Ante Up-VA 37 Senate Special Election!

Wins by GOP State Senators Ken Cuccinelli (Va 37-Attorney General) and Ken Stolle (Va 8-Sheriff, Va Beach) mean there will be two special elections in the near future.  These races hold more than a little significance in a chamber where the Democrat edge is only 21-19.  If the GOP hold both seats, then Governor-elect McDonnell may well attempt to convince a conservative Dem Senator to switch parties or appoint a Dem Senator in an otherwise GOP district to a nice state position and hope to fill his/her seat with a GOP senator.

The result?  At least a power sharing agreement splitting committee seats and negating the Dem edge…at most a party line vote that gives the GOP organizational control of the state Senate, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) breaking the tie.

I know very little about Va 8-only that I am told that Jeff McWaters is the favorite in that very GOP district

I live in Va 37 so I thought I would prattle on a bit.  We don’t know the date for the special elections, although I am confident that The Gov will select a date for the special election that is the most helpful to potential democratic candidates…it is just part of his partisan roll…or is that role?

The WaPo has gotten into the game tossing out various names with wild abandon.

The list kicks off on the GOP side, where Steve Hunt is the first one out of the blocks.  He is a former member of the Fairfax School Board, he has run in and done well in the precincts in VaSen 37, has a web site up and running, and will announce officially on November 7. Shoot, he is even on YouTube courtesy of BVBL!  It’s the YouTube that gets him the first out of the blocks status.

Right behind Hunt are Marianne Horinko and Will Nance. Ms. Horinko is a former GW Bush administration official and head of the Washington-based environmental consulting firm The Horinko Group.  Mr. Nance is the Executive Director of the Greensprings Retirement Community.

The Hunt and Nance websites are tricked out full of information. Ms Horinko has a nice first page picture and a form to fill in to donate or get on an email list, but no information. It pales in comparison to the style and detail of her erstwhile opponents. Also, the form to use to get on an email list doesn’t work.

I have no idea what is up on the Dem side. Twitter traffic from good sources suggest that in fact  Janet “Hoot!” Oleszek will not run. This saddens me, as I was looking forward to her not answering hypothetical questions. Others will certainly be disappointed to not be able to see the public waffling likely to be part of a Hoot candidacy.   I should note that while Hunt/Nance/Horinko came fast out the blocks, Hoot’s website has not been updated since October 2008 (at least that is the status at 1000 on 11.6.2009).

Other names, as mentioned at the Mason Conservative and in the WaPo piece referenced above, are Democratic delegates David Bulova and “Dugout” Dave Marsden. The Mason Conservative points out the conundrum for Bulova. Only three (and I only count two) precincts in Bulova’s delegate district are in Senate 37.

Dave Marsden’s situation is both better and worse. Ten of his fourteen (and absentee makes 15) precincts are also in Senate 37. Marsden won reelection ealier this week by a margin of only 208 votes (although to be fair there was a green party candidate who drew 349 votes).  The difference in the ten House 41 precincts that are also in Senate 37 was +47 for marsden…so I don’t really see how Dugout Dave is well served by moving his residence (which he would have to do) into the Senate district just to have a chance to run in a special election where he actually barely won his base precincts in the 2009 general-and those are precincts that are in the Democratic end of the 37th!

Dang, maybe Hoot will have to get in, after all…

Even more than VA-8 this race has a variety of interesting side stories…

1. The Virginia Senate is 21-19 Democrat. If the GOP holds both these senate seats then a single dem departure from the Democratic caucus creates a chance for the GOP to pick up a seat.  If there is a 20-20 tie in the chamber, then LtGov Bill Bolling breaks the tie, even  for organization of the body.  Plus an evenly divided Senate is one thing in determining redistricting, a +1 to either side is another thing.  To that end, I trust the DPVA has a $2 million life insurance policy on Chuck Colgan.  His district is likely to go GOP once he leaves the seat, so…

This seat is not a throwaway election. Given how GOP Va Senate 8 is, Va Senate 37 will become the new battleground in Virginia politics.

