Marshall 2012?

Currently, five candidates are vying for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Jim Webb.  But could a sixth soon join the fray?

As far back as two years ago, I began wondering if Delegate Bob Marshall would seek Virginia’s Senate seat again.  After all, in 2008 he came within a handful of votes of upsetting the establishment favorite, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, at the Republican convention.  Along with Corey Stewart, rumors swirled that Marshall would run after he won re-election.

Throughout the past forty-seven or so months, the topic keeps popping up.  On multiple occasions, including The Leadership Institute’s 4th of July Soirée and the Agenda 21 presentation in Verona, I’ve spoken with several folks with very close connections to Delegate Marshall who indicated that he would enter the contest.

Now that his House of Delegates election is over, he can now focus on this race…assuming he chooses to do so.

But what are his chances of success?  Has the race solidified sufficiently to severely hinder any new entrant?  Have the coalition of activists and politicos that rallied behind him back in 2008 already selected a candidate in this race?  Well, it is true that Marshall’s former campaign manager has joined the Allen campaign, many social conservatives are supporting E.W. Jackson, and Jamie Radtke is working her tea party contacts.  Earlier, I argued that waiting until after Election Day 2011 would be too late for any candidate.  But perhaps I was mistaken.  After all, the field still seems pretty divided.

In addition, Delegate Marshall enjoys the highest name recognition of the non-Allen candidates.  For example, the marriage amendment to the Virginia Constitution bears his name as the Marshall/Newman Amendment.  If can gather together his loyal band of activists from the 2008 convention, maybe he can position himself as the best conservative alternative to Allen as he did with Gilmore three years ago.  Then again, perhaps Radtke, Donner, Jackson, or McCormick is already on his or her way to capturing that title.

So will Bob Marshall announce?  I cannot say for certain, but I expect we will have our answer very soon.

4 Replies to “Marshall 2012?”

    1. Normally, I would agree with you here. I assumed that Steve Waters wouldn’t have joined Allen if Marshall might run. However, as I’ve mentioned, since that time I have gotten pretty good confirmation that Marshall is considering a bid.

  1. Marshall considering shouldn’t come as a surprise. As you said, he’s been considering it for four years now. And with the other challengers all mounting lackluster challenges to Allen, it’s got to be tempting for anyone thinking of running to the right of the former Governor and Senator.

    All of that said, it’d be about as long a shot as it could be at this point. Allen’s put together the dream team from his run for Governor, stuck to the right and been able to shrug off any barbs to date. Marshall’s close call in 2008 was due in large part to the convention setting where anything can happen. A primary in 2012 is a different beast, especially an open primary. The type of dollars and organization required to run a campaign on that scale out paces anything Marshall has done in the past.

    And while his name recognition may be up compared to the others it’s really not that huge. The Marriage Amendment itself is fairly known, but the man behind it is really only known among those who either love him for it or loathe him for it. Beyond that, his net popularity is upside down in a general and I get the feeling pretty neck and neck among Republicans.

    If Marshall runs he’d have to have the other challengers out if he’d hope to build any sort of support. And if they don’t quit he’s splitting a shrinking pool of voters who haven’t tossed in with Allen.

    At best I can see Marshall endorsing a challenger but none of them have really made the right kind of waves to earn it. Maybe Radtke but even then, just an endorsement may not change the dynamic much.

    1. I believe you are quite right concerning a convention favoring Del. Marshall more than a primary. As I’ve stated time and time again, I prefer conventions as they should result in more conservative candidates as opposed to a primary where Democrats can select the Republican nominee.

      Sure, Marshall’s name ID isn’t huge, but neither is the name ID of the other non-Allen candidates. I’d wager that more people have heard of Marshall than most of the rest.

      Yes, at this point, the four (or maybe soon to be five) other candidates will split the anti-Allen vote to such an extent that it would prove difficult for any of them to win. I suppose that is why former 24th district State Senate candidate Scott Sayre asked each of the candidates at the Verona debate if he would step aside if he was not leading to allow for just one conservative alternative to Allen. Will it happen? We will see.

      Some good points here. Thanks for commenting.

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