Open seat election in HD-35?

By VA Blogger

With Del. Steve Shannon (D), a former Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax, being rumored at considering a run for Attorney General in 2009, such a bid would open up his Vienna/Providence/Hunter Mill based seat. While Shannon was largely given a pass in 2007 (the Republican nominee, Arthur Purves, spent less than $10,000), an open seat election would be competitive in a district that Shannon originally won in 2003 with just 51% of the vote.

Who do you see as potential candidates for the seat? On the Democratic side, the obvious choice is popular Providence Supervisor Linda Smyth, who was unopposed for re-election in 2007. Another possibility is Hunter Mill School Board Member Stuart Gibson.

The Republican race is much more in flux. 2003 candidate Bob McDowell, a telecom lawyer, is now serving on the FCC having been appointed by President Bush. His five-year term would expire in 2011. 2005 candidate Jim Hyland is currently the Fairfax County Republican Chairman, itself an struggling organization. While Hyland may consider running for office again, his career would likely be better served by remaining in his current spot, and hopefully finding its way out of the hole its currently in. Repeat candidate and 2007 nominee Arthur Purves, who has run at least a half-dozen times for various offices in Fairfax County, is not a strong candidate. Ed Robinson, who lost the nomination in 2003 2005 to Hyland, is still hanging around, I think. At the very least, his website is still up.

From what I can see, there are no obvious choices, especially with a candidate as strong as Smyth running for the Democrats. However, Vienna and Hunter Mill is the home of the Davis Machine. Certainly someone in that circle would be able to put their name on the ballot, raise a half-million dollars, and make the race competitive.

I’ll open this discussion up to the floor: who do you see running for an open seat in two years, who do you not see running, and who do you think would win?


  • concerned citizen says:

    Wonder if Dick Black will move to the district and try to hood wink the people again?

  • Freddie says:

    Edward Robinson lost the nomination in 2005 to Jim Hyland. Robinson did not run in 2003. Robert McDowell had no opposition for the nomination in 2003.

  • Loudoun Moderate says:

    Like #1, I wonder if dick black will rent an apartment in that district. He’d be wasting his time but many would like to see him move out of Sterling. I can’t believe he has given up on political aspirations and don’t want him involved in Loudoun County politics ever again.

  • Bushwick Bill says:

    Between Dick Black and Steve Chapman, no district with an open seat is safe.

  • Not Jack Herrity says:

    Doesn’t Patrick McDade live in that district? I got wind of a “Draft Patrick” movement at the Davis holiday party. He made a pretty strong showing against Morrogh; maybe it’s time for some new blood in that district.


  • NoVA Scout says:

    I live down the street from Steve Shannon. I have an extra bedroom (with bath and hotplate) in my basement if Mr. Black is interested. I might ask for some of you Loudoun guys to give me a little rent subsidy to make it worth my while to take the guy off your hands.

  • rtwng extrmst says:

    Again, not to say that India is unimportant in this region, but you seem to imply that we should just give up on democracy in the muslim world and just side in with India. To do such a thing would alienate allies and probably increase problems in the region, particularly with Pakistan. We need to have a balanced foreign policy and promote democracy in all areas. As for muslim democracies not working I think Turkey would disagree with you as well. Should we back out there?

  • rtwng extrmst says:

    Sorry, wrong thread…

  • t says:

    Shannon is so vain, he will undoubtedly simultaneously run for HOD and AG – as Virginia law allows him to do.

    Meanwhile, we would be Blessed to have the Most Rev. and Most Hon. Richard Black doing the same thing, running simultaneously for these two important posts.

    He would be superior to the current incumbants. Black is the right leader for these perilous times.

    Sign me up to help Dick!

  • Loudoun Moderate says:

    dick black is a man of the cloth? Where did the Most Rev. come from, -t?

    BTW: I’m not sure db is Most Honorable either. He sure hasn’t demonstrated honor in the past several years.

  • Va Blogger says:

    As for McDade, I thought of him as well, and I agree he would make an excellent candidate. Unfortunately, he doesn’t live in the 35th; he lives just outside in the Tyson’s precinct.

  • Bwana says:

    Mike Polichrones, Vienna CIty Council, who got Cooched out of the GOP nomination in 2003.

  • Freddie says:

    To correct myself, Robert McDowell did have opposition for the nomination in 2003. He was challenged by Mike Polichrones.

  • Not Larry Sabato says:

    Vince, you can do better than VA Blogger writing on this site. Stuart Gibson and Linda Smyth both do not live in this district. Also, Linda Smyth lost the Providence precincts in the 35th pretty badly in June. Hardly makes her “popular”.

  • Not Larry Sabato says:

    And also, if Vienna is home of the Davis machine why did JMDD lose all four Town of Vienna precincts by over 10 points?

  • t says:

    What the bleep is NLS doing in this neck o’ the woods?

    Boy, don’t you git that this is a REPUBLICAN site?

  • t says:

    And look at the time of day he is posting.

    He obviously was stumbling out of some liberal shindig in an mind-altered stupor.

  • VA Blogger says:

    With the wonderful new year, Ben has given me quite a gift: a correction, and an insult, which will instantly make me more popular.

    Ben, thank you for the information that Smyth and Gibson do not live in the district. I was not aware, and I appreciate you bringing to light new information.

