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Predictions In The 28th Senate District

By Greg L | 15 May 2007 | 28th VA Senate | 18 Comments

May 19th is the primary for the 28th Senate District, and I usually try to make predictions in these races based on the buzz I’ve been hearing. Since I’m somewhat removed from the 28th District my intel on this race is a little thinner than usual, but I’m going to charge ahead regardless and give folks a picture of what I think is going on.  Tonight’s candidate forum has a little potential to mix things up, but it’s looking like those who are likely to show up at this Saturday’s firehouse primary have pretty much made up their minds.

I think the man to beat in this race is still John Van Hoy. He’s been working hard to connect with likely voters and got an early start in the race, announcing his intention to run even before John Chichester announced his retirement. That’s given his campaign more time to get organized, to put the money he’s raised to effective use, and get voters pledged to his cause. It also gives him credibility as a candidate, since everyone else in this race announced only after Chichester told voters he was going to step down.  Instead of going for high visibility outside of the district, he’s been focused on getting the attention of local voters and has targeted his efforts well. He pretty much commands the local party base, and seems to resonate well with those most likely to participate.  Support from 1st District Chair Russ Moulton has helped a lot, giving him a substantial corps of volunteers.

A late entry is Richard Stewart, who has received backing by John Chichester and Speaker William Howell. This has helped him generally assume the campaign organization of John Chichester, but Chichester hasn’t had to run a whole lot of competitive campaigns and his organization has languished. About the only thing the Chichester camp can do is raise money, which they’ve done a lot of near the end, but they haven’t spent it very well and this last-minute infusion will be hard to employ effectively. With about $50,000 in last minute money, they can buy some radio airtime and try to run a few buses from assisted living facilities to the primary, but there’s not a whole lot else that really can be done. Stewart’s ability to capture the activist base of the party just hasn’t been all that successful, and his base in the Northern Neck Area just isn’t where most of the voters are.  He seems largely shut out in the Stafford Area, and fighting to try to carry the Northern Neck.  Having supported Democrat Al Pollard in the past has taken a huge bite out of his ability to obtain support from local Republicans.

Jonathon Myers is likely the top of the also-rans. He’s worked hard to gain visibility, but that hasn’t seemed to translate into many likely voters pledging support. With a rather underfunded campaign account, and not much of a campaign effort going beneath the surface, he’s likely going to be the number three vote getter. If you count yard signs, he’s competitive.  Beyond that, there really isn’t a whole lot there from this campaign.  It’s not uncommon for the local newspapers to fail to mention his name when talking about this race.  Myers will likely be back in another race, and with some more campaign experience, his bona-fides should serve him more effectively the next time he runs.

Joseph Graziano is also underfunded, lacks an activist base, and just hasn’t had much of an opportunity to connect with a lot of voters despite having run as a Supervisor in Stafford County.  With a somewhat underperforming county committee, there’s not much of a volunteer base for him.  Although he’s done an excellent job of raising his visibility, given the challenges he’s facing, it’s just not translating into likely votes. I think he’s going to fall into the number four slot.  Rumors of Graziano withdrawing have circulated, but haven’t been substantiated.  At tonight’s forum we should know for sure.

So unless something dramatic happens at tonight’s candidate forum, this is a Van Hoy/Stewart race.  Here’s how I expect this will all shake out on Saturday:

The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.

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  1. hirons said on 15 May 2007 at 3:54 pm:
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    Having communicated with all of the campaigns and following the race very closely, I’m pretty impressed with all of the candidates. I don’t think Republicans lose much with any of them. There could be some comment on conservatives losing on some over others, but I’ll let others comment on that.

    I think you might be surprised with the performance of some of the campaigns come Saturday. There has been some serious work put in by all of the candidates.

    The ultimate winner will be determined by how fractured the Stafford vote is.

    Over at VV we have our final interview up. We should have at least one post up regarding the forum later tonight, and we’ll wrap the week up with a summary post comparing and contrasting all of four of the candidates.

    One thing I’m pretty convinced of - this race is far from over. I don’t think any of the candidates “have it in the bag” yet.

