In a fairly breaking development, my Delegate, Matt Lohr has accepted a position as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. With this arrangement, Delegate Lohr will be resigning his seat in the General Assembly likely within a month or two. This departure will trigger a special election in which the citizens of the 26th district (Harrisonburg and the northern half of Rockingham County) will choose a new delegate. I would assume that it would take place this coming November, coinciding with the House of Representatives race.
Although control of this seat will not tip the balance of power in the House of Delegates, given that Democrats have little chance of unseating Bob Goodlatte from his position in the House of Representatives, it is likely that local Democrats will pour their efforts into this race. Right now there are a multitude of unanswered questions. Who will win the Republican and Democratic nomination? Will there be any third party candidates? With voter turnout likely to be low, which side will rally their faithful more successfully? Will Harrisonburg, which the Democrats have occasionally won in recent elections, go for the Democratic candidate? And if they win Harrisonburg, will it be by large enough margins to counteract the heavily conservative county?
I don’t want to take anything for granted, but given past trends, I would expect whoever wins the Republican nomination should win the election. As a word of warning though, if you can’t run a campaign worth spit (and that involves hiring knowledgeable people), then don’t run for the office! I just hope that at the end of the day, we have a strong, committed, constitutionally minded conservative. The 26th is my home after all. And as a side note to whomever wins, you should strongly consider hiring Matt Lohr’s current legislative assistant. You shouldn’t dive head first into a new surrounding without having someone experienced on your side.
I’ll post more on this story as it becomes available.
Update: Thanks to hburgnews.com, (a great source for local news) for bringing this story to my attention. Their post can be found here.