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]. Follow on Mastodon: @[email protected]


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 […]


‘The myth of amateurism’: Va. considers letting college athletes earn money from name, image and likeness

By: - January 13, 2020

Athletes at Virginia colleges, unpaid stars in one of America’s richest sports entertainment enterprises, could be compensated for the first time for the commercial use of their names, images and likenesses under new state legislation. Three bills, one by a Democrat and two by Republicans, await action in the just-opened 2020 General Assembly. All are […]


As Democrats seek a nominee, what qualities can they sell to Virginia’s voters?

By: - January 6, 2020

It’s amusing to watch talking-head pundits pigeonhole Virginia as a blue state in the run-up to this year’s presidential election. November’s election, which gave the Democrats the keys to both the legislative machinery of Virginia government while controlling the executive branch for the first time in 26 years, only deepened the conventional wisdom that the […]


A survivor’s tale: How Northam emerged from a PR mega-disaster

By: - December 23, 2019

As the dusky gloom deepened on the rainy first day of February, the news hit like a thunderbolt. A photo on Ralph Northam’s page in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook depicted one man in a Klan outfit and another in blackface. A conservative blogger had uncovered what opposition researchers and journalists for a […]


Va. law that seizes licenses for unpaid court debt appears doomed. Good riddance.

By: - December 16, 2019

You’re driving along when blue strobes begin flashing not too far off your rear bumper and you pull to the side of the road. It’s a busted taillight, maybe expired tags or driving a few miles per hour over the speed limit. “License and registration please.” You know the drill. For most Virginians, it’s a […]


Will ‘Second Amendment sanctuaries’ test authority of Virginia government?

By: - December 9, 2019

A fundamental clash over gun rights and gun control looms a few weeks away and resolving it could test the operational structure of Virginia government and the rule of law.   Across the commonwealth, rural localities are declaring themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” in response to last month’s election that gave Democrats unfettered control of state government […]


Five women to watch in the 2020 Virginia General Assembly

By: - November 25, 2019

Her time has come. Never have women enjoyed as much electoral success in Virginia as they achieved in this month’s legislative election. A record 30 women (six newly elected) will hold seats in the House of Delegates when the 2020 session convenes. And, for the first time in 400 years, a woman will preside as […]


Now that the Democrats own the 2021 redistricting, will they resist the temptation to derail it?

By: - November 18, 2019

Has Virginia’s new Democratic legislative majority painted itself into a corner on redistricting? Can Democrats resist the temptation to derail a long-sought nonpartisan reapportionment commission already well on the road to becoming real?  Back when they were the minority party (just two weeks ago), Democrats criticized majority Republicans for muscling brazenly partisan redistricting bills through […]