In an unusual move, Delegate Chris Saxman (R-20, Staunton) today announced he would not seek re-election this November, despite being in the middle of a campaign as the GOP nominee (see Harrisonburg Daily News-Record). The fact that Saxman, 43, first elected in 2001, is considered a rising figure in Virginia GOP circles (he flirted with running for the U.S. Senate in 2006) added to the surprise. He wrote, this, in part, to his constituents today:

The responsibility of representing you requires, and you deserve, a full-time commitment. As I have recently felt pulled to pursue new opportunities to serve my community and our Commonwealth, I believe the time has come for me to step away from my current elected position. As such, I have decided that I will not seek re-election this November to the Virginia House of Delegates.

I've always believed in a part-time legislature and that our Founding Fathers thought it a good idea to leave the State Capitol for a while and recharge. I have had a view of state government from the inside for eight years as an elected representative, and I now have a better understanding of how our government can be improved. However, if you are only looking out, as I have been, you can't always see clearly what needs to be done on the inside.

I continue to have a strong commitment to public service, and I plan to remain active working to advance commonsense conservative solutions and work on issues about which I am passionate. There are many ways to serve, and I am blessed that several new opportunities to continue this service have presented themselves. I know that now is the time to pursue those projects fully, and I look forward to sharing more details about each of these projects in the near future.

For the past eight years, I have been working diligently on issues that I know will help our families, our Commonwealth and our nation. One of these projects is school choice and ensuring that every child has access to the educational options that will give them the best opportunity for success. It is an issue I have fought for in the legislature, and as many of you know, a year ago I launched School Choice Virginia to further our efforts in this arena. I now look forward to taking a more active role in promoting this issue, which I believe I can better do outside of the confines of the legislature.

The last line rings of soon-t0-be-ex-Governor Sarah Palin. But we do look forward to seeing what endeavors Delegate Saxman will embark upon as he tries to advance school choice, something with which we also fully support. In fact, we partner with him in his School Choice Virginia organization. 

Of course, as it is Virginia, and campaigning is perennial, questions quickly popped about who would take his place on the ballot. The Daily News-Record reports it will be 13-year Staunton City Councilman Richard Bell.