Shad Plank: Personality in politics, primary ballot update and Medicaid expansion

Think personality doesn’t matter in politics? Consider this object lesson, from the part-time William and Mary poli-sci and law school prof who just so happens to be Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment.

Talking to reporters Wednesday after a special session on the budget adjourned, Norment (as he is wont to do) mentioned his shared experience as a VMI Keydet with Gov. Ralph Northam. Though their time at the military college in Valley didn’t overlap, Virginia Military Institute is a school of unchanging tradition.

“I consider him a friend,” Norment said, adding that it was pleasant to be part of the team of senators and House of Delegates members who trudged up to the third floor of the Capitol to tell Northam that the General Assembly was organized and ready to get down to the business of the special session.

Northam wished them well and said he knew they had lots of hard work to do. “He didn’t lecture us,” Norment said.


Whether that was what former Gov. Terry McAuliffe intended in his forceful advocacy for Medicaid expansion, it felt like a lecture to Norment. McAuliffe’s style didn’t seem to encourage the kind of collaboration Norment said will be essential to close the gap between a House budget anchored on Medicaid expansion and the Senate Republican majority’s opposition to expansion.

In any event, Norment said, the two senators who have said they are open to Medicaid expansion don’t like the House proposal. The ideas state Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, and state Sen. Frank Wager, R-Virginia Beach, have offered for an expansion contradict one another.

Still, surely there are no hard feelings for the former governor?

No, says Norment. He wishes the former governor all the best “as he speeds in his little green car down to Alabama.”

GreenTech Automotive, the Mississippi electric car company McAuliffe founded, filed for bankruptcy…

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