  2. Anonymous said on 15 May 2007 at 9:39 pm:
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    My predictions –

    Stuart comes in dead last.

    Myers wins followed by Graziano and then Van Hoy.

  3. Greg L said on 15 May 2007 at 9:41 pm:
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    Oh, stop. You’re killing me!

  4. Dirk said on 16 May 2007 at 10:52 am:
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    Based on last night’s forum, Myers is in last place. The man can’t debate a fifth grader without reacting to every charge and REITERATING the charge over and over and over. I was having a good laugh during it because he kept the charge going which only continues to associate it with him. Duhhhhh. I used to do that to liberal groups on campus during college and they would do the same thing. Think what the veterans in Richmond would do to him. He would be yesterday’s lunch within two days of being on the floor.

    Stuart finishes third or a tie for last with Myers. Van Hoy is knowledgeable but boring. Monotone doesn’t excite people.

    Graziano was the only one to demonstrate poise and knowledge while up there. He connected with the audience through stories which is important. If the voters don’t think you can identify with their plight, you are dead. The forum pointed out the shortcomings and Graziano stood out amongst the duds. I look forward to his victory Saturday and to the remaining campaigns’ assistance with the rest of the election.

  5. Master of My Domain said on 16 May 2007 at 5:39 pm:
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    Bwahahahahahahaha. Not only is your prediction hilarious, but so are the comments.

    First of all, you say that Van Hoy “commands the local party base”??? Boy, you really ARE outside the district aren’t you? The one that has the endorsement of EVERY local elected Republican (with the exception of a perplexing Bill Howell), AND the Stafford GOP executive committee is Myers. He even picked up Sheriff Jett, who has never endorsed a candidate before. Van Hoy is the absolute LEAST respected candidate by the Republican party in this area that is in the race. I honestly believe people would vote for Stuart before they voted for Van Hoy.

    Russ Moulton’s “corps of volunteers”? How many elections, for himself or others, has Moulton one again? Oh, that’s right, ZERO.

    Stuart? No chance in Stafford, unless Howell and Chichester plan on turning out some secret stash of conservative voters who don’t hate Chichester and have been hiding away in secrecy, waiting to pounce and support another RINO. And the guy SHOULD own the Northern Neck, but he doesn’t! The only other candidate to campaign down there has been Myers. He’s all over the place in person, in signs, in the paper, you name it. Ask somebody in the Northern Neck who Dirk (aka Joe Graziano) is. First thing they will do is give you a confused look. Followed shortly by them asking if he is even American.

    Now, there are some other things you should know or didn’t bother to research. There have been FOUR forums. Three of them were completely owned by Myers. For at least one of these forums, Graziano and Van Hoy DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO SHOW UP! Are you kidding me? They let Myers walk away with half the votes of at least one county’s Republican party.

    Another one of the things you should know is that last night’s forum was a classic example of “pulling out all the stops” on behalf of one particular candidate. I’ll give you a hint, he goes around blogs posting in the third person as “Dirk”. He was so far gone at one point he was close to dropping out of the race. All four candidates had their moments last night but there was no clear standout. He tried the humor, busted. He tried the attacks, not well received. He just doesn’t get the fact that he is NOT LIKEABLE. Unfortunately or not, campaigns are popularity contests on a mass scale, coupled with legwork and networking.

    The final thing you need to know is that Graziano a.k.a. “Dirk” has a PR campaign that consists of creating a free blog to blog about himself in the third person, then creating a persona in the name of “Dirk” to go around posting on blogs trying to detract from others and pump himself up. No ads in the paper, no letters to the editor, no radio, only ONE direct mailer, nothing else! All “his campaign” a.k.a. he and his family/close friends have been doing is blogging on a few sites that very few people read. He/Dirk claims that his IP address is “not from Stafford” but that’s because “Dirk” does his posting while he is at work, which is not in Stafford. You have obviously never experienced the joy of watching Graziano speak in person. It’s like sitting in a room and having somebody tell you over and over that you are an idiot. The guy is smug, arrogant, condascending, unfunny, and goes on and on, and on, and on, and on about nothing but who he knows, how he talked to so and so, or how he is friends with somebody or another. i truly believe that he thought he could come down here from up north and just run for any office he wants because Virginians are just not as civilized or intelligent as he. He’s barely been here a few years, and he is suddenly an expert on everything. I have underwear that’s been in Virginia longer than Graziano. The thing that is most indicative of his non-Virginian upbringing is his complete lack of civility. He is the ONLY candidate that engages in negative attacks as far as I have seen.

