By Peter Galuszka
Primaries in Virginia used to be a bore, but no longer.
Last year, Dave Brat’s Tea Party-backed insurgency against the seemingly impregnable Eric Cantor garnered national headlines in the 7th Congressional District.
This year, you have several General Assembly races come June 9 that will seek to replace several prominent politicians who are retiring, including Republicans John Watkins of the 10th Senate District; Walter Stosch of the 12th Senate District; and Democrat Charles Colgan of the 29th.
I picked the 10th District race for a piece in Style Weekly. There, historic tax credit developer Dan Gecker, a long time Chesterfield County planning commissioner and supervisor, is up against progressive non-profit consultant Emily Francis and former delegate and lawyer Alex McMurtrie for the Democrat candidacy. Whoever wins faces Republican nominee Glen Sturtevant and Libertarian Carl Loser.
The race could well determine whether the state senate remains in Republican hands. Should the Democrat win, the mix in the senate could bounce back to 20-20; it is 21-19 now in favor of the GOP. Stephen Farnsworth, a political analyst at the University of Mary Washington, told me this is the race to watch.
What’s also curious is that the 10th District is a true anomaly. One might assume that such as district would be comfortably GOP. It isn’t since it stretches from the blue areas of Richmond like the Museum District and the Northside. It covers parts of the more conservative mega-neighborhoods of Brandermill and Woodlake in Chesterfield and then all of Powhatan County.
Instead of having the likes of Brat saying that his opponent isn’t conservative enough, Francis says she’s the only true progressive in the race.
Another quirk is that Gecker, a moderate who says he’s a progressive, figured in the Bill Clinton impeachment.
Back in the 1990s, he was lawyer to Kathleen Willey, a Powhatan resident who claimed that Clinton groped her in the White House. Gecker represented her in a book deal. Some Democrats have said that Gecker is a Clinton-basher – an interesting claim now that part of the Democratic establishment is gearing Hillary Clinton for another presidential run.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton confidante, has tried to smooth things over by endorsing Gecker.There are currently no comments highlighted.