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]

Shoppers stock up on distilled spirits amid fears Virginia ABC stores might close

By: - March 23, 2020

As confirmed COVID-19 cases rise rapidly, Virginians are hunkering down and stocking up on essentials should the government order a severe lockdown that shutters nearly all commerce. Meat? Check. Canned goods? Check. Toilet paper and disinfectants? Check. Liquor? Double-check. Across Virginia, the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control stores are seeing a significant jump in business, likely […]


Urgent national call for sacrifice by seclusion is met with Generation Z battle cry: ‘Party On!’

By: - March 23, 2020

Eighty years ago, a virus dedicated to the evil notion that a “master race” should have dominion over the world was consuming Europe with beachheads in Asia and Africa. With this murderous tyranny forcing itself on one conquered nation after another, allied countries asked their people for sacrifices commensurate with the threat, up to and […]


Accountability, leadership become politics’ X factors in the time of coronavirus

By: - March 16, 2020

The second week of March crashed upon an unsuspecting America with a force that only a precious and dwindling handful of Americans can appreciate. In a twinkling, life as we knew it ended, swept away in a global tsunami of panic over COVID-19, a virus that science doesn’t fully understand and the United States can’t […]


Coronavirus spread will test the strength of Virginia’s health care infrastructure

By: - March 9, 2020

About 800 people have perished in the past year in Virginia from the flu. Other than the standard precautions (flu shots, wash your hands, stay home when you’re sick), influenza is regarded as it historically has been – a difficult fact of life. COVID-19, the precise name the medical community has given to a new, […]


How blue is Virginia? Bernie Sanders’ campaign is about to become a test case.

By: - March 2, 2020

Bernie Sanders stepped onstage in Richmond last week and thousands of people who had shivered in the cold for hours responded with an ear-splitting roar for what seemed like minutes. Overwhelmingly young and predominantly female, the racially diverse crowd was drawn there by Sanders’ populist and progressive promises (government-paid health care for all, wiping out […]

Packed house cheers Sanders as telltale Virginia Democratic primary looms

By: - February 27, 2020

Five days ahead of an important Virginia vote in next week’s Super Tuesday primary, Bernie Sanders appealed to a packed house of youthful voters in Richmond to spurn the Democratic status quo and back his campaign as the next step in the commonwealth’s progressive turn. Riding a crest of early caucus and primary victories and […]


Federal tax incentives for investment in economically disadvantaged areas find more traction in urban Virginia

By: - February 24, 2020

In December of 2017, a Republican-controlled Congress made good on freshman President Donald Trump’s pledge to overhaul the U.S. tax code. It gave wealthy people and their businesses generous tax breaks and put the nation’s growing debt on steroids. Drafters of the new tax overhaul sought to incentivize a major infusion of capital into designated […]


Can media polls still get it right? Despite shortcomings, discerning voters can still find valid data.

By: - February 17, 2020

Not many people would bet next month’s rent money on the accuracy of the next political horse race poll proffered by the media. Can you blame them? The perception is that recent polls have failed us spectacularly.  Just ask Joe Biden, whom polls showed firmly in control of the Democratic presidential nomination just a few […]


After legislature’s leftward lurch, conservatives pitch ‘Vexit’ to rural Virginia localities

By: - February 10, 2020

The Democratic electoral sweep last November and the deep demographic, social and economic changes underlying it have fostered a widening divide among Virginians. The latest manifestation appears to broaden the breach. Virginia is a state familiar with secession, having seceded from the United States to join the Confederacy in 1861 and making Richmond the capital […]


License undocumented immigrants? It’s safer than having unvetted, unlicensed drivers.

By: - February 3, 2020

Nothing makes a conservative’s blood boil faster than the idea that immigrants who haven’t cleared all the legal hurdles are getting a right or privilege in this country. It’s no coincidence that “Build the wall!” was (and remains) a galvanizing battle cry among President Donald Trump’s supporters. Immigrants have long been a fact of life […]


Absent timely federal vaping regulation, Virginia and other states cobble together a regulatory patchwork

By: - January 27, 2020

As the summer of 2019 gave way to autumn, a health crisis that had festered for years became frightful front-page news: children were falling gravely ill and even dying as a result of vaping, a smoke-free option once marketed as a lifesaving choice for smokers. But it quickly became the rage among teens, practiced by […]


Virginia’s Capitol as a dystopian landscape braced for battle. How did it come to this?

By: - January 20, 2020

By the time you read this, thousands of people — maybe some intent on angry and perhaps violent confrontation— will be making their way to what was once the welcoming, parklike lawn of Virginia’s majestic hilltop Capitol. But on this Monday morning, they’ll find a barren and forbidding landscape ringed by six-foot-tall chain-link restraining fences […]