I speculated in mid-October 2006 about the future of Andrew Hurst. My thoughts boiled down to:
A) Hurst will lose this election-he is heavily outraised by Tom Davis, and Davis wants a big win to set himself up for a Senate race in 2008.
B) If Davis runs for the Senate, Connolly, Byrne, and maybe even Peterson will want to take a shot at an open seat.
Generally, my thought was that with an open seat that Hurst would be elbowed out of the way by the bigger names, and that he should commence to looking for a supervisor or statehouse seat to run for.
However, the world continues to turn.Since then, the following has happened:
A) Hurst did lose, but by a closer margin than anticipated and despite being outspent by more than 7-1; and
B) While there has not been an announcement, it is assumed at this point that Chap Peterson will challenge Jeanmarie Devolites-Davis (henceforth to be referred to as Chap! and JMDD), removing a potential rival; and, most important…
C) John Warner is now talking about running for re-election in 2008.
If item C comes to fruition, then every assumption that was in play two months ago changes. In the event of a John Warner candidacy, I don’t see Tom Davis retiring from public life. He could launch a run for Governor in 2009 or the Senate in 2012, and he would be in a stronger place to do it from a congressional seat than as a private citizen. Va-11 would not be an open seat, and even with changing demographics in Northern Virginia the atmosphere in 2008 has to be less toxic for GOP candidates than in 2006. If they weren’t willing to challenge Davis in 2006, is it reasonable to think Gerry Connolly or Leslie Byrne or any other big name democrat would be chomping at the bit to take on Davis in 2008?
Hurst was not expected to win, and didn’t. He got 102,511 votes to Davis at 130,468 (55.45%-43.57%), but I don’t think anyone expected Hurst to do what he did with the resources at his disposal.
Hurst raised ~$360,000 while Davis raised $2,690,000. Compare that to other more highly touted democrats Phil Kellan in Va-2 ($1.5 million) and Judy Feder in Va-10 (almost $ 1.6 million), each of whom got significant assistance from moveon.org and/or the DCCC…and yet neither got as many votes as Brother Hurst.
You have to think the DCCC guru’s are kicking themselves over that! How much closer could he have run with adequate funding?
If the above speculation holds up, and Tom Davis runs for reelection in 2008, it will be interesting to see if (a) the Democrats target Va-11, and (b) if Andrew Hurst will get a rematch or will he get elbowed out by the Demo Big Dogs.
A month ago I would have said he had no shot at the nomination…but it seems his odds for a rematch-if he wants it-are getting better each day.