December 3, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Saxman declines U.S. Senate bid

The "non-announcement" by Delegate Chris Saxman at this year's "Advance" (GOP retreat) held in Crystal City was not a big surprise, but it at least got him headline coverage in the Washington Post. (Gaining publicity was probably the main point of Saxman's testing of the waters.) The Post reports that Saxman's decision not to run for the U.S. Senate next year "dismayed" some party activists who were seeking a "fresh face" (a.k.a. "new blood"). His decision not to run is probably just as well, as it would be very difficult for a newcomer such as him to defeat the popular former Governor Mark Warner. Some feared that a nomination contest with former Governor Jim Gilmore might further divide the Republican Party, which is already badly frayed from the spring primary campaign battles between moderate conservatives and right-wingers.

In an interview with the Staunton News Leader, Saxman said he has not yet decided upon his future political plans. His family owns the Shenandoah Valley Water Company, and he was recently elected president of the International Bottled Water Association. Saxman is a prominent member of the anti-tax Club for Growth, has taken a lead role with the "Cost Cutting Caucus" in the Virginia House of Delegates, and has endorsed John McCain for president. He is very bright and articulate, and is widely expected to run for higher office in the next election cycle, possibly lieutenant governor. State Senator Emmett Hanger made a brief bid for that office in 2005, and it is possible that he may do so again in 2009. It would be an interesting scenario if both of them run...