Bert Dodson, president of Dodson Bros. Exterminating Co., announced in Lynchburg today that he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the newly-created 22nd State Senate seat. Dodson is a former member of Lynchburg City Council for 12 years and served as vice-mayor for 6 years. The new district includes Louisa, Goochland, Fluvanna, Cumberland, Prince Edward, Buckingham, Appomattox and Amherst counties, plus the bulk of the precincts in Lynchburg.
While the 22nd effectively replaces the old district of Ralph Smith, mega-conservative GOP senator from Botetourt County, it is still a Republican-leaning district. In 2009 the counties included in the new 22nd went for Bob McDonnell by 60%.(Disclosure: I am thrilled that the Senate gerrymandered Smith out of his district. At least, he won’t be my “representative” any more.) However, Dodson, a respected business leader, has built-in name recognition because he heads a company that operates in five states and the District of Columbia. As Dick Saslaw jokingly told the Washington Post last week, “His signs are all over that district already. We’re going to win that seat.”
Well, that remains to be seen, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that the Democrats have a strong candidate who has won elections, has access to plenty of money, and probably has past clients all over the area.
After Dodson announced his candidacy in Lynchburg, John Lawrence, chair of the Lynchburg Democratic Committee, noted that Dodson has been visiting other Democratic committees in the new district. Lawrence said he would talk with party leaders in the other localities to find out whether any other candidates are lining up and then a decision will be made on how the nomination will be handled.
“That will decide what we do, if anybody else wants to run,” Lawrence said. The party’s options are to hold either a primary election or a district-wide convention to nominate its candidate.
This is one Senate district where Democrats have a chance for a pickup in November.