Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

22nd Senate Seat Rundown

NLS is reporting that Senator Brandon Bell may draw a primary challenger in 2007 due to his siding with the "moderates" in the Senate on the latest tax battle.
This seems like a possibility as I told you back in May.

According to NLS, two of the possible challengers are former Roanoke mayor Ralph Smith and former candidate for the 22nd Joe Obenshain. Both are also considered potential candidates to run for Lacey Putney's 19th HOD seat when he retires. Even so, after Putney's wife's death last year, many expect him to stay in the House for life now (it was rumored he was going to retire last year to spend more time with his wife). Even if he does retire, Bedford County/City controls about 2/3 of the district, and both Smith and Obenshain are from Botetourt. Also, I have been told that a powerhouse has emerged from Bedford as a replacement for Putney anyway. Don't forget, Smith actually moved from Roanoke city to Botetourt to run for something.

I know of no potential candidates that would run against Bell from Montgomery and can't think of any from Roanoke (when I get back to VT I may be able to get a better idea).

If these are the only 2 challengers, Bell may be in decent shape since the bulk of the district is Roanoke County/Salem City (where Bell is from).
I personally have not seen much distaste for Bell in Montgomery/Radford, so a Botetourt candidate will have an uphill battle here.

My guess is Bell is going to stay a Senator unless someone from Roanoke County runs against him. The regional setup of the district will make it very tough for someone from Botetourt to win.

UPDATE: I have confirmed that Joe Obenshain will not be challening Brandon Bell and I also have learned that Ralph Smith is likely to be the challenger against Bell. He was seen at the Virginians for a Conservative Senate fundraiser in D.C. Smith was a sponsor of the event as well.


  • At 7/20/2006 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rumor has it that Putney's nephew, John Putney, has moved back to the area, perhaps into Bedford. I think he is young. His nephew used to work for Sen. George Allen. Does anyone know if this is true?

  • At 7/20/2006 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    WOAH, is NLS saying Old Zach is related to KATE???? After he propped her up for a year on SST?

  • At 7/21/2006 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, John has taken a job in Lynchburg, but is moving near Bedford City...do the math

  • At 8/09/2006 5:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Indeed, John Putney has moved to Bedford, I saw him at a Republican meeting recently. I suppose he is the "powerhouse" that has been talked about. I can think of two potential Putney successors, John Putney and a member of the Bedford County BoS. Also are there any rumors of Kathy Byron eventually stepping down?

  • At 9/14/2006 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What member of the BOS is capable of running for LP's seat? I'm not aware of any. I heard that some school teacher, Debby Allen, was going to run because she's taking classes at the Sorenson Institute.

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