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Moran wins DPVA Chair, Rousselot Mulls Next Move

by ARLnow.com — December 6, 2010 at 10:34 am 307 26 Comments

A collection of party leaders voted former Del. Brian Moran (brother of Rep. Jim Moran), chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia on Saturday. Moran defeated an underdog bid by Peter Rousselot, former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

Rousselot says it was worth the trouble to advance his agenda for the state party.

“I set a reform agenda in my DPVA Chair campaign, and I gained many new supporters for reform both in Arlington and around Virginia,” he said.

At least one activist is now calling for Rousselot to pursue another intra-party fight. Ben Tribbett, who runs the Not Larry Sabatao blog, says he’s trying to convince Rousselot to challenge state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple in next year’s primary.

Tribbett cites Whipple’s endorsement of Moran for chair and her willingness to serve as a “token” Democrat on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s government reform commission as reasons why she should be unseated by a fellow Democrat.

“Senator Whipple has represented Arlington for 16 years in the State Senate without ever having a serious election where voters had a serious choice of who was best to represent Arlington,” Tribbett said. “I think after her recent actions it’s time for the voters to have a chance to speak.”

So far, Rousselot is not dismissing the idea outright.

“It is very gratifying that such an astute and strategic observer of Virginia politics as Ben Tribbett has enough confidence in me to promote my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the Virginia State Senate,” he said. “However, it is only two days since I completed my campaign for Chair of the DPVA, and I have only just begun to consider what my next steps might be.”

Tribbett isn’t the only local Democratic blogger who would support Rousselot in a primary. Lowell Feld of Blue Virginia said Rousselot has his backing as well.

“Peter Rousselot is a superb Arlington Democrat, a strong progressive, and a good friend,” Feld said. “If he chooses to run for State Senate, I will enthusiastically support his candidacy.”

We tried to get several local party leaders to comment on this story, but no one wanted to talk, even off the record. Perhaps the attitude of the local establishment was best demonstrated at the recent work session between the county board and Arlington’s state legislative delegation. During the meeting, Whipple was praised as one of the most effective Democrats in the state legislature.

  • Mark Kinzler

    Arlington Democrats….come on, these people can barely tie their own shoes.

    • South Walter Reed

      Hmm, looking at the list of electeds in Arlington right now. See that they’re all Dems. Maybe they actually know what they’re doing…

      • Mark Kinzler

        +$5,000 in debt per resident? No, I don’t think they know what they’re doing.

        • el fat kid

          5,000 in debt per person isn’t bad, especially at the interest rate arlington pays and with the potential for growth.

      • Dan

        ” these people can barely tie their own shoes.”
        “looking at the list of electeds in Arlington right now. See that they’re all Dems”

        So I guess that you could conclude that being able to tie your own shoes is not a NECESSARY qualification to be elected in Arlington…….I kind of suspected as much.

        • Mark Kinzler

          Precisely my point.

  • charlie

    So it would Be nice if rouselet would lead a reform of ACDC. Oh wait most if the controversy was when he was at the helm. Mirror mirror on the wall who is the most self absorbed of all?

  • sigh

    While I agree that the “establishment” could certainly use some fresh blood, these guys have a habit of randomly challenging anyone who happens to irk them. If Tribbett and Feld really want to force some change, they need to stop trying to settle petty scores – most still lingering from the Webb/Miller primary, it seems – and adopt a more comprehensive and consistent long-term strategy. Targeting a beloved figure like Whipple just because she happens to be the next up for election is inane and completely counterproductive.

  • TomPaine

    Amusing foolishness: Tribett spends most of his blogging time trashing Democratic political candidates, takes right wing conservative money so that he can attend a Democratic event to trash more Democrats, and then tries to control who the Democrats select as chair of the DPVA.

  • Just sayin’

    I think this is mostly Tribbett’s and Feld’s wishful thinking. But Whipple actively campaigning against a former well-liked ACDC chair in an election not likely to be close was, shall we say, a bit graceless.

    The real story is–and here is where I agree with Tribbett and Feld–that, once again, VA Democratic leaders engineered the delivery of an important party post to an insider while attempting to stifle debate. I hope Brian succeeds as chair, but I don’t think any seat in the party, be it internal–like party chair–or external–like state senate–belongs to anyone. Throw it open and let the people decide.

    For the record, I’m a big Whipple fan but if someone challenges her or any other incumbent, I’m going to evaluate that person on his or her own merits. Democracy starts at home, Democrats.

