Democrats in Virginia's 10th Congressional District voted Feb. 8 to hold a convention to elect their nominee for the seat that's been held by Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf for more than 30 years.
The local Democrats set their convention for April 26, the same day Republicans will run a firehouse primary (or party canvass) to select their candidate from a crowded field.
Democratic officials say they opted for a convention as opposed to a state-run primary “to select a nominee as soon as possible and to allow its eventual nominee to conserve resources for what will be an expensive general election against a Koch Brothers-funded Republican nominee.”
The soonest Democrats could hold a state-run primary is June 10, according to an announcement of their decision.
Expected to vie for the Democratic nomination are Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, Fairfax attorney Richard Bolger and Leesburg architect Sam Kubba.
“This election has national implications and is going to be high-profile and extremely expensive,” Charlie Jackson, chairman of the 10th Congressional District Democratic Committee, said Feb. 8. “Our decision today will ensure our nominee is able to hit the ground running – campaigning and fundraising – as soon as possible. We have one goal, to elect a Democratic member to Congress, and to accomplish our goal we need to coalesce around a nominee as soon as possible.”
Republican John Whitbeck, chairman of the GOP's 10th Congressional District Committee, quickly tossed a political jab the Democrats' way.
"For several years and specifically in regards to the 2013 state-wide convention, the state and local Democrat Party and the media have constantly attacked Republicans for using party-run conventions to nominate our candidates,” Mr. Whitbeck said in a prepared statement. “In an election as important as choosing Frank Wolf's successor in Congress, the Democrats now demonstrate the hypocrisy of these attacks by choosing the very method of nomination they have criticized us for.”
Whitbeck's committee earlier this year opted to hold a firehouse primary rather than a convention to select its nominee to vie for Wolf's seat.
Republican candidates include state state Del. Barbara Comstock, who many consider the front-runner; Stephen Hollingshead, a former advisor in the Bush administration and former chief operating officer for Americans for Prosperity; Richard Shickle, chairman of the Frederick County Board of Supervisors; Marc Savitt, a mortgage broker and president of the National Association of Independent Housing Professionals; Tareq Salahi, best known for crashing a White House party; Rob Wasinger; Brent Anderson; and Howie Lind, former chairman of the 10th Congressional District Republican Committee who recently vacated this year's U.S. Senate contest.
State Del. Bob Marshall and Carol Brauninger are also "seriously considering" bids, according to Mr. Whitbeck.
The 10th District GOP chair commented, “The fact is, conventions are sometimes the best way for a party to select its nominee. It is time for the media and both political parties to move on from this debate. Both Republicans and Democrats will use multiple types of nominating processes to choose their candidates and that is just a political reality."
Roll Call currently rates Virginia's 10th
Congressional District race as "leans Republican."