    However, I’m not sure why you think Smyth is not popular. You bring up her primary challenge. Of the seven precincts within the 35th, she won four of them. Yes, she lost among overall votes cast within the 35th, but only by 168 votes. That’s hardly getting beat “pretty badly”.

    In addition, she was unopposed in the general election in 2007, and in 2003, she beat Jim Hyland in the 35th (where Hyland did/does live), and won a majority of precincts as well.

    I don’t know if the fact that she won re-nomination despite Lowell’s endorsement of her opponent is a sore spot, but having a spirited primary and falling out of favor with the liberal blogosphere doesn’t show she’s unpopular, it just shows she’s unpopular with the far left of her party, which would actually help her in a general election. Of course, that is moot because she doesn’t live in the district.

    As for the Davises, they live in the Vale precinct in Hunter Mill. My point was only that someone close to the Davises who lives in the 35th should be able to raise $500K and run, if one were so interested.

    Shouldn’t you be spending time on your own blog, Ben? What’s wrong, no word on what Tom Davis’s NYE plans were? Maybe if you’ll lucky, he’ll go grocery shopping and you can give us the play-by-play.

  • Chris Beer says:

    McDade would be the best candidate, but there might be a question of his residency. He lives right near Dunn Loring metro in Merrifield. I think he is right on the edge between Shannon and JIm Scott (I think). But if McDade could run, he would be – by far – the best candidate.

    As for the Dems, I’m sure ol’ George Lovelace (now on the Vienna Town Council and a former delegate who Jeannemarie Davis beat in ’97) wouldn’t mind another shot.

  • Va Blogger says:

    Thanks for the update, Chris. As I mentioned earlier in the comments, I checked–McDade is just a hair outside of the district. Of course, he could move as long as its a year before the election; then again, so can anyone else.

    Without Smyth or Gibson, I suppose Lovelace would be near the top of the list if he were interested, though I admittedly have yet to take a closer look at who else the Democrats could run.

  • Chris Beer says:

    I am sure there are a million Dem activists waiting in line. There never seems to be a shortage of Dems in NOVA.

  • Not Larry Sabato says:

    McDade isn’t outside that district at all- Steve Shannon is his Delegate- VA Blogger, where do you get this stuff?

  • Paul Tillotson says:

    A great choice for the GOP would be James W. “Jimmy” Hazel who lives in Oakton. Mr. Hazel is a Republican out of the John Dalton mode, conservative but centrist. He would be strongly backed by the business community and would immediately be respected in Richmond. Like RPV Chairman Hager, he once worked in the Warner Administration, but that would only make him more effective in the House.

    He would be a candidate that the Fairfax County GOP could build around.

    Nova Scout, what do you think?

  • VA Blogger says:

    Well, Ben, here is a list of addresses for candidates in Fairfax County for 2007:

    Here is the Merrifield precinct information from the Fairfax Government Board of Elections, including a map:

    That’s where I “get this stuff”. So tell me, Ben, is the Virginia State Board of Elections lying, or is the Fairfax County Electoral Board lying?

  • NoVA Scout says:

    Paul: I have great respect for Mr. Hazel and would be pleased to see him run. My guess is that he is plenty busy with other things and that serving in the GA might amount to pouring a rather large bucket into a small container, in terms of capability. But, you have to hope that there are a few such people around willing to do that sort of grunt work for the citizens. I can think of three or four northern Virginia delegates about whom the same could be said (Joe May comes immediately to mind, and, in the other Party, Margie Vanderhye, although she’s just beginning her tenure).

  • Olivia Fremont says:

    I agree with both NoVa Scout and Mr. Tillotson about Jimmy Hazel. Where are the Northern Virginia Business Community Republicans when it comes to running for office? Joe May and Tom Rust are certainly guys who fit in this category and that is one reason they carry so much clout in Richmond.

    Rhetorical Question: But why does the Republican Party in Northern Virginia keep giving us candidates like Patricia Phillips, Chris Craddock, Faisel Gill, Dick Black, and Mick Staton? In my home Senate District (33rd), I can only guess that Mark Herring has been overjoyed when the last two Republican Party nomination events for the 33rd Senate Seat have produced candidates that were DOA.

    Any don’t even get me started on the Republican Party’s Sheriff’s nomination of Greg Ahylmann over incumbent Steve Simpson by overwhelming numbers at the June, 2007 Convention. In that contest, for the first time I can ever remember a Republican nominee came in third in a three-horse Loudoun County race.

    Now ask yourself, how is it that a countywide candidate can win overwhelmingly a Republican nomination in Loudoun County and then go on to come in last in a three-way race? I would understand it if this happened to a Republican nominee running for Sheriff of Cambridge, Massachusetts, but Loudoun County is still a “red” County.

  • e O'Brien says:

    I personally believe Jim Hyland would be the bes choice. For one he has the best ability to raise money out of all the possible canidates. He raised more than half of what Steve Shannon did in 2005 even with steve shannon being the incumbent. Also with the amount of connections he has around fairfax county he would be able to easily win the nomination. As for winning the 35th, Jim has the best shot considering that if Rob Mcdowell can get 49% of the vote in 2003, then jim can certainly do the same of not better condifering that Rob was a dud of a canidate and George W will be out of office. All those factors clearly make him the best suited to run. And considering the financial state of the FRC, instead of republican bloggers complaining how about they take a few bucks and help start fundraisers so we can bring the Repulican party out of debt and into power in Fairfax county

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