Two years ago, there was a hotly contested race that ended with Republican challenger Robert Hurt defeating one-term Democratic incumbent Tom Perriello. This year, we’ve got a contested race but it’s anything but hot. Let’s take a look at what’s going on.
Robert Hurt (R) – He’s done what any first-term Representative is expected to do and that’s learn the ropes, make some speeches, and be a face in the crowd. He hasn’t been a disaster and brought ruin to the 5th District or the USA like some people said would happen. He’s done the same thing in his first term as Perriello did in his… not much. Hurt’s detractors have said that he’s no Tom Perriello because he hasn’t held 41,000 town hall meetings like Perriello did, but that’s just not gonna happen.
Hurt’s got the money, Hurt’s got the signs, and Hurt’s got the smarts on how to run this year’s campaign. He’s sitting back and pretty much ignoring anything Charlottesville and north and ignoring his challenger. It’s a winning strategy for this district and it’s working just fine as of now.
John Douglass (D) – Douglass is a good person with a good background but he’s virtually unknown in Southside. I had a bad feeling about his recognition when his Danville debut had less than 15 people in the Ballou Park parking lot. That’s pretty bad with less than 60 days left until the election.
Since this year’s version of the 5th District goes up to northern Virginia, Douglass appears to be trying to lock that section in his win column. Even if he does that, the district is drawn so that Southside actually control their own political destiny for a change. Douglass has resorted to throwing crap against the wall as he’s trying to bring uranium mining into his message to Southside. I’m hoping that voters are smart enough to realize that uranium mining is a state issue and not a federal one.
If you’ve noticed, I’m not calling Douglass “General” because I’m sick of his campaign sticking his former military rank into every appearance of his name. I’m impressed that he made the O-7 rank but it’s not influencing me one damned bit when it comes to electing him to Congress. I want to know his position on the issues and how he’ll affect my life as my Representative.
Douglass’ campaign needs to get the Southside word out now or else the election results are gonna be uglier than Virgil Goode vs. Al Weed’s (remember him?).
The Others (I) – In 2010, we had Jeff Clark’s independent campaign which ended up to be semi-coherent and got him a decent total of votes. In 2012 we’ve got two independent candidates running semi-organized campaigns which will go absolutely nowhere and not be any factor on the outcome. We’ve got Halifax County’s Kenneth Hildebrandt who’s key issue is legalizing industrial hemp production. Hildebrandt has qualified for the ballot so he’ll get some votes. There’s also Fluvanna County’s Ben Hudson who failed to make the ballot, so he’s running a write-in candidacy. Unless his campaign gets in touch with me, I’m not paying one bit of attention to it.
So there’s the players in this year’s game… what’s going to happen in November?
Unless Robert Hurt implodes spectacularly, he’s going to win a second term. I’m being conservative in giving him a 98% chance of winning right now. He’s in an awesome political position because he can ignore his opponent and still win easily.
John Douglass has got to give Southside a reason to vote for him and I just can’t see Southside voters giving away their last bastion of federal political power by voting for a northern Virginia candidate. I’ll give him a 2% chance of winning now, but even that low chance is barely realistic.