In case you haven’t been paying attention to politics in the central Shenandoah Valley, three candidates have been vying for the GOP nomination for the 24th district Virginia Senate seat. Senator Emmett Hanger of Mount Solon is opposed by both Marshall Pattie and Dan Moxley.
Pattie was the first to publicly announce his intentions for office, running since the end of June. Moxley didn’t officially throw his hat into the ring until December 2nd, and, although not unexpected, Hanger made his entry quite recently.
Even though the 24th district Republican Party made the decision that they would be holding a convention to determine their nominee, when Senator Hanger entered the race, he declared that they would instead run a primary, citing the Incumbent Protection Act. As such, the 24th district Republican Party filed suit in court.
Yesterday, on March 2nd, the deadline to file as a candidate for the convention came and went. Surprisingly, only one candidate filed, Dan Moxley. According to the call, given that there is only one candidate, the convention will be cancelled and Moxley will be declared the official nominee.
Now, one can make an argument as to why Emmett Hanger didn’t file his paperwork for this convention. After all, doing so would add some legitimacy to a convention that he will be fighting in court. From a political perspective, Hanger would face a considerably uphill battle in a convention as it would likely be populated by Republican activists eager to oust Hanger due to his support of Medicaid expansion and previous tax hikes.
However, it makes little sense to me why the Marshall Pattie campaign didn’t take the necessary steps to be a candidate at this convention. Yes, it is possible that the convention will be overturned, that the district will end up with a primary, and thus convention preparation will be unnecessary. But, if the convention is upheld, then the Pattie campaign has just discarded any chance for him to be the Republican nominee. At the end of the day, is the time necessary to file or the $500 fee too much of a hurdle? Seems like a heck of a lot of earlier effort and money to gamble upon the outcome of this court case. It makes even less sense given that the Pattie campaign has certainly been the most visible thus far. As one example, his was the only campaign to send a representative to last Thursday’s meeting of the Harrisonburg Tea Party.
When Nick Freitas, chairman of the Culpeper Republican Party, (and Republican candidate for House of Delegates in the 30th District) declared on Facebook last night, “Congratulations to Dan Moxley in the 24th District. As the only candidate who pre-filed for the convention, he will be our Republican nominee in November,” that news certainly caught me by surprise, as I’m sure it did many. So far, there has been no public word from either the Hanger, Moxley, or Pattie campaigns or from the 24th District GOP as a whole about this development.
Will the Incumbent Protection Act be upheld and a primary be conducted? Or will the original convention stand, Moxley be declared the winner, and thus the 24th District GOP nomination has been decided?
More news and commentary will be posted as it becomes available.