Degner Announces Run for Lohr’s Seat

Brent Finnegan -- March 25th, 2010

Mayor Kai Degner “unofficially” announced he is running for the Democratic Party nomination in the 26th district of the House of Delegates. According to his website, an event officially announcing the campaign will be held next week.

After much consideration and many humbling pledges of support, I have elected to pursue the unexpected opening for the 26th District’s seat in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s House of Delegates. (read the statement)

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92 Responses to “Degner Announces Run for Lohr’s Seat”

  1. Deb SF says:

    Excellent!!! Game ON!

  2. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    I wonder who will get the endorsements from the DNR and Harrisonburg Times?

  3. Now that the Mayor is a candidate for elective office, I have a question:

    No fewer than three people at my church told me they saw you, quite intoxicated, leaving Dave’s Taverna some weeks ago and described your behavior as “loud and boisterous”.

    Would this be a factual description of your behavior, in the recent past, at any Harrisonburg drinking hole?

  4. Annie Layne says:

    Dave, everywhere you go you are loud an boisterous. Your nickname at B&N was always ‘loud talking guy’. Give us all a break and quit being such a blowhard.

  5. Wow, no fewer than 3? It could have been millions of people, then! Or 3. Probably on the lower end.

    No fewer than nor more than 1 person at MY church wanted to know why he wasn’t carrying a concealed weapon to said drinking hole. Especially since a dangerous gang of judgmental gossips from First Presbyterian were spotted creeping around the area.

  6. No name-calling comments, please.

  7. Kai says:

    Oh, boy, I can’t wait for more hard-hitting news questions from Dave Briggman. That’s why I jumped in. Dave, if the three people you’re referring to want to be in touch, I’m happy to speak with them. I don’t drink much at Dave’s Taverna.

  8. BANDIT says:

    Hey! If you all want to get together for a cold one…count me in.
    WARNING: I might get loud and have some FUN!!!

  9. Renee says:

    Good for you, Kai!

  10. Scott says:

    How scandalous! Our mayor not only let his inspection sticker lapse but he also likes to have a few drinks now and then?

    Keep digging Dave. Maybe you’ll find something that people (other than your three friends) actually care about.

  11. linz says:

    I worked at Sunnyside years ago and those Presbyterians set the standard for cocktail hour! :)

  12. David Miller says:

    I just love that it was prefaced with “three people at my CHURCH told me they saw you”. You must see the irony!

    I always forget that it is immoral to go to watering holes, but great to pay for your child’s education with the taxes they raise. God help us if we are seen near these places, big bad Dave might step up with the first stone.

    I don’t know why I bother expressing my outrage with your rude conduct Dave, you never change. I’m sorry to have wasted my time.

  13. David Miller says:

    back on track I am very much looking forward to Kai providing the Valley with a voice on issues of substance instead of picking on LGBT teenagers and trying to override the Supreme Court from Richmond.

    We finally have a chance to be heard in Richmond. Since Kai must be seeing first hand what budget cuts on the state level actually mean to localities we have much to gain from his decision to run.

  14. You finally have a chance to be heard in Richmond?

    I’m sure the Republican elected to the seat will be glad to hear anything you have to say.

    If you think County voters would allow the City to elect a Democrat in this political climate then you all should be selling what you’re obviously smokin’.

  15. James Carter says:

    Heaven forbid our mayor actually enjoys himself! ;-)

  16. David Miller says:

    James, anyone who serves as mayor should really get free drinks. It seems only fair for having to put up with out constant online critiques

  17. David Miller says:

    “I’m sure the Republican elected to the seat will be glad to hear anything you have to say.”

    Only slightly less so than they would be glad to hear from you.

    I fear as you seem to that the misinformation that the Right Wing Hate machine is feeding R swinging voters does present an uphill battle, that doesn’t make it the wrong fight to fight.

  18. Emmy says:

    “Loud talking guy” Hehe. He cleared out the dairy aisle at Martin’s once while on his cell phone. I guess he thought everyone needed to hear about whatever lawsuit he had going on. The irony of that church comment is beyond amusing.

    Congrats to Kai for taking this step and best of luck. Anyone who throws their hat into the ring for any political office should get a medal in my opinion. They should get free drinks too.

  19. David Miller says:

    Amen Emmy!

  20. JGFitzgerald says:

    Does anyone remember the episode of the Waltons where Jason was playing piano in the bawdy house and Olivia was scandalized? Jason reported that a lot of people he knew were there, including the preacher. Olivia blanched. “The preacher said he was just there for the music,” Jason said. His mother replied, “Then it must be so.” For years, obvious rationalizations were greeted in my family with the rejoinder, “Then it must be so.” Presumably it must be so that the church people were at Dave’s for the music. (Just as some people might go to Martin’s for the cell service.)

