to any political party, but scandals and impropriety are always better press…

Insight from Virginia Virtucon on the successor to Ed Gillespie over at RPV.

Every Thursday, we’ll put out the soapbox.  You get to voice an opinion!  Worthwhile links and commentary appreciated.

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  • Virginia Big Line

    Tips? E-mail us at Virginia Oddsmaker

    1st Senate District
    (R) Tricia Stall (3-1)
    Tricia continues to plow ahead with grassroots and phones...
    (D) John Miller (5-1)
    Still a lackluster effort... we've yet to see the spark that is going to make this a win.
    6th Senate District
    (R) Nick Rerras (3-1)
    Democrats aren't going away, but neither is Rerras...
    é (D) Ralph Northam (5-1)
    Astroturf for grassroots won't make up for fundraising advantage
    11th Senate District
    é (R) Steve Martin (2-1)
    Martin knows his district and represents it well...
    ê (D) Alex McMurtrie (5-1)
    Self-financed candidate, but where are the grassroots?
    13th Senate District
    (R) Fred Quayle (2-1)
    This one is out of reach for the Democrats
    ê (D) Steve Heretick (7-1)
    Credible candidate, wrong district.
    17th Senate District
    (D) Edd Houck  (2-1)
    Edd gets hit on immigration... abuser fee stunt wasn't all that great.
    é (R) Chris Yakabouski (5-1)
    Good hit on illegal immigration makes Yak a leader... no Edd signs in Spotsy either!
    20th Senate District
    ê (D) Roscoe Reynolds (3-1)
    Joe Stanley and Ben Tribbett come to the rescue?
    é (R) Jeff Evans (3-1)
    Great blog hit on Roscoe makes the Dems bring in the heavy artillery!
    22nd Senate District
    é (R) Ralph Smith (2-1)
    That cracking sound you hear from Roanoke???
    ê (D) Michael Breiner (8-1)'s the sound of the Brenier campaign's back being broken.  This race is done.
    24th Senate District
    (R) Emmett Hanger (2-1)
    Grassroots still on fire... infighting doesn't help.
    (D) David Cox (6-1)
    Conservative vs. moderate infighting is getting worse...
    ê (L) Arin Sime (15-1)
    STD says "no thanks" to Sime, Myron Rhodes.
    26th Senate District
    (R) Mark Obenshain (2-1)
    Obenshain for AG?  Not yet... first things, first.
    (D) Maxine Roles (6-1)
    Tough, tough uphill climb in the Valley.
    27th Senate District
    (R) Jill Holtzman-Vogel (2-1)
    Still plugging along, campaign staff changes a bit odd.
    é (D)  Karen Schultz (5-1)
    Tate aftermath helping Schultz a bit...
    28th Senate District
    (R) Richard Stuart (2-1)
    Chichester's money, Howell's politics... but Stafford could prove problematic.
    ê (D) Albert Pollard (5-1)
    Stupid debate attack on Stuart for prosecuting drug lords...
    29th Senate District
    ê (D) Chuck Colgan (3-1)
    Lackluster fundraising makes this race officially a toss-up.
    é (R) Bob Fitzsimmonds (3-1)
    Strong fundraising makes this challenger race a potential GOP pick-up.
    33rd Senate District
    ê (D) Mark Herring (3-1)
    More money, favorable demographics leans this race left.
    é (R) Patricia Phillips (5-1)
    Surprisingly strong showing in fundraising...
    34th Senate District
    (R) Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis (3-1)
    Strong fundraising advantage, plenty more where that came from...
    ê (D) Chap Petersen (4-1)
    Hits JMDD on abuser fees... shortly after waffling on them himself.  duh.
    37th Senate District
    é (R) Ken Cuccinelli (3-1)
    Good fundraising, great grassroots, and on the offensive against very liberal opposition.
    ê (D) Janet Oleszek (5-1)
    Downgrade here... Janet just isn't getting the traction against a strong Cuccinelli campaign
    39th Senate District
    ê (R) Jay O'Brien (3-1)
    O'Brien is in the fight of his life here...
    é (D) George Barker (5-1)
    Finally a bump that is earned.  Barker is making the push...
    1st House District
    é (R) Terry Kilgore (2-1)
    Terry's got nothing to worry about here...
    ê (D) Jerry Taylor (10-1)
