Tags: Virginia | liberals | 2017 | gubernatorial

Liberals See Opening in Once Solidly Red Virginia

By    |   Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 01:10 PM

As early talk begins around Virginia's 2017 governor's race, some wonder if it is increasingly poised to become a liberal state, National Journal reports.

The political sands have shifted considerably in Virginia, as evidenced by the likely 2017 gubernatorial runs of Attorney General Mark Herring and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, both Democrats, the Journal said.

The possible candidates are likely to embrace "traditionally liberal issues in a way that would have been politically toxic just years ago," the Journal reported.

Even Republicans admit the tide has shifted, to a point. "There's absolutely been a change in Virginia," Tucker Martin, a former communications director for former Gov. Bob McDonnell, told the Journal of the turnaround.

"There used to be a distinction between 'Virginia Democrats' and national Democrats, and that of course was the [Mark] Warner model of 2001 when he ran for governor," he told the Journal. "It was all about 'I'm a Virginia Democrat.' That distinction has been erased."

Cultural shifts are now allowing more left-leaning candidates the luxury to run in areas that are more diverse, and to embrace social issues that might once have been a game-killer, the Journal said.

For example, the Journal pointed out, "in the state where the National Rifle Association is headquartered, Herring backed comprehensive background checks and reinstatement of Virginia's discarded one-gun-a-month law."

Northam confirmed in February that he would run in the state's Democratic primary for governor, The Washington Post noted. Herring has not yet said if he will formally step into the race.

Whoever emerges as a frontrunner will have to align with bedrock issues that seem key to winning statewide support, the Journal said.

"Demonstrating fiscal conservatism and a strong focus on bread-and-butter issues such as jobs, the economy, education, and transportation are still central to winning statewide in Virginia," the Journal reported of a future statewide race.

"Virginians also still lean conservative on some public safety issues. Statewide Democratic candidates remain unlikely to run on a platform that includes raising taxes or repealing the death penalty."

Republicans likely to run for governor in Virginia include former Senate
candidate Ed Gillespie, The Washington Times said.

"I think he's well positioned now," said University of Richmond political science Professor Dan Palazzolo to the Times. "Well-spoken, relatively low-key — that, to me, is probably the image of a successful Republican candidate statewide."

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As early talk begins around Virginia's 2017 governor's race, some wonder if it is increasingly poised to become a liberal state, National Journal reports.
Virginia, liberals, 2017, gubernatorial
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2015-10-23
Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 01:10 PM
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