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Cranwell resigns as Virginia Democratic party chairman

Anita Kumar

C. Richard Cranwell will resign as chairman of Democratic Party of Virginia on Dec. 3 after serving five years.

Cranwell, a 30-year fixture in the House of Delegates, made the announcement Tuesday because the party plan calls for 30-day notice before an election is held. The party will hold an election at its Newport News meeting Dec. 3 after the midterm elections.

"He's been a good chairman,'' Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw said. "He's a good image for our party -- he's very articulate and very very bright and very good on his feet."

Possible successors already being talked about are Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) and former Del. Brian Moran, who ran for governor in 2009.

"Some good Virginia Democrats have approached me and encouraged me to run for the chairmanship,'' McEachin said. "I am honored by their confidence in me, but this is not an idea I have previously considered. Out of deference to them, I will certainly ponder this and try to determine if my standing for election to chair is a good step forward for this party that I love."

Updated, 5:40 p.m.: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) released a statement on Cranwell's resignation, and said any new chairman should not be a potential statewide candidate in 2013.

"As a former state party chair, I understand and appreciate the incredible commitment of time and energy and that this position entails, and I congratulate and thank Dick for his service to our Party. He leaves big shoes to fill, and I plan to work with our Party's Central Committee to elect a new chair."

Updated, 6:35 p.m.: Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) has also released a statement: "Dick Cranwell has tirelessly served the Commonwealth of Virginia for nearly four decades. During my campaign for Senate, Dick was a staunch and valuable ally. We appreciate his leadership and wish him well."

By Anita Kumar  | October 12, 2010; 4:48 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, James Webb, Mark Warner  
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