In what may be one of the toughest political undertakings possible in Virginia, Democrat Lewis Medlin has announced that in November he will again run against Del. Lacey Putney, chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Putney, 83, has been in the House of Delegates since 1962, first as a Democrat, then an Independent, and now caucusing with the Republicans. Medlin, vice president of E-Z Mount Bracket Co. in Montvale, is also chair of the Bedford County Democratic Committee and is active in civic groups.
Putney’s district has changed with re-districting to include Alleghany County and Covington, as well as most of Botetourt County, Bedford City, and a large portion of Bedford County. Medlin is counting on Alleghany and Covington bringing in more Democratic and Independent voters to the 19th District. Also, Putney, who is a political institution in his home base of Bedford, is relatively unknown in the new portions of the district.
It appears that the contest in the 19th will once again be three-way, as it was in 2009. Jerry Johnson, right-wing Republican from Botetourt County, has also announced that he will oppose Putney.
Medlin is very much a Mark-Warner centrist Democrat, someone who fits well with the voters in the 19th. Unfortunately, he is up against a guy with huge political clout who comes across as everybody’s grandpa (well, maybe great-grandpa). At some point, Putney might want to think about a nice, quiet retirement. I know just the fellow who could take his place.