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■ Business Trends: POLITICS


Political dominoes W


A Clinton-Kaine win could create a chain reaction in Virginia by Paula C. Squires


ith a month to go before Election Day on Nov. 8, politi- cal analysts say the Hillary


Clinton/ Tim Kaine Democratic ticket is expected to win in Virginia, even though tightening polls mean anything is possible. Kaine’s hometown creds — he’s Virginia’s junior senator and a former governor and Richmond mayor — are expected to give Clinton a boost in a swing state that went for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 after 40 years of supporting Republicans. While this election season has been


one of the most contentious, bizarre and unpredictable in recent political history, analysts already are looking at the political impact a Clinton/Kaine victory would have on Virginia. If the Democrats beat Republican


presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, along with three third-party candidates, Kaine’s Senate seat would become open. The vacancy paves the way for a num-


ber of possibilities affecting everyone from Gov. Terry McAuliffe to two of Virginia’s three Democratic congressmen. A Kaine vice presidency also gives


Virginia national exposure. “Any added attention should improve our economic prospects,” says Stephen J. Farnsworth, a professor of political science and inter- national affairs at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a friend in


the White House. “Virginia’s military bases will be very well protected if the country has a No. 2 from Virginia,” observes Farnsworth.


What’s next for McAuliffe? Meanwhile, back to the political


dominoes. If Kaine is elected, the governor has a couple of options in filling the vacant


66 OCTOBER 2016 As a cabinet secretary, adds Kidd,


“your ability to make wide-ranging deci- sions is limited. Being an ambassador, you have a wide-open portfolio, even if the scope of your engagement is limited to that state and region.” A politically astute move would be for


Kaine and Clinton address a rally. If they win, Virginia will have a vacant Senate seat.


Senate seat: He could appoint himself or another Democrat. Political analysts consider it unlikely that McAuliffe would resign as governor to become a senator. “The risk of a backlash is great. When a governor appoints himself to a job, a lot of voters think there’s something kind of fishy about that,” says Farnsworth. Besides, political pundits can’t see


McAuliffe’s outsized personality boxed into a Senate seat. “He’s an executive type. He’s not the type of person who could go to Washington and deal with 99 other sena- tors, “ says Quentin Kidd, vice provost and director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. Under a Clinton presidency, there


would be many other opportunities for McAuliffe, a staunch Clinton supporter and the chairman of her 2008 presidential campaign. With his laser focus on job cre- ation as Virginia’s governor, analysts can see him as the country’s commerce secretary or as U.S. trade representative. Yet Kidd envi- sions McAuliffe as an ambassador. “He’s proud of his Irish heritage. Being named as the Irish ambassador, I see him more in that role than as a cabinet secretary.”


McAuliffe to appoint a high-profile Demo- crat to Kaine’s Senate seat who could beat back a Republican challenger. The appoint- ment would last until the next general election, which in Virginia would be the November 2017 gubernatorial election. Then a special election would be held,


and the winner would hold the Senate seat for the reminder of Kaine’s term, which runs through 2018. To keep the seat for another six-year term, the incumbent would need to run again in the 2018 gen- eral election. In other words, McAuliffe’s appointee


would have to run twice in two years — no small task.


Bobby Scott or Don Beyer? That means the Democrats need


someone with statewide name recognition and the ability to raise funds. The most compelling choices, say analysts, are U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott from Virginia’s 3rd District in Hampton Roads and Don Beyer from the 8th District in Northern Virginia. Scott and Republican Rep. Bob Good-


latte of the 6th District have the longest tenure of any Virginian currently in the House or Senate. (Both were elected in 1992.) If appointed to Kaine’s seat, Scott would become the first African-American from Virginia to serve in the Senate. Beyer, an automobile dealership owner


who is serving his first term, was Virginia’s lieutenant governor from 1990 to 1998. He was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1997, losing to Republican Jim Gilmore.


AP Photo/Andrew Harnik


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