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]


Virginia’s toxic campaign season: life in the Divided States of America

By: - November 1, 2021

In school board meetings, city council sessions and public hearings across the country – including here in Virginia – you see due process dissolve into red-faced rants, threats and arrests. On the grounds of the university Thomas Jefferson founded and in Charlottesville, we saw it explode in blood and death four years ago – a […]


Gov. Linwood Holton: An appreciation

By: - October 29, 2021

The only time I ever saw Tim Kaine cry, it was over his father-in-law, former Gov. A. Linwood Holton. And it was many years before Holton passed away Thursday at the age of 98. Kaine had won the 2005 governor’s race, and I was the Associated Press political writer in Richmond interviewing him a couple […]


Stretched thin, nurses bore COVID-19’s brunt. So why couldn’t the governor give them a break?

By: - October 18, 2021

All things considered, the request didn’t seem unreasonable. Understaffed and overworked in some places to the point of collapse, hospitals struggling with a summer surge of delta variant COVID-19 infections reached out to the state for some relief. As reported by the Virginia Mercury’s Kate Masters on Oct. 5, they sought an emergency waiver of state […]

Virginia Redistricting Commission consultants told to compromise on Congressional maps

By: - October 14, 2021

Virginia’s bipartisan Redistricting Commission put work on House of Delegates and state Senate districts behind it Thursday and moved on to redrawing congressional district boundaries. In taking up the state’s 11 U.S. House boundaries, the bipartisan commission punted on its duty to remap state legislative districts to the Virginia Supreme Court. Without comment on partisan […]


A nightmare before Christmas: Unresolved, Senate debt limit posturing risks a financial crash

By: - October 11, 2021

The myopic partisan brinksmanship that is the predominant pursuit of Congress these days reached a seeming impasse last week over a critical vote to raise the federal debt limit before our elected elites did what they do best: kick the can down the road. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., offered the Democrats, who hold […]


With Trump sidelined and Biden floundering, has the Virginia GOP found its mojo?

By: - October 4, 2021

For a politician, having a worst enemy is way better than having a solid ally. It’s not easy to rouse your village without a Grendel to vanquish. You have to come up with boring stuff like ideas for better ways to govern or how to fix what’s broken. Virginia Democrats have had an impressive decade-long […]


In Virginia, who judges the judges?

By: - September 27, 2021

She was jittery when she took the witness stand, by all accounts. Katie Orndorff, 33, was testifying in her boyfriend’s felony domestic violence trial in a Leesburg courtroom. Then, through a fast, strange and terrifying turn of events, the witness/victim became the accused and, before she knew it, was being dragged off to jail after […]


In attack on abortion rights, new Texas law could turn state courts into litigation Thunderdomes

By: - September 20, 2021

Forty-eight years have passed since a Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade established a legal right to have an abortion in the United States. It created a passionate rift that has never been (and never will be) resolved. Those who oppose abortion say that terminating a pregnancy is murder. It’s an article of faith […]


In a nationalized race, McAuliffe exploits the abortion furor while Youngkin hypes crime rates

By: - September 13, 2021

Are Virginia elections really referendums on national concerns? Better yet, can candidates still compete on state-level issues? Both major-party gubernatorial candidates are nationalizing their campaigns to one degree or another, a phenomenon once rare in the drowsy, off-year Virginia elections that traditionally focused on parochial, almost arcane issues. Democrat Terry McAuliffe is staking his chances […]


A Virginia the Martinsville Seven could not have imagined

By: - September 7, 2021

It took Virginia 70 years to clear the names of seven young Black men who were put to death for a Jim Crow-era rape conviction in which their skin color put a fair trial and a measured sentence out of their reach. It was done by a governor born eight years after Francis DeSales Grayson, […]


Fed up, the vaccinated find their voice

By: - August 30, 2021

A nurse breaks down in a TV interview after she’s held the hand of a third ICU patient to die of COVID-19 during just one grueling shift. Tick … tick … tick … Children are masked in their classrooms, yet they’re the lucky ones who are at school, not those forced for a third school […]


Eyeing November: Trump trouble ahead for Youngkin? A Biden burden for McAuliffe?

By: - August 23, 2021

Democrat Terry McAuliffe views Donald Trump as a key to his second tenancy in Virginia’s Executive Mansion. At every turn, the former governor tries to tether his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, to the unpopular immediate past president. After a rotten week for President Joe Biden from the wakeful nightmare that is the botched U.S. withdrawal […]