Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bob Fenwick Gets The Hook's Attention

Yesterday I wondered which local politician would snag the cover of this week's Hook (Creigh Deeds was on C'Ville's cover; unfortunately Deeds's chances continue to decline, with a poll yesterday showing him down by 18 points).

339. Where did Deeds go wrong in this campaign? What issue did he bring up (or fail to bring up) that alienated all the moderates? Or has it been about style all along, with McDonnell's more polished demeanor giving him the edge? Mom told me last night that Deeds recently said "I'm a nobody from nowhere" -- notwithstanding Deeds's admirable humility, that kind of statement is not good politics in an election where the rural vote matters.
Back to the Hook: it turns out that the cover is about Morgan Harrington's disappearance, but Council candidate Bob Fenwick clearly got the most attention within the issue.

Lisa Provence reports (here) that Fenwick has a legitimate chance of defeating either Dave Norris or Kristin Szakos. She says that some local Democrats have indicated their intention to vote for him; she quotes Betty Mooney, a long-time Democrat:
“I have had so many people tell me they are [voting for Fenwick] ... They really believe we need another voice on Council who knows infrastructure and who cares about preserving parks, the reservoir, and neighborhoods. I feel like those issues are so paramount, that’s why I came out publicly.”
Provence says that Fenwick has successfully tapped into at least three hot-button issues during the campaign: the Parkway, dredging, and the RSWA/Van der Linde controversy. She's onto something here: if a voter has strong feelings on any one of these issues (particularly dredging), the person has probably read more about Fenwick's position in the last couple of months than the other candidates' views -- and the increased visibility means that at least some of those voters will cast their lot with him on the assumption that he could change the direction of current City policy.

Provence also says a "political strategy" focus of recent discussion is whether individuals will single shot vote for Fenwick, with Rob Schilling citing to single shotters' critical role in his successful campaign.
On the comments section below Provence's article, the online debate focuses on the Meadowcreek Parkway. People writing in support of Fenwick are arguing that he's the one chance to put a third vote on Council to stop the Parkway. Others retort that the Parkway's a done deal and Fenwick is too late to the game.

340. What are the substantive differences between Fenwick's and Szakos's views about the Parkway? Are there specific Council votes that could come up in the next year on which Fenwick would vote against construction whereas Szakos would side with David Brown and Satyendra Huja? Or is this just a matter of style -- ie, that Fenwick is being more vocal about his opposition to the Parkway and thereby capturing the anti-Parkway vote? I definitely think that construction of the Parkway is not a done deal (couldn't Council choose to revoke some or all of the City's financial commitment?), and therefore this is a critical question.

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