Since Doug Wilder claimed that Rep. Bobby Scott “had not ruled out running for [Jim Webb’s U.S. Senate] seat– even possibly mounting a primary challenge to Kaine, should the former governor run,” I’ve been asking around to see what Democratic insiders think of this.
First off, I hear that Rep. Scott feels disrespected, in that he’s a senior member of the Virginia Congressional delegation, yet the establshment has only been talking seriously about Tom Perriello and Tim Kaine as potential candidates. In particular, I’m told that the talk about Perriello, who only served 1 term in Congress, particularly “infuriates” Scott — or at least some of his top supporters — who may feel “taken for granted.” Could this sense of grievance, if true, drive Bobby Scott to primary Tim Kaine for the nomination? It seems like a plausible motivation, but we’ll see if it’s strong enough.
Second, I’ve heard from several different people about how this was more about Doug Wilder, and his own issues/agenda. Along those lines, one person told me that Wilder is just trying to “stoke a fire and keep his name in the press.” Now that I can believe, because from what I’ve seen of Wilder the past few years, it’s always all about him.
Third, I’m told that Bobby Scott hates raising money, doesn’t like to campaign, and always seems happier being talked about for higher office than actually running for higher office.
Finally, one Democratic insider made the argument to me that Bobby Scott would lose handily to Tim Kaine. Why? Because Scott’s “never run a tough race, doesn’t have the statewide name ID and can’t raise the money.”
So, what do you think? Personally, I’d be happy to see Bobby Scott run in a primary for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, as I see Scott as a strong progressive (which Kaine clearly is not). However, I have absolutely no idea if Scott would be interested in doing that (and no, someone with as little credibility as Doug Wilder saying Scott might be interested is not anything I take seriously).
Finally, I have no idea whether Scott would be effective in a tough, knock-down-drag-out fight against George Allen. And, as much as I would love to see a progressive champion representing Virginia in the U.S. Senate, my #1 priority is to make sure that a Republican – George Allen, Jamie Radtke, or whoever – isn’t.