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]


The strange, roller-coaster term of Virginia’s improbable governor, Ralph Northam

By: - January 10, 2022

Happy trails, Governor Northam. By the end of this week, the strange, improbable four-year tour of Virginia’s 73rd governor, His Excellency Ralph Shearer Northam, will be over. In a time-honored ceremony on Saturday morning, surrounded by living former governors dressed befitting a high-society church wedding, the mild-mannered Eastern Shore-raised country doctor who ambled into the […]


Four ways Virginia can make 2022 better than 2020 or 2021

By: - January 3, 2022

It wouldn’t take a huge leap for 2022 to be better than either of the past two years. Let’s face it, 2020 and 2021 set the bar pretty low. In Virginia, I grant you, we have dodged the tribulations of many sister states. The West, particularly California, suffered fires that left thousands homeless and charred […]

A storm passes over the Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 11, 2018)

The window is there to return to bi-partisan compromise in 2022. Just don’t hold your breath.

By: - December 29, 2021

The year 2021 was only six days old when it tipped its hand to the sort of politically riven year it would be. Thousands of violent apostles of defeated President Donald Trump tried (and failed) to end nearly 250 years of American democracy by commandeering Congress’s constitutional duty to count the nation’s electoral votes that […]


Northam’s loaded legacy budget co-opts Youngkin, dispenses holiday sugar plums

By: - December 20, 2021

What better way to get the Yule season rolling than playing Santa Claus, as Virginia’s lame-duck governor, Ralph Northam, is doing? His jolly old excellency has been popping up everywhere, promising hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of sugar plums that he’s embedded into his proposed $158 billion biennial state budget that’s improbably flush with […]

Northam presents final budget, flush with cash, to lawmakers

By: and - December 16, 2021

Gov. Ralph Northam presented legislative budget writers Thursday with his final fiscal blueprint for Virginia government that proposes tax cuts, state employee pay raises, stoking the state’s reserve savings and strengthening the public retirement fund.  Robust tax collections augmented by federal pandemic economic relief funds created unprecedented operational surpluses, even during the  social and financial […]


Lessons Virginia Democrats can take from their 2021 losses

By: - December 13, 2021

It took them nearly a decade of defeat to wise up, but Virginia’s Republicans finally learned lessons that had been right in front of them for years. Now, it’s time for Democrats to perform a postmortem on their losses last month and attempt the same process. After convincing GOP losses from 2017 through Joe Biden’s […]

Search warrant issued over Mattaponi Council recordings will be dropped, prosecutor says

By: - December 8, 2021

A search warrant King William County authorities obtained in August for records from online giant Google relating to covert recordings of closed Mattaponi Tribal Council meetings will be voluntarily rescinded, an official said Tuesday. “We’re not pursuing it,” said King William Commonwealth’s Attorney Matt Kite. The warrant, issued by a magistrate in James City County […]


An impetuous, unpredictable conservative takes on a job of moderation, process

By: - December 6, 2021

Winsome Sears made a political career of confounding people who told her she couldn’t do something; of zigging when conventional wisdom dictated that she zag. A Black, conservative, evangelical Republican woman and former Marine, she was told she had no business taking on an entrenched Democratic House of Delegates member from a deep blue Norfolk […]


‘We have to take it back’: Mattaponi protest wants Va. to recognize new leadership

By: - November 29, 2021

Christine Custalow had lived for 83 years on the sacred soil her Mattaponi ancestors had inhabited for centuries before things on the tribe’s sovereign reservation finally went too far for her. It’s hard to appreciate what drove her to stand quietly on Wednesday beside Capitol Square’s historic Bell Tower as her children and grandchildren told […]


In Virginia, why can corporations treat animals in ways that would land individuals in jail?

By: - November 22, 2021

“Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” – Mark Twain Who doesn’t see red reading the solid reporting that Kate Masters presented in the Mercury last week about allegedly inhumane treatment of beagles at a corporate dog-breeding facility in Cumberland? I certainly did. […]


How rural Virginia made itself politically relevant again

By: - November 15, 2021

It’s been a while since rural Virginia could claim it was heard in the corridors of state government power in Richmond as the populous northern Virginia and eastern suburbs turned the commonwealth a deeper hue of blue with each passing election. Until the second day of November this year, the last time most of ROVA […]


Youngkin proves a post-Trump model for a GOP resurgence. (If Trump will allow it.)

By: - November 8, 2021

Elections are turning points. For one party or campaign, it is a judgment, cold and final, that raises difficult questions and requires humbling introspection. For 10 years in a row in Virginia, that was the Republican Party, and with each passing year, the answer seemed ever more elusive. Until Tuesday. Glenn Youngkin led the GOP […]