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Posted at 3:43 PM ET, 11/18/2010

Could Tom Perriello run for Senate?

By Ben Pershing

Will Tom Perriello be on the ballot again in 2012?

That's a question to ponder in Virginia, two weeks after the freshman Democrat lost his reelection bid in the 5th Congressional District to state Sen. Robert Hurt (R). Though he lost, Perriello did well enough -- earning 47 percent of the vote in a very tough year for Democrats -- and ran an energetic enough campaign that many in his party hope the 36-year-old will run for office again.

But when, and where? Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) is up for reelection in 2012, and as The Fix notes, a new poll shows Webb performing well in matchups against his likeliest opponent - former senator George Allen (R) -- as well as Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R). Two other potential Republican candidates, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and Del. Bob Marshall (Prince William), were not tested.

The catch is that Webb hasn't said yet whether he will stand for reelection. If he doesn't run, former governor Tim Kaine (D) is the dream candidate for many Virginia Democrats, but there are other possibilities being floated -- including Perriello. That poll by PPP -- a Democratic-leaning firm that uses autodial technology to conduct its surveys -- also tested Perriello, and found him trailing Allen by 5 points, trailing Bolling by 1 point and leading Cuccinelli by 3 points. (The survey showed Kaine leading all three Republicans.)

Having represented the 5th district, which stretches from Charlottesville down to the North Carolina border, for just one term, Perriello is an unknown quantity to some Virginians. The PPP poll found that 22 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of him, 32 percent unfavorable and 46 percent were unsure. The theory behind a Perriello candidacy would be that he is the rare Democrat who could poll well in both the state's rural areas and its more liberal enclaves such as the Northern Virginia suburbs of D.C.

At least one Virginia resident thinks highly of Perriello -- Rep. Bobby Scott (D).

"Obviously he ended the campaign with a reputation as a man of principle," Scott said Thursday. "You don't get that reputation by accident. I think that reputation would help him in a statewide race."

Scott added that he had no particular insight into whether Webb would run for reelection, but said he always assumes incumbents are running until they say otherwise.

As for Perriello himself, a spokesman said the lame-duck lawmaker hasn't made any decisions yet about his future.

Soon after his election loss, he answered a question from the Daily Progress about what he would do next by saying: "I know it'll be service. It could be nonprofit. It could be public. Who knows? It's going to take me a while to figure all that out."

By Ben Pershing  | November 18, 2010; 3:43 PM ET
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Election 2012, George F. Allen, James Webb, Tom Perriello, U.S. Senate  
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Count me in for Perriello. He's one of my favorite Reps.

Posted by: KBfromNC | November 18, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

What's the fascination here? Sure, he's probably a college town liberal, but Virginia has come back to it's roots and that doesn't include enthusiastic support for Obama-change politicians. It's pathetic when misfits like Periello are touted as likely Democrat contestants in a state clearly drifted back red.

Posted by: ecrutle | November 18, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Tom Perriello is a good man who has a lot to offer this state and this country through politics or other means. He has a sincere desire to solve problems, and does not wnat to villify those in opposition to positions he supports. We need more people like him.

Posted by: tansymoth | November 18, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Perriello is not suited to represent Virginia in the Senate. During his time in the House, he just did not seem to understand the points made by his moderate and conservative constituents.

Maybe he could represent coastal California or Manhattan.

Posted by: junomoneta88 | November 18, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Tom is a forward thinker; his loss in a heavily Republican area is due more to heavy Republican advertising and misleading info. I'd vote for him in any political position he wants because he did a good job for Virginians. If Hurt copies Perriello he will be wise; if not, we go back to the old style Republican chowder-heads.

Posted by: naahbob | November 18, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Obama likes him, and that seems to be his strongest quality.

Maybe OBAMA should find him a job.

Posted by: Benson | November 18, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama likes him - are you seriously saying that is a plus in Virginia? And Tim Kaine? OMG you demo/socialist have lost your mind. Kaine lost any chance of being a Senator from Virginia when he served as the National Head of the Soros/Demo/Socialist Party.

Posted by: twoeagle | November 19, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Perriello caught the 5th District sleeping once. He did not represent us nor the state well. He is an elitist raised from birth to do nothing but serve in a political position. The only thing better for the Republicans than a Perriello candidacy would be a Kaine run for the Senate.

Posted by: pitcoken | November 19, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Perriello caught the 5th District sleeping once. He did not represent us nor the state well. He is an elitist raised from birth to do nothing but serve in a political position. The only thing better for the Republicans than a Perriello candidacy would be a Kaine run for the Senate.

Posted by: pitcoken | November 19, 2010 10:25 AM
You may not like Perriello but you can hardly call him an elitist. He went to public schools until his last year in HS and that was a local Catholic school. His father was a local doctor. He worked in some capacity since he graduated from law school. Hurt is a lawyer and has been in some form of elected office since 2000. Does that make him elitist? Or is Hurt just another career politician?

Posted by: daburge | November 19, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Perriello is my choice, but then I'm not a typical Virginian who whines about the Federal government and in the meantime is sucking on the Big Fat Pink Federal tit. Don't tax me, tax somebody else, but Lordy, Lordy, Jim and Mark get us some more Federal contracts.

Perriello has the guts to stand up for his beliefs, and for what he voted for...

Posted by: lpberkoff | November 19, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm for Perriello. Forget those candy a@@ politicians who vote for something and then lie about it when running for reelection...At least he is not just after the almighty Federal contract.

Posted by: lpberkoff | November 19, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

i pounded the pavement for him in 2010 and i'll do it again if he decides to run for his old seat or anything else.

Posted by: joew22 | November 22, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

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