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Now that we are out of primary season, it is time to recognize that the biggest campaign in the country is happening in Central Virginia. In an off-year without a lot going on nationally, Virginia is the only place that really has important politics happening in 2015. We are still seven to eight months away from meaningful presidential politics, but there is a competitive race in Virginia’s 10th Senate District that has national implications. More than competitive, really… the 10th Senatorial is as purple as any in Virginia with a slight bluish tinge since redistricting.

The 10th district was once solidly conservative, but when redistricted in 2011estimates from VPAP indicate that the district became 7.6% more Democrat. Fortunately, we can still examine the district historically within its current borders through VPAP. In 2009, the district (as outlined today) as was strongly conservative as the Republicans swept the state with McDonnell and Cuccinelli both winning 59% of the vote, and Bill Bolling taking in 57%. Since then, the voting patterns in the 10th Senatorial have changed remarkably.  In 2013, Ken Cuccinelli lost the district (as outlined today) to Terry McAuliffe 42% to 46% with Sarvis taking 10.6%.  That same year, Mark Obeshain lost the 10th Senatorial 50.99% to 49.01% and E.W. Jackson was crushed in the district 59% to 40%. The only Republican to win in the district since 2009 is Senator Watkins. Watkins, a prodigious fundraiser, outspent his Democratic opponent in 2011 $1,200,723 to $505,032 and won the election handily 56% to 43%.

In federal years the district is even more blue. Obama won the district 51% to 47% in 2008 and 50% to 48% in 2012. Likewise, Warner crushed Gilmore 64% to 44% in 2008, while Kaine won 53% to 46% in 2012. In 2014, Warner defeated Gillespie 49.18% to 47.24% with Sarvis stealing 3.5% of the vote.

With a vacant seat, a bluish tinge, and the Virginia Senate, along with Terry McAuliffe’s “expand Medicaid” legacy, in the balance – the 10th Senatorial is ground zero politics in 2015. In fact, there are serious 2016 Presidential implications – if McAuliffe can turn the Senate blue by winning the 10th, that paints a road map for Hillary Clinton (with Terry as Veep?) to win in 2016. The Virginia 10th is that important. It is all-important. There will be millions of dollars from out of state, possibly out of country, pouring into the race. There will be SEIU thugs and other Democrat workers bussed in from New Jersey and other places to be boots-on-the ground.  The full McAuliffe-Clinton machine will be focused on taking this seat – and only one man is standing in their way.

Glen Sturtevant. Fortunately, Glen is running a masterful campaign thus far, and – if Republicans can unify behind him – he looks like he can win this thing.

Glen

Glen started very well early in the year, announcing for the Republican Primary early and quickly gaining important endorsements while assembling a strong ground game and a modern web presence. Glen ran such a solid primary pre-game that the other candidates dropped out and he won the Republican nomination by acclamation.

Since then Glen has been out in the community and knocking on doors with a message of limited government with focused services, transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility. Glen has a good story and great background as a conservative on the Richmond School Board and a family man with three adopted children. More importantly, he is running a positive idea-based campaign that is getting the attention and appreciation of the voters in the 10th.  For example, when Glenn’s opponent won the Democratic primary, Glenn had the following message:

… Now, we enter the general election.

First, I do want to congratulate Dan Gecker on winning the Democratic nomination. We probably disagree on quite a bit about public policy. But I know how hard campaigns are. The time and energy they take. So I applaud Dan on his victory. And I also thank Emily Francis and Alex McMurtrie for entering the Democratic primary and advancing their ideas and visions. The willingness of men and women to choose public service is crucially important to the future of our Commonwealth and our country, and I sincerely appreciate the sacrifices of anyone who chooses that path.

The general election that begins tonight is about the future of the 10th District. I strongly believe:

  • We will make our future better by keeping taxes low and helping families, workers and small businesses keep more of what they earn.
  • We will make our future better by getting rid of excessive and burdensome government regulations that mean our small business owners spend more time filling out paperwork than they do growing their operations and hiring more employees.
  • We will make our future better by giving parents and students more choices and opportunities in public education, keeping more tax dollars in the classroom and out of bureaucracy and by rewarding our highly effective teachers for their success.

I believe in an effective, efficient state government that spends limited taxpayer dollars wisely, ensures every child has the opportunity to attend a great school, gets out of the way of the private sector to allow it to grow and create good paying jobs and doesn’t take a nickel more from the hardworking people of Chesterfield, Richmond and Powhatan than it absolutely needs to achieve its core functions.

I’ve been waiting for June 9th for quite a while.

I can’t wait to wage a spirited, optimistic campaign advancing our positive and new ideas. And you can count on this: I won’t slow down, I won’t let up and I will never be outworked…

This positive, focused message is exactly the kind of campaign we need to win this highly contested seat. It will take more than Glen alone, however. It will take a united effort of all Republicans to push Glen to victory and save the Senate from McAuliffe and Hilary – especially with the three opponents in the general election.

In addition to McAuliffe’s hand-picked candidate Dan Gecker, Carl Loser (no joke) from Powhatan entered the race as a Libertarian and former left-leaning Chesterfield Supervisor Marleen Dufree is running as an Independent. It is hard to predict whether Loser will pull more from the right than Dufree pulls from the left, but this added complication makes it all the more important that Sturtevant runs a clean, positive campaign that pulls voters from the middle of the spectrum as well as from the right.

This race is likely to go down to the wire and the future of the Virginia Senate will likely be decided in this race. So, my fellow Republicans, while it is important to support all of our candidates, if you have any extra time, energy, or money to focus this election cycle… Keep in mind that the 10th Senatorial is ground zero for both Virginia and national politics this fall. There is a great candidate running a great campaign, and he could use everyone’s help to keep the Senate red in 2015.

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