    The only one I have been impressed with is Myers. All the guy has to do is show up and I want to vote for him. He’s likeable, he’s knowledgeable, when he talks everyone listens, he’s not smug, he’s not arrogant, he is motivated, and he’s got an impressive background. The other candidates regularly invoke the name of “Ronald Reagan”, especially Graziano. Myers never does, yet he is the one that most reminds me of him with his quick wit, good nature, and genuine leadership qualities. He just makes me want to follow him. Graziano makes me want to follow him as well, but more out of curiosity to see what idiotic thing he will do next. Myers is a decorated Iraq war veteran, yet all you ever hear him say is that he was a Marine. He rarely mentions Iraq, never speaks of his accomplishments, and I have NEVER once heard him namedrop during a speech. Myers is simply a steadfast and likeable guy that obviously works his tail off in anything he does.

    But more than that, as a Stafford resident and close follower of this race, I have been totally impressed with how Myers has slowly and surely picked up all the key, MEANINGFUL endorsements and how he has dominated the PR landscape. Signs, ads, door-knocking, phone calling, in-person campaigning, you name it. The guy even leaves his comfort zone of Stafford and makes himself known in the distant portions of the district. We are looking for a candidate to beat Pollard right? Well, who, amongst these candidates, has actually SHOWN that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win across the entire district? I think the answer is clear. It has been Myers. Two of the candidates stop their campaigning at the Stafford border, and one thinks that others will “take care of it” for him and he can just hang around and wait to be given his righteous title of “Senator.”

    When the Stafford vote gets split three ways between the three Stafford candidates, and Myers takes a portion, or even majority in the Northern Neck, guess who wins?

  6. Monday Quarterback said on 16 May 2007 at 6:40 pm:
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    I predict you’ll have egg on your face for thinking Vanhoy stands a an honest overall victory/chance, let alone will win by a landslide. I do think he’ll post a decent showing though, but not because his friend Russ Moulton had a thing to do with it but give him cash to pay for postage. His endorsements in is OWN county are only from former leaders, what does that alone say about his ability to represent his own base of people when they don’t support him? Not ONE current leader? Maybe if he were running 10 years ago he’d have some folks vote for him.

    Stuart isn’t well liked in his own area and is revered as a rich playboy, not a leader. His ONLY victory was as a CA which we all know is an inside favor thing. He then QUIT that job because he couldn’t handle it after 3 or 4 months. How does that, added with the facts that he supports democrats financially and is a generally unrespected elitist, give him any chance of even winning his own district? He has some endorsements.

    Graziano is laughed at not just an underdog. He desperately wants to knock of Myers at every chance, but fails to make his point and only hurts himself by trying.

    Myers is hardly left out of the news it seems clear. Also couldn’t find any reference to endorsements on Graziano’s site nor news links. In fact, Myers cleaned up at several debates in the Neck as was reported in a title itself of the Journal Press.

    From the Myers’ website: http://www.votejonmyers.com
    News Links

    « David Kerr: Can the Democrats Win the 28th? David S. Kerr. Stafford County Sun. May 9, 2007.

    « It’s time to elect a leader, not a politician. Dan Stimpson, Letter to the Editor. The Free Lance Star. May 9, 2007.

    « Vote Jon Myers in May 19 ‘firehouse primary’. Steven Apicella, Letter to the Editor. The Free Lance Star. May 3, 2007.

    « David Kerr: Virginia Senate elections may be year’s biggest political surprise. David S. Kerr. The DC Examiner. May 3, 2007.

    « A split in the 28th District Committee. Staff Reporter. The Journal Press. May 2, 2007.

    « Myers Comes in First at Westmoreland Republican Meeting. Staff Reporter. The Journal Press. May 2, 2007.

