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Midterms start to percolate

Amy Gardner

Herrity's in? GOP sits out the 9th? Robert Hurt is an anti-tax conservative? We heart midterm elections! Lots of interesting developments over the holidays make it clear that this is going to be a very active year indeed. Here's a quick rundown for those (like me) who didn't keep up:

*He's in, He's out, he's in again, he's out. That would be Republican Pat S. Herrity we're talking about, the Fairfax County supervisor who appears to be itching with ambition for higher office -- but not so itching with clarity as to which office he wants. The son of the late John F. "Jack" Herrity keeps saying he's probably running for Congress in the 11th District, and then he says he's still thinking. Herrity is also contemplating running again for Fairfax chairman, his father's old job, a post he sought and lost last year against Democrat Sharon Bulova. Certainly Herrity doesn't want another loss on his record in advance of his next shot at the chairman's gavel, in 2011. And the 11th would be tough, with Keith S. Fimian also seeking the Republican nomination -- and with freshman Democrat Gerald E. Connolly rarin' to face either Herrity or Fimian in the fall. So does Herrity sit this one out and challenge Bulova to a rematch next year? Or does he go for the gold? Stay tuned.

*Down in the 9th Congressional District, in southwest Virginia, the news actually lies in the LACK of activity. As in: No Republican candidate has emerged yet to take on 28-year incumbent Rick Boucher, despite growing discontent with Democratic policies in Washington. State Del. Terry G. Kilgore told us Thursday that the timing is not right for him. His son will be a senior on the football team at the height of campaign season next fall ("You can't get those memories back"), and Kilgore's got too much seniority in the General Assembly to trade in for a freshman berth in Washington. "I'm doing more for southwest Virginia in Richmond than I ever could in Congress."

Kilgore said the same is probably true for state Sen. William C. Wampler Jr., who becomes Senate Finance Committee chairman if Republicans take back control of the state Senate -- one of the most powerful jobs in all Virginia. "He couldn't walk away from that, " Kilgore said. Wampler wasn't immediately available for comment. But here's the upshot: No Kilgore and no Wampler equals bad news for Republican fortunes in the Fightin' Ninth. Boucher has been a popular incumbent known for strong constituent services. Even in the present environment, Republicans and Democrats agree that the GOP would need a marquis name to mount a serious challenge. You gotta be in it to win it, folks. (Kilgore, by the way, didn't rule out a congressional run in 2012 or 2014).

*Over in the 5th District, where freshman Democrat Tom Perriello is widely viewed as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country, the battle for the conservative base of the Republican Party continues. State Sen. Robert Hurt, who is being skewered by the more conservative contenders for the GOP nomination because he voted for the former-governor-Mark-Warner tax hike in 2004, has signed Grover Norquist's famous no-tax pledge. First reported last month on several blogs, Hurt is now saying that he regretted that vote. One of Hurt's opponents, however, Laurence Verga, isn't letting up. Not only did Verga earn the support last month of conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, but the famed Joe the Plumber, aka Joe Wurzelbacher, will endorse Verga this weekend in Danville, according to Verga's campaign. Is the 5th turning into another NY23?

*Virginia Beach car dealer Scott Rigell kicked off his campaign in the 2nd Congressional District on Tuesday, where he hopes to unseat freshman Democrat Glenn C. Nye. Rigell is positioned as something of a front-runner among a half-dozen Republican contenders, with nearly 600 attending his kickoff -- including Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell -- and a long list of political luminaries already backing him. There's been an interesting development in the 2nd, though, which is that the district's GOP committee is now leaning toward holding a primary despite a vote late last year to hold a canvass to choose its nominee. Apparently the decision results from a host of problems during the canvass last month to nominate a candidate for Ken Stolle's old Senate seat. (Also, a primary would allow active-duty military personnel to vote absentee -- an important constituency in the 2nd).

By Amy Gardner  |  January 8, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Election 2010 , Gerald E. Connolly , Glenn Nye , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Tom Perriello  
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Comments

A "Joe the Plumber" endorsement is a little less impressive once you realize that it is purchased for $5,000, which is also his daily fee. So, for $10,000 (two appearances) Mr. Verga has purchased himself a high-profile endorsement.

Posted by: 5thDistrictRepublican | January 8, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

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