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]


Whither the GOP? Virginia will be center stage in determining party’s direction post-Trump.

By: - January 11, 2021

There’s a reckoning ahead within the Republican Party and, when it’s over, we will know whether it can return as a serious political force or remain mired for the foreseeable future in the tick-infested mud gulch where Donald Trump wrecked and abandoned it like a stolen car. Virginia is the first battleground in that nationwide […]


What happened in Washington should never be forgotten or forgiven. The GOP must answer for it.

By: - January 7, 2021

Never in the history of this nation have we seen violent mobs attempt to overtake and overthrow our duly elected representatives in the Capitol itself. Worse still, they were exhorted to do so by a proto-dictatorial sociopath desperate to cling to presidential power by any means. Make no mistake: What Donald Trump did by stoking […]


Happy New Year: three ways you can contribute to a better 2021 and beyond

By: - January 4, 2021

The tendency is to just dismiss 2020 by saying it sucked (it did) and bidding it good riddance. We’d like to toss it out like last night’s fish dinner and move on. It’s not that easy. Yes, 2020 was brutal and painful. We’re going to grieve what we lost, and the anguish won’t vanish in […]


Santa in turnout gear: a Christmas memory of fire trucks, St. Nick, and of help and hope

By: - December 24, 2020

Is it weird that I equate the best of the holiday season with firefighters and big red fire trucks? OK, don’t answer that. Or at least hear me out before you do. Context is everything, and to make sense of this seeming Yuletide fever dream, you’d need to mentally project yourself back seven decades into […]


Republicans at a crossroads: Double down on Trump or try to expand the party’s tent?

By: - December 21, 2020

We’ve entered a new election season in Virginia with recriminations of the election seven weeks ago still raging and the Grand Old Party facing a moment of reflection on the course it will take in Virginia as November approaches. On one hand is a party that in 1969 broke the historic stranglehold a then-segregationist Democratic […]

Northam’s sunny budget rewrite roils Republicans with his proposed Court of Appeals expansion

By: - December 17, 2020

In his optimistic midcourse revisions to Virginia’s two-year, $135 billion spending blueprint, Gov. Ralph Northam proposed hundreds of millions in new spending for vaccine deployment and pandemic response, including half a billion dollars for public schools upended by COVID-19. It includes millions more to help hold off an oncoming wave of evictions resulting from job […]


Pandemic times place hardships on legislative lobbying, particularly for ordinary citizen advocates

By: - December 14, 2020

Suppose your livelihood depends on persuading policymakers to draft legislation and adopt regulations to favor an interest or a client. It’s called lobbying, defined in dictionaries as organized efforts to influence legislators. It’s been around since the inception of the Republic, and it has historically required proximity and access to people in power. The very […]


‘It’s gone too far’: Exploiting cultural fissures for political gain has unraveled our social fabric

By: - December 7, 2020

Don’t imagine for a second that electing a new president is going to close or salve the open wounds and raw nerves that the 2020 political campaigns exposed. Not even close. Passions have not cooled from President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump last month. That’s clear from Trump’s own delusional tweets and public […]


The 2021 governor’s race presents an opportunity for Virginia to join the Good Ol’ Girls Club

By: - November 30, 2020

We’re about to see how serious Virginia is when it comes to advancing women in the highest elective offices in the commonwealth, and that’s particularly true for Democrats. After the briefest respite, Virginia politics revs back up and enters the national spotlight when we elect our 74th governor next year. Not one of the first […]


2020: The year that keeps on taking. But here are two powerful reasons to be thankful.

By: - November 23, 2020

History will remember 2020 as the year that kept on taking. I could fill this column enumerating all that this hell-beast of a leap year has robbed from us and still have enough left over for a multi-part series, but I doubt The Mercury budgeted for that. A virus no one had heard of last […]


Could a Biden White House be just the thing to break the Virginia GOP’s election drought?

By: - November 16, 2020

Bromides come and go in politics. Conventional wisdom tends to persevere until it’s no longer either conventional or wise. But there’s one truism in Virginia politics that, with one exception over the past five decades, has been validated repeatedly: you don’t want to be running for governor representing the same party as the president. That’s […]


Virginia deserves credit for making it easier for people to vote, but reporting the results needs work

By: - November 9, 2020

That sense of whiplash you may have felt as you watched election returns in Virginia after its largest turnout election ever —more than 4.1 million votes — is not your imagination. Some Republicans were excited for most of Tuesday evening as ballots cast on Election Day at Virginia’s nearly 2,500 polling places were tabulated and […]