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Gonzalez Eyes Rematch With Herring

Tim Craig

After she almost lost a Democratic seat in a special election earlier this month, Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) will likely face an opponent in the June primary.

Democrat Ariel Gonzalez, who unsuccessfully challenged Herring for the nomination last month, announced today he is starting a "listening tour" to explore whether he will run again.

In a statement, Gonzalez noted the last election was held on 100 hours notice after Brian Moran abruptly resigned the seat to focus on his bid for governor. Only 234 voters showed up to vote to participate in the Herring-Gonzalez nomination contest.

"Voters were provided minimal time to learn the date, hours and location of the caucus," Gonzalez said. "Further, residents were given almost no opportunity to learn and understand the views and policy positions of the candidates."

Herring was sworn in this week after a recount concluded she defeated Republican Joe Murray by 16 votes. Herring's narrow victory in the low-turnout election shocked Democrats because the 46 District is overwhelmingly Democratic.

"Should I decide to enter this race, I will seek a constructive, thorough dialogue on the issues that affect the entire community," said Gonzalez, 31, an attorney.

Several other Democrats in Alexandria have also been mentioned as possible candidates.

By Tim Craig  |  January 28, 2009; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Fascinating. This guy who could only get 50 people to come out for him is going to start a listening tour?

Sounds like he needs to go out and make some friends in his neighborhood first.

Posted by: FederalGraphics | January 28, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Interesting indeed, but not for the reasons you state. I think a lot of us are interested in what he has to say, as we didn't get much to hear about the candidates last time. I think most of us constituents in the 46th didn't know about the election and would be willing to speak with interested parties this time around. I guess it is also important to note that this is not a speaking tour, but that he is actually reaching out and listening to folks - not sure of the harm in that.

Posted by: UVANick | January 28, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, his opponent only got around 150 - and then almost lost to a Republican. I'm glad to hear he's giving it another shot.

Posted by: dcgal4 | January 29, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Agreed that it's fair to learn as much as you can about all candidates. It's every voter's right and responsibility. But while Mr. Gonzalez is out there listening, Del. Herring will be in Richmond working. Hmm..wonder who will have more to say in the spring? Listening Tour, indeed -- he's doing nothing more than ripping off Terry McAuliffe's idea from the gubernatorial campaign. I suspect that, while he benefited greatly from timing and incredible circumstances, it won't be so easy the next time around. Listening or not, his record still can't come close to Del. Herring's, and I can guarantee the voters - in the end - will listen to and understand that!

Posted by: vapolitics1 | January 29, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I think it is great that Mr. Gonzalez is moving in that direction. Listening and talking with folks in the area is a good move. Not sure if he is "ripping off" McAuliffe's idea, but it seems like he is just listening and talking to people about their concerns. Nothing wrong with that.

Del. Herring should be working, she was elected (barely) do to just that. I'm not sure about her "record" but in the end there are many of us who aren't too impressed with someone who plays the race card when confronted with a partisan situation.

Posted by: alexdem24 | January 30, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Whoa...race card? Did you even pay attention to this whole thing? Mr. Gonzalez was touting himself as the first Latino to hold the seat. In the end, none of this matters; we need someone who will represent us well, and Del. Herring is already establishing herself as the freshman to watch. And of course he's ripping off Terry -- I've spent months listening to Mr. McAuliffe talk about his "listening tour" across the state. I just found out yesterday that Mr. Gonzalez is on Terry's payrole (at least a regular volunteer for the campaign), so now it makes more sense. I hope he gets more - and more original - ideas soon. He'll have to if he hopes to compete in June.

Posted by: vapolitics1 | January 30, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

When faced with a partisan situation, Del. Herring has shown amazing stregnth and determination. She sat with dignity in the back of the House Chambers until she took her rightful seat in the General Assembly.

She has provided our district weekly updates on her work in Richmond. Also, she just introduced legislation to help businesses. I and my neighbors will do all that we can to see that she returns to Richmond.

Before becoming elected, Del. Herring has listened to the needs of our community by working in it for 22 years. She has championed issues for children, families and businesses. Therefore, she does not need a listening tour. She knows from experience.

Posted by: vafuture | January 31, 2009 3:01 AM | Report abuse

VA politics- I think what alexdem24 was referring to via the "race card" was Del Herring's controversial comments about waiting in the back of the bus until someone tells her to sit in the front of the bus when confronted with the partisan vote in terms of seating her in Richmond. I think many of us were disappointed in her analogizing a partisan situation to a civil rights struggle. Several of us are not so sure about her poise under the circumstances. I think the reference was to that comment.

It's also great that two talented minorities are interested in working for the people of thr 46th.

I am in the district, and I think they're both good people. I don't know of Del. Herring "championing" the issues you speak of, but I know she's been involved. I also know that Mr. Gonzalez has also been involved in his community as well. I am also pretty sure Gonzalez is not on Terry's payroll and that in his role with the Young Democrats he has reached out to each of the gubernatorial campaigns to speak to young people in the area.

Posted by: UVANick | January 31, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

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