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Griffith considers challenging Boucher

Amy Gardner

Republican H. Morgan Griffith, majority leader in the House of Delegates, said tonight that he is considering challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher in southwest Virginia's 9th District.

Griffith said he's a long way from a decision, and he would not step in if a "stronger candidate" emerges. But, he said: "It's very tempting. Someone needs to run against Rick Boucher."

Griffith proceeded to rattle off grievances with Boucher's voting record, particularly in the past year, when Boucher voted in favor of imposing stricter emissions limits that are unpopular in the coalfields of far southwest Virginia. Griffith swore he hasn't given a congressional bid much thought yet, but boy, he sure sounded like a candidate.

"I cannot believe Boucher's lost touch with his district to such an extent that he would vote for cap and trade," Griffith said. "Do you really represent Norton anymore? Do you really represent Bluefield? Do you really represent Christiansburg? Do you really represent Abingdon? Someone has to ask him that question."

As for whether that someone will be a "stronger" candidate other than Griffith, don't count on it. State Del. Terry G. Kilgore said last week he's not interested in running. And state Sen. William C. Wampler is in line to be chairman of the Senate Finance Committee if Republicans retake the state Senate -- a far more powerful post than being a freshman congressman in Washington.

There is one problem, said Griffith, who lives in Salem: "Right now, I live 15 yards outside the district." It's a small problem, though, since candidates are not required to live in the district they run in. Griffith wouldn't say whether he would consider moving.

By Amy Gardner  |  January 11, 2010; 7:31 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Election 2010 , Rick Boucher  
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