Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Don't Forget To Vote Today-- If You Live In Virginia


Today is primary day in Virginia, although most of the hot races involve teabaggers, inspired by Dave Brat's win over Eric Cantor, challenging Establishment Republicans in the state legislature, including, for example, House Speaker William Howell. However, the race we are more concerned with is for the Democratic nomination for the House of Delegates in the 79th District-- much of Portsmouth and parts of Norfolk, Chesapeake and Suffolk. There voters will choose between the most right-wing Democratic Delegate in Virginia, Johnny Joannou, and a progressive challenger, Portsmouth City Councilman Steve Heretick. There is no Republican running, so whoever wins today is likely to wind up in Richmond next year. Democrats and progressive independents are furious because Joannou, who is an old-school anti-Choice, homophobic reactionary, was the only Democrat in the legislature to have voted against expanding Medicare under the Affordable Care Act. His vote with the GOP cost the state in the neighborhood of $2 billion.

In one of the few states with no limit on campaign finance donations, Joannou has a 3-to-1 cash advantage over Heretick, who is backed by environmental groups, unions, women's groups, LGBT groups and virtually every Democratic constituency group in the area. As of May 27 Joannou had $132,842 on hand to Heretick's $34,207. Joannou, one of the only Democrats still maintaining his membership in Koch-financed ALEC, is rated more highly by the Virginia Tea Party than most Republicans! He can always be counted on by the GOP leadership to allow them to claim their harmful legislative agenda is "bipartisan."

"For nearly 40 years," Heretick told us today, "incumbent Delegate Johnny Joannou has campaigned in the disguise of a Democrat but has served this district as an extreme right-wing Tea Partier. He has recently received a 90+% Tea Party approval rating-- which is higher than all but five Republicans in the entire Virginia legislature. For Joannou to claim that he’s a Democrat is simply fraudulent. Over the weekend, press sources revealed a secret effort by the Tea Party to organize what they’re calling 'Operation Monkey Wrench II,' an effort to interrupt the polls in an effort to rescue Joannou from the hard work we’ve done to expose him as what is really is. I am proud to have been endorsed by New Virginia Majority, One Virginia 2021, Equality Virginia, the Sierra Club, SEIU512, ECFW, and many other labor and progressive organizations who are dedicated to improving the lives of working Virginians by expanding our access to health care, promoting higher working standards, protecting their civil rights and the environment, and offering working families the support and protection that they need-- and deserve-- to thrive. I’m proud to have their support, and I plan to earn it every day that I sit in the Virginia legislature."

In fact, Portsmouth's Tea Party is backing Joannou against Heretick, perhaps not a smart move for Joannou in a district with a 68% Democratic performance. The Virginian-Pilot let voters know about the Tea Party's efforts of behalf of Joannou.
Conservative Democratic Del. Johnny Joannou, facing a threatening primary challenge Tuesday from former City Councilman Steve Heretick, will be getting some help from the local Tea Party.

With the subject line "Operation Monkey Wrench II," Portsmouth Tea Party Chairman Nelson Velez sent an email Saturday encouraging members to vote for Joannou in the Democratic primary for 79th House District, which is based in Portsmouth and includes some of Norfolk's west side.

Noting that the primary winner would essentially win the seat because there's no GOP opposition, Velez wrote:

"The democrat (sic) leadership, unhappy will the principled stand of the incumbent, Del. Johnny Joannou, has mounted a primary challenge in hopes of getting another lock step Obama democrat in office. It is in keeping with our position to support that best candidate for the seat, that I ask that strong consideration be given to Del. Joannou.

"Lets threw (sic) a monkey wrench into the democrats efforts to oust Johnny Joannou."

Any registered voter can participate in Tuesday's primary elections.

Velez also asked that any Tea Party members who could work the polls for Joannou call his campaign to volunteer.

Heretick critiqued Joannou for his opposition to expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, conservative record on guns and low score from abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. He also says Joannou was AWOL when the state negotiated a deal to create tolls to build a second Midtown Tunnel.

Heretick has tried to use Joannou's conservative leanings against him, creating website www.johnnyjoannou.com that describes Joannou as "our tea party delegate." I blogged about it early this week.

Heretick, meanwhile, is getting help from the group OneVirginia2021, which advocates for taking partisan politics out of the process of drawing state and congressional district lines. The group coordinated volunteers to help campaign for Heretick this weekend.

Here's clueless right-wing talk show host John Fredericks endorsing Joannou. Has this third-rate kook ever endorsed a Democrat before?

UPDATE: Joannou Has Time To Become A Full-Fledged Teabagger Now

A.P. called the race early. With just 5 of 18 precincts reporting (28%) of the vote, A.P. felt confident that progressive Steve Heretick's huge lead over Joannou wasn't going to evaporate. He had the support of an unprecedented 73.45% of the voters-- a stunning defeat for contemptible conservaDems everywhere. The DCCC should be paying attention. Democratic voters do NOT want DINOs nominated as Democrats. Once all the precincts were counted, it had tightened up but Joannou was still out on his ass, despite having massively outspent Heretick. The final vote was 1,809 (52.77%) to 1,619 (47.23%) despite the active support from the Portsmouth Tea Party for Joannou,

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At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Megaman_X said...

Hell yeah. That's how the population takes their future into their own hands.

At 12:51 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

That's how you win elections with real candidates who fight for the people one down & many more to go. Congratulations Steve. :-)


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