Bob Lewis

Bob Lewis

Bob Lewis covered Virginia government and politics for 20 years for The Associated Press. Now retired from a public relations career at McGuireWoods, he is a columnist for the Virginia Mercury. He can be reached at [email protected]


Virginia Democrats don’t look serious about campaign finance reform

By: - August 2, 2021

Imagine my shock at reading a Virginia Mercury story that a joint legislative subcommittee empaneled to study reforming Virginia’s half-century-old, anything-goes political finance law was off to a crawling start. (For those who don’t know that I am a hopeless smart-ass, the preceding paragraph was meant to drip with sarcasm.) As one of just 11 […]


The first step in fighting poverty is cutting the compassion deficit 

By: - July 26, 2021

Randy was everyone’s friend in our high school days, but somewhat in the background, never too close. Handsome, easygoing and smart, he navigated a precise path that made him popular with faculty and classmates from whom he carefully hid a painful secret. That Randy Lamb grew up in grinding rural poverty was something I did […]


Don’t be surprised if the GOP tests its anti-crime message in Virginia. But will it work?

By: - July 12, 2021

One thing is sure watching local TV newscasts anywhere in America: if it bleeds, it leads. The nightly roundup of shootings, fires, sensational car crashes and other calamities has always been a mainstay of local broadcast journalism. And these days, gun deaths take up considerably more airtime. Nationally and in Virginia, numbers of incidents in […]


On the divisive issue of guns, differences between red and blue weren’t always so black and white

By: - July 6, 2021

No one who hasn’t lived as a hermit in a cave in Borneo the past few decades can profess ignorance of the potent role the implacable dispute over gun rights vs. gun control plays in today’s politics. If you’re a Republican, you can’t love unfettered rights to own and use firearms enough. It’s a sine […]


A Supreme Court ruling creates an existential crisis for the NCAA and its anachronistic idea of amateurism 

By: - June 28, 2021

The world of bigtime college sports is about to change profoundly in ways not even experts yet comprehend because of a bombshell U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Last week’s unanimous and unambiguous decision in NCAA v. Alston eviscerates the American college football and basketball cartel’s business model of earning billions […]


Independent inquiry says Parole Board investigator was biased, but not whether she had reason to be

By: - June 21, 2021

A white-shoe law firm the Northam administration hired to examine the scandal surrounding disclosures of the state inspector general’s inquiry into controversial inmate releases last year — allegedly with little or insufficient notice by the state Parole Board — delivered its report last week. The firm of Nixon Peabody found that the lead investigator at […]


Trump has been a gift to Va. Democrats for years. Now can they win without him in the White House?

By: - June 14, 2021

Winning elections for the past five years has been low-hanging fruit for Democrats in Virginia, and the reason can be summed up in two words: Donald Trump. The divisive former president’s unpopularity in the commonwealth has had the net effect of turning Virginia – where no Republican has won a statewide race since 2009 – […]


Voting need not be a gauntlet. So why is the GOP doing all it can to make it that way?

By: - June 7, 2021

Voting shouldn’t be an obstacle course, but several states — all run by Republicans — want to make it that way. It’s not that there’s a national outcry from people upset at the convenience of casting ballots in the largest-turnout election in American history in November. In fact, sizable majorities favor ease-of-voting policies, a Pew […]


The death game: big corporations and tactics they use to drain money from the departed

By: - June 1, 2021

Should it take four months and dozens of phone calls that consumed more than 40 hours – a full workweek – on the phone, not to mention at least as much time online, to disconnect phone service for a deceased person? Likewise, should an equal expenditure of time, energy and treasure be necessary to liquidate, […]


Sen. John W. Warner: an appreciation

By: - May 27, 2021

One secret of successful celebrities is knowing when and how to walk away, the graceful exit to live life outside the limelight. The great ones do it instinctively: Paul Newman, Greta Garbo, Michael Jordan, Joe DiMaggio. Sen. John W. Warner had that gift. As he closed out his fifth consecutive U.S. Senate term, the movie-star […]


As America’s infrastructure crumbles, politicians treat the problem like a partisan board game

By: - May 24, 2021

No, America, this is not a drill. In Texas, supposedly the nation’s energy capital, more than 4.5 million homes and businesses were left without light and power for days on end as a freakish winter storm and cold wave caused the state’s insular power grid to fail under the demand. More than 150 deaths resulted […]


A federal lawsuit forces Virginia to own its duty to handle pandemic jobless claims promptly

By: - May 17, 2021

Amber Dimmerling is scared. She’s angry, too. And she has every right to be. Left jobless when the pandemic crushed the restaurant industry  14 months ago, the 40-year-old single mother did her best to make ends meet and care for her 12-year-old daughter with the weekly Virginia unemployment insurance benefits she initially received. Last September, […]