In last night's New Year's Whacktacular with Johnny Camacho and members of the DWJ gang, I mentioned that I was split on the Senate race, but slightly preferred Bob Marshall over Jim Gilmore (which blew Whackjob's mind, given Marshall's anti-gay marriage stance). It got me thinking about exactly why I'm starting to side with Marshall over Gilmore, despite Marshall being a bit too socially conservative for my taste.
So, let's see if I can sort this out in my own mind...through this blog. Anyone who has anything to add can leave a comment, I'm still undecided as of right now.
Gilmore isn't a bad guy, he simply has a lot of baggage that he carries with him due to the shape the state economy was in towards the end of his tenure as Governor. He never did quite make it on that car tax promise (although, he did try very hard, I give him credit), and there is mixed sentiments statewide about the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, despite the fact that scores increased throughout Gilmore's term because of his emphasis on improving education.
However, we also have to look at who Gilmore is likely to face...Mark Warner. Warner can simply pull out the "I fixed Gilmore's economic mess" card (no matter how exactly true that is) and boom...there goes the independent voters.
Although, hindsight tells us that the Virginia economy was not nearly as bad as it seemed to be (or was made out to be), it is still stuck in the minds of many voters that things were nearly catastrophic until Warner "saved the day" (so it is portrayed).
However, Gilmore is very knowledgeable on security issues, especially during his time as head of the Gilmore Commission...this does play well for Gilmore's stance with me.
Marshall, despite my disagreements with him on social issues (I voted against Marshall/Newman), there are several upsides to having him as the candidate. His biggest being that he is a tried and true fiscal conservative, and he's fairly pragmatic about it. In the end, if you're strong on fiscal prudence, you win with me. He's been a voice of cost-cutting in a sea of seemingly-endless spending increases under Governors Gilmore, Warner, and Kaine.
His "no-confidence resolution" towards Republican leadership earlier this year brought him lots of attention and praise from the grassroots. He's been an active opponent of the Abuser Fees, as well.
One must also think that, with Marshall/Newman being approved with 57% of the vote in a Democratic wave election, Marshall could get the attention of many swing voters.
I'd also imagine, however, that there might be a large turnout against Marshall from the GLBT community because of that amendment.
Then again, Marshall and I are both from Takoma Park, Maryland. Hometown boys gotta stick together, right... ;)
In the end, I'm just not sure...right now, I prefer Marshall for his fiscal stances and the one "X" factor he has over Gilmore...fresh blood for the National GOP. If Marshall puts social issues on the back burner and makes the economy and taxes his M.O. (as he has done lately), Marshall might make for a more appealing candidate than Gilmore.
What do you think?