Dems, GOP mull primary vs. convention

By Joe Beck

The campaign to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Vienna, in the 10th District continues to take shape with Democrats and Republicans scheduling meetings to determine whether their respective nominees will be chosen by primary or a nominating convention.

The choice of primary vs. convention could prove especially important for Republicans who have been debating the subject ever since supporters of former Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli steered the 2013 gubernatorial nomination toward their candidate at a statewide convention heavily attended by conservative activists.

Former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who was hoping to win the nomination for himself, refused to endorse Cuccinelli after the convention, and many Republicans who consider themselves political pragmatists blamed the convention process for their loss of the top three statewide offices in the November election.

The same debate has hung over 10th District Republicans as they ponder a lengthening list of candidates, nearly declared candidates and potential candidates to replace Wolf, who has held his seat with little difficulty since the 1980s.

Michael Lindsay, chairman of the Frederick County Republican Committee, said Monday his party’s 10th District committee will meet at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 in Leesburg at the Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison St. S.E. The meeting is open to the public.

“I think one of the large issues is, if we’re going to have a convention, finding a venue that’s large enough,” Lindsay said. “There are a number of declared candidates, and the list is growing every day.”

The 10th District Democrats announced Friday that they will decide their nominating process at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 8 at the Ashburn Public Library, 43316 Hay Road.

In a written statement accompanying the announcement, 10th District Democratic
chairman Charles Jackson said Democrats’ interest in the race “is as strong as I’ve ever seen.”

“Democrats know that the only way to stop the Tea Party shenanigans in Washington is to win more competitive House races,” Jackson said. “Virginia’s 10th is a top priority.”

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