Is local NOVA politics behind Moran for State Party Chair campaign?


    Is the old adage from former Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O’Neill, “all politics is local” at work once again in Brian Moran’s decision to run for State Party Chairman?

    by Paul Goldman

    I got an email last night from a very knowledgeable individual in Northern Virginia and state politics. She asked me whether I was surprised that Brian had taken himself out of the race to fill the State Senate seat of Patsy Ticer, the highly respected lawmaker from Alexandria who is expected to retire and not seek a certain re-election.

    Then it hit me: Has he taken himself out of the running for what is likely to be a safe seat for an Alexandria Democrat unless the Senate repackages itself into 33 districts [that’s allowed by the Constitution] and they let Ken Cuccinelli draw the district lines after another of the “Have brief, Will Travel” law suits by Virginia’s version of Clarence Sparrow?

    Technically, all Brian has said is that he will not be a candidate for statewide office in 2013. But what about running for the State Senate in 2011?


    My email therefore alerted me to an interesting chess board situation. When Brian was running for the Democratic nomination for Governor, I wrote that no sitting member of the House of Delegates had ever been elected Governor at least to the best of my research. No doubt Brian saw himself as Mark Warner, and Bob McDonnell as Mark Earley, in a replay of 2001 when Alexandrian Warner defeated a sitting Republican Attorney General.

    Still, one had to ask themselves: Since Brian was a young guy, what was his back-up plan if he lost in 2009, since he was also giving-up a safe seat in the House of Delegates?

    I remember someone telling me that Brian was going to run for the State Senate if Patsy Ticer retired which was the rumor at the time if I remember correctly. This option had escaped my aging brain pod until the emailer last night sparked those neurons once again.

    A safe seat in the State Senate is not a bad perch from which to plot a second run for statewide office, a point not lost on several talented members of the body already. Given the cycles of Virginia politics, a state senator doesn’t have to give up his or her seat to run statewide.

    But as my emailer pointed out, it would seem impossible for Brian to be party chairman and also be a candidate for the state senate.

    So one has to ask himself: Given that Brian clearly wants to run statewide again, why give up a safe Senate seat for a temporary job?

    Which begs the question: Would Brian have been the likely winner of the the Democratic nomination for the new Ticer district?

    If the answer is Yes, then his decision not to run is a very interesting one and deserves a good column by a knowledgeable writer. If the answer is No, then this too deserves a future column since it would seem to shred important light on the effort to get him the position of State Party Chair.    

    • like Libby Garvey and Adam Ebbin, think of all this.

    • Bwana

      Two years ago I blogged that the big winner on the GOP side in the Gilmore-Marshall nominating fight was The Cooch, because he got to travel the state as a surrogate for Bob Marshall, let folks see him up close and personal, and get to know folks as an individual campaigning for a friend as opposed to being a candidate…then when he ran for AG a year later he was not a completely new item.

      I imagine Brian Moran is thinking something of the same.

      First, as party chairman he can travel the state-including those downstate areas where he is not well known and do so campaigning for his democratic friends, and not as a candidate…and making new friends and contacts along the way.

      Second, it would serve as a virtual listening tour for him in the guise of working as chairman…then when he runs for governor in 2013 he actually has issues to run on that he thinks will resonate.

      Third, if he runs for state senate then propriety alone will demand that (even for a safe seat) he stay in NOVA a fair amount of the time…cutting down on the time he can spend on the road, and also potentially forcing him to raise and spend money now.

      For some folks-like Chap!-getting back into elected office was a way to embellish their rep. Chap! not only won a state seat, he did it by beating an incumbent GOP who also happened to be the wife of an incumbent GOP congressman.  Winning a safe seat doesn’t have quite the luster.  Plus, what happens if wires get crossed and he is challenged-and loses-in a democratic party primary?  Bye bye statewide.

      His decision makes perfect sense to me.  Is it the right choice?  Hard to say, but the logic behind the decision is pretty clear.

    • vaambition

      One of those blogs quotes Brian as saying he wont run in ’13

    • martinlomasney

      and be DPVA chair.  So how does he pay the mortgage if he becomes DPVA chair?

    • Fiona Usa

      Jim Moran controls Northern Virginia politics and his you know what controlled him until one day he got lucky and married a rich widder woman named LuAnn who just happened to have been married to a spectacularly rich developer.

      End of story? No. Jim Moran likes being liked so very badly that it’s pathetic. You can watch him react to those who just don’t think he’s so darn hot because perhaps his district office was a little bit slow on the draw over their casework. Perhaps it’s somebody who called the District office looking for guidance in the then-new Obama Administration mortgage foreclosure workout schemes and was told that that was a private mater indeed between the individual and the mortgage company. Is this not a disconnect between Obama for America and Jim Moran’s caseworkers? Of course it is.  But Jim Moran’s office is like that.

      You have to know someone there personally to even  get the consideration most members of Congress would give anyone off the street. That’s called arrogance, isn’t it? Not to give everybody who walks in off the street who is a constituent the same consideration you would give any other citizen? But no.  In Jim Moran’s Virginia, everyone is equal but some are more equal than others.

      Now getting back to the look on Jim Moran’s face when he gets a less than bouncy, enthusiastic welcome from  the aforementioned citizen who was told that the matter of imminent foreclosure was a private matter when that very constituent had read in of all places, the Washington Post that Obama was doing workout plans for America.

      Well you see Jim wants to be loved so his face just sort of fell but there was something behind the hurt at not being loved instantaneously by a constituent who was, after all, not a pooch but a person.  Jim looked so very sad. He wanted to be loved by all.

      Once having heard that a rich and prominent local Northern Virginia Democrat was backing Terry McAuliffe instead of Little Brother Mora in the gubernatorial nomination process Jim was outraged. This was really funny to watch but if Jim had controlled politics in the state of Virginia, wouldn’t his little brother been nominated as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate?  The question to be asked is, “If Deeds is a loser and Terry McAuliffe is a loser, then what will that make Brian Moran?”