    Best o' luck, me boy-o
    5th House District
    (R) Bill Carrico (3-1)
    Close NOVA matchup
    é (D) Suzie Dixon-Garner (4-1)
    Picking up steam, getting stronger
    6th House District
    (R) Anne Crockett-Stark (3-1)
    Tough district, but managable
    ê (D) Bill Thomas (4-1)
    Needs more $$$ to make this seriously competitive
    7th House District
    ê (D) Peggy Frank (3-1)
    Slack fundrasing made this a contest...
    é (R)  Dave Nutter (3-1)
    Strong fundraising, competitive campaign.
    9th House District
    é (D) Eric Ferguson (3-1)
    Fundraising advantage, previous campaign in '05, good district to work from
    é (R) Charles Poindexter (4-1)
    Heck of an effort, isn't going down or away without a fight!
    11th House District
    (D) Lee Ware (2-1)
    Roanoke Dem has six figures in the warchest
    é (I) Mac MaCadden (9-1)
    Doubt this will become interesting; $10K is a voice.
    13th House District
    é (R) Bob Marshall (2-1)
    Uber-conservative benefits from abuser fee opposition...
    ê (D) Bruce Rommelt (6-1)
    Ain't.  Gonna.  Happen.
    14th House District
    é (R) Danny Marshall (2-1)
    Silly Dems... "silly" as in even Gov. Kaine defended Marshall...
    ê (D) Adam Tomer (6-1)
    Kindly say "thanks" to the Joint Democratic Caucus for ruining your shot...
    16th House District
    ê (R) Donald Merricks (3-1)
    Heir to Robert Hurt has a tough race/district
    é (D) Andy Parker (3-1)
    Good district for the Dems...
    19th House District
    é (I) Lacey Putney (2-1)
    Sizeable warchest barely makes this a race
    (D) Lewis Medlin (6-1)
    Why is he "medlin" in this race?  Is this mic on?
    21st House District
    (R) John Welch (3-1)
    Fundraising and name ID are the kickers...
    é (D) Bob Mathieson (4-1)
    Nice warchest makes this a potential D pickup.
    26th House District
    é (R) Matt Lohr (2-1)
    Solid district, good warchest, good name ID.
    ê (D) Carolyn Frank (6-1)
    Tough race... needs the cash and the grassroots to be serious.
    28th House District
    (R) Bill Howell (2-1)
    It's the Speaker of the House... what's the big deal?
    é (D) Clyde Matthews (6-1)
    Abuser fees!
    31st House District
    é (R) Scott Linamfelter (2-1)
    No one outworks Scott...
    ê (D) Bill Day (5-1)
    Tough district, tough race, not enough cash (yet)
    32nd House District
    ê (D) David Poisson (3-1)
    Lots of cash may make this R district tough to win...
    é (R) Lynn Chapman (4-1)
    ...but Lynn is the next Paul Harris for the RPV.  Good district too.
    33rd House District
    ê (R) Joe May (3-1)
    Rumors of poor staff and conservative opposition put this seat in play.
    é (D) Marty Martinez (4-1)
    Good fundraising performance and a mobilized grassroots game... watch out!
    34th House District
    ê (R) Dave Hunt (3-1)
    Callahan's old district; big ol' target on it.
    é (D) Maggie Vanderhye (3-1)
    Excellent showing for cash, inside the beltway, and good grassroots...
    35th House District
    é (D) Steve Shannon (2-1)
    Warchest looks OK, district looks good.
    (R) Arthur Purves (6-1)
    Knew it was a tough race, jumped in anyway.  Working hard, too.
    40th House District
    é (R) Tim Hugo (2-1)
    Tough district, nice warchest, good network of volunteers.
    ê (D) Rex Simmons (5-1)
    Gotta rely on something other than ActBlue and demographics...
    45th House District
    (D) David Englin (3-1)
    There's no crying in baseball!
    é (R) Mark Allen (4-1)
    Can Republicans win in NOVA?  This race will say a lot if it's won...
    50th House District
    (R) Jackson Miller (3-1)
    Short line to cash, didn't have much time in the House...
    é (D) Jeannette Rishell (4-1)
    Is bringing the wood... will probably get a big line upgrade by Labor Day...
    51st House District
    (R) Faisal Gill (3-1)
    Will have to overcome rumors, get on issues to carry the day.
    é (D) Paul Nichols (3-1)
    Potential Dem pickup due to nasty GOP primary...
