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Congressman Rick Boucher Defeated in the VA 9th District
by Lewis Loflin
Updated November 6, 2010.
Shockwaves are still rocking the region as Congressman Rick Boucher, who was ahead of his Republican challenger by 14 points in September, has now fallen to defeat. This came at a time when the left-scream local newspaper the Bristol Herald Courier gave him their endorsement, and he has brought in tens of millions of pork dollars in a bid to buy the election.
Morgan Griffith ousted 14 term incumbent Rick Boucher by 9,000 votes. Boucher was very well known, had the Bristol Herald Courier according to many working for him, and Mr. Griffith is not even from the 9th District. Mr. Boucher lost his home county of Washington by double digits. Mr. Boucher whined about $3 million in attack ads and that he had never seen so "much negativity in a race on his side of the commonwealth." He calls them, "shadowy out-of-district corporate interests."
Was it really just attack ads? If press reports are correct, only 47% of the voters in the 9th District turned out November 2nd where Mr. Griffith won by a 5% margin. While the press attributes his loss to the Cap and Trade Tax he helped to write (he claims to benefit the coal industry), he still won Buchanan, Dickinson, Russell Counties and most of the union coal vote anyway.
Yet the experts still got it wrong. Analysts such as Larry Sabato, who called Southwest Virginia the most "corrupt" part of the State, gave the election to Mr. Boucher.
Of the district's 27 localities, Griffith won 17, including Boucher's home base of Washington County and the neighboring city of Bristol, both of which he took by a 15-point margin. Griffith handily won Alleghany, Bland, Carroll, Craig, Floyd, Grayson, Henry, Patrick, Pulaski, Roanoke, Smyth, Tazewell (a coal county) and Wythe counties. The greatest margin was in Roanoke County, where he led Boucher by 28 percentage points.
Griffith also won only two (other) coal counties of Lee and Wise by about 1 percentage point.
Boucher won Buchanan and Dickenson counties and the city of Norton by double-digit margins, and also carried Russell and Scott counties. On Griffith's end of the district, Boucher won Montgomery County, the largest in the 9th District, as well as the cities of Radford, Covington and Galax, and Giles County, where Griffith was raised.
Yet Mr. Griffith didn't do very well in the coal counties after all, so why does the press keep insisting that his problem was Cap and Trade or outside attack ads? The Bristol Herald Courier is simply hostile to many grass roots groups lumped under the term Tea Party and God forbid they get any credit for anything.
On September 22, 2010 we note the following from Cathy Turner and associates:
After a nothing-short-of-amazing, energy-charged Tea Party Patriots meeting last night when more than 30 of us gathered to discuss our challenges that we face both as a community and a country, the meeting that a few of us attended today with Bristol Herald Courier Publisher Carl Esposito and Opinion Editor Suzanne Tate fell, shall we say ... flat.
Mr. Foster the Bristol Herald Courier's editor disparages the region as too "white" and "Christian." My letters were also blocked and have been on number of issues for some time. The Bristol Herald Courier continues to whine about citizen journalists, but proves every day why they are needed.
Tenth Amendment Foundation CEO Strother Smith, National Treasurer and all-around guy Rich Macbeth, fellow 10AF/Tea Partier William Gibson and myself were invited to attend a round-table discussion with BHC that mainly happened because of our chronic complaint regarding the inaccessibility of our Congressman, Rick Boucher and the failure of their newspaper to record our complaint in our letters to the editor.
If there is one thing that I take away from our Tea Party meeting last night, it is this: We The People are done with being mis-portrayed as racist, bigoted, dumb, unenlightened, misinformed, uneducated and ... racist.
As of November Mr. Foster has announced he is going to a Nashville newspaper, Suzanne Tate is fleeing to a P.B.S station, and Mr. Esposito is also leaving the paper. Their circulation is down by as much as 15% since this they took over the paper, so no wonder the newspaper rats are jumping ship.
If we take a look at where Mr. Boucher lost the most votes such as Roanoke, Washington, Wythe, etc. in many cases by double-digits, most had active Tea Party and other grass roots organizations in the communities. Morgan Griffith also met with them, something Mr. Boucher refused to do.
In fact not only was Mr. Boucher inaccessible to the people, he really didn't seem to even campaign until the end. In Washington County where I live Griffith signs outnumbered Boucher signs I'd guess 10 to 1. No Democrats even showed up at several polling places or even tried to call voters from what I found out. I did get a live call from a real person on election day from the Griffith camp.
In my view it wasn't just any one thing that cost Mr. Boucher the election, in fact according to the press he should have won right by 5 points. They reported Griffith moved one point ahead a few days before the election. Then the Herald Courier it seems had to report the Griffith surge because it was already in the Roanoke Times.
From October 28, 2010
Something called Survey USA puts Mr. Boucher at 46% and Mr. Griffith at 47%. This has forced Mr. Boucher into two televised debates in Roanoke, something he tried every way possible to avoid. As he bitterly complained, "Anytime you have 2 million dollars in attack adds lobbied against you that has some effect, so this has become a close race." That evened up his money advantage.
