You know, Virginia Republicans (bloggers in particular) seem to have really learned something from last year's GA Primary season. The vitriol, anger, and bitter fight for control of the heart and soul of the party seems to have subsided.
Now, there seems to be a genuinely different tone about this year's Senate primary between Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) and former Governor Jim Gilmore. A good example of the change in tone comes from an area that is home to one of the most bitter grassroots battles in recent memory, the SWAC-lands (Staunton/Waynesboro/Augusta County), the epicenter of last year's nasty 24th Senate District primary between Sen. Emmett Hanger and businessman Scott Sayre.
For instance, see SWAC Girl's post on Marshall-backer (and former RPV spokesman) Shaun Kenney visiting the SWAC-area GOP's Breakfast. She posts a picture of herself, Kenney, Augusta GOP Chairman Kurt Michael, and Chris Green (who you all know as Spank That Donkey). She notes in the photo's caption that 2 of them are Marshall backers (Michael and Kenney), the other 2 are Gilmore backers (herself and Green). She also states that, no matter the winner, they will back the GOP candidate.
In the comments section of the post, an anonymous poster points out the Hanger/Sayre primary...to which SWAC Girl swiftly replies "Hanger vs Sayre is over. We have moved on."
Another example of the change in primary climate is the spirited debate between the Bloggers 4 Bob Marshall and Bloggers 4 Jim Gilmore. While they debate the pros and cons of their respective candidates, the general direction is still debating their candidate versus the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, former Governor Mark Warner. This unity will help Republicans as they move beyond the primaries and into election season.
Basically, two very encouraging trends can be taken from the current GOP primary season in Virginia.
- A lack of "piss and vinegar" running through the veins of opposing sides.
- An engaged, lively, intelligent debate about the pros and cons of each candidate.
Kudos to Virginia's conservative blogosphere and the grassroots in general in really doing a superb job in promoting their respective candidates in the best manner possible.