The Case for the Independent, Conservative Candidate

By Lloyd the Idiot

In his first term in office, state senator Mark Herring’s performance has been lackluster, and he’s not particularly charismatic as Not Larry Sabato will attest.  Add to that, some significant headwinds for any Democratic candidate in the 2012 election cycle, and you have a Democratic state senator readily beatable by the right Republican opponent.

Unfortunately, the Republicans just don’t have the right opponent.

The leading challenger, Dick Black, simply has too much baggage and appears too extreme for an increasingly moderate county. The other Republican candidate, Patricia Phillips, also painted as an extremist in her 2007 spanking by Herring, entered this race again early on but her campaign has every appearance of being on life support.  Black has the endorsements, and apparently the nomination, locked up.

If a distasteful nominee weren’t bad enough, redistricting by a Democrat-controlled senate means a very short general election season and no doubt in a more heavily Democratic district than 2007.   So what’s a good Republican to do?

Enter the conservative, independent candidate.  To hit the Loudoun voters’ sweet spot, he would have to be a fiscal conservative (preferably, even from the LCRC), but not as completely out there on social issues as is Black.  To win, he would have to ignore the Republican nomination process, focus on Herring and the general election now, and get a few key endorsements from both sides of the aisle.  In addition to grabbing the first-in face time by doing so, he gets a leg up on the Republican nominee by getting earlier fundraising.

Chance of victory? Very real.  While the campaigns of most independents are stillborn, the right circumstances can make a big difference. Those circumstances are present here, especially if an independent were to get in early enough, get some buzz and get some early money.


  • Black/Delgaudio fan says:

    Man!! You accuse me of violating the pledge for supporting Steve Simpson and now you are advocating for a non Republican to challenge Herring! You are a RINO and a traitor!

  • BDF, I don’t know if your comment was intended to be directed to Louduon Insider, but he didn’t post that comment. I did.

    You may call me a traitor or RINO, and, frankly, I couldn’t care less. In contrast to many others, I do not intentionally put party above principle. Explained here.

    I want a conservative to win. Party purity above victory ensures the destruction of the party as a whole.
    Hence, the post.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Is anyone reasonably sure which Republican will challenge Herring, v. who will challenge Miller?

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Yes! We need more CHARISMA! THAT’s what get’s things done! CHARISMA!

  • Great question, Barbara.

    Lloyd, you realize you may be proposing a mythical constituency from whence all this early money is going to come from, don’t you?

  • Richard Nance says:

    We will see the Senate maps within a week or so, but there is a very good liklihood that NEITHER Dick Black or Patricia Phillips will be in Mark Herring’s district.

    So, there has to be some decent electable Republicans who could run.

    Who are they and where do they live?

  • James Young says:

    “[T]he conservative, independent candidate”? That sounds suspiciously like a squish who will appeal to “an increasingly moderate county,” … er, Liberal Republicans without the courage of their convictions, marginalize the mainstream Conservative candidate, split the Republican/Conservative vote, and allow Herring to retain the seat.

    Oh, foresooth! A squish whose purpose is to defeat the real Conservative and advance the far Left agenda?

    Color me surprised.

  • LloydTheIdiot says:

    Joe, most of the money for all the mainstream candidates seems to come from the state central committee, which, of course, is a problem for independents. Obviously, then, a self-funded independent is best, but, short of that, he’d need a handful of heavy-hitters who can launch the campaign. Probably corporate contributions.

    James, I’m advocating for the “mainstream Conservative candidate.” Perhaps you can define the term. I certainly hope you don’t think Dick Black is mainstream.

  • Richard Nance says:


    I would agree with James that what is needed is a strong Republican candidate with conservative credentials.

    Assuming Mark Herring puts Dick Black and Patricia Phillips into the new Senate District, name me some Loudoun Republicans who could run.

  • Lloyd the Idiot says:

    Sonja Henie’s out. How about Danny Noonan?

    Seriously, though, we need people like Randy Minchew to take a run (again). Well-respected and credentialed.

  • LloydTheIdiot says:

    Seems as though a single Patricia Phillips supporter is submitting multiple comments under multiple aliases. I’ve deleted those comments.

    I’m always happy to post a single one, but don’t game the system to make it look like there are several objective comments.

  • NoVa Guy says:

    An Independent, Conservative Candidate is wishful thinking.

    This Mystery Independent Conservative you speak of cannot take a beating from Herring who is well funded and the DPV at the same time.

    The issue at hand is that the party establishment, has made a grave mistake in propelling Dick Black before we know what the lines look like. This move will come back to haunt them.

