26th District Update

Well, it’s official–and really has been for days now–that Tony Wilt, President of Superior Concrete, will seek the Republican nod for the special election in the 26th District. Word is that Wilt was the only candidate who seemed to be really working the crowd at last week’s Lincoln Day Dinner, and sources tell me that he’s already lined up key activists and is actively working the party vines. The smoke has definitely cleared, and I think we can downgrade a few candidates. Other than John Elledge, no one else on my initial list seems to be making much noise. It should be noted, however, that at least one potential candidate, Ted Byrd, has a difficult call to make, as the Republican Mass Meeting is coming up in which he would most likely seek re-nomination for City Council.

An important note: the timing is still very much up in the air on this. What we do know is that it will not be in May or June, due both to the timing of Matt’s exact resignation (which also means Lohr will serve in the reconvened session) and state code prohibiting primaries and special elections being on the same day. What will be interesting to watch is if Governor McDonnell calls the election before November–this could give us some hint as to a) if the two special sessions on government reform and transportation are in the works and b) what his support looks like in the House on these issues. Right now, though, the House is not where the big questions are–it’s the Senate where any proposals by McDonnell live or die. The fact that Delegate Sam Nixon was also picked off signals that McDonnell probably isn’t all that worried about the House, but from the looks of it there likely won’t be any Democrats for him to be able to pick off in exchange for cushy appointments–not with the current political atmosphere being so black and white.

According to the DNR, Democrats in the County have gone with a caucus, and the city seems likely to follow. My money for the GOP? Convention. But after my list of potential contenders in the 26th, you might want to look elsewhere for your political betting insights….

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