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Spruill's Son Hopes to Unseat Del. Howell

Tim Craig

The Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks money in state politics, is keeping tabs on who has filed to run for the House of Delegates this year.

Among the more notable entrants is Lionell Spruil Jr., the son of Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesepeake). Delegate Spruill's son is challenging Del. Algie T. Howell Jr. (D-Norfolk) in the Democratic Primary.

"I've been noticing and listening to a lot of the people in the community that I live and they are not really happy with the performance of our current legislature," said Lionell Spruill Jr. "They want a real leader. I am not saying (Howell's) not that, but I think they deserve better, and I am offering it to them."

When he was asked if his father will help him try to unseat Howell, Lionell Spruill Jr. said, "that's between my father and I."

There is also an interesting race shaping up in Virginia Beach. Peter Schmidt, who headed up the Department of Environmental Quality under former governor George Allen (R), has left the Republican Party and is now running for the House of Delegates as a Democrat.

Schmidt, who operates a concete business in Hampton Roads, plans to challenge Del. Harry R. "Bob" Purkey (R-Virginia Beach).

The race will be a rematch from 2005, when Schmidt challenged Purkey in the Republican primary.

Schmidt, who served on the Virginia Beach City Council from 2002 to 2006, said he switched parties earlier this year because he thinks the Virginia GOP has failed to do enough about traffic and transportation.

"For the last decade I've been very disappointed with the inaction on transportation by the House of Delegates," Schmidt said. "So I felt this was an opportunity to do what we can to rebuild our economic base, and at least have some economic progress. I am a business guy and that is very important."

In the 28th District, House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) also now finds himself with a credible Democratic opponent. Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman George Schwartz recently announced he will try to unseat the speaker.

By Tim Craig  |  February 16, 2009; 1:46 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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