Goodlatte for Congress, 2008
It used to be that political work for the Republican Party in this part of Virginia was gratifying, because our side almost always won, but also rather dull ... because our side almost always won. My, how things have changed over the past couple years! As the Chinese curse says, "May you live in interesting times."
All this is a prelude to what would ordinarily be a routine event, but which this year is a matter of some urgency: Congressman Bob Goodlatte will be visiting his newly-opened campaign headquarters across the Sixth District during this "Winning Weekend." The complete schedule is at bobgoodlatte.com, and Steve Kijak has further details at Bloggers for Bob Goodlatte. (I belong to that group, and will make another post there in the next few days, reviewing Congressman Goodlatte's record.)
I have seen quite a few yard signs around town for the Democratic challenger, Sam Rasoul, and there was supposedly a big turnout at a recent fund-raiser in Staunton, but it would take an extreme upset for the Sixth District to "turn blue" in the November elections. That doesn't mean Republicans should get complacent, it just means that we need to keep our eyes focused on the "big battles" and stop worrying so much about internal divisions and policy differences.
As I wrote in March with regard to the challenge by Rasoul, "competition is a healthy thing!" In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the lack of meaningful competition from Democrats in this area explains why some Republicans waged such a fierce, hard-ball campaign against (relative) moderates such as Emmett Hanger in state legislative races last year. Those right-wing activists probably figured there was a big margin of safety, and the party could thus survive a few cuts and bruises. It is no longer safe to make that assumption.