    You said it yourself Lloyd, Dick is a lighting rod for controversy. Aside from that the Plastic Fetus Man has not aged well. How is he going to knock on all those doors? It’s not going to happen. We both know this.

    Mullins and Cuccinelli should have stayed out of it and let the people decide for themselves rather than telling us the masses who to vote for.

    A vote for Dick Black is a vote for four more years of Mark Herring.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Another question, is Miller a given in the other Senate District?

  • James Young says:

    Of course Dick Black is mainstream. He’s certainly done something neither you nor I have done: he’s been elected. You apparently confuse “vocal” with something other than “mainstream,” or “too extreme.”

    But I’ll call that bet, Lloyd, since I’m utterly sick of the name-calling of self-styled “mainstream” or “moderate” Republicans: name one position held by Dick Black which is not a “mainstream” Conservative position?

    It would certainly add substance to a discussion started with precious little of it.

  • So “mainstream” includes mailing plastic fetuses? Jeesh, what’s “extreme” then?

  • I’m not so sure that Black and Phillips wouldn’t end up in Herring’s district. From what I’ve heard, Herring wanted it that way.

  • NoVa Guy says:


    Wake up.

    No self-respecting member of a legislative body pulls a stunt like that and survives.

    Eugene Delgaudio is funny that is how he gets away with his antics.

    Dick is no Eugene, the moderates and independents will head for the hills the second they hear about the Plastic Fetus stunt. Support a candidate who is conservatively principled and has respect for the office they wish to hold.

    Stop making it easy for Herring to win.

  • James Young says:

    That’s a strategy (a “vocal” one), not a position. His position is to oppose abortion. Are you calling that “extreme,” or are you attacking his tactics so you don’t have to say you reject the mainstream Conservative position on abortion?

  • Extreme methods as much as extreme positions scare off independent voters and lose elections.

  • Loudoun Conservative says:

    “So “mainstream” includes mailing plastic fetuses? Jeesh, what’s “extreme” then?”

    Jeesh, Lloyd. That was like 8 years ago at least. The man served for 8 years and the only example you can come up with of Dick Black being extreme is the plastic fetus thing??

    I also need to point out the fact that he mailed them out to Senators to get them to vote for his bill requiring parental consent for a minor to get an abortion. A bill that was not only passed, but SIGNED by a Democrat Governor. I wouldn’t call it the most well thought out thing to do, but if the plastic fetuses were so extreme, how did he get the bill signed into law????

    Lloyd, the only thing your suggestion would do is guarantee Mark Herring’s re-election. An Independent, “Conservative” candidate would do nothing more than siphon votes away from the Republican in a three way race and give the election to Herring.

  • NoVa Guy says:


    I see. You want to attack me personally because you cannot handle the fact that what I am saying is true. Your boy, Dick is not going to beat Herring in the general so give it up.

    Since you asked, I am against abortion and always have been. That does not mean I condone his actions, overall I believe it hurts the cause in the long-term.

    That kind of behavior is expected of an activist, not the member of a legislative body. They are held to higher standards. The electorate in general holds that belief.

    If a member of congress mailed plastic fetuses tomorrow to their colleagues they would lose their seat next election. Voters scare easy and all you have to do is tell them that one fact about Dick and the rest will not matter.

    When it comes down to is Dick and Patricia are very similar in ideology and one could call both good conservatives.

    However, I don’t think Patricia would have sandbagged someone she considered a friend for political gain. That says a lot about the man’s character.

    I don’t care how much you try to tell me the sky is Purple James…it isn’t.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    I agree with LC on all his points, the last one being the most important. Advocating for a 3-way race, to include an “independent conservative” does nothing but give the D’s a victory. Mark Herring goes to bed at night dreaming of this very scenario.

  • A couple thoughts on those posts.

    1. Don’t kid yourself – Black is not electable. Period. Whether you consider his views “extreme” or not, the electorate does. The fetus thing is hard to get past whehter it was 8 weeks or 8 years ago. As such, there’s nothing to lose with an independent candidate.

    2. I said conservative on fiscal issues and moderate on social ones. An independent (or a Republican for that matter) can, and should, make a point of being both pro-life and pro-choice. Here’s my opinion on that

    An independent will pull away voters from Herring on the fiscal issues provided he is not seen as extreme on social issues.

    3. Herring’s dream is to have both Black and Phillips in the same district.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    I disagree on all 3 Lloyd, but no surprise there. The republican primary process is where to handle this – not introducing a fiscally conservative (pro-life or pro-choice) third party independent candidate.

