Yes, Virginia, There is a Governor’s Race

I’m not going to let my coverage of politics in the ancestral homeland interfere with commenting on local goings-on. The Virginia governor’s race got a bit more interesting yesterday, as Republican State Senator H. Russell Potts Jr joined the race against Democratic Lt. Governor Tim Kaine and Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. Potts is running on an “independent Republican” ticket, arguing that the state GOP has drifted too far to the right in recent years.

Potts, who has represented Wincester in northern Virginia for the past 14 years, was one of the several Senate Republicans who crossed party lines and backed the governor’s unnecessary tax hike last year. He also has called for allowing municipalities to reinstate the unpopular car tax and has blocked many conservative social measures as a member of the senate’s Education and Health Committee.

No one can agree on what the impact of Russ Potts’ campaign will be. It is certainly possible that Potts will be unable to raise any money and will have no impact at all. Tim Kaine’s people might try to help Potts out, to draw votes away from Kilgore. Kaine has jumped on Potts’ candidacy as evidence that Kilgore is too right-wing for Virginia. On the other hand, Kilgore’s people are claiming that Potts helps them, because the pro-tax crowd is now divided between Kaine and Potts. I’m wondering why Potts doesn’t challenge Kilgore in the Republican primary, which has yet to occur. If he’s so concerned about the direction of the party, you’d think he’d try to get leadership of it. Most likely, Potts knows that his support among the party faithful is nil, so he has to go the independent route, hoping at best to play spoiler for Kilgore in November. The Virginia GOP is solid conservative, except for pockets of moderatism in NoVA and in the Senate chambers. My gut tells me that Potts’ candidacy will mean little, unless he can get loads of free airtime on the DC networks.

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