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]


Tomorrow, America’s worst-ever presidential campaign dies. Good riddance.

By: - November 2, 2020

The electric blue arc from an exploding transformer nearby lit up the blustery, gray gloom of Hurricane Zeta’s remnants as it barreled across Virginia Thursday, just hours after it battered poor ol’ whupped-down Louisiana. It was the fifth named storm this year to ravage Cajun country and, landfalling at the end of October, was the […]


Fatally flawed or a ‘step in the right direction’? Democrats deeply divided on redistricting reform.

By: - October 26, 2020

By Bob Lewis A lot of people worked decades for this: taking decennial reapportionment of Virginia’s legislative districts from the self-serving hands of partisan lawmakers, at least in part, and giving the job to a new commission. Finally, they believed, voters could soon pick their representatives instead of the other way around. And they were […]


A new generation of poll workers steps forward to run the machinery of democracy

By: - October 19, 2020

If you vote, you know them. They greet you at the doorway to your polling place. They examine your identification, match it to registration records and verify that you’re an elector eligible to vote at that precinct. They hand you a ballot and show you to a voting booth where you exercise, in secure secrecy, […]


‘Do something’: Confessions of a reformed Rebel

By: - October 12, 2020

A Black Lives Matter flag flies proudly in my front yard. I’ve become estranged from people I’ve known forever for insisting that monuments to Confederate figures come down and that peaceful protests over the slayings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other unarmed Black people were not only justified but righteous and overdue. […]


The budget conference: the secretive, transactional process where a dozen people write Virginia law

By: - October 5, 2020

In the wee hours of an unseasonably balmy, humid Sunday in mid-March, legislative staff on the ninth and 10th floors of Capitol Square’s decrepit, old General Assembly Building had opened their windows wide to mitigate the swelter from unrelenting, clanking steam radiators. Beyond exhaustion from a week of late nights, many hours of work lay […]


The coming confirmation fight ― and potential responses to it ― threaten an independent judiciary

By: - September 28, 2020

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg deserved a more dignified epilogue than the angry, absurd circus that is about to become a full-blown crisis as Republicans rush to confirm her replacement on the U.S. Supreme Court and Democrats ponder nuclear options to counter it. Year after year, she beat back five diagnoses of cancer and continued to […]


A sawbuck here, a Grant or a Benjamin there: The outsized impact of small donors in today’s politics 

By: - September 21, 2020

Guess who just emailed me. Jeb Bartlet! You know, the greatest president of the United States in the last million-and-a-half years! President Bartlet sent me a really nice note – addressed me by name and everything! – asking if I could spare a few bucks ($20, $50, $100 … every little bit helps) for U.S. […]


Voting in pandemic times: casting a ballot in a most perilous election

By: - September 14, 2020

Over the next 50 days, we have the chance to vote in arguably the most consequential election in American history at a time when doing so carries significant personal risk. As scary as the headlines surrounding this election have been, there’s no need to be afraid if you arm yourself with some reliable information. It’s […]


Absent a comprehensive national strategy, Virginia considers tightening data privacy and security laws

By: - September 8, 2020

You’re sitting across the desk from a bank loan officer to refinance your home mortgage and take advantage of extraordinarily low interest rates when he reveals that your credit is hopelessly overextended. You’ve financed two new cars, secured a massive personal loan and opened (and become delinquent on) dozens of credit cards in the past […]


The haves and the have-nots: How the Wall St.-Main St. divide stokes political discord

By: - August 31, 2020

Watching the Dow and the New York Stock Exchange take their deepest single-day dives ever back in March and April was terrifying. It continued day after day it seemed, and doing the math only freaked me out more when I saw what that came to in value lost to my 401(k) and other investments. My […]


Appreciation: John Henry Hager was ‘the hardest-working man in politics.’ He had to be.

By: - August 25, 2020

It’s just after 3 a.m., and a navy blue Cadillac Coupe DeVille glides westward on an otherwise empty stretch of Interstate 64, slicing through ghostly pools of mid-April mist gathered just above the blacktop. At the wheel is John Henry Hager, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, and he’s hell-bent on making it to Bluefield, Virginia, about four […]


Free speech is not free of consequence. Never has been. Never will be.

By: - August 24, 2020

For all the hand-wringing over the supposed demise of free speech in this most savage season of politics and social upheaval, expression has never been more uninhibited or robust. I just checked the vitals of the First Amendment and, while it’s getting a good workout, it’s just fine. Turns out, nobody is stopping anybody from […]