    We never learn on these 3 way races and the D’s love that about us. Outside of Joe Lieberman – what D has successfully run as an independent and won, particularly on the local and state level? Maybe one dude in Fargo, ND – but the D’s have learned not to split their base like that. All a 3rd candidate does is split the base.

  • Loudoun Conservative says:

    “Don’t kid yourself – Black is not electable. Period.”

    You are fooling yourself if you believe that. The only general election he ever lost was in 2005 when Bush’s approval rating was in the mid 30’s and there was a popular and organized Democrat on the ticket for Governor in Tim Kaine who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars up here and visited Loudoun multiple times.

    In one of the worst climates I have seen for Republicans in this area in decades, he still got 47% of the vote.

    It really is time you get past your personal dislike of the man, which is based mainly on hysterical stereotyping, not facts. But if you stick to the ‘unelectable’ line you are merely giving truth to your moniker.

    BTW, Herring doesn’t want anything to do with Black. I will bet money that when the new lines are revealed, Herring’s district has moved west and there is a new Loudoun Senate seat in the east.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    I suspect LC is correct again, I think Mark Herring has his sights on higher office after this next Senate race. Does he want an extremely contentious (repeat) general election against Dick Black or does he want to take on a potential newcomer/candidate with less experience and financing?

    If I were a candidate I’d take the path of least resistance, setting me up unbloodied in 12-18 months to move on.

  • RWN says:

    Lloyd – I’m curious if you feel Phillips is an extremist based on researching her position on the issues or for the fact that Herring says she is, so it must be so? If you’ve ever talked with her or seen her in action, I’d find it hard to believe to classify her as an “extremist”. I suggest taking a look at her stand on the issues and see what “extreme” positions she is taking.

  • Intriguing says:

    “Don’t kid yourself – Black is not electable. Period. You are fooling yourself if you believe that.”

    Loudoun Conservative, perhaps we can wager on this once we find out who will be situated where. It’s all well and good to cite stats from 2005, but that was six years ago, doesn’t consider the increased population or shifting demographics in Loudoun, and conveniently fails to mention Dick Black’s intervening loss (or is it losses) in a primary or convention format, when Dick was doing the carpet-bagger thing.

    All Herring, or anyone running against Dick Black needs to do to win is pound home the message that Dick Black is extreme, disconnected from the electorate on major social issues, incapable of effectively engaging the private sector, and lacking the energy necessary to effectively perform in the job of State Senator. You could also pound away at the carpet-bagger/loser message with reasonable impact. Generally speaking, the electorate doesn’t like backing a loser (look at electoral history for countless illustrations). With all due respect, Dick Black’s best days as a candidate are behind him. Unless the Dems run a complete nut-case against Dick Black, Dick Black loses. It really is that simple.

  • Loudoun Conservative says:

    “and conveniently fails to mention Dick Black’s intervening loss (or is it losses) in a primary or convention format”

    You mean where he finshed 4th out of nine in a Republican Primary, surviving 5 different voting rounds, including beating out the widow of the Congresswoman who’s seat was being filled? Yeah, really horrible showing.

    “You could also pound away at the carpet-bagger/loser message with reasonable impact.”

    Oh, you mean like how Mark Herring lost in 2003 to Russ Potts for Senate, then carpet-bagged into the 33rd to run in the special election when the seat opened up and the climate was much more favorable?

    The Democratic party is in disarray, and Herring is running from Black because he doesn’t want to lose. Dick has the experience, the energy, the money, and is solid on the issues. He will win the nomination, and will win the General, no matter who he is running against.

    It really is that simple.

  • LloydTheIdiot says:

    “It really is time you get past your personal dislike of the man, which is based mainly on hysterical stereotyping, not facts.”

    Dude, I don’t know who you are or why you would think that I have any personal dislike of him. I just don’t think he’s the best candidate. You can’t deny that he looks like a carpetbagger and looks extreme to the average voter.

    RWN, I didn’t say I thought Phillips was extreme – Herring’s camp did a good job of painting her as an extremist by linking her to the Harry Potter book burning group, etc.

  • Intriguing says:

    “You mean where he finshed 4th out of nine in a Republican Primary?”

    Loudoun Conservative, Dick Black couldn’t win there, in a setting among Republicans where he should have shined as a beacon of truth, and he won’t win here.

    Here, let me do my little part to influence the electorate with information that you provided above:


    We wouldn’t. It really is just that simple.

