Friday, September 18, 2009

Shields Proving To Be A Challenger

73rd House District-

Eventhough the climate up in Washington these days could hardly be worse for Democrats, that does not neccessarily translate into State Democrat candidates being beaten up at the polls in November.

Democrat challenger Tom Shields is going toe to toe with the Republican incumbant in a rather interesting battle. The lines in this contest are hardly clear. Republican John O'Bannon is faced with having (for the first time since entering office) to canvass large areas of the district. The biggest criticism levied at O'Bannon has been his lack of engagement with consituents. One voter in the 73rd basically told me that O'Bannon likes to play up the fact he is the only doctor in the House of Delegates, but what good is a doctor to you if you can never get an appointment to see him? Its an interesting analogy given the fact that countless constituents have complained that O'Bannon has in the past taken their votes for granted.

So what is in store for the O'Bannon campaign? Along night on election day possibly. The 73rd has parts of Henrico County and Richmond that had significant rise in supported for Democrats last year. Warner and Obama both faired better than many previous Democrats in the area. There is a rebellion of sorts out there focused on the establishment. Its not just directed at Democrats but ALL incumbants. People are asking what exactly their leaders have delivered on their behalf and whether they offer transparency and access to constituents. It does not seem to matter which Party a politician belongs in this regard.

An example is the transportation debate which very well may in the coming weeks trickle down from the McDonnell/Deeds race. People will focus on the solutions offered up by the GOP in the House over the last two years and then evaluate many Delegates accordingly. O'Bannon has very strong credentials from such interests concerned with Family Values, Gun Legislation, and Chamber of Commerce. The arguement being waged is O'Bannon has failed to deliver a balanced agenda and has failed in areas of Labor, Environment, Conservation, Education, and most importantly Government Reform and its beginning to register with many older voters in the 73rd.

Recent get togethers in the 73rd with likely voters has seen a rise in the interest of Tom Shields as a candidate. One such event recently had a straw poll where Shields earned almost 60% of the vote.

A recent attempt to somehow tarnish Tom Shields with the recent voting record of Democrat Congressman Bobby Scott seems a bit oof a reach. Shields was for a time Bobby Scott's legislative assistant where he undoubtedly learned to cut his teeth on the process, but to somehow link Shields to his former boss in this regard is highly inflammable AND dangerous for those supporting O'Bannon. Hell, I have worked for plenty of people I did not agree with. Its the equivalent of saying if your a State employee than you are linked to everything Gov. Kaine says and believes.

Regardless, O'Bannon get the vote out better be kicked in high gear. Shields is winning the dialogue with voters through his schedule of meetings, canvassing and phone banking himself. O'bannon seems to be losing a foothold in the south side of the City area as well based on recent canvass results.

Six or so weeks. The clock is ticking. Your move Delegate O'Bannon.


J. Tyler Ballance said...

I am acquainted with both candidates and think we are blessed to have two very fine Men who want to serve as the Delegate for the 73rd District. Some districts have no contest at all.

I must point out that the assertion that Dr. O'Bannon is not readily accessible, is not true. When I first moved to the 73rd District, I had the chance to talk with Dr. O'Bannon at length, at one of his town hall meetings. After that initial meeting, I wrote or called his office on several occasions, on behalf of some of my elderly neighbors, and with some suggestions regarding issues that were of interest to me, or the Sons of Confederate Veterans (a history/heritage group that I participate in). I also enjoyed meetings with Dr. O'Bannon at the Holocaust Museum and at a few other charitable events around the District. So, based on my observations, Dr. O'Bannon has been very accessible and is always thoughtful and responsive, regarding any questions that I have made to him or his staff.

I had the pleasure of first meeting Professor Shields during the Obama campaign, when he was ferrying a student or two over to do literature drops in my old neighborhood. We had a nice chat, and although Prof. Shields was not a candidate at that time, he made a very positive impression on me as we discussed a few ideas and issues.

As I have said before, these two are good Men who have different approaches to issues and this campaign should focus on a constructive discussion of real ideas and real solutions.

Here's an idea for the candidates:

Tell us what laws you will work to repeal and which you will enact that will:

a.) Enhance our LIBERTY

b.) Restore our strategic/local manufacturing base here in Virginia.

I would like a line by line review of the Code of Virginia with the objective of eliminating as many encumbrances on our citizens as possible.

As we reflect on the past year during Rosh Hashanah, let's think of ways we can help government do more FOR our citizens, instead of doing any more TO our citizens.

Anonymous said...

