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Two Republicans to challenge Barker for Senate in Northern Virginia

Anita Kumar

The election may be more than 18 months away, but already two Republicans have said they plan to run for the seat held by Democratic Sen. George Barker of Fairfax County.

Scott Martin, an assistant dean at George Mason University who ran unsuccessfully for a Fairfax County School Board in 2003, recently announced he plans to run and started a website..

"The prime purpose of government is not to create jobs, but to provide opportunities for its citizens and to encourage economic growth in the private sector,'' he writes in a letter to residents on his Website.

Former senator Jay O'Brien, whom Barker defeated in 2007, also said in an interview today that he plans to run. He will make a formal announcement this spring and is already lining up endorsements.

"There may be several Democrats in the Senate who are vulnerable,'' O'Brien said.

O'Brien said Barker is out of step with his district on a number of votes, including his opposition to a bill this session that prohibits requiring Virginians to purchase health-care insurance. The bill was aimed at the Democratic health care reform proposals making their way through Congress.

The 39th district includes parts of northern Prince William and southern Fairfax County, though that the boundary lines could -- and probably will -- change with the redistricting process after the 2010 census. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) won the district with 56 percent of the vote.

By Anita Kumar  |  March 18, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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