Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Refuse to Vote for Any of These Candidates

Competition has been described as the lifeblood of any democracy. If that's the case, Virginia's democracy is pretty anemic.

Two years ago, there were 55 uncontested seats for the Virginia House of Delegates. This year, competition is a bit better, as there are only 45 uncontested races among the 100 up for election.

There are an additional 12 seats, however, for which there is no major-party challenger, with incumbents facing independent candidates or candidates backed by the Libertarian or Independent Green parties. (One exception, District 29, has a non-incumbent major-party candidate facing an independent for an open seat.) Some of these are "paper candidates" who have not actively campaigned for the position, so the first time most voters will encounter their names is when they enter the voting booth.

That means we have a total of 57 seats in which either the Republican or Democratic party has surrendered without a fight. A large majority of Virginia voters will have no meaningful choice on Election Day.

I recommend that nobody should vote for any of these unopposed candidates. A strong and clear message should be sent to the Republicans and Democrats that voters want to have a choice on Election Day. The parties' legislative caucuses are responsible for the gerrymandering that creates safe seats but the RPV and DPVA are also responsible for building their organizations in areas of the state that they are currently forfeiting to their opponents. (Alexandria and Arlington County, for example, have been fully ceded by the Republicans to the Democrats.)

In the following list, I have not indicated any party affiliation of the candidates, because that doesn't matter. I have indicated, with an asterisk (*) whether those candidates are incumbents. (Only one is not.) If you want to learn which parties nominated them, you can look it up.

Should it turn out that you really like David Toscano or Rob Bell, for instance, feel free to write in his name. Your loyal support will be recorded but the vote will not be counted toward that candidate's 99 percent winning total. If you do not like the unopposed candidate in your district, write in the name of someone you admire -- Ron Paul or Ronald Reagan or Ronald McDonald, or whatever fits your mood.

No candidate in a democracy should win by default. Those who do should be shamed by reducing their vote totals. "Winning" in a field of one diminishes the candidate who gains office because he has had no need to defend his positions, beliefs, and record before the electorate. He has accomplished nothing but further alienating himself from voters, whose approval he no longer requires.

Here is the list of candidates who do not deserve your vote on November 5th:

District 1 Terry Kilgore*
District 4 Ben Chafin
District 5 Israel O'Quinn*
District 8 Greg Habeeb*
District 9 Charles Poindexter*

District 11 Onzlee Ware*
District 15 Todd Gilbert*
District 20 Dickie Bell*
District 24 Ben Cline*
District 25 Steve Landes*

District 26 Tony Wilt*
District 27 Roxann Robinson*
District 28 Bill Howell*
District 36 Ken Plum*
District 39 Vivian Watts*

District 46 Charniele Herring*
District 48 Bob Brink*
District 52 Luke Torian*
District 54 Bobby Orrock*
District 56 Peter Farrell*

District 57 David Toscano*
District 58 Rob Bell*
District 59 Matt Fariss*
District 61 Tommy Wright*
District 62 Riley Ingram*

District 63 Rosalyn Dance*
District 64 Rick Morris*
District 66 Kirk Cox*
District 70 Delores McQuinn*
District 72 Jimmie Massie*

District 73 John O'Bannon*
District 74 Joe Morrissey*
District 76 Chris Jones*
District 77 Lionell Spruill, Sr*
District 79 Johnny Joannou*

District 80 Matthew James*
District 81 Barry Knight*
District 83 Chris Stolle*
District 89 Daun Hester*
District 90 Algie Howell*

District 91 Gordon Helsel*
District 92 Jeion Ward*
District 96 Brenda Pogge*
District 97 Chris Peace*
District 99 Margaret Ransone*
And please -- don't get me started on how I have received fund-raising appeals from some of these unopposed candidates. (What do they need money for?)

(Cross-posted from Bearing Drift.)

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