Race to unseat Potts gets ugly

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A contact inside the 27th district state senate race passed on the following newsletter from Republican candidate Mark Tate (former Middleburg Vice Mayor) that I've copied and pasted below the fold. I've read comments on a couple of other blogs indicating that supporters of Mr. Tate were engaged in a whispering campaign against his his conservative opponent Jill Holtzman Vogel, a campaign finance attorney from Fauquier, with the message that Jill is not as pro-life as she claims to be.

It would seem that Mr. Tate himself has actually been involved in the whispering and is now shouting his accusations. This sort of mudslinging in a vital primary is completely out of line, and Mr. Tate should focus on explaining to the voters of the 27th district why he is qualified to be their state senator rather than casting aspersions on another true believer in our conservative social values. While I reserve my judgement as to who should be elected in this race, the Tate campaign seems to be off on the wrong foot.

Update: With Potts out of the race, this race is likely to heat up. Maybe we can get Mrs. Vogel and/or Mr. Tate into this site to live-blog.

Dated February 7, 2006

Dear ____ and _____,

In a Washington Post story earlier this year, Sen. Russ Potts confirmed he would once again block any attempt to pass pro-life legislation in Richmond. He then followed that with this quote on Jan. 11th, 1007:

"Until the extremist right wing of the Republican Party realizes it's not about God, guns, gays, abortion, and illegal immigration, then you're not going to be able to solve this problem, or education, or health care," Potts said. "They're out of touch."

This latest outrage from Russ Potts demands a response from anyone who seeks to represent us in State Senate.

Those who know me know of my life-long commitment and personal efforts to protecting the unborn. How Russ Potts is abusing his Senate seat is just one more reason why he should be retired at the earliest possible moment. You and I came within an eyelash of doing just that in 2003 and we need to finish the job this year.

But we should also be concerned by the deafening silenece - the lack of any public criticism of Sen. Potts - by others who claim to be pro-life. Especially those who seek political support from those of us who believe in the importance of this issue, but not if it is inconvenient to their personal ambitions.

My opponent in this race, Jill Holtzman-Vogel says she is pro-life, but without any record of active involvement whatsoever, all voters have to rely on are her words. And they are few.

In fact, she has consistently refused to criticize Potts on abortion or other issues. In a (sic) article from the Northern Virginia Daily she said: "I don't think it's about Russ Potts. I think it's about having a fresh person in Richmond."

page two

With the fundraising party she hosted for Potts, a clear picture of Ms. Holtzman-Vogel's lack of commitment on this issue began to emerge.

All too often we have seen politicians who claim to be pro-life, but who disappear from view when it is time to take a stand.

I believe now is the time to take a stand.

I call on any Republican wanting to represent us in Richmond to immediately go on the record and specifically condemn Russ Potts for his obstructionist actions. Anything less than a clear and public condemnation of Potts and his actions falls short of a true commitment to protect our most vulnerable citizens who cannot speak for themselves.

Jointly, with your donations of time and financial resources, we will win the election this spring. I urge you to join me and many others to assure a real change in the 27th District.

Together we can make not just a change in Richmond, but a real difference on this and other critical issues.


Mark Tate


reply device

card enclosed and SASE (with a stamp)

Dear Mark,

I support the job you're doing on behalf of the citizens of the 27th District. I understand my contribution will go a long way to help your campaign and ensure you can keep up the good work on behalf of our families here and in Richmond.

Box: I will help Mark Tate

____Friend to Friend Cards
____Volunteer at H.Q.
____Door to Door
____Would like a Lawn Sign
____Host a meet Mark Tate event

Please make check payable to Friends of Mark Tate. Disclaimer PO Box 173 Middleburg 20118 703-677-0855 www.votetate.com info@marktate.org

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10thdistrictrepublican said:

All I can say here is if the shoe fits????
In my opinion there is nothing wrong about point out the faults of your opponent.
As a resident of the 27th it does not suprise me at all that Mr. Tate is "calling her out" She has been "playing with fire" for a while now. Trying to ride the middle of the fence and playing to both conservatives and moderates is not too good of an idea, especially in a primary.
Primaries are can be very rough contests. I am not sure why you would think this would be out of line. I am sure it has hit a very soft spot with the Holtzman campaign.

Loudoun Conservative said:

What's ugly about calling her out on the issues?

It would be pretty simple for her to give the lie to his statements. I'm personally curious to see if she will.

