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Posted December 26, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

One Republican signaling interest in Wolf's seat

By Joe Beck

One possible contender for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Vienna, is edging toward an official declaration of his candidacy.

State Sen., R-Ashburn, said he has formed an exploratory committee, citing his opposition to Obamacare and military intervention in the Middle East among his main reasons for considering a run for Congress.

"I am a conservative legislator," Black said in an interview Monday. "I've certainly got that reputation. But what we makes me a little unique is the posture I've taken on foreign policy."

Black, 69, is a veteran with extensive combat experience in Vietnam. He said he opposes U.S. involvement in the civil war raging in Syria and thinks American involvement in the overthrow of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi violated international law.

"It was an unprovoked attack by us, and it allowed Al Queda to get access to an enormous amount of enhanced weaponry that they're funneling through Turkey into Syria, and that is simply prolonging the agony of those people unnecessarily," Black said.

Black said he expected to make a formal declaration by January when filing deadlines and the nature of the nominating process among Republicans become clear.

Black represents the 13th district, which covers parts of Prince William and Loudon counties, and much of which lies within the boundaries of Wolf's 10th district. The district also includes all or parts of Clarke, Fairfax, and Frederick counties and Winchester. It is widely seen among political experts as a battleground in the 2014 congressional elections.

Black was elected to the House of Delegates in 1998 and to the Senate in 2011 where he serves on committees dealing with education, health, agriculture, natural resources, rehabilitation and social services.

His legislative record includes sponsorship and passage of bills in support of a major building project, tougher requirements for obtaining driver's licenses; ending local regulations of firearms and parental notification of minors planning to have abortions.

He favors an energy policy that encourages production of coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power. He also wants to "see us fight to block regulations that are strangling our economy. Specifically, we need to get the EPA under control."

Before joining the legislature, Black had a military career that included 268 combat missions as a Marine pilot in Vietnam. After completing law school at the University of Florida, he joined the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps and became chief of the criminal law division in the Pentagon.

A controversy over a legal issue has swirled about Black in recent weeks as a result of a blog entry appearing on the website of the conservative Weekly Standard. The blog headline refers to Black as a defender of spousal rape and includes a video clip of remarks Black delivered during floor debate on a piece of spousal rape legislation in 2002.

Black said he eventually voted for the legislation after he had received assurances on his concerns about the difficulty in obtaining convictions under the legislation, which tightened the law against spousal rape.

"They might have done a little work to check on what the vote was," Black said of the blogger. "I am the only legislator who actually prosecuted a spousal rape case. That was back when I was a JAG officer in the Army."

Democrats who have already lined up to run for the 10th district seat are Fairfax County Board of Supervisors member John W. Foust, Fairfax attorney Richard Bolger and Leesburg architect Sam Kubba.

Other Republicans who have been mentioned in political circles as possible candidates or who have already entered the race include Del. Barbara Comstock of McLean; Del. Timothy Hugo of Fairfax; businessman Keith Fimian, who has twice run unsuccessfully for Congress in another Northern Virginia district, and White House gatecrasher and former gubernatorial candidate Tareq Salahi.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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