Here are the articles, worth reading:
Virginia Legislators Have Major Role In Judge Selection, March 30
Virginia Judge Selection Process Dates To Reconstruction, March 30
Political ties often key for attaining position on the bench, March 31
Virginia judge-selection process linked to politics, March 31
Data Will Help Lawmakers Determine Judges Qualifications, April 1
Local Bar Associations Felt Neglected Over Endorsements, April 1
This group of articles is pretty well-done, and quotes many people, including me.
The lamest comment attributed to our representatives in Richmond in these articles was from Senator Wampler, if this sentence is accurate: "A weakness of the merit-based system, Wampler believes, is that it allows candidates who feel 'lukewarm' about being a judge to be considered in the process. 'You don’t want somebody lukewarm' on the bench, he said." I know he has wrestled sometimes with getting judgeships filled, but I don't think this came off the way he intended.
Also, it might be concluded from Gilbert's articles that the likelier "lukewarm" judges are the ones selected because of their connections rather than their interest and aptitude, and so they don't seem to particularly enjoy the work or the isolation of the bench. There just might be some of those.