I used to think that Roanoke, VA in southwest Virginia was conservative. That was before I moved to the Shenandoah Valley’s Harrisonburg, VA with its marked agricultural base and significant German ancestors. The responsible, stoic citizens of Harrisonburg make Roanokers look like drunken rednecks after a tractor pull.
Also, I was excited about finally escaping my rank-and-file Republican Congressional Representative, Bob Goodlatte. Bob and I have almost nothing in common and hold no opinions in common that I’m aware of. I know this not only because I read newspapers, but also because of a poorly constructed New Year’s Eve resolution in which I promised to write Bob with every issue that came to my attention. The resolution finally petered out around early May, but not before I had significant evidence that Bob and I are of different species.
So, I was excited to hear this new name – Tom Perriello – a Democrat, mentioned in the Harrisonburg paper, the Charlottesville paper, and the local television news. Aside from a promised endorsement from the National Rifle Association, Perriello seemed to be just what I needed: a candidate I could vote for, follow the issues with, and write to with some hope that my opinion might be considered.
This was before I searched out the exact dimensions of the 5th congressional district for which Tom Perriello is indeed seeking office. Yeah, the district is fairly large and not to far from my home as the crow flies. Unfortunately, in a stroke of bad luck for both Bob Goodlatte and me, I somehow managed to move 200 miles and remain in the same congressional district, the 6th.
According to the Staunton, VA newspaper, The News Leader, “Goodlatte needs votes for re-election … he just doesn’t need to campaign.” For the “fifth time in the last six election cycles,” Goodlatte is running without a Democratic opponent. Various Roanoke businessmen have considered running against him and even continued their efforts well into the unofficial campaign period, but Goodlatte seems entrenched and intractable – sort of like herpes.
I’ll never be able to accept his tenure as legitimate. No, there aren’t any allegations of voter intimidation or ballot box shenanigans to announce. I just have to wonder why people keep voting for him even as there’s a blank space in the box for his opponent and even as I’ve heard them verbally denouncing policies that he adamantly supports.
After all the bad things I left when I moved from Roanoke, how did I manage to pack and bring Goodlatte?