Some people have a tendency to confuse hard-core issue oriented campaigning with negativity. They differ. If someone considers her lack of pro-life credentials a negative, then so be it. But it is a relevant issue for some people. I don't see anything unacceptable here. Potts is one of the worst things that has happened to the RPV in my lifetime. What's wrong w/ saying so?

alwaysprolife said:

Jill provides legal services as a lawyer. Attacks on a working mother who is providing services to a noteworthy charity are below the belt and desperate - and speak volumes of the kind of person Tate is. And does Tate really want to discuss business? I mean - all anyone has to do is complete a simple check on Tate's business and one could keep the blog pages filled.....for days. Let's see who has the last laugh!

10thdistrictrepublican said:

"Attacks on a working mother who is providing services to a noteworthy charity are below the belt and desperate - and speak volumes of the kind of person Tate is."

Only problem is Tate did NOT even attack her on this issue. The AP brought this subject up. If you don't like it blame the AP not the Tate campaign. I am on the Tate campaign mailing list and to my knowledge I have never heard this mentioned in emails.

The Holtzman campaign keeps whining but the truth is Mrs. Holtzman has never to my knowledge criticized Sen. Potts in the papers until this week when Mr. Tate called her out on it. I don't see this as a personal attack as much as exposing possible hypocrisy.

All the Holtzman campaign does these days are to criticize one of Mr. Tate's campaign finace things that he has already paid for. She really needs to get to more issues whatever the flavor of the week is.

Fly on the Wall said:


The problem with your boy's campaign finance reports doesn't end with the one he got punished for. The new one looks to be messed up according to vpap.org. You can't make 114 donations of $100 or less equal to over $60,000. It's just not possible.

You guys have nothing but innuendo about the pro-life issue. Just like the Nazis, if you keep spouting a lie, you believe that enough people will buy it for you to win. Jill is a champion for the unborn.

The 'Frist investigation' is another big lie. All anyone has to do is google your silly AP article, and they'll see that the only time the word investigation is used is in relation to something else that Frist was being looked at for that didn't involve Jill. The reporter was simply on a fishing expedition, and there hasn't been a follow-up in the last year.

Tate is the one running negative here. Just look at his little letter above. Jill is sticking to the issues and telling the voters why she's the most qualified to represent them.

jacob said:

Interesting comment. Are you implying that "a working mother" is beyond reproach?

10thdistrictrepublican said:

Last time I checked VPAP was not the board of elections.

Go ahead and keep whining about Tate finance reports he has already paid the fine for and watch Tate win easily this spring. This appears to be the Holtzman campaigns only issue right now.

Holzman is worried because she knows she is losing momentum and support, especially after at least 2 or three times refusing to criticize Pott's in her little annoucenment tour. She started criticizing when she found out she was is very deep trouble with conservatives disturbed by this. THis is what happens when you try to straddle the fence and attempt to appease both moderates and conservatives.

You say there is nothing but innuendo about the pro life issue but "were there is smoke there is fire". When one fails in the past to critize Pott's publically this stuff will happen.

Fly on the Wall said:

What stuff will happen? A couple of your opponents' supporters and the candidate himself will spread lies? Cause that's all I see happening here.

10thdistrictrepublican said:

No lies fly, just read our local papers. Do you reside in the 27th??

I am a local republican in the 27th and this week was the first time I have even seen Holtzman criticize Pott's publically in the paper and this was because Mr. Tate forced her hand with his excellently worded critique.

Last month Holtzman had several chances to criticize Pott's in my local paper and declined comment??? I wonder why?? Nothing untruthful here. Just the facts.

Fly on the Wall said:

Mark Tate recently pooped his pants. I have proof because he had chances to deny that fact and didn't.

Therefore, Mark must love abortion. Geez, why didn't I think of this obvious proof earlier.

10thdistrictrepublican said:

You can change the subject all day long if you like, I just gave you proof and this is what happens.

Why did Mrs. Holtzman refuse to criticize our Sen. Pott's publicall until Mr. Tate called her on it??? Maybe because she was afraid much of her liberal-moderate support in the Valley would not like it.

MBConservative said:

It seems to me that if Vogel truly is against Pott's obstructionist activities, she would have no problem sharing that with those whom she hopes to represent. If Mark Tate forced her hand in criticizing, wouldn't he have been doing her a favor? If Vogel is no wolf in sheeps clothing, why such the fuss over making her be straight forward about her beliefs. Making your views known to the constituents you wish to represent is kind of the point of campaigning. Mr.Tate has not beat around the bush when it comes to where he stands. For it to be a fair election, I would think the people of the 27th district would expect as much from each candidate. Mark Tate was just helping to point that out. I do not consider that negative campaigning.

