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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Peering In From Outside

I had the opportunity to visit the Staunton/Waynesboro area a few weeks ago and, in my travels, was struck by one thing. If political yard signs mean anything, sitting state Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) is in big trouble. There were Sayre for Senate signs (promoting the candidacy of Scott Sayre, R-Rockbridge) everywhere. In contrast, I came across only one pro-Hanger sign the whole day. Startling.

But what does that mean? Well, nothing in itself. But ...
Hanger-Sayre Senate race competitive
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

The way R. Scott Sayre sees it, his effort to defeat state Sen. Emmett Hanger amounts to "a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."

And Hanger, R-Augusta County, acknowledges that he has a tough fight on his hands as he tries to hold on to a seat he has held for 12 years.

The Republican primary in the 24th Senate District may be one of the most competitive intraparty contests decided in Virginia on June 12. Sayre, a businessman from Rockbridge County, is mounting an aggressive challenge to Hanger, the affable incumbent who has fallen out of favor with some GOP activists in the sprawling, rural district.
The reason Hanger has become a target for conservatives is because, over the years, he has adopted the political viewpoints of the despised enemy, liberal Democrats, having voted for tax increases to fix an overstated "education crisis" in 2004 and a mythical "transportation crisis" in 2006.

His penchant for looking the other way at the rising problem with illegal immigration (he even proposed that we offer conditional breaks on in-state college tuition to illegals) has turned much of his constituency off as well.

So Hanger is in the fight of his life. And has resorted to appealing to Democrats to save him in the upcoming primary, where they are allowed to cross over and vote a Republican ballot.* That speaks volumes.

Those hundreds of yard signs speak to us as well. Even with liberal Democrat support, expect Hanger to be sent packing next week.

And good riddance. If we wanted a Democrat, we'd vote for a Democrat.

* This has never made sense to me. Democrats voting in the Republican primary and vice versa. If that is permissible, it seems to me I should be allowed to drive up to Staunton and do my part in voting Hanger out too. No political boundaries? No geographic boundaries.