Current Gainesville Supervisor John Stirrup announced today that he’s running for Senate in the 13th District, joining Bob Fitzsimmonds and Dick Black in what should be a very interesting primary between three of Northern Virginia’s top conservative warriors. Any one of these thrown into the RINO collection that is known as the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus (with apologies to the excellent Mark Obenshain) is going to shake that moribund, near-useless excuse for a legislative body to its foundations.
This sets up an interesting race in the Gainesville District to replace John Stirrup in this solidly conservative magisterial district. County planning commission member Martha Hendley, Pete Candland and Suzanne Miller (not related to Delegate Jackson Miller) have all been running not-so-quiet races over the past several weeks to succeed John Stirrup, and more candidates could possibly emerge.
Martha has done a great job on the planning commission, and moving from planning commissioner to district supervisor isn’t a great leap. Martha is about as warm and kind as she is principled and she has a pretty solid record to run on as well as a tremendous expertise in land use and zoning. Insiders have been expressing concerns that she may be a little too elderly to connect with voters well and vigorously mount a campaign, however. I’m not sure that’s the case, but the truth of the matter will emerge pretty quickly as this campaign goes into overdrive.
Pete Candland has been an activist for a while and appears to have a platform that will connect with the electorate. He’s young and dynamic and if people get to know him they’d probably like him a lot. The hurdle for Pete is that few seem to know him outside of a few insiders and committee members. Campaigns can fix that if they’re run well, and the people who have been calling me over the past few days to urge my support of his candidacy are top-notch. Pete is a serious challenger here and may even have the inside track at this point.
Suzanne Miller is a complete neophyte, though. Nobody knows her. She’s done precisely nothing before starting to run and has only recently started showing up at Republican Committee meetings. I have no idea at all why she’s in this race. Whoever advised her that she has a shot here was evidently stoned or intoxicated at the time. You don’t get elected in politically attuned Gainesville when the first time anyone has ever even seen you was when you informed them you were running for office, even if you have the same name as Delegate Jackson Miller’s well-loved and completely awesome wife. Suzanne Miller the wife of Delegate Jackson Miller would get voted into office at the front of a popular tidal wave. Suzanne Miller the previously unheard of wannabe politician, not so much.
Between the 13th Senate primary and the Gainesville Supervisor primary, and then the 87th House District primary, this election season is going to make Gainesville a pretty crazy place.
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