Sunday, August 24, 2003

Should Republicans nominate a Northern Virginian for statewide office in 2005?

The Washington Post had this article last week, in which some Northern Virginia Republicans were urging that one of their own should be the party's nominee for lieutenant governor in 2005.

The article explains:

"They may be too late. Although it will be two years before the major parties decide their '05 tickets, state Sen. Bill Bolling (R) of the Richmond area has already lined up the support of many grass-roots activists with a staunchly conservative message of no new taxes and restrained government spending.

Bolling has also built alliances with other lawmakers by donating to their campaigns through his Virginia Conservative Action political action committee.

A lot can happen between now and nominating season, and Bolling has no lock on the No. 2 spot. But he would be formidable, especially if Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore (R), a gubernatorial contender, and other party leaders opt for a nominating convention rather than a primary election. A convention would play to the organizational strength of the Republican right wing; a primary would automatically give a boost to a candidate from a vote-rich region such as Northern Virginia.

The leading proponent of getting a Washington suburbanite on the '05 ticket is Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-District 11), who has his eye on an eventual U.S. Senate run and increasingly is using his standing as a regional and national player to influence downstate affairs.

Republican sources said that on at least two occasions, Davis has suggested strongly to Kilgore that he take care to include a Northern Virginian on the ticket. (A Republican state delegate from Virginia Beach and a Richmond lawyer are battling for the attorney general nomination, leaving the lieutenant governor position basically the only one available to someone.)

Davis's logic is selfish and strategic. Selfish, because he doesn't entirely trust Richmond to look out for the interests of Virginia's economic engine -- one that is also plagued by monstrous traffic congestion, huge social service demands and an educational infrastructure badly in need of major repairs."

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