The Virginian-Pilot‘s Julian Walker reports today on the race behind the race in the 6th Senate district. The jockeying began almost from the time that current occupant, Ralph Northam, announced his run for lieutenant governor. (Some of the potential candidates had started even earlier.)
From the article (paywall):
Potential candidates on the GOP side include attorney and past political candidate John Coggeshall, commercial freight executive B. Wayne Coleman, former congresswoman Thelma Drake, commercial litigation lawyer Richard Ottinger and civil engineer John W. Salm III.
Among Democrats, Eastern Shore Del. Lynwood Lewis, former Del. Paula Miller of Norfolk and Northam campaign treasurer Andria McClellan are laying the groundwork.
Coleman and McClellan have filed placeholder campaign paperwork with state election officials
On the Republican side, Salm is one that I hadn’t heard before. Drake would be a strong candidate – but I don’t know if she’s going to run. A Governor Terry McAuliffe could potentially take her out of the running by reappointing her to her current position as director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transit. Another wrinkle in the Drake thing is that my sources tell me she recruited Ottinger to run, even though the rank and file seems to be behind Coleman.
Missing from the Republican list is another rumored candidate: Tricia Stall. You remember her: she upset incumbent Marty Williams in the 1st Senate district primary in 2007, and then was defeated by John Miller in the general election. I understand she has moved into the district and is considering a run.
The three named Democrats are the only ones I’ve heard of – so far. The 6th Senate district is a big one.
I believe Northam will win in November, setting up a very short – and costly – campaign for his seat. Democrats have to bring their A game to hang on in this district where Obama won by 15 and Kaine by 16. Republicans are going to throw nearly everything they have into trying to win the seat. Both sides understand what’s at stake here: control of the senate. Winning Northam’s seat would be a silver lining for the Republicans, making the LG loss an easier pill to swallow.