Bob Goodlatte, the 6th District Republican who promised to serve five terms in the House of Representatives and then retire from office, won’t get a free ride in 2014 as he tries for his twelfth term (so much for promises from Goodlatte). Bruce Elder, a member of city council in Staunton since 2006, has announced that he is running for Congress next year in the 6th. Elder marks the first time that a person who has successfully run for political office and lives in the Shenandoah Valley, where the majority of voters in the district live, is challenging Goodlatte.
Elder is the owner of a classic car retail business in Staunton, Elder Antique Auto. Several of us in the 6th had lunch with Elder several months ago as he explored whether to make the run or not. What was most encouraging to me was that Elder recognized the necessity of having a pool of donors ready to support his candidacy and the need for him to have an experienced campaign manager.
Interviewed by the Staunton News Leader, Elder outlined the issues he intends to run on – bipartisan civility, education and transportation infrastructure, including strengthening rail to relieve truck pressure on Interstate 81. Elder predictably invoked the names of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine as examples of Democrats who have successfully worked across the aisle in their political careers.
“I’m proud of being a Democrat, but I think we have to start thinking about ourselves as Americans and as Virginians, put some of this partisan bickering aside and do the work of the people,” Elder said.
Elder recognizes the difficulty of winning in the most consistently Republican district in the state. However, my enthusiasm for his candidacy was reinforced when I googled ‘Bob Goodlatte” and the first thing on the list was an ad leading to Elder’s website. How refreshing to see a candidate in my congressional district who understands the role of new technology in a winning campaign. Things are looking up for Democrats in the 6th.