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The Most Consequential Virginia Political Figures Since 2005…

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See below for a list of the most consequential Virginia political figures since 2005, when I first got involved in Virginia politics by starting the blog “Raising Kaine.” I’m sure I missed some people, so let me know and I’ll consider adding them. As for the ranking, it is in VERY roughly descending order of significance.

  1. Tim Kaine (Richmond City Council member 1994-2001; mayor of Richmond 1998-2001; Lt. Governor 2002-2006; Governor 2006-2010, DNC Chair 2009-2011; US Senator 2013 to present; VP nominee in 2016)
  2. Mark Warner (DPVA Chair 1993-1995; Governor 2002-2006; US Senator 2009 to present)
  3. Ralph Northam (State Senator 2008-2014; Lt. Governor January 2014-January 2018; Governor January 2018-January 2022)
  4. George Allen (Delegate 1983-1991; Congressman from VA07, 1991-1993; Governor 1994-1998; US Senator 2001-2007…defeated by Jim Webb in November 2006; ran for US Senate in 2012, losing to Tim Kaine 53%-47%)
  5. John Warner (US Senator 1979-2009, when he retired)
  6. Terry McAuliffe (DNC chair 2001-2005; ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2009, losing to Creigh Deeds; governor of Virginia from January 2014 to January 2018; Democratic nominee for governor in 2021, losing narrowly to Glenn Youngkin)
  7. Mark Herring (Loudoun County Supervisor from 2000 to 2003; State Senator from 2006 to 2014; Attorney General – and a GREAT one – for two terms, from January 2014 to January 2022)
  8. Jim Webb (US Senator 2007-2013; by narrowly defeating George Allen in November 2006, Webb helped flip the US Senate to Democratic control. Retired in January 2013.)
  9. Bob McDonnell (Delegate 1992-2006; Attorney General 2006-2009; Governor 2010-2014)
  10. Bill Howell (Delegate starting in January 1988; very powerful Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates from January 2003 to January 2018, when he retired).
  11. Ken Cuccinelli (State Senator 2002-2010; Attorney General 2010-2014; VA GOP nominee for governor in 2013, when he lost to Terry McAuliffe)
  12. Glenn Youngkin (Republican nominee for governor in 2021, narrowly defeating Terry McAuliffe)
  13. Don Beyer (Lt. Governor 1990-1998; Democratic nominee for governor in 1997; US Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein 2009-2013; U.S. Congressman from VA08, January 2015-present)
  14. Bill Bolling (State Senator 1996-2005; Lt. Governor 2006-2014)
  15. Eileen Filler-Corn (Delegate since March 2010; first female and first Jewish Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates 2020-2022, where she led in passing hundreds of pieces of progressive and environmental legislation, helping to transform Virginia for the better)
  16. Dick Saslaw (First elected to the House of Delegates in 1975; elected to the State Senate in 1979; Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Virginia State Senate since 1998, where over the past two years, he’s helped hold his slim majority together and pass hundreds of pieces of progressive and environmental legislation)
  17. Tommy Norment (State Senator since 1991, where he’s led the Republican caucus since 2008)
  18. Jim Gilmore (Virginia AG from January 1994 to June 1997; Governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002; RNC Chair in 2001; ran for US Senate in 2008, losing to Mark Warner by a 65%-34% landslide margin; also ran unsuccessfully for the 2015 GOP presidential nomination)
  19. Eric Cantor (Delegate 1992-2001; Congressman from VA07, 2001-2014; US House Majority Leader 2011-2014…defeated in a massive upset by “Tea Party” challenger Dave Brat, 55.5%-44.5%)
  20. Bobby Scott (Delegate 1978-1983; State Senator 1983-1993; US Congressman from VA03, 1993-present)
  21. Donald McEachin (Delegate 1996-2002; Democratic nominee for AG in 2001, losing to Jerry Kilgore; Delegate 2006-2008; State Senator 2008-2017; US Congressman from VA04, January 2017-present)
  22. Bob Goodlatte (Congressman from VA06, 1993-2019; Chair of the House Judiciary Committee 2013-2019…retired, succeeded by Ben Cline)
  23. Gerry Connolly (Fairfax County Supervisor 1995-2003; Fairfax County Chair 2003-2009; U.S. Congressman from VA11, January 2009-present)
  24. Louise Lucas (State Senator since 1992; the first woman and first African-American to hold the office of Virginia Senate’s President pro tempore…since January 2020)
  25. Tom Davis (Fairfax County Supervisor 1980-1991; Fairfax County Chair 1991-1994; RNC Chair 1999-2003; Congressman from VA11, January 1995-November 2008, when he decided to retire from Congress)
  26. Rick Boucher (State Senator 1975-1982; Congressman from VA09, 1983-2011…defeated by Morgan Griffith in the 2010 “Tea Party” wave election)
  27. Leslie Byrne (Delegate 1986-1993; Congresswoman from VA11, 1993-1995; State Senator 2000-2004; Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor in 2005, losing narrowly to Bill Bolling; ran for the VA11 Dem nomination in 2008, losing to Gerry Connolly 58%-33%)
