Virginia politics, the 1963 Kennedy assassination, humorist Tina Fey, marijuana legalization, liquor laws, and the Boston Marathon bombers dominated the most popular stories reported by the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner during 2013.
Given that 2013 was a gubernatorial election year in Virginia, it comes as no surprise that articles about Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe (now governor-elect) and his Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli drew a large number of views. Cuccinelli, in fact, was the subject of three of the top-ten stories, although Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis entered the top ten only in an interview about the election with political scientist Larry Sabato. Marijuana-smoking lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson (R) also made the list.
The JFK assassination was a trending topic on Twitter and Google through much of November, and an interview with Lee Harvey Oswald's co-worker ranked third. (An interview with another assassination witness just missed the cut, at twelfth among 2013 stories.)
Most unexpected was the article that attracted the most number of views. It was simply a listing of the six Libertarian candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates, none of whom won their elections despite the apparent interest shown by Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner readers.
This ranking was based on statistics from Google Analytics through December 27, 2013.
Christian Caryl and the Boston Bombers
Journalist Christian Caryl, author of a new book about the momentous historical events of 1979, wrote an investigative piece for the New York Review of Books about the accused Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev.
Ken Cuccinelli and the ABC raid
In a radio interview with Charlottesville talk-show host Coy Barefoot in early July, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli had harsh words about an April raid by Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents that resulted in the arrest of a 20-year-old UVA coed under suspicion for buying beer illegally. She had actually bought water and the charges were dropped. The controversy resulted in increased scrutiny for the ABC and criticism from Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis as well as Cuccinelli.
Terry McAuliffe launches campaign
Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe (shown here with former President Bill Clinton at a late-October campaign rally in Charlottesville) launched his bid for Virginia's top job with a series of events at community colleges across the state. He visited Piedmont Virginia Community College in Albemarle County on the morning of May 8, 2013.
McAuliffe went on to win the November election, besting rivals Robert Sarvis and Ken Cuccinelli.
Tina Fey speaks at UVA
TV personality Tina Fey -- actress, writer, producer, comedienne, Sarah Palin impersonator -- appeared at her alma mater, the University of Virginia, on September 14, 2013.
Fey spoke about her experiences as an undergraduate studying in the UVA drama department and her admiration for composer Stephen Sondheim, playwright Caryl Churchill, and stand-up comedian Chris Rock.
The 30 Rock star also talked about her co-star Alec Baldwin and offered advice for aspiring performers and creative artists.
E.W. Jackson admits to drug use
E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, was the surprise nominee emerging from the state GOP convention on May 18. By May 20, Twitter and Facebook were buzzing about Jackson's admission that he had used marijuana in his youth and his support for decriminalizing pot use -- news broken here on Examiner.com.
The socially-conservative, self-described "bishop" told the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner in an exclusive interview that "it would be the height of hypocrisy to penalize people, to put them in jail, to saddle them with felonies for doing the very thing that I myself did."
Larry Sabato assesses 2013 campaigns
In an October 14 interview following a panel discussion about the 1963 Kennedy assassination, political scientist Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia correctly predicted that Ken Cuccinelli could not catch up with Terry McAuliffe and beat the Democrat in the November gubernatorial election.
Sabato also said that Republican activists who were using social media to attack Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis were "misreading" polling data, which indicated that Sarvis was drawing more votes from potential McAuliffe voters than from Cuccinelli supporters -- an analysis borne out by exit polls on Election Day.
Ken Cuccinelli and marijuana legalization
At an Albemarle County Republican breakfast in February, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli -- then running for governor -- responded to a question posed by a self-described former pot addict about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Voters in the two states had approved cannabis legalization in the 2012 elections.
Cuccinelli explained his "openness to observe how things work there, both in terms of the drug side and the economics. One issue that is often discussed is how the war on drugs itself has played out. Have we done this the right way? It's been phenomenally expensive."
Wesley Buell Frazier on JFK's murder
At a Virginia Film Festival screening of a new documentary about John F. Kennedy's administration, assassination, and legacy, two witnesses to the JFK assassination spoke on a panel moderated by UVA professor Larry Sabato.
One of them, Wesley Buell Frazier, had driven Lee Harvey Oswald to work at the Texas School Book Depository on the morning of November 22, 1963. In an interview with the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner, Frazier talked about how he was considered a suspect in the assassination and how the Dallas police treated him brutally in the hours after the shooting.
Frazier described that day as "a day that changed my life. I've never been the same."
The other speaker at the film festival was Tina Towner, who was the youngest person to photograph the events that day in Dealey Plaza.
Cuccinelli says no to Sarvis
At a campaign stop in Charlottesville on May 20, two days after receiving the Republican nomination for governor by acclamation at the state GOP convention, Ken Cuccinelli answered questions from the press about politics and policy.
In reply to a question posed by the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner, Cuccinelli stated flatly that he would not welcome LPVA nominee Robert Sarvis in debates with himself and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe.
Cuccinelli said it was not "realistic" to include Sarvis, predicting incorrectly that the Libertarian would only get "one or two percent" of the vote in the general election. (Sarvis eventually received nearly 7 percent, a record for statewide third-party Virginia gubernatorial candidates and one of the best showings by an LP candidate for governor ever in the United States.)
Six Libertarian legislative candidates
The single most popular story reported by the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner in 2013 listed the six candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates running as Libertarians. (The six are represented in the accompanying photograph by Laura Delhomme of Arlington, who eventually earned 23.22 percent of the vote against incumbent Democrat Patrick Hope in the 47th district.)
The other five LPVA candidates listed were Jonathan Parrish (23rd district), Lindsey Bolton (48th district, who subsequently dropped out of the race), Anthony Tellez (53rd district), Christopher Sullivan (55th district), and Dan Foster (78th district).