2. Redistricting. Reapportionment comes after the 2010 census, and a state Senate that is even steven numerically gives the GOP a better shot in reapportionment than if they are in the minority.  However, there has been talk of taking 37-especially if Fairfax gets another state Senator-and reassigning the lot of counties to other districts.  One  possibility is to use the 37/Dem precincts to be part of a new Democratic tilting district, and take the GOP districts and spin them off with GOP precincts from the Barker and Peterson districts.  Another concept is the 37/GOP precincts into counties from Western Prince Williams. The driving concept there is if PW County is apportioned for the Senate by having a single senate disrict that runs from the Occoquan West, and divide out the western end. Traditionally, PW County has had a single senate seat anchored in the west and running south with the balance used to even out other districts.

3. Potentially limited tenure. Do you run for this seat knowing that in two years it is likely to change massively…and as the most junior member of the Senate you will have bubkes worth of clout to protect yourself?

Shoot, consider Dugout Dave in this light…do you move just to run (and face the Carpetbagger charge) and even if you win face the real possibility of having to run in an entirely new district in 2013?

On the other hand, Bulova or Marsden might think it is a free bite at the apple-they can run for the State Senate without giving up their delegate seat.

Bottom Line:

GOP-Horinko, Hunt, Nance are in
Democrats-Speculation abounds, and the most substantive is that David Marsden is house hunting to he can run for higher office from a base of precincts he barely carried on 11.3.2009.  Can that be right?

At this point all we have are rumors, websites, and apparently a little house hunting.

Only two things are certain:

First, that Governor Kaine will select a special election date based on what he believes is the best timing to elect a Democrat to either/both seats.

Second, that after the special elections last January for Board Supervisor and Braddock Supervisor, we have a lot of folks who have mondo recent experience in running and working special elections.

Burke/Braddock Va-home of the special election!  Let the games begin!  And if you have more skinny on VaSen 37, add to the comments or drop me a line!

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10 thoughts on “Ante Up-VA 37 Senate Special Election!

  1. Bwana:
    In the Beach Senate seat, McWatters may be the favorite, however, Va Beach Councilwoman Rosemary Wilson is the real winner and in my opinion should be the next State Senator, so we will just have to see.
    For the Senate 37, it will be anybody’s guess. More fun to come I am sure.

    BFIV

  2. Bwana:
    In response to Mr. White, Steve Shannon soon to former Delegate from the 35 th District and Democrat AG candidate lives in Dunn Loring, right outside the Town of Vienna limits which is currently in the 34th Senate District.

    BFIV

  3. Shannon was such a pathetic candidate that I would bet his political days are over.

    I sure do hope Oleszek runs -she would be the source of much needed comedic relief. That woman is clueless!

  4. Actually, Bwana, Dave won the 10 he shares with the 37th (Fairview, Burke Centre, Terra Centre, Burke, Pohick, Orange, Cherry Run, White Oaks, Sangster, Parkway). It was by a small margin, but he won them.

  5. Dang it, I never could run spreadsheets. However, I am sure that bare majority he brought in last Tuesday will be warm comfort as word gets out that he is so eager for political advancement as to move his residence to run for another office.

  6. Haha, could be Bwana, you never know! Didn’t seem to hurt Jim Dillard too badly though, did it? As I recall, he moved after the Speaker redistricted him out of his seat and held on a couple more terms. How ironic would that be?

  7. Why would anyone move for a position that could be redistricted in two years? Oh wait, I know the answer. He won’t really move, but will rent an apartment/house in the district so that he has an address from which to file. No one ever claimed that democrats were an honorable bunch.

  8. GoDave, I think anyone will tell you there is a difference between: (1) moving within a district to keep the seat you have and (2) moving into a new district just to run for office there-even if your new legal residence is part of the district you now represent.

    The first is self defense, the second is carpetbagging.

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