  21. Annie Layne says:

    All the best to Kai. I know he will represent the voices in the valley that need to be heard, and its a long time coming.

    (if this is my last comment here, so be it, ) Dave, even if the mayor had a few, he will wake up sober. You? You still wake up as YOU.

  22. Ah, once again, the “mean-spirited” comments apply only when attacking libs.


  23. David Miller says:

    Dave, I’m sorry to have engaged you. You have not engaged back in discourse. Goodnight

  24. Oh, I get it, Miller, the “vast right wing conspiracy” racing its head again, huh? That argument will be less successful than the time(s) Hillary Clinton used it.

  25. Renee says:

    Dave, you said “Ah, once again, the “mean-spirited” comments apply only when attacking libs.”

    I believe Brent was referring to everyone who had commented in a mean-spirited way before his post, and a warning to all to keep this conversation civil.
    I’m not sure why you think he’s only targeting mean-spirited comments about “libs”.

  26. Renee says:

    And yes, everyone, please follow the rules in red when posting. I know it can get heated, but let’s keep it civil.

  27. Congrats to Kai and good luck.

    As for talking loudly, given some of the nonsense going on there such as the current AG wasting taxpayer money on a lawsuit based on arguments dismissed in the 1830s, well, maybe we need to have some voices raised a bit down there.

  28. Jim P. says:

    Good luck to Mayor Degner. I know him to be a fair and critical thinker. Hopefully, he can take that to Richmond.

  29. Jim says:

    I am glad to see a strong Democratic candidate is running, but if Mr. Degner breaks 40 %, it will be a minor miracle. Considering he has only been Mayor for two short years, I personally think it he’d be better served staying put for a few years before attempting to venture into new territory.

  30. Dany Fleming says:

    No one gave Tom Periello a chance when he took on Goode for that US House of Reps. seat. As a complete unknown, Periello overcame a late summer 20 pt. deficit to an incumbant in a conservative district. Periello certainly benefitted from some coat-tails. However, from most accounts, he benefitted even more from significantly out-organizing Goode. You never know ’til you test the waters.

  31. Nicklaus Combs says:

    nothing like a grown man acting like a fourteen year old in a comment section on the internet. thanks dave briggman for your insight!

  32. Go Kai!

    Get down to Richmond and claw back the school funding that Matt Lohr gave to Fairfax!

  33. Dany Fleming says:

    I hear you, Bubby. However, Fairfax isn’t the problem. Through their local taxes, they pay a much higher percentage of their local education costs than we do. Something close to 80%, They get much less from the state than either H’burg or R’ham County.

    I believe. Harrisonburg pays a bit over 55% of its ed costs through local taxes while R’ham County pays something like 45% of its ed costs through local dollars.

    What this probably shows is that Lohr didn’t do his math. R’ham County – and other places needing greater education support from Richmond – are the places that get hit the hardest. I’m not sure that’s how Lohr explained it to his constituency, though. Rural areas get hit hard when state ed dollars are cut.

  34. Jamie Smith says:

    Run, Kai, Run. You may never have to get a real job!

  35. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    Yeah, because receiving the lucrative salary of a Harrisonburg mayor ($3,000 a year) or a member of the House of Delegates (they get $17,640 a year) would really put someone on easy street.

  36. JGFitzgerald says:

    The City Council members get $12,000 a year, and the mayor $15,000. The amount was raised seven years ago on a 4-1 vote. The delegates, in addition to salary, get enough in office expenses that a couple of members live on just their GA incomes.

  37. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    Thanks for the info Joe, I was going on what’s in the city code. I wonder why that hasn’t been updated?

    Who lives on just their GA incomes?

  38. JGFitzgerald says:

    At one time, Bob Marshall reportedly lived on just his GA income. I’m not sure which others, although I recall there were a couple mentioned in a story some years back about Marshall. As to the salary, the section of city code that sets the salary has been superseded by state law. It’s one of several things in the code and charter that should be cleaned up. Among them, the city charter still has stringent rules against conflict of interest, but the state has decriminalized it.

  39. Dany: Matt Lohr never had to explain his inability to deliver for his constituency (26th HoD) because what passes for the press around here is in the bag. Questioning the status quo will get you unemployed. Welcome to Fantasyland.

  40. Bubby, your side (Gene, whom I supported against Lohr) might have done better int he last election if you had taken the checks I had copies of that he and his wife had received from the Rockingham County Schools and shown how he “gave the county schools” a break on the amount he charged to just under the reportable amount under Virginia ethics laws.

