As expected, the talk over eggs and coffee at the Blue Ridge Restaurant in Floyd Wednesday centered over Tuesday’s election and the apparent demise of the Republican power center in the county.
Republicans willing to talk about the truck that ran them down at the polls felt like, as Tom Lehrer once noted, a Christian Scientist with appendicitis. Their discomfort showed.
"Hell, we should have seen it coming," said Bruce Harman who said he was a lifelong Republican who voted against his party this year. "Floyd County is changing and we didn’t change along with it."
Most devastating to the GOP was embarrassing defeat of hand-picked Commonwealth’s Attorney candidate Eric Branscom by Stephanie Shortt. Floyd County has always elected a man, usually a Republican one, to the office and the winner of the GOP primary is considered a shoo-in but Shortt distinguished herself as the interim appointment to the job in 2005 and 2006 and defied the odds to win with 65 percent of the vote, carrying every precinct, including traditional Republican strongholds like Indian Valley and Burks Fork.
Democratic upstart Bill Gardner also sent the party of the elephant packing in the Burk’s Fork Supervisor’s race, easily dispatching James "Jolly" Webb. Republicans failed to deliver the county in the delegate and state senate races.
Some say the handwriting appeared on the wall in the primary caucus when voters threw three GOP incumbents out on their collective butts. Others blame the national party woes for the local problems. Most, however, agree that Republicans got what they deserved.
They say an elephant never forgets. In recent years, howerver, the Republican Party at the local, state and national levels forgot its heritage as the party of low taxes, less government and personal freedoms. Now they are paying for that loss of memory.