GOLDMAN: RTD editorial board says Cantor’s opponent blew it

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Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. – If you want to better understand politics, then today’s RTD editorial on the Mayor’s No-Bid rigged Shockoe Stadium deal offers a great lesson.

Eric Cantor’s opponent in the 7th district primary – Randolph-Macon economics professor David Brat – sits on the Richmond Metropolitan Authority Board.

This means Brat had a perfect platform to speak out on the hottest political issue in the most important media market in the 7th Congressional District, the Mayor’s Shockoe Stadium plan.

Today, even the RTD – one of the No-Bid scheme’s biggest backers (until today!) – conceded the Jones’ financing scheme cannot be backed by any fiscally responsible office-holder, especially allegedly conservative Republicans.

The RTD editorial will receive nearly 100 percent support among 7th Congressional District Republican primary voters. This brings us to Mr. Brat, a struggling underdog in good measure because he has not found a way to make news.

But he had a way all along, as the RTD pointed out indirectly today.

The Shockoe Shocker from Mayor Jones.

It’s the hot issue with 7th district primary voters living in our media market. Richmond and the collar counties are the key to Cantor’s electoral base. They are also strongly against the Jones Shockoe No-Bid boondoggle. More and more, they view it as part of a “culture of corruption.”

Is this a fair assessment? For GOP primary purposes, it is a question that doesn’t have to be answered. The voters don’t like it big-time – in a campaign, this is enough to know.

Enter then, or could have been, Professor Brat.

Given his economics training and RMA board member perch, Professor Brat HAD THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY to explain the reason a publicly funded baseball park in Shockoe is bad public policy, premised on the “crony capitalism” in those No Bid sweetheart deals.

From day one, Brat could have called on Eric Cantor to take a position on the issue. As legendary Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O’Neill advised in his famed book, “all politics is local,” if you understand the game.

Moreover, federal accounting and other tax credit laws help make the Jones’ boondoggle attractive to his backers, and help promote those side-deals to get those No-bid contracts.

A savvy Brat campaign could have used Jones’ Shockoe Shocker as a catalyst to force Cantor, at least in this media market, to respond to him.

For Brat to have any statistical chance to win, he needs to do far better in this media market than previous challengers to Cantor. In non-presidential years, especially primaries, voters tend to be news consumers.

Those who don’t read the papers or follow the TV news or blog sites won’t vote in 2014. Or put another way, the Shockoe issue offered Brat a way to communicate with key voters on a regular basis through news shows, far more credible venues than attack TV ADS.

But Brat blew it, at least according to the RTD editorial today. Had Brat done what now seems self-evident – be seen as a leader in the fight a publicly-funded project voters increasingly believe doesn’t pass the “smell test” – he could have forced Eric Cantor to respond.

And getting Cantor to respond to Brat is worth 10 percent to him on Election Day. Why? Because it would give Brat a credibility he cannot otherwise achieve. Cantor knows this.

“All politics is local,” helped me craft several historic winning strategies. It’s the most important lesson in politics.

If your constituents don’t like something, the smart politician figures out a way to show them he or she is against it too.

Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.


  • manalishi

    Tripe at best Brat was finished when his name was directly attached to a partisan scourge. Although the attachment was legit, the very use of the name Kaine does (and should) raise the hair on any respectable persons neck. You cannot be (even on a contrarian basis) associated with an raging liberal that conspires to negate your rights and steal from your children’s economic future (via unfair oppressive taxes) without consequence.

    I would have preferred Brat as an establishment replacement, but after that add,,,,,. The only way to stay clean in politics is to avoid democrats all together.

  • Becky

    Seems like David Brat being connected to the RMA Board is
    a Political appointment; directly set up to connect
    to all the other Politically set up Connection Points.
    Several RMA Board members are members of Leadership Metro
    Richmond. They have the exact same repetitive sponsors as
    all the other Politically activated operatives now currently
    Running, owning, and operating Richmond City Government
    against Resident/Tax Payers.
    These Tax Exempt are specifically set up to Subsidize their
    Party government, of, by, for and through their Party
    Governments. They get the tax advantages, Taxes, and
    Public/Private Donations. The feed them back to the
    Party to Finance Party’s failing Government Programs/Agendas.
    Of course, the Tax Exempt are forbidden to Engage in Politics
    according to US IRS Code. What’s Laws Got to Do With It?
    Is Brat a RINO in sheeps clothing thrown in by Party to divert votes?

  • Becky

    Another ringing Endorsement to any and all thing Dwight Jones is
    his friend and cohort Governor Terry McAuliffe.
    Ignoring Jones’ transparent corruption, and long-standing failures, dysfunctions, debacles, musical chairs games, and Scams for
    Donors for Dollars, McAuliffe is quoted: “Any time we can
    redevelop an area, grow, and create more economic activity,
    I just want you to know that I want to be a partner with it.”
    If he can turn CA Herring from his Oath of Office, turn dissenting
    party outrage in to perfectly correct-mess for his appoint of
    Jones to VA Democratic Chairman. he can and will turn VA
    Party “Law Makers” away from Constitutions, Laws, Regulations,
    Rules, City Charters and Due Processes. He thinks The Mayor
    Jones is a “spectacular” mayor and Richmond a “great city.”

  • Becky

    “If the last several days have any indication of what the future holds, the city of Richmond stands in good stead because our governor has been in meetings with me at least five times already,” said Jones, who co-chaired McAuliffe’s inaugural committee.
    This mutual gratification/incestual Democratic Party Governance Will
    have its Way, Without Public Say, by hook or crook, corruption, or any other means necessary. What’s Laws/Ethics Got to DO with Government…IF…It is PC?
    Notice, Mr. Goldman, how FAST any and all Democratic Corruption
    Disappears off the pages of its Media; just like your Columns
    go to back page? Example Bryron Marshall’s “Deal” for Friend,
    Judkins and DSS long running Fiasko coincidently dating back to
    Carolyn Graham and carrying up to the death of a child.

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