40th Senate Update
On the dem side, it appears De. Joe Johnson is going to run and will probably be unopposed for that nomination. Even though his health isn't very good, I guess he wants to be in the majority before he leaves the Assembly.
On the Republican side there is an interesting race that could arise. My expected frontrunner Kevin Triplett has apparently declined to run. Del. Terry Kilgore has also declined, as has Jerry.
A lobbyist for Alpha Natural Resources, Donnie Ratliff, has reportedly sent out an email discussing running and he claims to have spoken with various members of the party about doing so. This should prove helpful to him in that he should be able to garner some endorsements from his position and/or connections.
A quick search on VPAP shows that he has individually given to Kilgore's Governor run, but also given to dem Delegates Dan Bowling and Bud Phillips. The company he works for (and that he essentially hands out checks for) has given over $125,000 in the 2007 elections. 22k of this was to democrats, including Del. Johnson. I have a feeling this will be a strong argument against him in the nomination contest.
The other name I have heard is Israel O'Quinn. He was a political consultant/worker in the SWVA area, most recently as Kilgore's field director. He is now a government relations person for Food City. He too is well connected, and has probably never given to any dem candidates (especially the one he is running against). My guess is, he will have the inside track on the nomination at this point (if he decides to run) b/c he can probably get the endorsement of Jerry Kilgore, and can also attack Ratliff for his dem support.
It will be interesting to see if someone from the business community and/or other non-political field steps forward to carry the GOP banner here. If they do, this nomination could become very interesting.