In politics, there are basically three kinds of travel: business, pleasure, and of necessity. And there’s nothing that lawmakers love more than combining the first two types (as a group of General Assembly members did on a recent, all-expenses-paid “fact-finding” trip to Paris—sponsored by a company that, coincidentally, wants to extract vast quantities of uranium from Pittsylvania County).
But the third type of travel is the bane of most politicians’ existence. Washington lawmakers are forever grumbling about having to travel back and forth from Capitol Hill to their home districts, and the last thing most pols want is to uproot their family and sell their house in a terrible real estate market just to run for a seat they may not win. And yet this electoral season in Virginia seems to be setting a high-water mark for opportunistic political relocation.
We’ve already written at length about Del. Ward Armstrong, who was spitefully drawn out of his district by House Republicans, necessitating a short-mileage move in order to find voters who actually know his name. But Armstrong’s crosstown shuffle is just one of many politically motivated maneuvers.
Perhaps the least surprising relocation is that of former Del. Dick Black, the famously conservative Loudoun County lunatic who distinguished himself during his years in office by sending plastic fetuses to his fellow lawmakers and trying to get a high school play shut down because it featured two dudes kissing. Having already tried the carpetbagging route once (he rented a house in Fredericksburg in 2007 to pursue the First District U.S. House seat), Black has decided to try again by “moving” to Leesburg and competing in the Republican primary for the new 13th District senate spot. Good luck, Dick!
The other two caravanning Republican candidates are Ralph Smith and Bill Stanley, who both announced surprise moves in an ongoing game of political chess with Assembly Democrats. The Dem-lead senate drew Smith into the same district as fellow Republican Steve Newman, thus guaranteeing that one of them would be eliminated (or so they thought). But instead of running in a primary against Newman, Smith decided to pack his bags and move to Roanoke County, which is currently represented by Stanley. Meanwhile, Stanley (who won his senate seat in a special election less than six months ago) has announced that he will move across Franklin County to challenge Democrat Roscoe Reynolds in the 20th. Whew! Who knew that running for office could involve so much actual running?
And we haven’t even touched on the biggest move of all: a non-negotiable four-year lease to a drafty chateau at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, with the possibility of a four-year extension.
That’s right, we’re talking about the Big Kahuna. If you’ve been despairing (as we have) that no Virginia politician has thrown his (or her) hat into the presidential ring, then despair no longer! According to the Roanoke Times, former Charlottesville Representative (and Odd Dominion patron saint) Virgil Goode is thinking about running for president on the Constitution Party line.
Oh please, let it be so! We don’t ask for much, but if there is even the slightest chance that our favorite blow-dried gaffe machine might hit the campaign trail again, we would do anything to make it happen. Except move to Pittsylvania County—we’re not so wild about uranium mines.