Jack said:

I missed somethig. To what "noteworthy charity" is she providing services, and why is it an issue?

10thdistrictrepublican said:

Here is the article Jack:


Fly on the Wall said:

As a follow-up for Jack:

Please note the date of the article 2005... Let's repeat that...2005!

The only time the word investigation is mentioned is talking about Frist's ethics problem at the time that did NOT involve Jill whatsoever.

The reporter was on a fishing trip that yielded nothing.

End of story.

10thdistrictrepublican said:

Sorry Fly,

The AP does not fish for stories. This is not a partisan organization. It has been less than 2 years.

The article itself looked like it yeilded a whole lot.

Fly on the Wall said:

You can't be serious, right?

We just finished a federal election where the Dems pulled every tooth they could find (to great affect). I think there might have been some tiny follow-up, say an investigation or another article at the very least. Reporters fish for stories all the time, and if it sticks, they do follow-up stories.

There are reporters writing stories very frequently on this race, and not one has even dared to touch the subject.

We have evidence enough in the fact that you guys can't even state what exactly you believe was improper, much less unethical. All you can do is link the article and pretend like there's a landmine waiting on the other side. There just isn't.

10thdistrictrepublican said:

The article speaks for itself. As for the article NOT involving Mrs. Holtzman. That is totally false. She had a big part in the article. Read about the ethical problems yourself. The AP writer does a fine job of explaining things.

A pro-life friend asked Jill, last time she ran, whether she "supported a woman's right to choose". I'm sorry that I don't have the verbatim response, but my recollection is that she waffled.

I'm sitting this primary contest out, as I don't like Mark's water-carrying for the PEC, and I don't see why people think that an aggressive former RNC attorney will be anything beyond a typical establishment Republican.

rabidlyprolife said:

When looking into the candidates for the upcoming Senate race, I met Mark Tate and asked him about prolife. He said he was. I called Jill Holtzman Vogel and asked if she favored a woman's right to choose, which usually brings candidates out of the woodwork. She said No I do not--I am prolife and always have been. We then had a longish talk and she mentioned the birth of her children and how even more prolife she became after they were born and how important this issue and traditional family values are to her. At the beginning of the conversation she thought I was proabortion which is what I wanted her to think--she never hesitated in explaining her views, nor did she criticize Mark Tate when I asked her about him. She simply said he will not be as effective and I have the experience. None of this slicing and dicing. I admired that. Since then I have thoroughly researched both candidates and continue to hear these awful rumors about a Christian woman said by those who call themselves Christian. I would suggest to John from Loudon that he speak directly with Jill and do not rely on what someone else told him. Jill is more than willing to sponsor prolife legislation and has the capability to get things done-doesn't start something and then renege. I also took the time to sift through campaign finance reports before I made a decision as to whom I would support. Jill's were good and I am not an expert. Then I looked at Mark Tate's and was very confused so I looked at the latest ones and all I can say is unbelievable. I could never support anyone who is inherently dishonest--not minor mistakes but biggies. It is ashame that Mr. Tate and his political operatives have to sling mud to build themselves up. I had thought if Mark Tate won the primary I would vote for him. But morals are important and slandering without proof is beyond the pale. Under no circumstances could I vote for him, despite being a rabid prolifer who has saved hundreds of babies from their deaths.

Anonymous said:

Whine, Whine, Whine, if the Holtzmans supporters cannot think of anything else but Mr. Tate's campaign reports that he has already taken care of at least according to the papers, this will be a very short race in favor of Mr. Tate.

No one doubts (Of course she says she is now!!!) she is prolife now that VCAP is behind her but is this due to convenience??? What about 2003 conservative caucus??? These are tough questions.

Rabidly pro life, did you forget about the above article about Holtzmans possible ethics problems?? Mr. Tate made a mistake and admitted it in the newspapers. Mrs. Holtzman shoudl to the same with regard to the Frist stuff that the AP so excellently worded.

10thdistrictrepublican said:

The last post was by 10thdistrict republican. I forgot to put in the name. Sorry.

Fly on the Wall said:

Ok, this is getting silly. 10th district, what, in your mind, would Jill admit to? The article doesn't make any specific accusations of unethical behavior, much less wrongful conduct, not to mention its age.

As for 2003, what would you want to hear there exactly?

I think rabidlyprolife has done her research, and is the one with the tough questions.

(also, i'd like to point out that right after you say that no one doubts she is pro-life now, you doubt that she's pro-life now.)

not Joe May said:

Tate has taken money from Senator John Warner and now he is going to have a reception with Del. Joe May as a headliner. And Tate is saying he is more conservative than Jill Holtzman Vogel? That dog don't hunt!