    The Code of Virginia is really clear, and, ironically, Lohr introduced legislation to amend the law to make what many believed he did since become a Delegate into a felony.

    Take a look at § 30-105 of the Code of Virginia. Except for the amount of the checks he and his wife got paid for “motivational speaking” engagements (just under the statutory limit, but below what similar speakers have been paid by the County Schools), he broke the ethics laws.

    Not even the libs on here would run with it. I don’t know maybe Jeremy Aldrich was consulted for his expert legal ability to interpret Virginia statutes.

  41. Emmy says:

    Dave, sadly I really don’t think people would have cared about that enough to vote for Gene over Matt. I think they just would have made excuses for Matt and voted him in anyway.

    I think it’s possible Gene realized that as well and decided it would be better to run a clean campaign instead of getting into mudslinging that wouldn’t have impacted the outcome.

  42. Lowell Fulk says:

    Wise thinking Emmy. Gene didn’t come up short because of something he did or did not do. He was, and remains, an excellent choice to provide representation for the people of this area. His message simply got lost in the noise. This phenomenon took place across the state.
    Gene conducted himself and his campaign as a true gentleman.
    I respect him greatly and am honored by his friendship.

  43. Well, Emmy. If you don’t raise the issue, you’re hardly in a position to know what the voter would, or wouldn’t have cared about — especially since the actions would have constituted a crime.

    If as you said, people wouldn’t have cared and would have made excuses to protect Lohr, as the Daily News Record did when they refused to publish a Letter to the Editor about the issue, citing a lack of evidence [which they requested and were provided], it might have aided in solidifying your base enough to aid you in the following election.

    What your “wise thinking” so, was to provide Lohr with the very same excuse you believe 26th District voters would have given him and provides those would acquire such information about a candidate, or incumbent, from doing anything with such information in the future.

  44. BANDIT says:

    You are great with words…a little sappy at times but, you have “words of wisdom” in your vocabulary. Don’t change!

  45. Chris Graham has a story about this on AFP.

    A special election in the 26th, which also represents western Rockingham County, is expected to be called for the November general election.

    Degner was the top vote-getter in the ‘08 City Council elections in Harrisonburg, receiving 6,063 votes to lead the eight-candidate field. That’s nearly 2,000 votes more than 26th District Democratic Party nominee Gene Hart was able to get in his 2009 race against Lohr.

    There are obvious reasons for that (Obama wasn’t on the ballot in ’09) but it does raise the “what if” question about college students.

  46. Lowell Fulk says:

    I’m a sappy kind of guy Bandit.

  47. Jamie Smith says:

    Jeremy, I’m not sure, but I think you whiffed on my point!

  48. Lowell Fulk says:

    “There are obvious reasons for that (Obama wasn’t on the ballot in ‘09) but it does raise the “what if” question about college students.”

    Gee, what is the “what if” question?

    I personally think the “blame the student vote” excuse is vastly overplayed, but then again, I’m not trying to sell copy…

    I personally believe that the dedicated and studied college student is my ally toward better governance…

    Best of luck and success with blaming the college student.

    Might I offer a bit of perspective? Dems are notoriously fickle in their voting patterns. In 2007, they didn’t deign to show up. In 2008, they were nearly euphoric and participated in record numbers. In 2009, they were almost abjectly depressed that nothing seemed to be getting done, and refused to participate. And now, they may well be back to the euphoric level. Good for them. This would translate well for Kai.

    I wish they would be more like the Republican voters and show up through thick or thin. This is why I’m stepping out. The Dem demand of purity outweighs good sense.

  49. “What if” Kai could figure out a way to get out the college vote, just as Obama’s campaign did in ’08, and Liberty University did for Bob McDonnell in ’09?

    That’s what I mean by “what if.”

  50. Lowell Fulk says:

    Thanks for the clarification Brent.

    Well, unless Kai can guarantee the excitement and sense of hope Barack Obama did in 2008, or garner the university administration’s direction to the students to vote for him that Liberty students received for McDonnell in 2009, while at the same time convincing Governor McDonnell to delay the special election till November when students are in session, he better soon begin working the local precincts door to door every day between now and whenever Governor McDonnell sets the special election date. First though, he must receive the nomination from the local committees.

    Again, I think the magic and mysterious student vote was far over blown in 2008 analysis and any candidate would be foolish to rely on a repeat of such a phenomenon if it indeed existed. Assuming support instead of cultivating support can be a killer.

    Time now for hard work… Relentless hard work. I’d be knocking doors today.

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