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Moran pursues state party chairmanship but obstacles remain

Anita Kumar

Former gubernatorial candidate and Alexandria delegate Brian Moran has been calling members of the Democratic State Central Committee to drum up support for his bid to be the next party chairman, but it may not be a sure thing.

Last week, Del. Joe Morrissey sent a letter to fellow Democratic legislators criticizing a selection process that he says allowed Sen. Mark Warner and former Gov. Tim Kaine to handpick Moran for the job.

Now, there are rumblings that some activists would rather have U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello fill the chairman's post if he loses his tough re-election bid next week against state Sen. Robert Hurt.

There's also a possibility that state Sen. Don McEachin maybe interested. He said as much in a statement after Richard Cranwell announced he was stepping down after leading the party for five years.

Morrissey also said he has heard from two others who are interested in the job, but he declined to say who. The State Central Committee will pick a new leader Dec. 3 in Newport News.

Morrissey, who supported Moran in the gubernatorial primary last year, said Warner and Kaine should have consulted with state legislators before making any decisions on who should get the job.

"I recognize that both Mark and Tim, as former Governors, are used to dictating the Party Chair. This is a prerogative traditionally given to the state's Chief Executive,'' he wrote. "However, the current environment is different. This is not Harry Bryd's Democratic Party; it is the people's Democratic Party. We, the House and Senate Democrats, are relevant and cannot and should not be taken for granted."

But we hear others were consulted, including Sen. Jim Webb and legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, Senate Democratic Caucus Chairwoman Mary Margaret Whipple and House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong.

Through spokesmen, both Warner and Kaine both declined to comment on Morrissey's complaints.

Moran, who served as House Caucus chairman for seven years, said in an interview that he hopes to allay Morrissey's fears by explaining to him and others that his focus will be on next year's legislative races.

"That is clearly my strength,'' he said.

By Anita Kumar  | October 25, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Brian J. Moran, Mark Warner, Timothy M. Kaine, Tom Perriello  
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