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Democrats, interest groups unrelenting in campaign to unseat Sen. Dick Black

The Virginia Senate 13th District is expected to be one of the closest in the 2015 election cycle. Courtesy/Virginia Public Access Project
Many Loudouners may not be aware, but for Virginia politicos, it's no secret: The state Senate's 13th District, located predominately in Loudoun, is the hottest race of the state's 2015 cycle.

State Sen. Dick Black (R), a former Marine and Pentagon lawyer, is seeking re-election in the 13th against Democratic newcomer Jill McCabe, a doctor and the medical director of Inova Loudoun Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Department.

The Black-vs-McCabe match-up has weighty ramifications for public policy in the state and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's one and only term. Republicans currently have a one-seat advantage in the upper chamber, with 21 members to Democrats' 19. Thus, if Democrats hold on to their current seats and pick up one, forming a 20-20 Senate, they essentially hold the majority thanks to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam's (D) tie-breaking vote.

The 13th District, spanning western Loudoun south through Leesburg, into parts of Ashburn and down to Prince William, is ground zero for Democrats' hopeful pick-up.

With four months to go before the election, Black has been the subject of repeated robo-calls and email blasts from the Democratic Party of Virginia and interest groups.

The first-term senator's conservative views – he's vocally pro-life, opposes same-sex marriage and has fought vigorously against expanding Medicaid in Virginia – have been injected into the spotlight by pro-choice, female-driven organizations, who says he's “outside the mainstream” for a diverse Northern Virginia electorate.

EMILY's List, a nationally influential group focused on electing women in office, has shown steady interest in the race, announcing in late June that Black is the first state-level candidate the organization has targeted. The group unsurprisingly followed up by officially endorsing McCabe.

The Democratic candidate said she welcomes EMILY's List support because “they are dedicated supporters of the rights of women and children.”

“With their support, I will continue to fight for good jobs here in the community, transportation investments and the world-class schools our children deserve," she said.

McCabe also has the support of abortion rights organization NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

Sen. Black has not responded to numerous attempts in recent weeks to talk about his contest.

A former member of the House of Delegates, Black has focused his campaign on rallying his base and knocking on doors, while also touting key legislation from this year's General Assembly session.

The Republican helped craft legislation requiring Virginia’s colleges to report sexual assaults to law enforcement as opposed to the school handling it internally. Black also patroned legislation – now law – allowing for more privacy for home-school students.

Black's campaign is comfortably ahead in the financial game, holding more than $240,000 in his campaign coffers at the end of May to McCabe's $137,000. Democrats point out that McCabe only entered the race this year and showed strong in the first five months of the year, taking in more than $160,000, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Black won the 2011 election against Democrat Shawn Mitchell by more than 14 percent of the vote. In 2014, Republican Ed Gillespie bested Sen. Mark Warner in the 13th District 53 percent to 44 percent (although Warner won the contest overall), and the GOP's Ken Cuccinelli defeated now Gov. Terry McAuliffe 50 percent to 45 percent.

Despite the apparent uphill climb -- or perhaps because of it -- Democrats continue to up the rhetoric.“Dick Black's re-election bid is quickly turning into a dumpster fire,” the Democratic Party noted in a June 7 email. “For two weeks, he's ignored voter questions about his previous support for the Confederate Flag, but that hasn't stopped him from reminding voters about his other offensive positions on everything from women's health, LGBT rights and spousal rape.”

The Confederate flag remark was in reference to Black's 2003 legislation aimed at removing “the prohibition on display of the organization's logo on Sons of Confederate Veterans special license plates.” Black eventually withdrew his bill.

A spokeswoman for Black's campaign, his daughter, Michelle Staton, pointed out the senator has received the support of the National Rifle Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

"Sen. Black has voted on over 10,000 issues that make his positions pretty clear," Staton said. "Yet, no one asks Jill McCabe any serious questions so she can continue along with vague statements of 'common sense' and good education and good transportation."

This story has been updated from an earlier version.

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @TrevorBaratko.


To workhardgetahead,
I accept your criticism. Intransigent behavior like we saw from DICK Nixon was an unnecessary negative reference. We do need to hold public servants accountable for their level of effort to support the needs of those they represent and do the jobs they are hired to do. Policeman who negligently approach and then shoot a child threatening suicide in Purcellville or 5 deputies involved in the shooting of a deranged employee of COSTCO is pretty rude. A Commonwealth Attorney never charging the prime suspect in the Erica Smith killing or waiting 6 years to finally charge suspects in the Bennett murder or trying to block charging the suspected embezzler of asset forfeiture funds is pretty rude too. When state legislators like Mr. Black claim transportation is a critical issue they work on yet have no record of making VDOT do their jobs in Loudoun even at the minimum safety standards of their own standards book is pretty rude.
I do thank you for the advice but after 8 years of seeing southern counties of Virginia using funds allocated away from Loudoun so they can have full day kindergarten without directed action from our elected politicians like Mr Black to fix these problems affecting our youth is highly frustrating.
R. Ohneiser Esq.
Candidate for Commonwealth Attorney

Black never seems to be able to respond to requests for comment.  It’s always a surrogate.  Is he having health problems that are effecting his ability to talk for himself?  Seems like his handlers don’t trust him to speak.  Probably a smart thing to shelter him and keep him from commenting.

