Dick Black

That Didn't Take Long: Black Looking Into Congressional Run Hours After Wolf Retirement Announcement

Just hours after U.S. Representative Frank Wolf (R-10) announced he would not seek re-election in 2014, fellow Republican and Virginia Senator Dick Black announced the creation of an exploratory committee to seek that Congressional seat. In an e-mail he stated the electoral advantages his nomination would provide:

I have formed an exploratory committee to run for the 10th Congressional District seat that is being vacated by Congressman Frank Wolf.

Frank has worked hard for the 10th District during his 34 years of service, and has announced today that he will not run for re-election in 2014. I invite you to join my exploratory committee which is simply a declaration that you intend to support me should I become a candidate for Congress in the 10th District.

The 10th Congressional District includes all of Loudoun County, a large portion of Prince William County, and a small portion of Fairfax County. I currently represent over 200,000 people in the 10th District*, including Loudoun and Prince William Counties.

As a former member of the House of Delegates I represented parts of Sterling, Herndon, and Great Falls as well. Between my eight years in the House of Delegates and my current service in the State Senate, I have represented the majority of the 10th Congressional District.

Speculation among pundits went into overdrive this afternoon upon Rep. Wolf's announcement, with Bob Holsworth telling WRVA-AM in Richmond that VA-10 will be one of the most closely watched races in the country next year as control of the House of Representatives will be up for grabs. Most expect several people to jump into a campaign for what may be gerrymandered Virginia's only remaining House swing district.

If Senator Black does seek the job and wins, it will create yet another intense special election this time next year for control of the currently evenly divided Virginia Senate. Because of last November's results, there will be two special Senate elections before the start of the General Assembly session in January that will determine that chamber's the majority party.

 

Primary Thoughts

Now that the dust has settled — not from the earthquake (another aftershock of 4.5 magnitude at 1:00 a.m. with possibly more in the offing) — but from Virginia's General Assembly primary season, some thoughts. First, although my prediction on Monday concerned the general election, it already has taken an embryonic form. It was an exceptional night for conservatives in numerous Republican Senate primaries, yet barely a whisper emanated from the mainstream media about this revolution. Throw in a previously held nomination contest in Hampton Roads as well as some conservatives who were unopposed. it's almost a lock that whether the GOP wins the Senate or not, its caucus, already trending to the right, may become nearly aligned with its House counterparts. But not all media are ignoring this trend or letting it slip them by. John Gizzi at Human Events recognizes it and is one of the few national columnists to trumpet the results.

If the GOP does win control of the Virginia Senate, not only will the caucus have a decidedly different philosophical bent from its past leaders, the likes of Ben Loyola, Jeff Frederick, Dick Black, Bill Carrico and Tom Garrett, among others, joining Mark Obenshain, Steve Martin, Jill Vogel and company, will create a dynamic not ever seen in Virginia history. The possibilities should jump start all ends of the conservative coalition, from social conservatives to limited government advocates, into a turbocharged grassroots effort this fall for an unprecedented opportunity — delivering both chambers of the General Assembly into conservative stewardship.

As for specific highlights: Turnout wasn't great, and there was the earthquake to deal with, but 10 percent turnout was not unexpected. What was shockingly appalling was the 2.5 percent turnout in the Southwestern 21st district. Delegate Dave Nutter took a late gamble by forsaking his safe House seat very late in the process (Roanoke Times), after denying he was interested, and jumped into the Senate race, defeating Tea Party backed Tripp Godsey. He will have to not only gain the Tea Party's enthusiastic backing, but energize a slew of activists to work hard for him to defeat entrenched liberal incumbent John Edwards. In what is still a blue district, Delegate Nutter now has even more work cut out for him.

Speaking of blue districts, now that he's won the 30th district Democrat primary, say hello to Senator Adam Ebbin. More reason than ever to turn the Senate conservative: As left as there is this side of Europe, Mr. Ebbin in the Senate majority will be able to advance every left-wing cause he advocated for in the House, but which met merciful deaths there.

In the hotly contested, newly drawn very red 22nd Senate district, where five Republicans went at it, Louisa County Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Garrett won. Some have asked whether it's a coincidence or irony that the 22nd was the epicenter of Tuesday's earthquake, as hard fought as it was. Bryan Rhode proved good looks, youth and a lot of money can't overcome among GOP voters a perceived slight to then-Attorney General Candidate Ken Cuccinelli (Lynchburg News & Advance).

Meanwhile, the Republican Party of Virginia establishment got crushed by the former state party chairman it ousted. Despite former U.S. Senator George Allen and other establishment Republicans endorsing opponent Tito Munoz, Jeff Frederick won the 36th district easily (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star). Lesson for the party royalty: Opposing Jeff Frederick typically leads to his success. He is the supremo at channeling establishment opposition into intense grassroots insurgencies that make said opposition look clueless.

Another loser — Bearing Drift. Perhaps the most influential and most read Virginia conservative political blog, and very dear friends, its endorsed candidates in the four highest profile and contested primaries took a beating — five if you consider the fact that it endorsed Rhode and Mark Peake in the 22nd, hedging its bets. The winner: Social and grassroots conservatives. In many races, all candidates had certified conservative bona fides and other factors came into play, notably, experience and electability. The latter taking in many considerations, such as residence and community involvement and name identification in the most populous portions of the district, for example.

What about the Tea Party? A surprise during the filing period was that the expected shoe did not drop on many GOP incumbents. Only one, caucus leader Tommy Norment of the 3rd district, received a challenge. Instead, Tea Party backed candidates (really, the old-line movement/grassroots conservatives) went another route, gunning instead for newly redistricted and open seats. By and large, they were successful.