Yet Mr. Boucher wasn't whining when he had a $2 million campaign war chest out spending (and still is) Mr. Griffith by a margin of 8 to 1. To quote Mr. Griffith, "Our message is getting out that you've got a choice. If you like what's going on in Washington and approve of the Obama-Pelosi agenda then you should vote for Rick Boucher. But, if you want to change Washington than you have to change congressmen."
Election 2010 will be critical for Southwest Virginia. The New York Times March 23rd puts the issue in perspective on the healthcare bill: The bill that President Obama signed...is the federal government's biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago." Mr. Boucher has been part of that "three decades" that has driven millions to government dependency while fostering crony capitalism.
Regardless of the millions in pork Mr. Boucher has brought to this region, poverty continues to grow, the income gap widens, and the population continues to decline in most areas. Even in fairly affluent Washington County, which has been showered with millions for useless pork projects and corporate welfare, the Virginia Department of Social Services reports poverty increased from 1997 to 2007 even before the latest downturn.
The reality is minimum wage in 1974 ($2 an hour) adjusted for inflation is almost $9 an hour today. Yet we have government subsidized call centers locating in Mr. Boucher's failed "small business incubators" paying $8.50 an hour. He touts 100 jobs with DIRECTV which are really with a low-wage outsourcing firm that's firing thousands of its workers and shipping their jobs to India. Mr. Boucher continues to insult our intelligence by calling these "technology based" jobs. By that definition using an electric vacuum cleaner makes one an electrical engineer.
We've "invested" millions on fiber-optic and still get the same low-end call center jobs we got before. It's troubling that his recent announcements of almost $50 million in stimulus grants will be going mainly to single company. They admit this will create about 170 mostly temporary jobs. That's a cost of $284,000 per job! Yet LENOWISCOs own broadband study warned against these kinds of jobs in March 2005.
These kinds of obscene government subsidies to business allows them to further undercut wages for all working Americans as they fire and replace their workers with even lower-income people here at poverty wages. These facts the talk radio "free market" right refuses to address.
As much as I revile the Republicans, I'll likely vote for Mr. Griffith. Mr. Boucher is a decent man, but 28 years of decline and failed policies is enough. I ask my fellow residents to examine the facts and decide if answering the phone for $8-$9 an hour is really a "technology based" job. Neither candidate can "fix" what ails this region, so it's perhaps time we all become more self-reliant and rely on ourselves.
Independent Jeremiah Heaton, who is polling at 3 percent, created a firestorm around October 6 when he accused a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) contractor of hiring illegal aliens. A number of contractors in fact do use foreign nationals to underbid contracts, but Heaton was accused of racism by the Roanoke Times for even bringing the subject up.
All of this started when Heaton on camera confronted Mexican workers on I-81 near Marion, Virginia. The idea seemed to be to attack Morgan Griffith, majority leader in the Virginia House of Delegates, implying he condones illegal aliens taking VDOT jobs while VDOT has fired thousands of workers. According to Mr. Heaton,
"As the majority leader in the General Assembly and my opponent in this race, he has made definitive statements that he is very much against illegal immigration and that he's going to fight as congressman to stamp out illegal immigrants coming into this country. If he's allowing it to go on unchecked in the state of Virginia, he's most certainly not going to do anything at the congressional level any different."
Mr. Griffith has so far refused to comment, but the VDOT contractor president Matt Ehrenzeller had a reply, calling the Heaton's comments "defamatory." Heaton shot back, "In a time when we're trying to create jobs for Americans, we shouldn't be importing folks here with work permits from Mexico, even if they are here legally. I'm sure there's somebody who would use that weed-eater in America, or drive that tractor to bushhog."
Mr. Ehrenzeller claims his company (TME) has 170 employees and hires a number of foreign workers legally under the notorious H-2B visa programs. I'll take his word for it, but the reality is neither Virginia nor Tennessee will enforce immigration laws and routinely looks the other way. The entire meat packing industry in Virginia uses thousands of illegal aliens as does a number of industries in Morristown, Tennessee.
All claim they can't hire American workers to do the jobs, but the reality is they refuse to pay going market labor rates or improve working conditions to attract American workers. The government gives them a way out with massive guest worker programs and refusal to conduct interior enforcement of the law. Many of the illegal aliens in the country come her legally with companies such as TME bringing them as guest workers, they come in on tourist visas, etc. and simply never leave. Anyone in the region that brings this issue up is attacked in the local left-wing press as racist.
The TME website is at www.tmeenterprises.com. They are presently advertising for "Class B CDL drivers needed for winter snow removal in the Hampton Roads area."
Jeremiah Heaton's website is at www.heatonforcongress.com.
Morgan Griffith's website is at www.morgangriffithforcongress.com. He is House Majority Leader and has been a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 1994. He represents the 8th District, which is comprised of the City of Salem and portions of Roanoke County. That is one of the attacks on him is he doesn't live in the 9th District, but part of his property is in the District. Due to the continuing loss of population in the 9th District, he soon will be a resident due to redistricting.
