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All eyes turn to Fairfax's 37th district

Rosalind Helderman

It looks like Democrats have pretty much decided to concede the soon-to-be vacant Virginia Beach state senate district to the GOP, meaning the balance of power in the state senate may soon rest with the Fairfax residents who live in the 37th senatorial district, site of the state's second upcoming senate special election.

Democrat Majority Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw said Monday that the party is likely not to put up a candidate to vie to replace Sen. Ken Stolle, who will soon resign from his seat to become sheriff of Virginia Beach. And Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, speaking Monday at a Washington Post editorial board meeting, said flatly that Democrats will not pick up Stolle's seat. Kaine is way too smart of a political leader to be that dismissive of his party's chances if it were running even a nominal candidate for the seat.

Kaine sang a different tune about Democrat's chances of picking up a seat in the 37th, however, where the governor will call a special election at some point after newly elected attorney general Ken Cuccinelli formally resigns his senate seat.

"I think we're going to end up with more Democrats in the senate," Kaine told Post editors and reporters. "I think we're going to win the Cuccinelli seat. There's another special, for the Stolle seat, that we will not win. But I think we'll go from 21-19 to 22-18."

Democrats say they will choose a candidate later this week to challenge the GOP's nominee, who will soon be chosen from among Marianne Horinko, Steve Hunt and Will Nance.

Meanwhile, Kaine also sounded confident that Democrats will hold on to their one-seat majority even if they do not pick up the Fairfax seat. That's because he said he does not believe any member of the caucus can be lured by Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell into the administration.

"You can't jinx yourself by saying never, but I would be a little surprised," Kaine said. "I've talked to all the senators...I will not comment on my conversations with any of the senators except to say I've talked to them all. And I think, my sense of the Democratic senators is, they recognize, 'wow, things that we hold dear may be at risk if we don't stick together.'"

By Rosalind Helderman  |  November 17, 2009; 8:49 AM ET
Categories:  Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Next: Johnson, Malek among McDonnell inauguration chairs

Comments

Will Nance's ability to run 1,000 employees on a budget give him the edge in this race. His business experience along with his traditional values make him the future of VA politics.

Posted by: sawbill1 | November 17, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

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