10thdistrictrepublican said:

At least Tate takes money from Republicans, NOT independent supporters of Russ Potts, big money lobbyists, and democrats.

I heard some of Russ's Governor supporters in the valley even held a fundraiser for Jill. Is this true?? I honestly don't know???

10thdistrictrepublican said:

BTW, What's wrong with Joe May?? I can understand disappointment with Sen. Warner with regards to Iraq but May seems to be a good conservative Republican.

Oh, Thats right, VCAP folks targeted a good principled conservative over 1 ,I mean 1 vote and his primary opponent had a ton of success. He got crushed! I can't remember his opponent but he seemed out of place in the district. Even if you did not agree with May on this vote in 04 he is at least a Republican, more than we can say about Holtzman's liberal-moderate Pott's for Governor supporters.

ultraconservative said:

Well 10th district Republican, you need to check your facts as I did. Who gave the most money to Kaine's campaign (over $400,000)? Check it out and see who this big liberal is giving to in this race--hint--it ain't Jill but then she wouldn't do deals with someone to get money. Of course Jill pays her bills something Mark is notorious for not doing. Why don't you do a little fact checking and see why this woman would give $10,000 to a state senate campaign and not be related to Mark. No, you would rather try and smear Jill. The bunch of young turks who think they are hot stuff (but really losers-one is out of a job and the other has dropped out of college so many times it is like a merry-go-round)will find out just how unhot they are. I shall enjoy seeing you guys brought down.

10thdistrictrepublican said:

Whine,whine, whine about the bills. I read the paper and I guess the fines have been paid.

"it ain't Jill but then she wouldn't do deals with someone to get money"---

ultraconservative, your too funny. Most of the elected officials and VCAP that supports Mrs. Holtzman have recieved very nice donations in the past. I am not sure what to make of this personally but it certainly does not appear to be good.

not Joe May said:

Del. Joe May is a tax and spend Republican. Mr. Tate, it speaks volumes that you accept support from that tax raising huckster. It makes me go BOZO TILT.

not Joe May said:

Del. Joe May is a tax and spend Republican. Mr. Tate, it speaks volumes that you accept support from that tax raising huckster. It makes me go BOZO TILT.

ultraconservative said:

You guess the fines have been paid? My understanding is VCAP only supports conservatives and they vet these people thoroughly. So you are now impugning VCAP for all their hard work on behalf of conservative candidates because they support Jill? Of course she gives money and if Mark doesn't, then he should be. Jill supports Family Foundation and many other conservative places. So what you are saying is VCAP was bought--that is disgusting. I am still waiting for you to explain Sheila Johnson's $10,000 donation--we aren't talking about $100 or so, we are talking about a liberal, very liberal founder of Black Entertainment TV which has garbage and not family values on it programs, giving the largest donation to Gov Kaine of over $400,000 to help defeat the candidate Mark Tate was supposedly supporting. So let's make sure everyone reading this blog understands it--if some person who supported Potts for Governor, and he has many long time friends who out of friendship did, gives Jill $100 or so, that is bad and evil, but if a liberal Democrat who works to defeat Republicans gives Mark $10,000, that is ok? That is exactly what you are saying. Give it up! Mark did Johnson a favor and helped get her resort open quid pro quo and she rewarded a supposed Republican with $10,000. Who is buying whom? You can insult me all you want, but those are actual facts. I have not seen one fact presented against Jill, just slander and innuendo to destroy her reputation and believe you folks are not helping yourselves at all.

Fly on the Wall said:

Jill, as a loyal Republican should if able, has donated money to local conservatives and Republicans. In fact, if you go through her donations, she has demonstrated a real commitment to giving money to pro-life candidates like Dick Black in 2003, Mick Staton last year, and a whole host of others.

Anyone who looks at her giving record can see that she is a soldier for the causes that social conservatives hold most dear.

10thdistirctrepublican said:

Ha Ha, I wonder who Black is supporting????

I don't think she started giving money until she decided to run herself?????

Fly, Did one of Pott's big independent supporters for the governor race host a fundraiser for Mrs. Holtzman????????

Therein lies the problem.

No one really knows were she stands because she has "straddled the fence for so long".
No one doubts she made a statement criticizing Sen. Pott's last week after Mr. Tate called her out on the issue but were was she the previous times when she declined comment about Sen. Potts??? These are legitimate questions.

Fly on the Wall said:

10th District,

I'm sorry that your support for Mr. Tate has blinded you to the reality of this campaign, and it is apparent that neither of us going to convince the other.