Note that Mr. Boucher has refused any debates with his opponents. Mr. Boucher's largest liability, if he has one at all, is he voted for Cap and Trade legislation and paraded a very unpopular President Obama through the region.
To his credit he voted against the destructive NAFTA Treaty shoved into law by Democrats under President Clinton and voted against Obamacare fearing a loss of income to local hospital chains whose CEOs he paraded around at his Abingdon town hall.
Tea Party Patriot Coalition of Southwest Virginia
Signs Mutual Pledge of Support with District 9 Republican Candidate Morgan Griffith
by Catherine Turner
WYTHEVILLE,VA. October 18, 2010: A coalition of Tea Party Patriots from Wytheville, Abingdon/Bristol,the New River Valley, Jeffersonville District, Wise County and Galax/Fancy Gap, spanning virtually every region of the Fightin' 9th Congressional District--an area larger than the state of New Jersey--convened on Thursday evening, October 14th to formally pledge their support for Morgan Griffith's run for Democrat Rick Boucher's seat.
The formal signing of the mutual pledge came on the heels of an Open Forum event hosted by The 10th Amendment Foundation (www.10thamendmentfoundation.org) at the George Wythe High School. In a letter to 10AF dated September 10th, begging off on grounds that Congress would be in session, Congressman Boucher formally declined his participation. Casting the deciding vote to end the session early on September 29th, Boucher continued to turn down follow-up invitations keeping his record for the entire election season unbroken for no scheduled Town Halls.
Inexplicably, Independent Candidate Jeremiah Heaton followed Boucher's lead and declined to attend without informing 10AF event organizer, Richard Macbeth. "We heard from the Bristol Herald Courier that Mr. Heaton had objections to the 'empty seat' that would take Mr. Boucher's place," said Macbeth,"however he failed to inform me of his decision. The show must go on--and it did." A taped recording of "The Chicken Dance" from an anonymous member of the audience kept the crowd of 250 attendees entertained when Mr. Boucher and Mr. Heaton failed to appear when called on to answer questions earlier drawn from the crowd.
"This has been the chronic complaint of our district," said Jeffersonville Tea Party organizer, Diane Altizer. "The continued arrogance that characterizes this congressman and the current administration is off the charts. Along with several other issues that are critical to our movement, Morgan Griffith has pledged to be accessible to the Tea Party as our representative."
Contact Catherine Turner, Organizer
Southwest Virginia Tea Party Patriots Abingdon/Bristol
Also see The 10th Amendment Foundation files lawsuit in federal court in Roanoke
From January 2010 archive material
No Republican candidate has emerged yet to take on 28-year incumbent Rick Boucher, despite growing discontent with Democratic policies in Washington. State Del. Terry G. Kilgore told us Thursday that the timing is not right for him. His son will be a senior on the football team at the height of campaign season next fall ("You can't get those memories back"), and Kilgore's got too much seniority in the General Assembly to trade in for a freshman berth in Washington. "I'm doing more for southwest Virginia in Richmond than I ever could in Congress."
Kilgore said the same is probably true for state Sen. William C. Wampler Jr., who becomes Senate Finance Committee chairman if Republicans take back control of the state Senate -- one of the most powerful jobs in all Virginia. "He couldn't walk away from that, " Kilgore said. Wampler wasn't immediately available for comment. But here's the upshot: No Kilgore and no Wampler equals bad news for Republican fortunes in the Fightin' Ninth. Boucher has been a popular incumbent known for strong constituent services. Even in the present environment, Republicans and Democrats agree that the GOP would need a marquis name to mount a serious challenge. You gotta be in it to win it, folks. (Kilgore, by the way, didn't rule out a congressional run in 2012 or 2014). Ref. here.
There is some news that Boucher's detractors might try to get former Attorney General of Virginia Jerry Kilgore to run. In the 2005 race for Governor of Virginia Jerry Kilgore was defeated by then Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat. Currently, he is a partner and chair of law firm Williams Mullen's Multistate Corporate Compliance and Public Policy Group (a law firm based in Richmond, Virginia). (Wiki)
Another remote shot is independent Jeremiah Heaton who hasn't been heard from in the press since he announced several months ago. I met him at a press conference at a Bristol IHOP where only seven people showed up and no press. As the Bristol Herald Courier announced back on September 11, 2009, "A Washington County (VA) man will declare his candidacy against U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher and do it from a foreign country. Jeremiah Heaton, a 33-year-old Abingdon-area entrepreneur, said the announcement will come during a speech in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at 9 a.m. Monday, Virginia time - as he addresses U.S. troops overseas, residents of Middle Eastern countries and Americans back home." His website is at www.heatonforcongress.com. I have no real idea what he stands for.
He is best known for remodeling the Damascus General Store in Damascus, VA. See http://damascusgeneralstore.com. To quote,
"Formerly an old sock hosiery mill, Damascus General Store has been completely renovated inside and out. Take one step through the front door and you'll discover the halcyon days of our past. It's a journey you'll want to take often. Come see us soon!"
It also has live shows. Damascus a nice place to visit in the summer. It touts itself as "Trail Town, USA" See www.damascus.org.
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