Monday, May 28, 2007

Thoughts on the Jeff Dion Saga

Jeff Dion's recent dropout from the 51st House District nomination race is the climax to the Democratic Party's half of the of the ongoing saga of the district primaries.

Following this story via various blogs, Dion seems to think that his status as a homosexual is the reason why the Democrats put pressure on him to drop out so Paul Nichols could take over as the party candidate. However, it seems the vast majority of the blogosphere simply believed that he was a poor candidate for that district.

In fact, from what I understand, Nichols would only accept the nomination if Dion stepped aside, as he (and the rest of the Democrats) didn't really want to start a primary race this late into the game.

Dion posting what appeared to be a online dating ad on certainly didn't help his cause with a few bloggers, such as Black Velvet Bruce Li, has a lot of readers in the 51st District. While I, and most other people, don't think there is anything wrong with having an ad on a dating website...Dion should have realized that this would have been brought up by someone at some point.

However, from what I've read at NLS and most other blogs, Dion was simply viewed by the Democrats as a bad candidate for a fairly conservative district. Nichols, from what I've found out about him, is well-established within the community as an attorney and seems to be able to connect with people. This, of course, comes from limited amounts of information.

Dion's claims that "this is only about my sexual orientation" have not earned him a lot of support. Even liberal blogs like Ditzy Dems think Dion's withdrawal was a fait accompli.

The Washington Post ran a blurb about how Dion endured "weeks of attacks by conservative blogs." Dion was quoted as saying that, if he continued, "the other side would create a toxic atmosphere that would make it impossible for us to have a real debate about the important issues facing our Commonwealth."

The fact that Democrats never really stood by Dion in the first place is never mentioned.

In Dion's official statement of withdrawal, Dion said "It would require a Herculean effort to get out our message in the face of their coming attacks", among other anti-Republican sentiments about how much Republicans hate gays, blah blah blah.

Dion comes across a bit despondent and ready to blame others in his official statement of withdrawal (h/t Virginia Progressive). Also, he has "statements of support" from Tim Kaine and Mark Warner...and while Kaine's statement seems to at least have a smidge of genuine support behind it, Warner's is lacking any kind of "oomph" behind it. It's like his secretary typed it up for him and sent it off to Dion. I wouldn't be surprised if Dion had to ask for those statements, as it almost appears that way.

Either way, I think Jeff Dion needs to realize that most people didn't care that he was gay...they simply didn't think he was the best candidate available in that district.

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