    « Jon Myers will get my vote: Here’s why. Gloria Chittum, Letter to the editor. The Free Lance Star. May 1, 2007.

    « Fight for control of the Republican Party is joined. Louis Herrink. The Journal Press. April 25, 2007.

    « Checking The Lists - The Republican Firehouse Primary. The Journal Press. April 19, 2007.

    « Senate GOP leaders again targets for conservative challengers. Bob Lewis, AP Political Writer. Potomac News. April 14, 2007.

    « Who will replace Chichester? Tracy Bell. Stafford County Sun. April 13, 2007.

    « KERR: Campaigning for the 28th District. David S. Kerr. Stafford County Sun.
    April 13, 2007.

    « GOP chooses Senate primary. Chelyen Davis. The Free Lance Star. April 8, 2007.

    « Jonathon Myers has my vote for State Senate. Christopher Rababy, Letter to the Editor. The Free Lance Star. April 8, 2007.

    « Interview with Jon Myers - Candidate for the 28th Senate District. Virginia Virtucon. Posted by hirons. April 7, 2007.

    « GOP will use convention for 28th Senate district. Chelyen Davis. The Free Lance Star. March 28, 2007.

    Press Releases

    « Renowned Air Force Pilot Scott O’Grady Lends Support to State Senate Candidate Jon Myers. April 23, 2007.

    « Republican Jon Myers Announces Candidacy for 28th District Senate Seat. April 2, 2007.

    I’ve met Jon Myers in person, and that guy is exactly the kind of candidate this party has been waiting to send to Richmond.

    Since we’re putting empty predictions online here, I’ll offer tihs for your consideration and come Monday somebody will be right:

    Myers 39%
    VanHoy 34%
    Stuart 22%
    Graziano 5% or less

  7. Kelly said on 16 May 2007 at 8:21 pm:
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    Yes, Graziano will come in last, but that shouldn’t come as any surprise to constituents fo the 28th. The man can’t even spell the names of two of the localities he’s attempting to represent. On his polling locations page, he spells Fauquier “Faquier” and Fredericksburg “Fredricksburg.” Nice attention to detail! Way to connect with your voters!

    You’re welcome, Joe, for pointing this out before the primary on Saturday AND for providing you with the correct spellings. At least you’ll have a couple of days with the names spelled correctly on your site.

  8. Dan said on 16 May 2007 at 11:50 pm:
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    Whoa! I’ve been gone just two days and was shocked to read the prediction of VanHoy winning. I can’t quite figure how the trend for Myers went down while the trend for VanHoy went up. Is Myers trending down because now Sheriff Charlie Jett endorses him? I can’t find anything in the analysis that supports the opinion that Myers is irrelevant. Maybe he won’t win because of some split but how can you say that there isn’t much of a campaign effort?

    I mean truly, Myers is the only one rolling up his sleeves. I must say I have a very healthy respect for that. The letters to the editor, the precinct walking that he’s doing, the 5 ton Army truck “Victory” tours, etc.

    I think there is something fishy going on here because the analysis of the election trend just doesn’t ring true. My respect for this blog site has gone down because you are not playing fair with your bloggers. Go ahead and choose someone other than Myers as the predicted winner but don’t insult us with your vapid and unsupported analysis that he is irrelevant. Tell that to Sheriff Jett, Supervisors Milde and Dudenhefer, School board Chairman Robert Belman, and other board members Kidby and Phillips. You just cannot with a straight face say that someone is irrelevant when they have every single Republican elected official behind them (minus ONE) in Stafford County. I’m outta here and I advise everyone else to pack it up, too.

  9. Greg L said on 17 May 2007 at 12:39 am:
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    By all means, if you’ve got a better on-the-ground perspective, provide it. Based on the information I have, this is what I’m seeing.

  10. Not Bill Howell said on 17 May 2007 at 5:31 am:
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    Stuart 32
    Van Hoy 30
    Myers 28
    Graziano 10

    Myers carries Stafford, 37-33.