  • RWN says:

    Intriguing, if we assume your logic that because Dick Black run and lost before that makes him unfit for office then Abe Lincoln should have never been elected President.

  • Intriguing says:

    RWN, my guitar playin friend:

    A) Lincoln wasn’t a carpetbagger, that I’m aware of anyway;
    B) Lincoln’s principal loss (in his FEDERAL senate campaign) did have the benefit of putting him on the national stage – key to his later presidential run – I don’t see Dick Black getting any bonus points for his losses;
    C) Politically speaking, Lincoln’s career was on the ascent, not the descent;
    D) Lincoln was an intellectual heavyweight – Dick Black, not so much;
    E) Lincoln was a consensus builder – Dick Black is not.
    F) Lincoln was 52 when he became El Presidente. How old IS Dick Black now?
    G) Are you really seriously trying to compare Dick Black with Abe Lincoln?
    H) Seriously?

    Have a good afternoon, RWN.

  • Jack Ryan says:

    I expect the same bash DB and PP campaigns throughout the election cycle….typical lefty stuff….something about personalize it, polarize it, etc. etc.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    I know where this thread is headed and there are just a couple posters missing that will shortly arrive on scene!

  • Intriguing says:

    Loudoun Lady, I can sense where it’s heading, as well, but until those “couple of posters” show up, I guess I will have to hold down the fort.

    So, let’s go in an entirely different direction, shall we? I have a serious question for Jack Ryan:

    Jack, back in the 2007 campaign, why DID you stand before the assembled group following your loss at the convention and express your committment to support the selected nominee, only to turn around and go independent? What were the reasons that prompted this course of action?

    Seriously, I think that many people are interested in getting a truthful and sincere response to this inquiry, as I know that I have never heard you comment on this. Why did you do it?

    Secondly, upon reflection, was it worth it and would you do it again?

    Thanks for your response.

  • LloydTheIdiot says:

    Before Jack answers (if he even has the guts to give a straight answer), I’m just saying that the independent candidate should declare his candidacy prior to any party nomination – that is, not pull a Jack Ryan.

  • RWN says:

    Intriguing, tragically my guitar playing days may be over due to an untimely chain saw accident this weekend. I severed a tendon in my left index finger. Suergery is set for this week to re-attach the tendon. Doc says it may take 6 months to regain 100% function of the finger so my Takamine acoustic-electric is going to be collecting some dust.

    As for our 16th President, never did I compare the two. You said, “IF THE BEST DICK BLACK CAN DO IN A REPUBLICAN PARTY PRIMARY DOWN-STATE IS 4TH, WHY THE HECK WOULD WE WANT HIM TO BE OUR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE STATE SENATE?” Thus my point on your fallacious logic.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    There are timely chainsaw accidents?

  • Intriguing says:

    RWN, I am extremely sorry to hear about your accident with the chain saw, but I guess that the glass is half full perspective is to be grateful that the doctor is not trying to reattach a finger (or worse). Seriously, I hope your procedure goes well, and that you get full use of it back – otherwise you may have to study Jerry Garcia clips (a little different, I know).

    As for our debate, I hear what your saying, but I don’t think that I argued that losing an election made one unfit for office. I did say that I couldn’t see why Loudoun voters would want a candidate who had compiled a recent pattern of losing, and who came in 4th in his most recent race, in what was a small and completely partisan (R) canvas. I was trying to highlight that if you were to run against Black, you could make part of your campaign centered on the fact that even his own people (R’s) wouldn’t select him 1st, 2nd, or 3rd on a primary ballot – which would be true.

    Again, good luck with the finger.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Be sure to give us an update as to the hijinks at tonight’s LCRC meeting, Lloyd.

  • BlackOut says:

    RWN, sorry to hear about your finger accident. I hope surgery is very successful and your recover a complete one.

  • NoVA Scout says:

    I thought Mr. Black had hastily decamped to the 1st Congressional District to pursue Joanne Davis’s seat there. There are a lot of nice places in the 1st District, so I can’t fault someone from wanting to live there, but the speed with which Mr. Black made his move on that suggests that he isn’t all that fond of living in Loudoun and that the thing that explains him is a thirst for office, any office. By the way, when did he move back? How many hours after the 1st District Convention chose Rob Whitman (good choice, by the way)?

  • NoVA Scout says:

    PS: the question mark in the last comment goes with the sentence in its entirety, not the reference to Rob Whitman. That was a good choice. Full stop.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “Before Jack answers…”

    Don’t hold your breath.

  • G.Stone says:

    “There are timely chainsaw accidents?”

    Only in Texas

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