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TWICE UPDATED: Oleszek and Bulova out for senate, Marsden possibly in

Rosalind Helderman

On Thursday, we told you about the Republicans interested in the soon to be vacated senate seat of attorney general-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Now some news on the Democrats.

Janet Oleszek, the former Fairfax School Board member who challenged Cuccinelli for the seat in 2007, said this morning that Democratic leadership has asked her not to run for the seat and, in the interest of party unity, she has agreed. She didn't sound terribly happy about it but said she is a loyal Democrat who would not challenge the wishes of her party's top dogs.

"I actually think I am the best candidate for this seat, having won in that district for School Board handily, having come within 101 votes to winning in 2007," she said. "I've been working very hard for this. But in the interest of solidarity, I have to step aside so we can unite behind their choice."

And who is their choice? Oleszek said she was uncertain, but here's one possibility: Del. David Marsden, who was just reelected Tuesday and whose district includes 10 of the senate seat's 14 precincts. He said Friday that he's interested in the seat and will make a final decision about whether to seek it next week.

"The senate affords me an opportunity to get things done for the region and probably has a little more influence than a House seat," he said. Marsden said voters were sending a message to Washington on Tuesday. But, he added in what we assume would be his campaign pitch if he throws his hat in for the senate, "The time for sending messages is over all you'll have is a legislature full of messengers. It's time to start governing. And There's no question I know how to do it."

Another name being bandied about is Del. David Bulova. We've got a call in to Bulova on the topic.

Democrats had once been hopeful of picking up the seat and expanding their razor thing one-vote majority in the state senate. The Fairfax County district has been trending blue for years and last year backed President Obama for president. But Republican Bob McDonnell won the area, part of his Fairfax County victory, and it's not clear what the prospects for a Democratic pick-up would be in a low-turnout special election. The date for the election will be set by Gov. Tim Kaine after Cuccinelli formally submits his letter of resignation from the senate.

UPDATE: Del. David Bulova has gotten back to us and says he will not be running for the senate. Looks like the Democratic nominee in this district may well be Del. David Marsden. "The senate's a great place, and I got into politics because I love my community and I think I can make a difference. But I also know my limitations. I know this is not the right time for family, and I know it's not the right time for me financially...I'm not in this to continue up a ladder. I'll wait my turn until the time is right. I've taken my name out of the running." Bulova said he supports Marsden "100 percent" and believes he has a good chance of winning the seat.

UPDATE TWO: We've heard back from Oleszek, who wanted to make clear she was never asked not to run for the seat. She said it was made clear to her that leadership had "other preferences" for the seat and so she made the decision on her own not to seek election.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  November 6, 2009; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Marsden doesn't live the 37th Senate District and he lost 4 of those 10 precincts.

Posted by: Tikkanen08 | November 7, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

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