Fred Sanford is right. Ask Connie Morella and Roscoe Bartlett - two moderates with the wrong letter next to their name - what they think of being gerrymandered out of office in Maryland, which now has only one Republican representative in Congress.

R. Ohneiser Esq.Candidate for Commonwealth Attorney,

For a person seeking higher office you ought to watch your rude referencing. You have showed no class in your response to this article. Sir, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I know Virginia can do better than to elect a Commonwealth Attorney than someone of your character.

Say what you like mephisto, but we’ve gerrymandered the lines just like Democrats gerrymandered their lines in places they dominate. Just look at the gerrymandering in Maryland, it will blow your mind. Specifically Maryland’s 3rd congressional district looks like you need a private plan to get from the isolated islands that make up that district.

No matter, the chances of Dick Black losing the 13th to a left wing radical is laughable.

Love the way Black supporters take refuge in the government’s gerrymandered districts as their salvation—even as they sport their “Don’t Tread On Me” license plates and act like the only thing holding them back is government regulation (aka voting districts).

You fellows might get a really unpleasant demonstration of just what freedom from unrepresentative government looks like on election day

Watching leftist progressives get the collective vapors over Dick Black is quite amusing. I’ve been witnessing it for almost two decades. Good luck, abortion Jill, you’ll need it.

The Leftist wingnuts are dreaming if they think McCabe is going to unseat Black in the 13th. Maybe these Democrats need to double check the Demographics they are up against and the fact this isn’t a Presidential year, so turn out will be low and that doesn’t benefit Democrats.

In 2011 Black won the 13th with 57% of the vote. Democrats need to find at least 6 - 10,000 new solidly voting Democrats in order to make this race anywhere near close. There is little that McCabe can say or do to upset the nearly 21,000 strong voting block he carried 4 years ago.

Nothing but rhetoric from special interest groups who are obviously hard leftist progressives? Wow, great reporting.

While Senator Black has a strong pro-Virginia record of Constitutionally-conservative positions that are best for the Commonwealth, the reporter did not ask Jill McCabe where she stood on any specific issues; instead, she simply continues to dodge actual questions or do any real campaigning and spews populist rhetoric about education, transportation, and children. It’s as if Michelle Staton was given McCabe’s playbook.

I see Senator Black working tirelessly for the people of Virginia and the 13th District. All I see from Jill McCabe is an absentee candidate who is hoping to slide through on Gov McAuliffe’s money. The office of State Senator requires work. Sen Black is as strong a worker as they come.

We don’t need a Senator who would treat the position as a part-time hobby. Where is Jill McCabe? Why is Gov McAuliffe hiding her from the public? Where does she stand on the specific issues of the day? Virginians don’t need another populist, special-interest funded and driven candidate. They need a results-oriented, hard-working candidate like Senator Black.

Rick Canton

I would have preferred to see this article include comments from Mr. Black himself. Its like a box of chocolates as you never know what you are going to get. Will he demonstrate how sending a letter to the President/Dictator of Syria apparently calling him heroic enhanced our ability to get the composite index adjusted so the state gives Loudoun more of what it should receive for schools. I completed a telecom project in Damascus two decades ago and can assure “DICK” that he is way off base when describing Assad leadership (father or son) as anything on the same spectrum as heroic. How does that rhetorical position help us reduce the traffic that Loudoun is still choking on while “DICK” muses over federal issues? The zoning regulation for campaign signs is 4 sq. feet yet he openly posts 32 square feet signs along those traffic packed highways. What a contradiction! I am always impressed by leaders who served in the military but the underlying assumption is that they lead when elected. We don’t even hold VDOT accountable for not maintaining Loudoun roads they are responsible for at their own standards book minimums! Just voting 10,000 times is not leadership! Did he make ANY efforts to establish that Dulles Airport parking lots are in Virginia and should be made to contribute to Loudoun’s property tax needs. How about making VDOT do their jobs. How about making the state recognize that Loudoun needs the $200 plus million they take from us every year via the composite index which should go to our schools. Incumbents who don’t accomplish substantial improvements should honorably discharge themselves from running.
R. Ohneiser Esq.
Candidate for Commonwealth Attorney

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