Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Republican Jim Dillard Endorsed Dave Marsden for Senate

In a special election where there won’t be high turnout, endorsements can have a play a bigger role than usual. At the same time, the only way they’ll really have an impact is if the person making the endorsement has a following and is willing to activate his/her base or if the endorsement is somewhat unexpected. Today we see perhaps the first endorsement that meets both of those requirements as former Republican Delegate Jim Dillard has endorsed Dave Marsden’s candidacy for Senate from the 37th District.

In a time when our economy as a whole is struggling, I think it’s extremely important for Virginians to be able to obtain a very strong education. Of course, this means that our elected officials will have to work hard to figure out a way to maintain the high quality of our public schools despite the fact that there will have to be budget cuts. In his statement announcing his candidacy for the state senate, Marsden highlighted the need to invest in our school systems. Dillard, who was a moderate Republican known for his work on education issues, also recognized the dedication Marsden has displayed to our schools and his ability to work in a bipartisan manner to create solutions.

“I'm a Republican, and I'm for Dave Marsden because he is the pragmatic, moderate leader we need for Fairfax County in these tough times," said Dillard. "Dave has shown that he can bring Republicans, Democrats and Independents together to get results and end the petty squabbling down in Richmond - especially when it comes to helping small businesses create jobs, growing our economy, holding the line on taxes and spending, and protecting our world-class public schools."

“In tough times like these, defending education budgets can be challenging, but Dave voted to protect education against billions of dollars of cuts and to support our teachers. I think the choice is clear – I encourage people of all parties to support Dave Marsden for Senate,” said Dillard.

Now that Dillard has endorsed Marsden’s candidacy, it will be very interesting to see if he’s able to convince some Republicans to vote for him in the special election on January 12. I think this is something that could be done as Dave is known as a moderate Democrat and was able to earn a lot of cross-over votes when he was re-elected to the House of Delegates in November.

The timing of this endorsement is also very interesting as it comes the day after Steve Hunt won the Republican nomination in a firehouse primary held at Centreville High School (which, for what it’s worth, is actually outside of the district). Hunt is extremely conservative and during his time on the Fairfax County School Board actually spent a significant amount of time trying to promote his right wing social agenda instead of focusing on making sure our school system remains one of the best in the country. I imagine this wasn’t lost on Dillard and while accepting Dillard’s endorsement today, Marsden definitely made it clear that he’s willing to have the voters compare his record to Hunt’s.

"I am thrilled to accept the endorsement of Delegate Jim Dillard, one of the strongest leaders Fairfax has had. I'm looking forward to finding out whether Steve Hunt agrees with me that we need to get government focusing on helping small businesses create jobs, holding the line on taxes and spending, protecting our schools, and finally addressing our traffic problem or whether he will keep saying more of the same," said Marsden.


  1. This says less about Marsden's credentials as a "moderate" than it does about Dillard's lack thereof as a "Republican."

  2. James, I think it's very interesting that you automatically want to claim Dillard isn't a Republican simply because he supports a moderate candidate who belongs to the other party. In the big scheme of things, your comment gives a local example of how the Tea Party activists are taking over the Republican Party and trying to push moderates out.

  3. Jim Dillard has always supported Dave Marsden, and has rarely supported Republicans since he left office. This was not, by not even the tiniest stretch of the imagination, "somewhat unexpected". This was 100% thoroughly and widely expected. It would be a much, much bigger news story if Dillard *hadn't* endorsed him.

  4. Again, it's very interesting that the Republicans have come on here to do whatever they could to diminish Dillard's endorsement. The plain and simple fact is that the Republican Party has been moving further and further to the right which means that moderates like Dillard are going to occasionally support moderate Democrats. For the most part, however, it is still unexpected when a prominent politician publicly endorses someone from the opposite party.

  5. I agree that it's unexpected in those situations. However, Dillard is not a "prominent politician", and given his lack of support for Republicans since he left office and Marsden's party-switching past, the distinction between the two of them, despite nominally being "of opposite parties", is nil.

    You can claim anything you like is "interesting". You know as well as I do, and as well as anyone who actually reads this blog, that you're hyping up a supposed "bi-partisan" endorsement to cheer on your party's candidate, despite the fact that anybody who knows anything about Dave Marsden, Jim Dillard, or the 37th District knew that this endorsement was an absolute guarantee from the moment Marsden got in, and that the shock would be if it didn't happen.

  6. I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree on this, VA Blogger. I tend to think that someone who has a reputation as a moderate, receives an endorsement from a former member of the House of Delegates of the opposite party, and has spent his career working in a bipartisan manner should be praised for that bipartisan spirit. It appears as though you simply won't accept the fact that Marsden has bipartisan appear and will say whatever it takes in a desperate attempt to disprove the facts.