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Moran Will Endorse Herring; Gonzalez Enters Race

Tim Craig

Brian J. Moran, who gave up his House seat on Friday to campaign full time for the Democratic nomination for governor, will announce Monday he is endorsing Charniele Herring's bid to replace him in the General Assembly, according to Democratic sources.

Moran's support comes as one prominent Alexandria Democrat, Kerry J. Donley, has apparently decided against entering the race but another candidate, Ariel Gonzalez, has thrown his hat into the ring.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has called a special election for Jan. 13, but both political parties have to settle on their nominees on Tuesday. The elections will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ramsay Recreational Center in Alexandria.

Gonzalez, a member of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, is the director of Congressional Affairs for the American College of Radiology. Gonzalez is also a former president of the Prince William Young Democrats.

"I have entered this race because I believe it is time to move Virginia in a new direction," said Gonzalez, whose mother is a former principal at James K. Polk Elementary School in Alexandria. "After 20 years in Virginia, I think the 46th District deserves a new voice to represent all of its people, especially those who have traditionally been excluded from politics."

But some Alexandria Democratic leaders question whether Gonzalez has deep enough roots to the community and local party. Besides Moran, Democratic National Committee Member Mame Reiley has announced she is supporting Herring, an attorney and civic activist.

If elected, Herring would be the second African-American in modern times to represent Northern Virginia in the General Assembly, following George E. Lovelace who represented the Vienna area of Fairfax County in the House of Delegates in 1996 and 1997. He was defeated in 1997 by Republican Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, who later went on to serve one-term in the state senate.

Chris Marston, chair of the Alexandria Republican Committee, said GOP candidates have until 4 p.m. to file as a candidate in the 46th District. Lisa Marie Cheney, a consultant and longtime GOP activist, Sasha Gong, who runs a blog for Chinese Americans and realtor Phil Cefaratti have all inquired about seeking the Republican nomination, Marston said.

President-Elect Barack Obama received 72 percent of the vote in Alexandria this year, but Martson said he's optomistic that the GOP nominee could win Moran's old seat in a low-turnout special election.

"It will be about who runs a better turnout operation," Martson said. "There is no time to do a campaign beside door-to-door and we think we are pretty good at that."

But Susan B. Kellom, chairwoman of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, said she is "100 percent confident" that the Democratic nominee will retain the seat.

"We are geared up and ready to go," Kellom said. "We have a really, really good set of precinct captains and precinct operations. They are a marvelous team and once we have a nominee, they just go full tilt."

The 46th District includes most sections of the Alexandria west of Quaker Lane as well as Fairfax County's Skyline precinct.

By Tim Craig  |  December 14, 2008; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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as a democrat,I ready to go to work.

This is the shortest campaign ( 60 hours from start to caucus) ever

Posted by: pvogel88 | December 15, 2008 2:28 AM | Report abuse

Craig is clearly not writing equally of both candidates. No wonder since the Alexandria Dem Committee is performing an inside job here.

How about speaking of the other candidate? How about if Gonzalez is elected he would be the first Hispanic ever to represent the district? Or that he is an outstanding Young Democrat AND an attorney as well? Or anything of his activities within the community?

It is funny how the local Democratic Party suppresses the aspirations of rising stars and simply back a party establishment candidate. These sort of actions are the reason why the Alexandria Democratic Committee, and its leadership, fail to appreal to REAL Democrats in the community: in other words - the majority of Democratic voters.

Its a shame that in less than a hundred hours, they are questioning one of their rising stars and backing a person who simply has been waiting for this opportunity with no clear mandate - but rather to simply carry on the flag of inside party leadership.

Additionally, Brian Moran just lost a huge number of votes from people in this area. He should have resigned a long time ago in order for the voters to REALLY get to know the candidates and have enough notice for the candidates to truly go out to the constituents of the 46th district.

And Mame Reily is simply a paid consultant for Moran and his farce campaign.

Another example of the sham that is the Alexandria Democratic leadership and its insider suppression of real voters.

It almost makes people want to vote Republican.

Posted by: realchange | December 15, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

While Mr. Gonzalez may be snowed in because he does not have the political backing and does not represent the party as usual in Alexandria, he does represent a fresh perspective and change. Someone who is NOT willing to bend to local party politics and do their bidding without question, unlike Mrs. Herring, who is simply playing good soldier and a replaceable cog in the machine. Shame on Brian Moran for simply going along with protocol. It tell you what kind of governor he'll be for VA - not a good one.

Alexandria, check out and learn about Ariel Gonzalez. He can't be any worse than Herring and I don't believe he's politics as usual.

Posted by: thisdj1 | December 15, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

It is a pity that this election will be held so quickly, but Charniele Herring is a great candidate, with a background that will let her hit the ground running in Richmond. She's spent years working on the Alexandria Commission for Women, which she chaired, and has served at the state level on Governor Kaine's Council on the Status of Women. That's part of why she's been endorsed, not just by Brian Moran, but by former Mayor Bill Eulle, Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, the Virginia NOW PAC and The Farm Team.

Mr. Gonzalez may be fine, but so far as I can tell he hasn't done much in public life so far. It seems a lot better to go with the candidate who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the public good through her work in Alexandria and for the Commonwealth. It would be hard to do better than electing Charniele Herring.

Posted by: jharringto | December 15, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

It seems supporters of Ms. Herring simply state that she has been around awhile as a reason to vote her into office. I am not sure why the local Democratic establishment believes one must be older, or to have been around for decades to even consider someone for public office.

I know both candidates and they are both good people committed to their community. It is a shame about the short turnaround. Additionally, while I think Ms. Herring has been preparing for this chance to run for at least a year now - I have yet to find a compelling reason to choose her over Gonzalez or a possible Republican challenger. To be honest, with the local Democratic Party running the show - it is difficult for anyone outside of their group to actually feel included in much of anything.

Besides, Gonzalez is a good guy who simultaneously works, serves on a local commission, advocates for victims of domestic violence, and coaches teens in the community. It's not like he is sitting at home and watching TV.

Posted by: changewillcome | December 16, 2008 2:04 AM | Report abuse

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