Lots of choices – so choose

Published 9:54 pm Monday, June 11, 2012

While the congressional and senatorial elections in November will likely come down to just two candidates apiece — a Democrat and a Republican running for each job — area voters can hardly say they’ve had a limited field of candidates from which to choose by the time Election Day rolls around.

Today’s primary election will determine the ultimate major-party candidates for both the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Jim Webb and the U.S. House of Representatives seat currently held by Congressman J. Randy Forbes. This primary features a veritable bounty of candidates, regardless of what some high-visibility players would like voters to think.

The showcase race, of course, is the one that will lead to the senatorial election. Democrats long ago settled on former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as their choice for November’s ballot. But no matter how much the folks from former Gov. George Allen’s camp would like to pretend otherwise, things are not so set for Republicans.

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Voters today will have three other Republican choices besides Allen on the primary ballot. Hampton Roads resident E. W. Jackson, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall and Richmond Tea Party President Jamie Radtke also are vying for the right to represent Republicans in the Senate race.

Allen wants to reduce business taxes and reduce regulations as part of his approach for reinvigorating the economy. Jackson is pressing for a return to the nation’s constitutional ideals and the Judeo-Christian values behind them. Marshall advocates repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with bills that would provide various tax credits or deductions to companies or individuals. And Radtke is focused on dealing with rampant government spending and the long-term effects it will have on the economy.

When it comes to the House of Representatives race in Virginia’s Fourth District, there is competition all around.

Republican incumbent Forbes faces a primary challenge from newcomer Bonnie Girard. Both are conservative, preferring to allow the private sector to operate with fewer stifling regulations. Forbes takes a stronger view of the importance of military spending, having fought hard to save the jobs that could have been lost with the disestablishment of U.S. Joint Forces Command. Girard looks to scale back government spending at all levels, including the military, which she believes is ripe for savings with the wind-down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the other side of the House primary ticket, two newcomers to the national political arena are squaring off for the right to stand for election as the Democrats’ Fourth District candidate. Joe Elliott, an art teacher in Sussex who pitches himself, literally, as an “Average Joe,” is pitted against Chesapeake City Council member Ella Ward, who has broad experience in local government and state educational administration. Elliott seeks better accountability in government spending, combined with the removal of government subsidies for oil companies. Ward would fight to protect women’s right to an abortion and work to keep Social Security and Medicare from being privatized.

Each of the candidates has far more detailed information available online. And each is easily found with a simple web search. There’s still time to learn more about them and to make a reasonably educated choice. We encourage you to do so, especially if you’re interested in having quality candidates on the ballot for these jobs in November.