Several days ago, I wrote a post expressing my indecision on the race for Lieutenant Governor here in Virginia. Since that time, I have asked pointed questions directly to two of the candidates, and had decently in-depth conversations with die-hard supporters of all three. This has been a clarifying and instructive process for me.
On June 13th, Virginia Republicans should cast their votes for State Senator Jill Vogel for Lieutenant Governor.
Vogel’s record in the Virginia Senate is nearly perfect for Virginia conservatives. She has not only showed a principled approach, but she has carried a number of bills (on issues such as the 2nd Amendment), that others didn’t want to touch. This courage should be rewarded.
The bigger takeaway, and Vogel’s true strength, comes in the way she sells our message. Whereas others, in this age of division, seek to boost their own profile by making as many of the “right people” angry as possible, Vogel is instead focused on creating an inviting, positive image of the Republican Party. I can’t think of anything more needed or refreshing at this time.
Vogel’s only two “hiccups” are also just the product of overzealous opposition research. Her comments after Sandy Hook were taken out of context, and her consistent voting record on 2nd Amendment rights gives credence to that. Her bill supporting GMO labeling on foods was never introduced, and is a relatively minor regulatory issue at best.
In a lengthy conversation with Vogel, we discussed the importance of crafting a Republican Party that doesn’t block out young voters and new converts to conservatism. This was, after all, the way our movement was built on the backs of Reagan and Buckley. Vogel is passionate about a more inviting party, and that is vital.
In Vogel, Republican voters have the opportunity to elect a forward-thinking conservative who will cast the right votes, and also help build the Republican brand. She will have my vote for those reasons.
As for the other two candidates, they each have respective strengths, and I would have no issues supporting them if they’re successful in two weeks.
Delegate Glenn Davis is a thoughtful, energetic public servant. If anything, his enthusiasm for “getting things done” is his biggest detriment, as evidenced by his past support of the transportation tax hike and his attempt to capture Obamacare Medicaid expansion funds through a compromise package. Davis is the victim of a problem all too common in politics these days, doing things for the sake of doing things.
State Senator Bryce Reeves has a stellar voting record and I have no doubts he would cast the right votes if necessary as a tie-breaking Lieutenant Governor (should that situation re-emerge in 2019). That being said, his over-the-top campaign ads and constant bickering about process stories have lost me. I worry that his reactive campaign style wouldn’t sell to Virginia voters in the fall.
This election is important. While the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia has very little power on their own, with the right partner in the Governor’s Mansion, they can be highly consequential. They also immediately become one of their party’s top candidates for Governor in four years, so it’s an important pick for future planning. Voters should pick Vogel.