Delegate Jackson Miller had well over 200 people pack a Manassas firehouse for a campaign event this evening, complete with a visit from Governor Bob McDonnell. What I find fascinating about something like this is here’s someone who gets top-flight support from the Governor, raises a ton of money as his sponsor list for the event absolutely dwarfs what others might expect under these circumstances, he has people coming out of the woodwork to attend and provide sponsorships, and his next re-election effort is in 2011. To me, that signals something is happening here.
We all know there’s a potential race for the 29th Senate District looming in the horizon out there somewhere, as Chuck Colgan isn’t going to remain in his seat indefinitely, but the timing of his expected departure continuously confounds pundits like myself. It seems there’s always some sort of rumor that Colgan will finally retire at some point and evidently the pressure from his Democrat colleagues is brought to bear to have Chuck take just one more lap because Democrats are confounded about who they might run for Colgan’s seat. Jackson Miller is a natural to succeed Colgan, and would be a formidable opponent to anyone, perhaps even Colgan himself if he defers his long overdue retirement much longer.
So absent yet another rumor of a Colgan retirement, what would prompt Delegate Miller to hold a campaign event more than a year out, draw top-tier political support in the form of Bob McDonnell, and cause sponsors come out in pretty unprecedented numbers to pump in what has to be well more than 20K into his campaign coffers? To me, redistricting is the only answer left. The district lines are going to be re-drawn pretty soon, and are probably already laid out for those who are in the know, and if they happened to do something unexpected that would make Colgan particularly vulnerable, or even create a Senate district around the city of Manassas that Colgan wouldn’t reside in, then something like this makes sense. An insider like Jackson would be putting the pedal to the metal early on to be ready for such a Senate race by pumping up his campaign coffers, securing high profile support, and laying the groundwork for a “shock and awe” campaign that would discourage anyone from mounting either a primary or general election challenge.
Really, it’s not like a Delegate who isn’t likely to draw any challenger this year (Jeanette Rishell is pretty much done, and no one else seems eager to face Miller’s juggernaut) really needs to start blowing the doors off campaign fundraising more than a year out from re-election, and I know Jackson Miller hates raising campaign money. I hardly blame him, as that’s got to be the worst part of running a campaign. To get Jackson Miller banging on the phone for campaign funds has a real challenge for every campaign manager he’s ever had, and to overcome that there’s got to be some really worthwhile reason for it. Having an opportunity to graduate to a Senate seat with an opening most of us aren’t aware of, and which would represent an opportunity much easier to grasp at than before would definitely qualify.
I wish Jackson Miller the best in this, as I think he’d be a great candidate and a tremendous state senator. The political junkie in me just wishes I knew more about what was going on here, as what meets the eye doesn’t seem to fit the dramatic circumstances many of us saw this evening. Something is about to happen here, and it’s going to be big.
I venture that soon we’ll all know what it is.
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