According to the Associated Press, four candidates have filed for the Republican nomination for the November U.S. Senate election in Virginia.
Originally a contest between just Shak Hill and Howie Lind, former RPV chair Ed Gillespie made waves when he tossed his hat into the ring. Citing fundraising difficulties, Mr. Lind withdrew his candidacy shortly thereafter. Rumors swirled about other possible candidates, such as Delegate Ben Cline, but as the deadline to file approached, no new challengers emerged.
However, now it seems that there are two additional choices, Tony DeTora and Chuck Moses. DeTora has a website up; information on Moses is exceedingly limited at this point.
Given that the Republican Party of Virginia will be holding a convention to determine its nominee, it is really anyone’s game right now. Lest we forget, E.W. Jackson pulled off an improbable upset last year.
Which of the campaigns will catch fire in the coming months? And do any of the candidates have a chance to knock off Senator Warner?
Today has been a busy day for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat in the 2014 elections. Citing fundraising problems coupled with the fact that a good chunk of his campaign staff has gone elsewhere, Howie Lind has withdrawn from the race. A few moments ago, Delegate Ben Cline declared that he has decided against tossing his hat into the ring. State Senator (and 2013 Republican AG nominee) Mark Obenshain announced his endorsement of Ed Gillepsie. Former Republican U.S. Senator John Warner proclaimed his support for Democratic incumbent Mark Warner.
The GOP convention is still several months away and the general election even farther in the future. It is important to remember that the field, especially the Republican field, has not necessarily settled. At this time, I do not know enough about either Shak Hill or Ed Gillespie to make an informed opinion of either.
Given his connections as the former head of the RPV and RNC, it is easy to declare Gillespie the strong favorite over Hill. However, it is exceedingly curious that Gillespie’s website thus far makes no mention on where he stands on any single issue. Is he a conservative? A libertarian? Another establishment candidate? It is a question that is difficult to answer.
Shak Hill still has a lot of catching up to do in terms of name ID. Will he, like an E.W. Jackson candidate, claim an improbable victory in Roanoke? In a convention it is much easier for an underfunded underdog to win.
And will the Libertarian Party nominate a candidate of their own to add an additional factor to the race?
Given all these thoughts, at this point I remain uncommitted.