  11. Never Sell Out Your Vote said on 17 May 2007 at 6:19 am:
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    I’ve lost respect for this series now. With nothing to support your sudden leap off a building for support from Myers, you are betting on Van Hoy by an avalanche?? John Vanhoy is a great guy, but he’s no 52% favorite. If he’s been working so hard to connect with voters, he should start with explaining why not a single elected official from this century is supporting him in his home town. The people he’s speaking to voted for these people, so why should they trust Vanhoy all of a sudden when the people they trust don’t back him? Also, he isn’t known one iota in the Neck. Myers has spent the last month out there I bet because as a Marine he knows that you must secure -all- your entrypoints no matter how small or else you get infultrators (or scorpions). I bet Myers does really really well in this race. Anyone could win, but He won’t do bad like you said. Shame on you for having to cash in a favor for something so petty as a virtual prediction. Now you sold your soul.

  12. Kelly said on 17 May 2007 at 1:38 pm:
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    Yay Dirk/Joe! I see you took my advice and fixed the misspelled counties on your website! Now you have 36 hours to make sure all the residents of those counties see it!

  13. Semper fi said on 17 May 2007 at 5:13 pm:
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    Here goes

    Myers 35%
    Stuart 31 %
    Van Hoy 26%
    Graziano 8%

    set aside your dislike for Chichester and Stuart and you will see that the others divide up the conservatives while the moderates will go heavy for Stuart followed by Myers. that means that Myers can count on rational conservatives and some moderates for the win. Stuart takes a lot of moderates but since they do not turn out as much in a primary like this, there will not be enough. Van Hoy and Graziano will split the angry right with the Van Hoy operation being better connected (and receiving secret Democrat crossovers who want to make sure he is the opponent) and thus coming in third

    Greg L, if you lived in Stafford Sheriff Jett would have already arrested you for what you are smoking. Who did you poll to get those numbers, the Van Hoy family? even then he barely tops 50%.

    Monday Quarterback (and I know who you are) close but even you can’t believe that Van Hoy can come in second. He is the one that I keep hearing people say “please not him.” Everyone except the Democrats like Russ Moulton who put him up just so we would be assured to lose this race.

    Master of My Domain: I agree. Graziano and Van Hoy can claim to be Reagan Republicans all they want but give me a break, NO WAY would he support them over a decorated Marine

  14. Jamie Radtke said on 18 May 2007 at 6:23 pm:
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    I think all this shows is that the Myers’ supporters spend more time on the blogs than out knocking on doors for their candidate. Meanwhile, VanHoy’s campaign has been spending time securing their votes by knocking on doors and making phone calls the last month. We’ll see which approach is better tomorrow. In a four way race nothing is very predictable….although it is looking good for VanHoy based on his ground game. Of course, who knows what happens if Stuart is out courting Democrats to vote tomorrow (don’t know if he is, but it is certainly likely given quotes by Chichester in the paper). I think Greg got the order right, although I don’t know about the percentages…that is too hard to predict.

  15. Army of Marines Maybe said on 19 May 2007 at 5:17 am:
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    …or there’s a hell of a lot more Myers supporters that they can spare the manpower and do it all…. I’ve never heard of a VanHoy door knocking campaign. He did however ’supposedly’ hire professional phone callers who mistakenly (I presume) told people in Stafford to vote at their normal polling places! HUGE mistake if they actually do since that’s his base. You know who told me that? A Myers caller who was a local, and volunteering for him. I never got a Vanhoy call. I think he ‘phoned’ this one in with mailers only.

  16. Semper fi said on 22 May 2007 at 10:02 am:
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    Mailers without support = Junk mail

  17. NotNotJoeG said on 24 May 2007 at 10:49 pm:
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    Kelly, almost forgot. The poll info was copied directly from Myers web page. You dolts, we got it from you. I must say, you and the rest of the Myers folks are the most obnoxious individuals I have dealt with in politics.

  18. NotNotJoeG said on 24 May 2007 at 11:02 pm:
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    Semper, Kelly, etc etc etc, let me ask you this. Now that Myers has lost a race, is he a loser, 0-1, who should never run again? Food for thought, oh thoughtless wonders of the blogs. BTW, all Myers endorsements got him exactly what? He had it wrapped up, in the bag, EVERY Stafford GOP official behind him. Was he such a bad candidate he could only parlay that into 3rd place? :) lol

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