  28. Jerry Kilgore (VA Secretary of Public Safety 1994-1998; Attorney General 2002-2005; VA GOP nominee for Governor in 2005, losing to Tim Kaine)
  29. Kirk Cox (Delegate starting in 1990; Majority Leader from December 2010 to January 2018; Speaker of the VA House of Delegates from January 2018 to January 2020; ran for the VA GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2021, finishing fourth)
  30. Todd Gilbert (Delegate 2006-present; House of Delegates Republican leader since January 2018; incoming Speaker of the House)
  31. Creigh Deeds (Delegate 1992-2001; State Senator 2001-present; Democratic nominee for AG in 2005, losing by just 323 votes to Bob McDonnell; Democratic nominee for governor in 2009, losing by 17 points to Bob McDonnell)
  32. One Virginia 2021 (Spent a ton of money and several years agitating for a redistricting amendment which was consequential, but certainly not in a good way. In fact, many Democrats – including several at this website – argued that the amendment was fatally flawed, but in the end, Virginia voters approved it by a nearly 2:1 margin. Since then, the redistricting commission imploded and now it’s up to the conservative Virginia Supreme Court to draw new maps for Virginia – as many of us predicted could happen. Great, eh?)
  33. Dicky Cranwell (Delegate from 1972 to 2001; House Majority Leader from November 1991 to January 2000; House Minority Leader from January 2000 to January 2002; DPVA Chair from 2005 to 2010)
  34. Charniele Herring (Delegate since 2009; DPVA Chair 2012-2014; first female and first African-American VA House Majority Leader)
  35. Ed Gillespie (Republican nominee for US Senate in 2014, narrowly losing to Mark Warner; Republican nominee for governor in 2017, losing by 9 points to Ralph Northam)
  36. David Toscano (former member of the Charlottesville City Council and former Mayor of Charlottesville; former Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Leader from 2011 to 2018)
  37. Justin Fairfax (Lt. Governor of Virginia from January 2018 to January 2022)
  38. Jason Miyares (Delegate since 2016; Virginia’s next AG, starting in January 2022, after narrowly defeating Mark Herring)
  39. Winsome Sears (Delegate 2002-2004; Virginia’s next Lt. Governor starting in January 2022, after narrowly defeating Hala Ayala)
  40. Frank Wolf (Congressman from VA10, 1981-2015…retired, succeeded by Barbara Comstock)
  41. Jim Moran (Mayor of Alexandria 1985-1991; Congressman from VA08, 1991-2015…retired/succeed by Don Beyer)
  42. Virgil Goode (State Senator 1973-1997; Congressman from VA05, 1997-2009…defeated by Tom Perriello)
  43. Barbara Comstock (Delegate 2010-2014; Congresswoman from VA10, 2015-2019, losing in November 2018 to Democrat Jennifer Wexton)
  44. Randy Forbes (VA GOP Chair 1996-2001; Delegate 1990-1998; State Senator 1998-2001; Congressman from VA04, 2001-2017…defeated in VA02 by Republican Scott Taylor after VA04 was made much more Democratic in court-ordered redistricting)
  45. Morgan Griffith (Delegate 1994-2011; VA House of Delegates Majority Leader 2000-2010; Congressman from VA09, January 2011-present)
  46. Abigail Spanberger (Congresswoman from VA07, 2019-present)
  47. Dave Brat (Congressman from VA07, November 2014-January 2019…defeated by Abigail Spanberger)
  48. Jennifer Wexton (State Senator 2014-2019; Congresswoman from VA10, 2019-present)
  49. Elaine Luria (Congresswoman from VA02, 2019-present)
  50. Jody Wagner (Treasurer of Virginia 2002-2006; Finance Secretary 2006-2008; Democratic nominee for LG in 2009, losing to Bill Bolling by 13 points; Democratic nominee for Mayor of Virginia Beach in 2020, losing to incumbent Bobby Dyer)
  51. Steve Shannon (Delegate 2004-2009; Democratic nominee for AG in 2009, losing by 15 points to Ken Cuccinelli)
  52. Thelma Drake (Delegate 1996-2005; Congresswoman from VA02, 2005-2009…defeated by Glenn Nye)
  53. Tom Perriello (US Congressman from VA05, 2009-2011; ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2017, losing to Ralph Northam)
  54. Scott Taylor (Delegate 2014-2017; Congressman from VA02, 2017-2019, losing in November 2018 to Democrat Elaine Luria)
  55. Brian Moran (Delegate from 1996 to 2008; chair of the House Democratic Caucus from 2001 to 2008; candidate for Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2009; chair of the DPVA; Secretary of Public Safety since 2014)
  56. Corey Stewart (Prince William County Chair 2006-2019; ran for VA GOP Lt. Governor nomination in 2013, losing to EW Jackson; ran for the VA GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2017, narrowly losing to Ed Gillespie; VA GOP nominee for US Senate in 2018, losing by 16 points to Tim Kaine)
  57. Mike Henry (Coordinated Campaign director for Mark Warner’s gubernatorial run in 2001; Tim Kaine’s gubernatorial campaign manager in 2005; Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign manager in 2009; Steve Shannon’s AG campaign manager in 2009; Mark Warner’s campaign manager for US Senate in 2008; Tim Kaine’s campaign manager for US Senator in 2012; Tim Kaine’s Chief of Staff since 2012; etc.)
