Sam Kubba has dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination to succeed Frank Wolf. That leaves Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust and Fairfax attorney Richard Bolger still contending. The smart money’s on Foust, but the Democratic 10th Congressional District Committee has chosen a byzantine nominating process (involving a two-week election period during which you get to vote for some number of Delegates, some other number of Alternates, which you can do by slate or on an individual basis, who then go on to a convention during which the committed Delegates are bound to vote for their candidate on the first round only, unless that candidate has dropped out, and then, well… you can read all five single-spaced pages of rules for this process on your own time).
Seems like a lot of trouble to go to, but there are only just so many ways to choose a nominee and you do want the process to be fair. On the other hand, if you are a political party, you also want the process to choose the candidate most likely to win in the general election. However, parties and candidates are not one-in-the-same. Parties want their candidates to win, but candidates want themselves to win. Messrs. Kubba and Bolger were, as far as anyone seems to know, politically unknown before announcing they would run for Frank Wolf’s seat. Now, at the time, Wolf was widely expected to run again, and the practice of running political unknowns for seats you can’t win is fairly well established, so no one really cared who they were. Supervisor Foust’s entry into the race, combined with Wolf’s retirement, changes all that, because of one simple fact: Foust could win in November. So why is Bolger running? Could he win? Theoretically, anyone can win. But, realistically, his chances seem very slight compared to Foust’s. Then again, both men are from Fairfax, while the single most populous jurisdiction in the district is Loudoun county. This could be an issue if the Republicans choose a candidate with any Loudoun ties name-recognition. At the moment, it’s hard to say who that Republican will be, as the list of contenders is pretty long:
- Barbara Comstock
- Bob Marshall
- Richard Shickle
- Stephen Hollingshead
- Marc Savitt
- Rob Wasinger
- Brent Anderson
- Donald Duck
Okay, one of those hasn’t yet declared, but the top two are the most likely to include the actual nominee, and both have established support in Loudoun county. Both will appeal to voters outside of Loudoun and not in Fairfax. Either Foust or Bolger (and it is going to be Foust) will take Fairfax (readily, if Marshall wins, but with a bit of a fight if Comstock wins). The hinterlands of the district will go to the Republican. Which brings the battle home to Loudoun, where almost all of the interesting political battles in Virginia seem to be happening these days.
Both parties will choose their nominees on April 26. On April 27, if you live in Loudoun county, draw the shades and lock your doors, because it’s going to be heck outside.