The Republican primary to see who gets to face off against U.S. Rep. Glenn Nye is getting some national heat thanks to the tea party versus establishment theme.
This week Time's political blog tapped the race as one of the seven across the country to watch as the primary season heats up. They don't offer much detail, but it is significant to see that national folks are paying attention to the tea leaves that come out of this local race.
The race between Ben Loyola, Ed Maulbeck, Bert Mizusawa, Scott Rigell, Jessica Sandlin and Scott Taylorhas the potential to be a complex showdown. But until the Hampton Roads Tea Party backed Loyola this week the theme really seemed to be questions about Rigell.
Rigell has been answering questions about donations to Barack Obama and the transportation tax referendum in 2002 called the "Yes campaign." And he's even taken heat for being involved in the "Cash for Clunkers" program even though he said he only engaged in the federally backed car return program because his customers demanded it - not because he supported the idea in any way.
But you'll see things like this old ad circulating - where Freedom Automotive touts it Cash for Clunkers approved status in a newspaper ad from an - AHEM - unmentionable Hampton Roads newspaper. Let's call it the VP for short - wink. Download CashforClunkersad.
At this point Rigell knows he's not getting the Hampton Roads Tea Party endorsement, but his internal polling suggests a huge lead heading into the home stretch - so you've got to believe that Rigell is focusing on get-out-the-vote efforts which usually end up playing a hand in primary wins. It's not like Rigell is going to go negative against the tea party ( which is highlighting his past political efforts.)
"He can't go after the tea party," said Christopher Newport University political science professor Quentin Kidd. "He's stuck working the non-tea part establishment portion of the Republican base."