  58. Ward Armstrong (Delegate from 1992 to 2011; VA House Minority Leader from 2007 to 2011)
  59. Clark Mercer (Deputy Policy and Research Director for Mark Warner’s 2008 US Senate campaign; Chief of Staff to LG Ralph Northam 2014-2018, Chief of Staff to Gov. Ralph Northam 2018-present)
  60. Rob Wittman (Delegate 2006-2007; Congressman from VA01 since December 11, 2007)
  61. Jo Ann Davis (Delegate 1998-2001; Congresswoman from VA01, January 2001-October 2007, when she died and was succeeded by Rob Wittman)
  62. Robert Hurt (Delegate 2002-2008; State Senator 2008-2011; Congressman from VA05, 2011-2017…succeeded by Tom Garrett)
  63. Tom Garrett (Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney 2008-2012; State Senator 2012-2017; US Congressman from VA05, 2017-2019…succeeded by Denver Riggleman)
  64. Scott Rigell (Congressman from VA02, 2011-2017…succeeded by Scott Taylor)
  65. Ben Cline (Delegate 2002-2018; Congressman from VA06, January 2019-present)
  66. Bob Good (Faaar-right Congressman from VA05 since 2021)
  67. Denver Riggleman (Congressman from VA05, 2019-2021, after being defeated in a Republican nominating contest by faaar-right Bob Good)
  68. Susan Swecker (Chair of the Highland County Democrats at age 22; Executive Director of DPVA; DNC member; DPVA Chair since 2015)
  69. Paul Reagan (Chief of Staff to Gov. Terry McAuliffe 2014-2018; Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Jim Webb 2007-2013; previously Chief of staff to Virginia Congressman Jim Moran; Communications Director to Congressmen L.F. Payne, Owen Pickett and Rick Boucher; etc.)
  70. Levar Stoney (Political Director and Executive Director of DPVA 2006-2009; Deputy Campaign Manager to Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign; Secretary of the Commonwealth 2014-2016; Mayor of Richmond 2016-present)
  71. Bill Leighty (Chief of Staff to Governors Mark Warner, Tim Kaine from 2000 to 2007)
  72. Rich Anderson (Delegate 2010-2018; Chairman of the VA GOP since 2020)
  73. Glenn Nye (Congressman from VA02, 2009-2011…defeated in the 2010 “Tea Party” wave, succeeded by Scott Rigell)
  74. EW Jackson (Ran for the VA GOP’s U.S. Senate nomination in 2012, receiving just 5% of the vote; VA GOP nominee for Lt. Governor in 2013, losing to Ralph Northam by over 10 points; ran for the VA GOP U.S. Senate nomination in 2018, winning just 12% of the vote)
  75. Russ Potts (State Senator 1992-2008; ran as an independent in the 2005 governor’s election, receiving 2.2% of the vote…behind Tim Kaine and Jerry Kilgore)
  76. Charles Colgan (State Senator 1976-2016; President pro tempore of the State Senate from 2008 to 2012 and from January 2014 to June 2014)
  77. Janet Howell (State Senator since 1995; first female Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee Chair)
  78. Mamie Locke (First Black woman to be Mayor of Hampton; State Senator since 2004; first Black woman to chair the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus)
  79. John Chichester (State Senator 1978-2008; President Pro tempore of the State Senate 2000-2008)
  80. Jennifer McClellan (Delegate from 2006 to 2017; first House member to be pregnant while in office; State Senator since January 2017; vice chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus; has been a vice chair of DPVA and DNC member; ran for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2021, finishing third)
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