Del. Ken Plum: Election Season Jitters

by Del. Ken Plum November 2, 2017 at 10:15 am 32 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

The fall season brings beautifully colored leaves, wonderfully cool evenings and the ghosts and goblins of Halloween, but for me it also brings the jitters of the elections that occur the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November every year in Virginia.

As one who has won many elections but has lost elections as well, the days and weeks leading up to Election Day can be nerve-racking. As well-planned as an election campaign might be, and as hard as the candidate and volunteers may have worked, outcomes are seldom certain. Last-minute attack ads or unrelated weather or news events can affect the outcome of elections.

An understandable question I often get is–why, without an opponent in this election, I would be nervous about it and would be campaigning so hard during the days and evenings leading up to it? There are several reasons.

The election season is the point in the year when the most people are paying attention to some of the issues on which I work throughout the year. It may be an old-fashioned idea, but I think campaigns are times when office-holders and office-seekers can have a dialogue about issues confronting the community and what should be done about them. Such discussions often get drowned out by all the trappings of campaigns like slogans, misleading brochures and commercials, and other distractions. My not having an opponent is not a choice of mine but should not keep me from having interaction with voters that I trust will leave all of us better informed. Not voting in the delegate race certainly is a choice voters have, but I seek votes as an affirmation of support for the work that I do.

I am also very active in political campaigns every year, whether I am on the ballot or not, because the outcomes of other campaigns are important to me. For example, this year it is critically important to me that Dr. Ralph Northam is elected Governor, Justin Fairfax is elected Lieutenant Governor, and Mark Herring is re-elected Attorney General. They share my values of supporting education, access to health care for all, common-sense gun safety laws to keep our neighbors safe, and ending discrimination in society. My efforts in the legislature can be enhanced or thwarted by those who occupy the executive branch positions.

The reality is that the outcomes of elections are determined by those who bother to vote. Presidential elections can get up to three-quarters of the voters to the polls, but state elections attract fewer than half of all voters. With the density of population in Northern Virginia, the large number of voters here can determine the statewide outcome. That is why I am working hard to help the get-out-the-vote campaigns that are now underway.

Above all, I get anxious this time of the year because I believe in democracy. Voting is one of the most critical ways we can respond to signs that some of our basic beliefs may be fraying. Let’s all participate in our democracy by voting this coming Tuesday, Nov. 7! Usual polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Thank you.

  • SuperCoop1280


    You are right, voting is very important. It is also important to know where candidates stand on important issues such population density increases rather than making VA a stay cation place. I’ll ask again, where do you stand on Fairfax County’s proposal on increasing the population density in Reston? How will your office handle the mass influx of new constituents?

    I keep asking this question and still have not gotten a reply. While it is a county measure, it effects all of us. The more people that move to Reston, means more people you will have to represent in the House of Delegates. Do you have enough staff for this? What are your plans on moving forward and being an advocate for all of us?

    I would appreciate your response.

  • Mike M

    Ken, you run unopposed because of the gerrymandering you supported but pretend to dislike.

    Glossary for Plum-speak:

    supporting education: Throwing endless amounts of money at increasingly ineffective and politically indoctrinating systems. Then whining about their ineffectiveness and inefficiencies. Then suggesting we throw more money at the system to “fix it.”

    access to health care for all: An unsustainable Socialized medicine commitment.

    common-sense gun safety laws: Endless frittering away of Second Amendment Rights in spasms of reaction to the latest news event. Each new restriction typically would not have done anything to hinder the latest news event.

    ending discrimination in society: A perpetuation of the myth that “minorities” are oppressed by white natives in hopes that minorities will obsess with that fiction rather than unite with white natives because their interests are identical.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      So, why don’t you run against him, Mike M? If your ideas are so wonderful and Mr. Plum’s are so wrongheaded, you should be able to win handily.

      • SuperCoop1280

        Plum has been in office since 1982 and what does he have to show for his efforts? I will admit, I have not lived in Reston long than some on this blog, but I have not seen much from him other than occasional phones calls usually seeking a campaign contribution, which is fine, I get the game. Yet, I am tougher on elected officials that are supposed to represent me and my family. If there is recent work he is doing that is making things better for our district, please tell me. Otherwise, I will look at the alternatives and if there are none, just write my name in.