    • cj

      So goes “gracefulness” require all Arlington Democrats to support any candidate from Arlington, regardless of other connections and experience? Brian Moran is not a devil nor Peter Rousselot a saint. Neither has perfect judgment (see some of Brian’s lobbying work, and Peter’s assessment of Tribbett as “astute and strategic” or his 2004 and 2008 endorsements of John Edwards for president). There were good Arlington Democrats on both sides in this race, plus some of us who would have liked a third choice.

      • truthnjustice

        I think he was “just saying” that in a race where Brian was the odds on favorite with all the inside support that it was a bit unseemly for Mary Margaret to be going “all in” against a well-respected, popular, effective former ACDC chair with considerable grassroots, if not party leader, support. There is something to be said for not unnecessarily antagonizing people and constituencies and as I understand it Whipple campaigned unnecessarily vigorously for Brian given the decisive margin of Moran’s victory

        • Just sayin’

          That was my point exactly. She’s free to endorse who she wants, but given the likely outcome and the fact that both candidates were local favorites, her level of campaigning was unnecessary to say the least.

  • Not Larry Sabato

    CJ (i.e. “listlady”):

    I don’t think we have ever had the chance to meet! I laughed at your comment, but shouldn’t we get together before you make a comment like that? I’d understand it if we knew each other, but it’s perplexing coming from someone who I’ve never met.

    • cj

      I’m just judging by what you blog … or isn’t that the right way to assess your work?

      • Not Larry Sabato

        I guess that’s fine, and you have every right to make that assessment. Given that in 2009 the only people asked to moderate the Democratic debates for Governor were myself, Chris Cilizza from the Washington Post, Andrea Mitchell from MSNBC and Bob Gibson from the Sorenson Institute- could we at least say that apparently none of the candidates for Governor (who rejected over 30 other proposed debates) agreed with you? Could we also agree that perhaps that’s because they have met me and talked with me instead of left comments online about someone they had never had a conversation with?

        • cj

          I have no idea why any of the 2009 candidates accepted or rejected any possible moderators for those debates. I do know that if meeting someone in person were a prerequisite for commenting on their published opinions, most of the netroots would have to shut up. Which, come to think of it,

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    You’d be hard pressed to find a more corrupt politician than Jim Moran! I’m sure his brother is on the up-and-up ;) Yeah…..FoGettaBoutIt

  • Laughable

    Rousselot says: “It is very gratifying that such an astute and strategic observer of Virginia politics as Ben Tribbett has enough confidence in me to promote my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the Virginia State Senate,”

    Huh? DPVA dodged a huge bullet if that is Peter’s judgement of Tribbett. EEEGAWDS!

  • charlie

    CJ is once again correct. It tis healthy to debate. If all DEms had lined up in a line behind Racer X they still would be accussed of something. Line up don’t line up they are going to be judged.
    CJ summed up the sainthood stuff too.
    Btw, what is a listlady? Sounds kewl.

    • cj

      Thanks for your support. For now I’m going to stop commenting and start holiday shopping.

  • addicted to hopey-changey thing

    VA Dems made the right decision. Roussie isn’t ready. No contacts, no real connections or understanding of other Dems across the state. Face it, Roussie’s resting on the laurels of his predecessors like Steen and Roberts, not to mention the other Whipple. He’s a highly opinionated, self-serving person lacking in true leadership qualities. And as for opposing M-M-W she is and will remain the right choice to lead N. Arlington’s delegation to the Senate.

    • Captain Obvious

      There are many things to say about whether Brian or Peter was the more qualified candidate, but to call Peter “self-serving” is the height of idiocy and proof that you have no idea what you’re talking about. There’s not a single person who voted for Brian who would agree with you on that point.

    • truthnjustice

      If that is your view, you obviously never participated in the Arlington County Democratic Committee. As for me, I have seen how Peter cultivated youth leadership (as evidenced by the election of a qualified successor Mike Lieberman who is only 30), presided over one of the most effective precinct operations and GOTV efforts which yielded almost unparalleled Democratic performance in Arlington. The vitriolic Peter bashing is absolutely without basis and if it is coming from Moran supporters who are upset that a grassroots aligned leader deigned to contest the DPVA Chairmanship, then you should know that it is both classless AND counterproductive! Knock it off and start working on bringing the party together and giving voice to the issues of concern to the grassroots!

  • http://www.vademocrats.org J. Tyler Ballance

    Both Peter Rousselot and Brian Moran, are very fine gentlemen, who both have already done a great deal of work on behalf of their fellow Virginians.

    Brian will be an energetic and effective Chairman, and had the election gone to Peter, we would have been equally, well served.

    Start recruiting good citizens to run for office as Democrats, next year!

  • charlie

    Just to be clear ++ I don’t think either are good leaders. That doesn’t make me an idiot any more than it makes someone who disagrees with me an idiot.

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