I find that it has been a very different story to those of us in the 73d living across the river in the old annexed area bordering Chesterfield.

It has only been in the last few weeks that the O'Bannon team has visited the area. The visits are in direct response to the massive canvassing by his opponent. Shields personally been on my front porch three times since mid-summer, once waiting for the rain to stop.

We as of yet have not seen Dr. O'Bannon himself and that is troublesome.

J. Tyler Ballance said...

First, let me say that people who post under fake names have no credibility.

Second, I can only go by actual experience and when I have contacted Delegate O'Bannon, I have always received a prompt reply and he has followed-up on issues.

Let this campaign be about a constructive discussion of real solutions.

I don't care if Mr. Shields has supported Bobby Scott. I know Congressman Scott and although I disagree with him on a few issues, I like his spirit and the way he often is a lone voice in Congress, speaking for the civil liberties of our citizens. I do wish that he was not so beholden to race-based groups like the NAACP, but overall, I still like him and his devotion to finding ways to create jobs for his District.

Some of the Blue blogs are trying to smear Dr. O'Bannon for his loyalty to his friend, Phil Hamilton. To me, his loyalty, especially in the face of scandal, is laudable and not a valid criticism, especially since Mr. Hamilton has not been shown as having violated ethics rules (although the appearance certainly is there). Still, there remains a vast divide between the appearance of a violation and an actual violation.

So, all we know is that Professor Shields generally helps members of his own party, and Dr. O'Bannon helps members of his party.

What specific job programs will each of these candidates support? What will they do to ENHANCE our liberty? Let us hear them discuss and debate real ideas and real solutions.

James said...

First. In light of recent WH programs I have no issue with individuals participating in the debate without leaving a call sign or name. ANON is just fine. The number of ANON has increased on many blogs I read which is a direct result of the fear of retribution of some sort or another.
A name does not bring "credibility", rather critical analysis and thinking does.

Dr. O'Bannon has a record in the House. He has had an opportunity to benefit the 73rd, but what areas exactly in the district as he benefited most? It has in large part not been the City areas, but the County. Ask yourself J. Tyler why that is? Could it be he has some other interests in Henrico? Is not his wife on the BOCS in Henrico representing Tuckahoe area? As a doctor, I am concerned with the lack of bills brought forth in the area of health and human services or anything related to health care by O'Bannon.
O'Bannon is very quick to point to his ratings by various interests groups but leadership is not about votes is about taking hold of issues that impact constituents and fighting for change.
What solutions is O'Bannon offering exactly?

By the way, the person canvassing our area for O'Bannon was from West Virginia of all places.

Jonathan said...

I like the title of this post. Many other races we see the incumbant crush the "challenger", but I do not see this happening in the 73rd.

Alter, I do think that O'Bannon in the end will get his people out to the polls. professor Shields is an interesting candidate though.

The Tuckahoe district as was referenced in the previous comment has a higher ration of Republican support than many other areas of Henrico. Henrico afterall did vote for Obama and Warner in last years election, but much of that vote came from outside the portion of the 73rd in Henrico. Cantor-VA7 also carried Henrico in his re-election so there is alot of split voters in the area to consider.

The question very well may be the temperment of the voters come November. Will they see Shields as an outsider and O'Bannon as more establishment? Much hinges on that I believe.

Lucks Lane said...

Looks like Lee Ware is not doing too well in western Chesterfield. The PTA crowd appears to be working with Rhinehart.

We need contested races in all districts. There are too many morons from each party in the GA.

Anonymous said...

Lee Ware is pretty entrenched, especially in the Powhatan areas of the district. His challenger will have to get the vote out in a big way.

I don't see Ware's challeneger as being as effective as Shields has been with his message, but the PTA certainly helps.

Pony Pasture said...

Shields out in force. The ranks of supporters are growing and hitting the streets. The message has shifted. I spent a good ten minutes speaking with supporters and they have struck a cord with those in the City, especially my neighbors along the Cherokee Road corridor. Its an older neighborhood now as opposed to many years ago and the Republicans are not getting that. Many are retired already and see health insurance and education for the youth more critical factors than jobs/economy. I know of a few neighbors that have been Republicans for a very long time but in recent years have jumped ship to the dems in state level elections. Why? The Republicans are solid on national defense at the federal level but at the local level do very little for educational funding or even insurance. The federal heathcare debate not withstanding the area is shifting and the signs prove it.
Shields is surging eventhough Deeds's ship could be sinking.
I have zero problem with checks and balances; McDonnell and Shields are fine by me!!!