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.