Reliable sources tell FirewallNOVA that former school-board member Bob Ohneiser will challenge Republican Jim Plowman in 2015 for Plowman’s current position as Loudoun county’s Commonwealth’s Attorney. Ohneiser’s last bid for public office resulted in a loss as he sought to trade his Broad Run district seat on the school board for the at-large spot, by challenging incumbent Tom Reed. Reed won that race with 56%. Ohneiser took 31% in a three-way fight that gave 12% to Jay Bose.
Plowman’s last race was against Democratic challenger Jennifer Wexton, in 2011, with Plowman winning reelection by 52% to 48%, a surprisingly close showing for first-time candidate Wexton (who went on to win the vacated state Senate seat previously held by now-AG Mark Herring, by an impressive 53% to 37% victory over Republican John Whitbeck, with Joe May taking his own 10% as an independent).
Ohneiser’s political history is complicated. He started out in Loudoun politics as a Republican, then joined the county Democratic committee while a sitting member of the school board. His successful (and unsuccessful) campaigns must be viewed through the lens of a bookkeeper, too, as he has never spent more than $1,000 on a campaign, and never accepted donations from anyone. Most likely, that will have to change if he seriously plans a bid to be his county’s prosecutor.
The race for CA is never considered a marquee battle, being overshadowed by the county board, school board, house of delgates, and state senate races. Mostly, the seat is pulled along by the coat-tails of whichever party wins those other races (the 5/2/2 board victory for the Democrats in 2007 didn’t have the chance to pull a candidate, as only John Flannery rose to “challenge” Plowman then, with a last-minute write-in campaign). With the current all-Republican BOS in Loudoun taking a lot of mixed press for its school decisions, and county politics being as pendulous as they are, maybe Ohneiser will have the momentum he needs to win next year.
If nothing else, this reminds us that the 2015 races are already under way.