Well, to be accurate, a careful reading of the report tells us that it is actually a Democrat, along with the two reporters, who believe it, because there isn't anyone else mentioned who voiced that opinion:
Bell's loss may make district competitiveSo who are these "moderate conservatives in the 22nd District" who are "dismayed by the fall of Brandon Bell?" We're left wondering. There's nary a mention. Their dismay must have been edited out of this report. Either that or it's in Moderate Voters Turning To Moderate Democrat Party, Chapter 2, which will appear next week.
Moderate conservatives in the 22nd District, dismayed by the fall of Brandon Bell, could turn to Democrat Mike Breiner.
Mason Adams and Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times
When the General Assembly convenes in January, there will be a new state senator representing the 22nd District.
The question among state Republicans and Democrats is whether it will be Ralph Smith or Mike Breiner.
Smith changed the dynamics of the race Tuesday when he defeated incumbent Brandon Bell, R-Roanoke County, by fewer than 100 votes in the Republican primary.
Democrats hope that the defeat of Bell, a moderate, by Smith, who is much more conservative, will drive moderates to Breiner, a Roanoke County plastic surgeon.
"The political party that captures the center governs," said Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County. (link)
The only person voicing that opinion, oddly, is an elected Democrat. And a rabidly liberal one at that. Creigh Deeds.
Thus we have what might be called wishful thinking on someone's part.
As for the realities of electoral politics in the Roanoke Valley? There is this:
The district, which includes Botetourt County, Salem, Radford and parts of Montgomery and Roanoke counties, is clearly favorable for Republicans. Since it was redrawn after the 2000 census, it has gone red in every statewide election.Red. Meaning conservative. Not pink for moderate. Not gray for Any-Of-The-Above. Certainly not yellow for Democrat. Blood red, by the grace of God.
Brandon Bell was an aberration. A liberal in a solidly conservative district.
And he is gone. Much to the liberals' dismay.