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.    

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