(Note: The following are NOT endorsements of The Schilling Show. These are predictions of how the Daily Progress will endorse in the 2013 election.)
The Daily Progress is a strange political creature, often defying conventional logic in its statewide and national political endorsements.
Its passive-aggressive endorsement of non-candidate Bill Bolling for governor (and subsequent how-to) effectively and intentionally stabbed Ken Cuccinelli in the back. The paper’s buried fury over Cuccinelli’s strong Biblical stance on “social issues” manifested itself in a back-door affirmation of pro-death (i.e. pro-abortion) Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
While the left-field Bolling endorsement was hard to foresee, locally, the Progress has been more predictable.
Fearing the wrath of Charlottesville’s powerful Democrat machine, over the years the paper has striven to appear party-neutral in local races. Even when it agrees with proposed Republican models for local governance, for the Daily Progress, pragmatism trumps ideology every time.
Based on past performance, following is the Schilling Show’s prognostication of Daily Progress political picks for 2013 races:
The paper’s surreptitious endorsement of Terry McAuliffe for governor will be followed by their embrace of fellow pro-death Democrat Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor, over GOP challenger E.W. Jackson. As much as the Daily Progress despises Ken Cuccinelli, they hate Jackson more.
The Daily Progress favors the evenly split board that has governed Albemarle County for the past several years. This year’s picks will be based on appeasing Democrats while concurrently championing incumbent Republicans.
In the Samuel Miller District, the Progress will endorse incumbent Republican Duane Snow over Democrat Liz Palmer. They likely will cite Snow’s willingness to listen and his function as a mediator during difficult board discussions.
In the Rio District, the Daily Progress will endorse incumbent Republican Rodney Thomas over Democrat challenger Brad Sheffield. While the paper will applaud Sheffield for his campaign and encourage him to remain involved, Thomas’ experience will be the deciding factor in the endorsement.
In the Scottsville District special election to replace wayward Democrat Chris Dumler, the Daily Progress will endorse Democrat Jane Dittmar over Republican Cindi Burket. The paper will laud Dittmar’s resume as qualification for her election; in return, they will receive assurance of Dittmar’s intention to govern as a Lindsay Dorrier (read: moderate) Democrat.
Fearful of angering Democrat kingpin Delegate David Toscano and his posse of local party bosses, the Daily Progress treads lightly in Charlottesville City Council endorsements. The paper knows the impossible odds faced by Republicans in a city that typically votes 80% Democrat come hell or high water. The paper recognizes the brain-dead, sample-ballot mentality of Charlottesville’s Democrat electorate. Yet, the Daily Progress is troubled by single-party rule in City Hall and the resultant asinine governance.
Hence, the Daily Progress likely will endorse one Democrat and one Republican for the two at-large City Council seats available.
Because of his previous opposition to the community water supply plan, the Progress has long held independent-turned-Democrat Bob Fenwick in contempt. Fenwick, a formerly vociferous critic of Charlottesville Democrats, has dropped his denunciation and now embraces the Party and candidate (running mate Kristin Szakos) he once scorned. This reversal will not win Fenwick the Daily Progress endorsement.
While the Progress editorial board would prefer to endorse the GOP slate of Mike Farruggio and Buddy Weber, they are not likely to do so for two reasons: 1) The threat of economic/social retribution by the local Democrat machine, and 2) the practical understanding that the odds of both Republicans being elected are virtually nil.
Therefore, the Daily Progress will endorse Democrat Kristin Szakos, knowing with certainty that she will be the next Mayor of Charlottesville and fearing her reputation for spite should she not be christened.
The paper’s GOP endorsement could go either way, but Republican Buddy Weber’s position as chair of the Charlottesville GOP, will render him less palatable to Charlottesville’s hyper-partisan Democrats. Therefore, the Daily Progress will endorse Republican Mike Farruggio—a retired police officer—citing his unique, work-related understanding of Charlottesville.