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]


Newbie governors with no governing experience face a steep learning curve

By: - February 14, 2022

There ought to be a crash course – an orientation of sorts – for guys like Glenn Youngkin who get elected governor having never spent a moment in elective public office. It’s almost unfair. Youngkin, a Republican, came to office like Mark Warner, 20 years before him, and Terry McAuliffe, the former governor he defeated […]


In a time of plenty, can we spare a little more to modernize Virginia infrastructure?

By: - February 7, 2022

It’s rare that Virginia’s governors and budget writers have the luxury to look over a state treasury flush with cash and struggle to figure out how to spend it all. Maybe while it’s top-of-mind, just a thought: Pour as much as you can into modernizing Virginia’s public infrastructure. Consider for a moment: revenues that feed […]


‘Eating our seed corn’: Struggling young workers, our economic backbone, need help

By: - January 31, 2022

You don’t have to get out much to know that our commonwealth and our nation aren’t doing so well. You see it in the volatile stock markets, as fickle and easily spooked as a school of minnows, with freak-show dips and rebounds in just one day’s session. You see it in the supermarkets, with some […]


Bipartisanship in Richmond: Is that even a realistic expectation?

By: - January 24, 2022

  Can we just agree that we can’t agree? Can we just acknowledge that the passing, oblique nod to the ideal of finding common cause in Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s 27-minute inaugural address was already a punch line before the bleachers and bunting on the Capitol steps came down that day? The partisan back-biting and recriminations […]


Going to jail for giving someone the finger? Mattaponi governance dispute deepens.

By: - January 17, 2022

What if you could do time for flipping somebody off? It’s not a classy move, but the middle-finger salute has been deemed by the courts as free expression protected by the First Amendment. When Steven Custalow was accused of doing it a month ago to the chief of the Mattaponi Indian Reservation, it landed him […]


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 […]