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Boucher vs. Griffith: Marquee race, or over before it begins?

Amy Gardner

To hear the Republicans tell it, Morgan Griffith's newly announced challenge to U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher of southwest Virginia's 9th District is shaping up to be a marquee race likely to lead to the fall of a 28-year incumbent.

To hear Democrats tell it, the race is over before it begins.

Earlier this week, Griffith, majority leader in the state House of Delegates, formed a federal committee to explore the possibility of a run. He announced the support of top Republicans from southwest Virginia. And the state GOP launched a media campaign and web page, www.RetireRick.com.

Boucher is trying to deprive Griffith of oxygen before his campaign takes its first breath. The day after Griffith's announcement, Boucher announced a crucial endorsement from the National Rifle Association. And today, Boucher announced the formation of a new group, Virginia Business Leaders for Boucher, including a number of supporters of Republican Robert F. McDonnell and leaders of the coal industry.

This latest development is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, support from the coal industry could deflect criticism that Boucher's vote for cap-and-trade was bad for the region. Boucher helped negotiate concessions into the bill, and the support of coal executives suggests they aren't unhappy about that.

Second, Boucher is making clear that his campaign is the one with the deep pockets. With $1.7 million in the bank already, he's not being shy that his relationships with business leaders probably mean that more is on the way.

Contrast that with the money quandary that Griffith finds himself in. Griffith spoke Thursday about wrestling with the decision whether to raise money during the legislative session. What he didn't say is that it hurts him either way.

If Griffith foregoes fundraising until the session ends in mid-March, he'll have barely two weeks to begin filling his federal coffers before the next reporting period closes, meaning that his April 15 finance report will be skimpy indeed. But if he does raise money, he'll open himself up to criticism from his opponent, who won't have to look too hard in the archives to find comments from Griffith criticizing Democrats for holding their annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner during the legislative session.

Virginia law prohibits state lawmakers from raising money during the session, but the law does not apply to political parties or federal campaigns.

University of Virginia pundit Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, meanwhile, has downgraded Boucher's chances in the 9th from "safe" to "competitive."

Continue to the jump for a complete list of Virginia Business Leaders for Boucher, including co-chairs Jim McGlothlin, CEO of United Coal, and John Bassett, CEO of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture.

Jim McGlothlin, Co-Chair
President and CEO
The United Companies
Bristol

John Bassett, Co-Chair
President and CEO
Vaughan-Bassett Furniture
Galax

Dr. Kent Aikin
Carilion Clinic
Radford
David Allen, President
D.R. Allen and Associates
Abingdon