    52nd House District
    é (R) Jeffery Frederick (2-1)
    $330K in the bank.  Yes, $330K....
    ê (D) Chris Brown (6-1)
    Can't use the abuser fees on Jeffy... don't see this one happenin'.
    54th House District
    (R) Bobby Orrock (2-1)
    Gets token opposition... but this, plus abuser fees, plus a skimpy warchest means effort.
    é (I) Kimbra Kincheloe (6-1)
    Ever hear of VVAW?  You will after this...
    59th House District
    ê (I) Watt Abbitt (3-1)
    This one is going to be close...
    é (D) Connie Brennan (3-1)
    Can the Albemarle Dems reach out to rural African-American voters?
    67th House District
    ê (D) Chuck Caputo (3-1)
    Was gifted the 67th in 2005, won't be so easy this time...
    é (R) Mark Cadin (3-1)
    Caputo has the cash advantage, but everything else points to this as a pick-up.
    68th House District
    ê (I) Katherine Waddell (4-1)
    Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
    é (R) Manoli Loupassi (3-1)
    Nice warchest, would be stronger if not a three-way race.
    (D) Bill Grogan (4-1)
    Three way race is the only bit of bright light, but his cash flow looks OK
    72nd House District
    é (R) Jim Massie (2-1)
    Henrico's GOP won't let this one go.
    ê (D) Tom Herbert (8-1)
    Not a chance...
    78th House District
    (R) John Cosgrove (2-1)
    May have to get the lead out on grassroots and fundraising, but should be OK
    (D) Michael Meyer (6-1)
    Tough contest in this district... and Cosgrove isn't going to lay down for long
    82nd House District
    é (R) Harry Purkey (2-1)
    Coming back from '05 challenge, Purkey needs a bit more cash
    (D) Bob MacIver (5-1)
    Running hard... if he gets more cash in the bank, this could become quite competitive.
    83rd House District
    (R) Chris Stolle (3-1)
    A conservative named Stolle?  GASP! 
    é (D) Joe Bouchard (3-1)
    Still running behind Stolle, but running well.
    86th House District
    (R) Tom Rust (2-1)
    OK district, but huge fundraising advantage
    é (D) Jay Donahue (5-1)
    Been running a very skillful race... we're impressed, anyhow.
    87th House District
    ê (D) Paula Miller (4-1)
    ... is in trouble, and not the kind of trouble easily gotten out of
    é (R) Hank Giffin (3-1)
    Admiral Giffin is doing everything right in a district he should win.  GOP pickup here.
    88th House District
    é (R) Mark Cole (2-1)
    Slow and steady fundraising, slow and steady candidate. 
    ê (D) Carlos del Toro (5-1)
    "Jabba del Toro" isn't walking his district as he should...
    96th House District
    é (R) Brenda Pogge (3-1)
    Nagging Noll is a nuisance negating notions of near-sighted nanny-staters
    ê (D) Troy Farlow (5-1)
    Translation: Tell Noll to shut up if you want to win.
  • Virginia Oddsmaker (VOM) is a non-partisan, collaborative blog on Virginia politics, focusing on real news, rumors, gossip worth paying attention to, and fact-checking the blogs and the MSM.

  • VOM Blog Stats

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  • TOP VA BLOGS (08-22-07)
    é 1.  Virginia Virtucon
    Drops NLS's drawers.  Everyone laughs.
    é 2.  Raising Kaine
    The Dems owe everything to Lowell Feld, that is painfully obvious.
    é 3.  Leslie Carbone
    Steps up and levels Ben Tribbett on the ODBA/NAMBLA stuff
    é 4.  SWAC Girl
    Transitioning from SWACtion zealot to den mother of the Republican blogs.
    ê 5.  Not Larry Sabato
    If what is rumored is true, Ben Tribbett may be facing some serious legal problems...
    ê 6.  VB Dems
    Attending RPVB meetings now...
    é 7.  Now at the Podium
    Quickly becoming the resident conscience of the Virginia blogosphere.
    é 8.  The Ward View
    Yes, eight is probably way too low...
    ê 9.  Black Velvet Bruce Li
    BVBL is at 1,100 readers a day... not the 10K reported in the WaPo???
    ê 10. The Daily Whackjob!
    We love these guys... but they got sucker punched by Tribbett.
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