Does a Late Cuccinelli Resignation Crush Carpetbagging in Va 37?

The analysis and opinion offered in the blog piece below is in error, and is based on not reading the appropriate Virginia statute far enough.  My mea culpa and apology is offered in the blog post immediately following, but I think I will leave this up as a reminder to myself and others to be careful what you write.


Again, to be crystal clear-members of the General Assembly are not prohibited from raising money during sessions for a special election.  My premise was erroenous, and as a result the analysis faulty.



Can you have a special election when there is no opening?

Strange question-but bear with me.

Ken Cuccinelli is the AG-elect of Virginia, but he is still the state Senator from Va 37, and will be until he resigns.  I imagine he can hold his office until the third week of January, which is when the GA convenes (1/13/2009) and the McDonnell/Bolling/Cuccinelli team is sworn in (1/16/2009).

We know Cooch has to resign at some point-he cannot hold both the state senator and AG positions simultaneously.

We have all been running under the assumption that Tim Kaine would call a special election:
1) At as late a date as possible but
2) prior to the General Assembly convening so that Va 37 has a senator to represent it during the entire session and to avoid charges of playing politics with the selection process.

However, a little bird told me that Cuccinelli may not resign until January 13.

Initially, I thought that would be crazy…that would play right into Kaine’s hands. 

Then I remembered something-members of the Virginia legislature are prohibited from raising campaign funds during the General Assembly session.  You may recall that is the reason Brian Moran gave for stepping down last January prior to the session-so he could continue to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign.


VirginiaVa. Code §24.2-940


No member of the General Assembly or statewide official shall solicit or accept a contribution from any person or political committee on and after the first day of a regular session of the General Assembly through adjournment sine die of that session.

Courtesy of the National Conference of State Legislators!

So if Cuccinelli holds off on his resignation until January 13th or so, then Kaine cannot help in his last days in office to set a date that falls either during or after the General Assembly session-but during that time Dave Marsden cannot himself raise money, accept contributions, etc.

Perhaps he can run hard until then to get contributions to his delegate fund, but I have to think raising money during the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year season would be tough in general…and even more difficult to do for a putative campaign where the election the candidate would run in has not even been announced.

Then, during the session Marsden (or any sitting member) would need to be in Richmond-which, unless Star Trek transporter technology has come on line recent, will make it really difficult for them to campaign and still do the legislative job they were elected to do. Marsden would be on the hook not only for carpetbagging into another district, but potentially for ignoring his elected duties in order to win a special election.

Oh, and not to pummel the obvious but neither Steve Hunt, Will Nance, nor Marianne Horinko are members of the General Assembly.

I should also note that doing this means Va 37 goes into the General Assembly session without a representative in the state Senate, and could open the GOP up to charges of playing politics with the selection process. Nonetheless, it would cut much of the ooomph out of a Marsden campaign.

So, can the governor call a special election for a seat that he knows will go empty by a certain date and potentially have two folks holding the seat, or must he wait until a resignation is submitted and the seat is legally vacant? Can a member of the legislator run in a s special election and overcome the fundraising restriction?

I always thought the Democrats wanted a late election date. Now I see there are circumstances where a late election-given who the Democrats are looking to as candidates-could benefit the GOP.

I always knew Ken Cuccinelli was smart…but this late resignation idea is crazy-crazy like a fox!

Suddenly, Janet “Hoot” Oleszek-who is not in the General Assembly-looks a lot better!


7 thoughts on “Does a Late Cuccinelli Resignation Crush Carpetbagging in Va 37?

  1. I have no idea if he has or has not…I am just speculating on the impact of a late resignation. Nonetheless, I can only assume that when the resignation hits it would trigger several news stories, probably an email from the Cooch saying he had resigned, back the GOP candidates, etc…none of which has happened yet.

  2. Bwana your knowledge of election law is as painfully ignorant as your knowledge of politics in general, Ken is not going to resign because he needs the health insurance provided by the state. Yes Mr. Government is Evil relies on it for health care just as long as it doesn’t provide it to the people who actually need it.

    Second, if he resigns his seat when he is sworn in as AG and the general assembly begins, the Senate would pick the date for the election, not the Governor.

    Lastly, any candidate is able to raise money for a Special Election during session.

    Crack the code book a bit more before posting false information there champ

  3. Pingback: SD-37 Special Updates and Round-up

  4. Imagine that, a fellow stays employed so he can take care of his family. Wouldn’t want to keep that incentive in place, would we?

    Also, isn’t COBRA available under the State of Virginia plans? I imagine that would be so even if technically there might be no Federal regulation.

  5. The election can’t happen before Ken’s resignation is effective, but a date can be chosen now that Ken has announced his intention. Once a date for the election is set, then dates for determining each party’s nominee can then be selected and eventually held.

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