However, I think Mark should tone down his unfounded attacks on Jill and focus on building himself up as a candidate. He has a long way to go in this endeavor, and I'm afraid that he's damaged himself too much already.

10thdistrictrepublican said:

Fair enough fly, but campaigns are rough events especially primaries and truth be told Mrs. Holtzman had been taking the middle ground in dealing with liberal republicans and conservatives.

Mr. Tate called her out on the failure to criticize Pott's multiple times in newspapers and she did criticize him in the paper. I give her credit for it but I don't have a problem with bringing up issues.
I think Mrs Holtzman will need to convince the "grassroots" that she is a legitimate candidate NOT attempting to buy the seat. I do think she has a long way to go in this area but in the end neither me or you will pick the candidate. The voters will decide.

Fly on the Wall said:

See this is exactly what I'm talking about. You haven't said anything positive about Mark or why he should be elected all week.

As I've said time and time again, Jill Holtzman Vogel is a smart business woman who has built a successful legal practice. She has appeal to all kinds of voters, but her core beliefs are dictated by principle, and she is firmly committed to the pro-life cause.

She has been a tireless worker for the Republican Party, and her office is often the site for phone banks for campaigns.

We need more people like her if we're going to rebuild this party, not sloppy campaigners who rely on whispering campaigns and innuendo.

Also, stop implying that our honorable delegates can be bought. That's the kind of thing I expect from the democrats.

10thdistrictconservative said:

Never implied anything. I just said it does not look good.

I personally like Mr. Tate for 2 main reasons;

1. Unquestionably pro life

2. Stance on growth and fighting Dominion.

I respectfully disagree with you about Mrs. Holtzman but I respect your right to an opinion.

Another concerned citizen said:

I heard something the other day that one of the people on Mr. Tate's host committee for his upcoming fundraiser claims to have never even spoken to him. Has anyone else heard anything about this?

10thdistrictrepublican said:

I have heard some on Jill's "exploratory" committee may not even be supporting her. Anyone else hear this.???

MBConservative said:

I understand that you want Tate supporters to back up their arguments with facts. That is not unreasonable. You also have to understand that there are facts supporting each side. Yes, there is some question in the ethics of accepting donations from former Kaine supporters, but Jill Vogel has also accepted such contributions. As a student at an all women's college, I had originally intended to support Jill Vogel. However, I am not impressed by your arguments. You complain about a smear campaign, and then you personally attack two of Tate's supporters by calling them losers. I do not find unemployment a reason to consider someone a loser, and I do not think the 2.9 percent of Virginians that are currently unemployed would appreciate the statement either. As for his supporter dropping out of college, are you saying anyone without a college degree is a loser? I would have to disagree with this as well. I am curious as to where you recieved your degree. Most college graduates that I know tend not to use the words "ain't" and "unhot" when trying to make an intellegent statement that they wish others to take seriously. As a person that is on the fence, I am slowly but surely being pushed to the Tate side by the ignorance and distastefulness that you have shown in your posts.

ultraconservative said:

You were a Tate supporter to begin with so cut the baloney. If any candidate gets a donation of $100 or even $300 or so I am sure they do not run a check to see where the money came from. Everyone knows that many folks and companies give to both sides. However, in a State senate race, if someone gives a donation of $10,000 anyone in their right mind would check. Mark knew taking that money Johnson-Newman was a big dem supporter and he did her a favor. This woman gave over $400,000 to Kaine--his biggest donor. Obviously you have no problem about someone lying about a person's beliefs with absolutely nothing to back it up. All you hear is Jill is not prolife with nothing to back it up. Because prolife is issue I do vote on, it is insulting. Silliness that someone who supported Potts did a fundraiser for Jill. So what?? Maybe they were friends of Potts who supported him because of that friendship. Maybe they finally realized how bad the guy was and were sending him a message don't run again because we will not be there. I am sure they did not give Jill $10,000. Oh there is a lot more coming. All I have seen on blogs is Jill is not prolife and she didn't criticize Potts. Since she only became a candidate a few weeks ago and Mark has announced and preannounced many times, he is the one who would be quoted. It will all come out. I know two of the bloggers who are being vindictive and yes, they are losers and I stand by that. Anyone who smears another's character is a loser and vicious. You would not like that done to you. I am bloggin based on facts and have enumerated each and every fact. I had once thought I might support Mark Tate but given what I am hearing and seeing and the state of his finance reports, it will never happen. Jill is a role model for women. Frankly, we could do with another woman in the Senate who is smart, articulate, lawyer, mom,hard worker, etc.

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