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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another Special Election?

NLS is reporting that Sen. William Wampler will be taking a job at the State Corporation Commission. This would require him to resign his Senate seat. This is largely seen as a move by the dems to shore up their Senate majority, in the event that one of their members (specifically Chuck Colgan) was unable to complete their term. I expect that some on my side of the aisle will say this is Wampler's repayment for helping the dems while they were in the minority, as he was a powerful member of the Senate Leadership Trust.

NLS claims that Del. Joe Johnson will be the dem nominee, while speculating that Del. Terry Kilgore could be the GOP standard bearer. I personally do not see either of these happening.
Johnson has long been rumored to be at the end of his GA service with bad health and old age. From Terry's prespective, why would you give up MAJORITY Caucus Chairman in the House to be in the minority with no senority in the Senate. If Kilgore does run for the Senate, it signals to me that he expects there will be a regime change in the House in a couple years (Kilgore is a big ally of Speaker Howell, which is why he is Caucus Chair in the first place).

While I have no idea who the dems would run, my early guess for the GOP is Kevin Triplett. He has been interested in running for something again since his Congressional race; and he could raise money and has name ID. I have not heard much on this race yet, but he would be my bet right now for the Republicans.

As for the likely outcome, its a special election and anything can happen. Obviously the district has a strong GOP lean, but turnout is everything in a special election. I would give the early edge to the GOP here, b/c we have better local parties and more local electeds in this Senate district than in Phil Puckett's, so that should help the Republican candidate here. If however Johnson does get in the race, it could get very interesting.

On another note, this move carries another big political impact. Sen. Wampler has always been viewed as the GOP's most likely candidate to run for the 9th when Boucher retires. With Wampler's retirement, this picture will now become much more unclear. Any Republican in this Senate district would have the inside track on a race like that, b/c it has all the GOP strongholds in Southwest Virginia needed to win the 9th. Anyone thinking about running for the 9th in the future will have to take a very serious look at running for this seat to give themselves a shot at the Congressional seat down the road.

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