Moran Will Endorse Herring; Gonzalez Enters Race
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.
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