Del. Jay Jones Quits Before He Starts

Sorry, Delegate, I don’t buy it.

I’m delighted that you and your wife are expecting your first baby. And your determination to be a good dad is admirable. Every child should be so lucky.

But you’re quitting your job because a child is on the way? You’re gone in two weeks? You’re not even going to finish your current term, let alone begin your next one?


None of this makes sense.

Yet one day after the rising star of Virginia’s Democratic Party Tweeted about his growing family Jones released “My Letter to Virginia” that announced his departure from the House of Delegates. The letter went on at length about his commitment to the Commonwealth and the many demands on him. And the new baby, of course.

The upshot? He’s resigning “at the end of this year.”

That’s two weeks from now. A full two weeks before his first term ends. Yet, according to his Tweet, the baby isn’t due until summer.

Odd that Jones doesn’t feel a moral obligation to the 17,450 voters who came out in November to elect him to his second term, fully expecting him to represent them in Richmond. Or to the donors who funded his campaign. Or the volunteers who helped get him elected.

Frankly, I’d want a refund if I stroked a check to a politician who quit even before taking office.

Jones claims that he’ll likely run for attorney general again in 2025.

Good luck with that.

The young delegate is getting very bad advice if he thinks that clearing out now helps his prospects in four years. Voters and supporters feel betrayed when politicians suddenly throw in the towel.

Just ask anyone in Virginia Beach. Former Mayor Will Sessoms was re-elected for a four-year term in 2016 after being convicted on a conflict-of-interest charge. Rather audacious of him to run, but the voters wanted him.

Less than a year and a half into that term, however, Sessoms abruptly announced that he was quitting and offered some gibberish about needing a new job.

No one likes a quitter.

Jones has had an interesting but short political career. He was elected to the General Assembly in 2018 when he was 29. It wasn’t long before he announced that he was seeking the Democratic nomination for Virginia Attorney General.

He lost that bid last spring to soon-to-be-former Attorney General Mark Herring by a wide 43% to 57% margin. Jones, 32, then turned his attention to retaining the seat in the House he’d held for two years.

The 89th District is heavily Democratic and Jones won in a landslide, with nearly 80% of the vote.

It appears that a special election will have to be called to fill his seat, courtesy of taxpayers. That also won’t endear him to the electorate.

Look, I don’t know what’s going on. There are rumors that Jones may be taking an out-of-state job. I messaged Jones Thursday asking him about his future and as of this writing, he has not responded.

When a politician flees his office to “spend more time with his family,” it’s often a troubling sign. Absent a good reason, it indicates that at the very least, the politician is unserious about public service.

If Jones can’t come up with a cogent explanation for his sudden departure his political future in Virginia is not promising.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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18 responses to “Del. Jay Jones Quits Before He Starts”

  1. SudleySpr Avatar

    One down, do I hear two? Hurry hurry hurry, who will be number two?

    1. So another Democrat will replace him in the special election. Seems like a person should have a right to some privacy in their lives.

      1. SudleySpr Avatar

        I doubt it will be democrat to replace him. I don’t know his area but republicans are juiced.

        1. He won the last election with almost 80% of the vote. That is all I need to know to be pretty sure that republicans are dreaming if they think they can pick up that seat.

        2. Can they stay juiced up until the elections of 2023 or even 2022?

          1. SudleySpr Avatar

            I see it increasing if anything. A lot to do, yes.

          2. Unless the Youngkin administration energizes the Dems and alienates the Independents by moving too hard to the right.

  2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    This is a loss for the legislature. He is a bright guy who had a good future ahead of him. I wonder if a judgeship is in the future. The General Assembly can’t elect a member to a judgeship, but I seem to remember an instance in which a “retired” shortly before a session began and then was elected to a judgeship. His father (former Del. Jerrauld Jones) is now on the bench in Norfolk and is several years away from the mandatory retirement age, so a judgeship in Norfolk is probably not at issue. But, there are some Appeals Court vacancies looming as well as a SCC seat. However, it is hard to imagine a Republican House of Delegates supporting him.

    1. dave schutz Avatar
      dave schutz

      Certainly plausible. Another plausible is that being in the minority going forward didn’t look like fun.

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        No idea what, no insight, but my guess is wait for another announcement and all will be clear. A judgeship is clearly a possibility. SCC not so much. Federal appointment? Or some job opportunity where taking that much time away from work was not acceptable and he needed to clear the deck by Jan. 1. This guy lands on his feet I bet.

  3. tmtfairfax Avatar

    Not very fair to his constituents.

  4. Jake Spivey Avatar
    Jake Spivey

    Re: “Frankly, I’d want a refund if I stroked a check to a politician who quit even before taking office.” That would be these guys.

  5. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Well, quitting to be with the family didn’t hurt Paul Trible any. Of course, he lost his darlinghood when he took the wrong side of Iran-Contra… ya know, the side of the law. Very unpopular when Republican presidents violate the law and a Republican Congressman attempts to hold them accountable.

  6. I have no idea what his motives are for quitting and I am not going to speculate. But, if he has decided he can’t be, or does not want to be, a member of the house of delegates anymore then it is best that he resign his seat as soon as possible so that the residents of his district may choose a representative who wants the position.

  7. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    Dave Schultz is right. Jay Jones has never been in the Minority in the GA. He has his reasons, but waking up the day after the November elections and understanding the power in the House had shifted to the other side had to be among them. It sucks being in the minority in the GA.

    1. You mean by three votes if the Republicans can actually all stick together. Perhaps it really presents an opportunity for compromise and bi-partisan action.

      1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        Your point is valid but I am just stating the truth.

        Jay Jones was elected to serve in the House of Delegates. He was surprised to wake up one morning to find a good news/bad news situation. He had won his district but would be in the minority.

        He has never served in the minority, but he has seen as a member of the majority that minority members have little power to change outcomes. He has seen that because that is how his Democrats ran things. He expects Republicans to do the same. I expect he is right.

        I find it understandable that a rising star like Jay Jones did not want to spend time in that position. But dropping out after winning and forcing a special election for his seat does not necessarily endear him to his donors and state Democrats. He is betting that if they need him to run for AG in four years in order to win, all will be forgiven. He is probably right.

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