From Virtucon, we see the RTD's Jeff Schapiro playing with his crystal ball and looking into the future of Virginia politics should Tim Kaine somehow be elected vice-president. Schapiro immediatley enters my good graces by looking back to history:
A Kaine vice presidency -- puh-leese! -- would not only change the lineup here, it could lead to a realignment. In Virginia, departures and death have done just that at least three times over the past 75 years.
The 1933 appointment of Harry F. Byrd Sr. to the U.S. Senate seat of Claude Swanson -- he was FDR's first Navy secretary -- solidified Byrd's status for three decades as conservative Democratic boss.
The death in 1971 of Lt. Gov. Sarge Reynolds cost Democrats a glittery moderate and a likely win for governor in 1973. Liberal Henry Howell won a special election for LG and promptly led Democrats into the wilderness.
In 1978, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Dick Obenshain, a conservative icon, died in a plane crash. The victory of moderate stand-in John Warner helped split the GOP into warring camps.
Kaine would surrender the key to the kingdom -- the governorship -- to a Republican, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. He's now running for re-election but likely would seek a full term as governor. GOP whisperings suggest that Bob McDonnell, current gubernatorial nominee-in-waiting, would defer to Bolling, run again as attorney general and take the party's top spot in 2013.
Packaging theirs as a seasoned slate, Republicans would need only a candidate for lieutenant governor -- and there are plenty.
Bolling might have an edge for governor because of voter fatigue. Virginians put up with an election every year but may not tolerate three governors over four years: Kaine in'05, Bolling in'08 and pick one in'09.
Governor Bolling also could thwart Kaine's unfinished business: kicking out the House Republican majority. Bolling could finesse the 2011 redistricting, extending GOP legislative power for another decade.
In other words, if Kaine takes Obama's offer (should it come), he would be betraying his party at home. It would be stunning, a year after winning the state senate and on the precipice of eliminating all the Republican gains of the 1990s, he would hand over power completely and willingly to Bill Bolling, a conservative Republican who is widely popular with his own party. Kaine really has nowhere to go after he leaves the state house in 2009 unless he eats up some Obama bread crumbs. But the VP must be a powerful pull, one heart-beat away from the White House, the chance to matter nationally and be somebody more. If Obama offers, I have no doubt that Kaine will accept.
As for the LG spot should all of the dominos fall as Schapiro describes, Riley seems to think that Corey Stewart's star would continue to rise. I have it on very good authority that another Northern Virginia politician will (re)throw his hat in the ring: former State Senator Jay O'Brien.