Ted Anderson, President and CEO
BondCote Corporation
Pulaski

C.B. Andrews, Owner
D & A Auto Parts
Pembroke

Brecc Avellar, Principal
Avellar, Stone, Houston and Assoc.
Floyd

John Ayers, President
ProNet
Galax

Louise Belmont, Owner
The Company Store
Low Moor

Steve Bennett, CEO
Bennett Lumber
Alleghany County

Wayne Bostic, Principal
Bostic Ford
Hansonville

Jon Bowerbank, President and CEO
EMATS
Richlands

Cabell Brand, President
Recovery Systems, Inc.
Salem

Ed Bunn, Principal
Central Coal
Bristol

Billie Campbell, President
Terra Tech Engineering
Grundy

Andrew Cohill, President and CEO
Design Nine, Inc.
Blacksburg

Woody Crenshaw, Owner
Crenshaw Lighting
Floyd

Rupert Cutler
Retired Community Leader
Roanoke

Tom Deaderick, President
One Partner Data Center
Duffield

Steve Critchfield, Chairman
Tele-Works
Blacksburg

Joe Ellis, President
TEDS
Marion

Paul Elswick, President
Sunset Digital
Duffield

Tom Dean, Principal
Racey and Dean
Clifton Forge

Tom Farrell, Chairman and CEO
Dominion
Richmond

Don Green, Executive Director
Napoleon Hill Foundation
Wise

Mark Eschle, Vice President
CGI
Lebanon

Nanci Hardwick, President
Schultz-Creehan Holdings, Inc
Blacksburg

Gary Hearl, President and CEO
Pegasus Tower Company
Cedar Bluff

Leton Harding, Executive VP
First Bank and Trust
Abingdon

Scott Keim, President
Marshall Miller and Associates
Bluefield

R.J. Kirk, President and CEO
Third Securities, LLC
Radford

Kathy Kavanagh, Owner
KCG
Pennington Gap

Frank Leonard, President and CEO
Line Power Manufacturing
Bristol

George Lester, President
The Lester Group
Martinsville

Jonathan Large, Principal
Insurance Center of Patrick
Stuart

Brian Markison, CEO
King Pharmaceuticals
Bristol

Jerry Miller, President
Holston Medical Group
Duffield

John Marcaccio, President
Aeriel
Stuart

Leon Moore, President
Bank of Floyd
Floyd

David Morrissette, President
Chateau Morrissette
Floyd

Mary Guy Miller, President
Interactive Design and Development
Blacksburg

Wick Moorman, CEO
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Norfolk

Bittle Porterfield, Owner
Rice Management
Roanoke

Sam Neece
Bank Executive
Abingdon

Thomas Piccariello, President and Chief Science Officer
Synthonics, Inc.
Blacksburg

Jack Reasor
Utility Executive
Richmond

Dean Price, Principal
Red Birch Energy
Bassett Forks

Doyle Rasnick, Principal
Clinch Valley Printing
Tazewell

Pallibi Sabu, President
Harmonia, Inc.
Blacksburg

Red Robertson, Owner
Knox Creek Coal Company
Grundy

Walter Rugaber
Retired Business Leader
Blacksburg

Hunter Smith, President and Principal
Smith Packett
Roanoke

Tommy Skeens, President
Falcon Coal Corporation
Grundy

Mr. and Mrs. Bill Smith, Principals
Smith Enterprises
Wytheville

Steve Swartz, President
Swartz Engineering Economics
Stuart

Jim Snyder, Principal
Snyder and Snyder
Clifton Forge

Clyde Stacy, President
Pioneer Coal
Bristol

Bobby Tuck, President
Tuck Engineering
Big Stone Gap

Jim Thompson, Principal
Thompson and Litton
Tazewell

JD Tickle, President and Owner
Strongwell
Bristol

Bill Wilson, Partner
Wilson, Updike & Nicely
Covington

James Tyler, Administrator
Carilion Giles Community Hospital
Pearisburg

Steve VanDyke, Owner
Virginia Mountain Micro
Grundy

Robert Woltz, President
Verizon Communications
Richmond

Mark Wooten
Coal Company Executive
Wise

Peter Wrenn, Owner
Shiloh Construction Co.
New Castle

Roe Hoan Yoon, President
Minerals and Coal Technologies, Inc.
Blacksburg

By Amy Gardner  |  February 26, 2010; 1:10 PM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner  
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Comments

With that list the question isn't whether Morgan the Rented Mule can win, it's whether he'll run at all.

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | February 26, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Every one of them employed with a Cadillac health plan.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 27, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

My question is what is Morgan "Grumpy" Griffith going to run on because his record is void of anything except saying no to funding just about everything -- namely transportation. His unwillingness to compromise and/or consider tax increases is largely to blame for the lack of funding for VDOT and he has heartily endorsed the gutting of education funding and the elimination of all arts funding for the state. But to be fair, he does support the governor's opening of the rest stops.

Posted by: Saintbridge | February 27, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

All this means squat for Boucher if his false beard falls off during this campaign.

And I've spoken to someone at the NRA who finds this endorsement to be very peculiar since they don't issue endorsements until after filing deadlines have passed.

Posted by: JTR555 | March 1, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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