Local Commentary

Editorial: Chopra & Herring In Dem Primary

The choices made at its state convention in Richmond last Saturday by the Virginia Republican Party for its slate of candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in this November’s election could not make the choices easier for fair-minded, pro-business, pro-equal rights voters of any party affiliation. The chosen GOP slate of current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for governor, lunatic fringer Rev. E. J. Jackson for lieutenant governor and Cuccinelli clone State Sen. Mark Obenshain could not be more reactionary, Neanderthal and a distinct threat to every step Virginia has taken in recent decades to progress into the 21st century.

But defeating this slate will be no easy task for its Democratic counterparts, given the long-standing trend in Virginia that has whichever party wins the presidency gets defeated in the year-after statewide elections. Virginia has also not elected a Democrat as attorney general for 24 years. This time, however, former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe has begun running a very aggressive, energetic campaign, and Democrats will have choices in the upcoming June 11 primary among excellent candidates for lieutenant governor – Aneesh Chopra and State Sen. Ralph Northam – and attorney general – State Sen. Mark Herring and Justin Fairfax.

Everyone on the Democratic side agrees that the key to winning for them this year lies in getting out the vote. All the data points to one thing: when it comes to getting out the vote, it is getting out the vote in Northern Virginia that matters most. Here – in Fairfax County, Falls Church, Arlington and Alexandria, and reaching further out to parts of Prince William and Loudoun counties – the size of landslide margins for Democrats will determine the outcomes statewide.

Therefore, it makes little sense to “balance” the Democratic ticket with representation from outside this region. When Democrats nominated for governor from outside the area for the 2009, it was a disaster for them. State Sen. Creigh Deeds was a noble candidate, but his inability to energize Northern Virginia Democrats – by failing to appear at a critical fundraising event hosted by the Virginia Partisans LGBT Club, for example – doomed his party’s changes.

For lieutenant governor, while Sen. Northam’s record and commitments are highly commendable, the fact that he hails from Norfolk is little help. Chief of Gov. Tim Kaine’s and Obama’s technology offices, Chopra, based in Arlington, is personable, popular and capable of generating a lot of enthusiasm for the Democratic slate in this high-tech “creative class” region, as well as elsewhere.

For attorney general, Sen. Herring is from Loudoun County and his experience and affability commend him. For these reasons, we throw our support to Chopra and Herring in the June 11 Democratic primary.