Seeing how Senator George Barker has been voting lately (see here and here), it’s a great comfort to learn that Jay O’Brien is gearing up a campaign to take back the 39th District. Barker defeated Jay O’Brien in 2007 by less than 800 votes at a time when the Republican nominee in the 51st District which largely overlaps the 39th Senate District was Faisal Gill. Now with Rich Anderson holding the 51st House District, the shine definitely coming off “hope and change”, an insurgent Tea Party movement, and Barker’s less than stellar record Jay O’Brien is in great shape to win back this seat in 2011.
Of course redistricting will be completed by the time the next elections for the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates roll around, which are bound to impact this and every other district. There hasn’t been much residential development in either the Prince William or Fairfax County portions of the 39th while the overall population in Virginia has increased, so it is likely that this Senate district will increase in size to some degree. If that growth happens in Prince William, which is likely, that should only improve Jay O’Brien’s chances in 2011. If the 36th District currently represented by Toddy Puller shifts more into Fairfax County pushing the 39th more into Prince William County (a reasonable improvement for both counties as these split-county jurisdictions are not ideal by any means), that would strengthen both the chances of Jay O’Brien as a challenger and Toddy Puller as an incumbent. A reasonable trade off, it would seem.
Jay currently lives in the Fairfax County portion of the district in Clifton, but from what I gather he’d at least be interested in relocating his residence to ensure he would still be in the 39th. Barker’s victory in 2007 was a bitter thing for many of us, and seeing O’Brien already committing himself to retaking this seat well before the details of what the district will look like in 2011 is very encouraging. He’s going to need a lot of support from all of us to win this back and help restore sanity in the Senate of Virginia, so start setting aside resources and some blocks on your long-range calendar now so you’ll be ready when you’re needed.
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