Phil Kellam vs Thelma Drake

Phil Kellam, Virginia Beach, Virginia's Commissioner of Revenue is running against incumbent Thelma Drake for Virginia's Second District seat in the US House of Representatives.

I am rather pleased with the selection the Democrats made to run for the seat in the House that represents me. In this heavily conservative district, Democrats in the past have sometimes not even bothered to field any candidate whatsoever. With Phil Kellam, who I would describe as center-right, they have offered a candidate who might be competitive and for whom I would consider voting.

From what I have seen thus far, there is not a whole lot of difference between Thelma and Phil. I doubt either one of them will shame me in Congress.

For those who do not reside in the area, let me first clue you in to a little local history. The Kellam name enjoys instant recognition. One of Virginia Beach's high schools is even named Kellam High. The Kellam's have long been involved in local politics and Phil Kellam is following in the footsteps of those who went before him.

I wish to explore my hopes and fears as I go about deciding who I vote for.

First let me point towards what I know. I have been watching how Thelma Drake votes. She seems to follow Republican leadership in her voting record. Never drifting out of line, the Republican party could always count on her to support the party line. I am not enamored with the Republican party line, so this weighs against her. Can Thelma Drake point to a single issue where she made a difference in Congress? Can Thelma state "Here is where I thought my party was too far right wing and where I pulled them towards the center?" I have seen no evidence of it. Every time she voted, it was with the Republican party. The Republican party could count on her vote.

Now my fears about voting for Phil Kellam. If Phil, a center-right kind of guy, is elected, he will caucus with the Democrat party. Like it or not, if the Democrats win a majority in the House, this probably means Nancy Pelosi would be elected as Speaker of the House. Phil might not vote for her, but the majority of Democrats elected to the House probably will. Perhaps Phil will be a maverick (I like mavericks). Would Phil's voting record closely follow the leadership of Nancy Pelosi or will it reflect attempts to pull the Democrat party towards the center?

Truth is I am leaning towards casting my vote for Phil Kellam. However this support is very tenuous. A vote for Phil is a vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House and I do not look favorably on this outcome. However perhaps if the American public elects enough reasonable Democrats to public office, power can be wrestled from the hands of left wing extremists within the Democrat party. I have just about given up on hopes the Republican party can be reformed. (I am still willing to vote for reasonable Republicans like my Republican Senator John Warner.)

Perhaps Phil deserves a chance in public office to show us what he can do. If he is elected, we can watch whether he delivers on his promises. He claims that what America needs is bipartisan solutions to problems from which I take it that he will not follow the left wing agenda of Democrat leadership. I am willing to give him a chance and then hold him accountable on the next election.

Thus, I give a rather tepid endorsement to Phil Kellam to represent my district in the US House of Representatives. Thus far, I intend to vote for him, and then watch to see if he can help bring the Democrat party towards the center.


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