        I think Plum is beatable in a primary. His silence and lack of response is enough to portray him being out of touch and self serving. However, if the local Dem party is anything like the DNC under DWS’ chairwoman-ship, it can be hard for a new challenger.

        • Kenny P

          You kidding me? One day of every month he is outside the NRA building protesting our 2nd Amendment. What more do you want from the man?

      • Mike M

        I have to work for a living.

    • Constitutional Conservative

      Except that the last House redistricting was created through a Republican house in 2011. He’s been unopposed since then. The Senate was Democrat controlled and that map is also all sorts of fun. If you think this area is bad, you must not be looking at Hampton Roads.

      Also, for what it’s worth, Plum did not vote on HB5005. I cannot find votes for previous redistrictings.

      • Mike M

        So, are you saying Ken really wants opposition? I am saying he does not and is really not about debate at all. He never brings up meaningful issues here where he is granted the forum weekly. Gerrymandering is a two sided game. They have been aiming for the same thing.

        • Constitutional Conservative

          I’d posit no politician wants opposition.

          “He never brings up meaningful issues here where he is granted the forum weekly”

          I don’t disagree.

          “Gerrymandering is a two sided game. They have been aiming for the same thing”

          Yes, but he still is running unopposed since the other party redrew House districts.

      • OneReally

        Growing up in Hampton Roads I can tell you its much worth there. Politicians and the overall race baiting.

        • Constitutional Conservative

          I grew up in Chesapeake. Race baiting is absolutely way worse down there. Replace how some comment on Hispanics on this message board with black people and then you’ve got Hickory or Cox.

    • Willie Reston

      “White natives” is an oxymoron.

      • Mike M

        You meant redundant. But you are . . . Reston Willie who is often getting schooled in here. Also, Many non-white natives live here. . . oxymoron.

      • TheKingJAK

        It depends on how you’re using the term “Native”.

  • OneReally

    Surprise all candidates of the donkey variety.

    No mention of Ralph’s ad that had to be pulled.
    Truly a low blow.

    • Willie Reston

      That wasn’t Northam’s ad. Try again.

      • OneReally

        New campaign finance reports reveal that Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam’s campaign coordinated with the Latino Victory Fund (LVF) on the LVF’s “sickening” ad, which even the Washington Post called “vile.”

        You were saying????

    • Ken Bum


      Reject hate…. unless it’s against white males. Smh, the dems are so desperate to divide people.

      • TheKingJAK

        Haha, that ad is hilarious. Talk about overdoing it. I’m surprised they didn’t show a Civil War statue coming to life and charging.

        • OneReally

          Surprise that an adult would take the acting job.
          SHOCKED that a parent would let their kid act in a commercial like that one.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Here’s the issue that most concerns me, Mr. Plum: why isn’t Reston a municipality? Reston is certainly large enough, and we certainly need to wrest control of our land use from the BoS which seems to be content to approve any development coming down the pike with little consideration for those of us who live here.

    • TheKingJAK

      Delegate Plum has fought against Reston becoming one.

      • James Shattuck

        No. Reston voted on becoming a municipality years ago (twice) and it failed both times.

  • drebt

    Until a politician declares openly that they will clean up the mess at VDOT and institute traffic light timing by advanced queuing theory, I will vote the straight green party or other alternatives. This one important issue, which affects all whom transport themselves remains the perpetually unmentioned 900-pound gorilla in the room. Unfortunately, you are among the silent.

  • Ken Bum

    “With the density of population in Northern Virginia, the large number of voters here can determine the statewide outcome.”

    Ahh, so you are aware it’s overcrowded

  • Chuck Morningwood

    What I don’t understand is, if you have such little regard for most of your neighbors, why don’t you just move? Bumbleton in LoCo just a few miles to the west, is a bastion of Repuke values.

    • Mike M

      I like my location. I like my neighbors. I just don’t like your likes. Why don’t you move?

  • 40yearsinreston

    Plums democracy is a version of the Commy elections where there is one name on the ballot
    Comrade Plum or none

    • Lenin

      I’ve sent a mailer to your house with info on joining the local communist party.

      Look forward to hearing back soon.

      • 40yearsinreston

        Plum whining about his ‘efforts being thwarted’?
        Party first
        The slogan of a true commisar

        • Lenin

          Miss, you’re protesting way too much.

  • Mike M

    Thanks Libby. Continue in your self-righteous fog.


Subscribe to our mailing list