I'm actually writing this on Sunday afternoon so we'll see how politically astute I really am. Based on my political career the answer is "not very". People frequently ask me how I think the election for local office will turn out. I usually shrug. There are so many moving parts to this particular election:
1. Moving the election to November is bound to have a profound effect on the results. There will be an entirely new group of folks voting in the fall that didn't vote in the spring elections. Manassas has gone democrat the past 5? statewide and federal elections – elections conducted in the fall. The first Obama election I discount somewhat as he could have defeated George Washington at that point in history.
2. The top of the Democratic ticket – Mark Warner – has had some recent struggles but will help down ticket candidates. Of course, Mrs. Comstock will perform well but the democrats are making predictable (and deserved) hay concerning her support of that crazy trans-vaginal ultrasound bill down in Richmond. Stuff like that will limit her crossover appeal. Mr. Warner has always enjoyed healthy crossover support amongst moderate R's so net-net I think Warner is a stronger influence on the down ballot races.
3. The Schools – a couple of board members and a bunch of parents – have roused themselves from their decade long slumber and are active in the election. Some bemoan this, I think they're an interest group just like the pro-life crowd who wants to advance an agenda. I think there are two positives to take from this: the first is that the more people who are involved in improving the schools and our wider community, the better. The schools are among the most important things we do. The second is, the more folks who get out and vote, the better.
4. The democrats have a couple of local candidates at least one of whom will be elected. This has the potential to drive some turnout amongst local democrats who might not otherwise bother.
5. The social conservatives will turn out to support Marc. That's normally around 1,000 votes in the bag for him but may be more since more people are voting. They're unlikely to vote for anyone else on the local level.
6. The democrats have located their offices inside of the City for the past 4 election cycles. The republicans have moved theirs to the west. I think it's more than symbolic.
7. More people appear to be paying attention to what's going in city politics and how their elected leaders are voting – and forcing those elected folks to defend their votes. I've had it happen to me over the past few years and I see Marc and Sheryl having to explain their positions during the candidate forums. This trend could turn ugly at some point but I don't think it's happened yet.
8. We don't have a newspaper anymore. Most information about the candidates is coming out in social media, blog posts and YouTube. This is both interesting and troubling. We need a newspaper or news website again.
9. The Tea party. I really don't have any idea how active the Tea party guys are in Manassas. I know that there were members at Marc's rally in the park but that's all I know. Their website is currently offline with an error about the "votemarcav_app" which would appear to be something they're doing in support of Marc. They've been involved before and can make a difference but I don't know about now.
That's about all I have and these comments obviously ignore the power of incumbency, etc, etc. This is all pretty specific to Manassas. I'm not going to handicap this race – there are just too many moving parts. For anyone that cares, I'll be working for Sheryl at Baldwin most of the day. Didn't hear from the republicans about an organized effort until Ian forwarded me their email – guess mine landed in the spam bucket…but Sheryl asked me last week to help her and I'm happy to help a sista out.