Friday, March 11, 2005

No, I Am Not a Candidate

Someone at flatters me by suggesting that I might be a candidate on the Republican ticket to succeed retiring Delegate Mitch Van Yahres in the 57th District (which includes all of Charlottesville and several Albemarle County precincts).

The correspondent, who goes by the name "silkyzephyr", writes:

Toscano has long hungered for Van Yahres' place. Meredith Richards aspires to a political comeback. Since both Toscano and Richards are Meadowcreek Parkway supporters the Dem. insiders who 'Borked' Ms. Richards out of her City Council nomination will be hard put to choose between them. Though this time the nominating body will be more than just city voters.

No word as yet from Councillor Caravatti (also a pavement proponent) who in the past has expressed frustration with Richmond and an eagerness to go over there and straighten them out. He and Toscano are buddies. I speculate Toscano will cut a deal. Post-dated political checks to be redeemed in legislation on Caravatti's pet peeves, in exchange for his standing aside.

Will former Mayor Cox come back from teaching in Cambridge and throw his hat in the ring? An African-American representing Charlottesville would be a hard choice to argue with.

It is also an interesting question who the Republicans will run. Rick Sincere probably has more bi-partisan support and electability than Councilor Schilling, whose postering has incited Dems to slavering, frothing-at-the-mouth hatred. And Sincere has free time to spend in Richmond, since the job of public relations flack and Chair of the Elections Commission is undemanding. Ah but will the county Republicans go for a Gay Libertarian? What if the major qualification of the only other Republican candidate is, he's quick with a knife?

Standing back from all this--Van Yahres filled what was once Thomas Jefferson's chair with wisdom, practicality, and gentle temperance and good humor. A statesman trully in the best Jeffersonian tradition. Will any of these have the gravitas to succeed him?

I do not choose to run.

Indeed, I want to state categorically that I am not a candidate for any elective office, including the House of Delegates. "Silkyzephyr" is apparently unaware that Electoral Board members are not permitted to run for office. Section 24.2-106 of the Code of Virginia reads in part:

No member of an electoral board shall be eligible to offer for or hold an office to be filled in whole or in part by qualified voters of his jurisdiction. If a member resigns to offer for or hold such office, the vacancy shall be filled as provided in this section.

No member of an electoral board shall serve as the chairman of a state, local or district level political party committee or as a paid worker in the campaign of a candidate for nomination or election to an office filled by election in whole or in part by the qualified voters of the jurisdiction of the electoral board.

I am quite happy serving the voters of the City of Charlottesville as Chairman of the Electoral Board and have no plans to seek any other office during my term. I really enjoy working on elections and find election law and practice to be what Bob Bork called "an intellectual feast." (He was referring to the U.S. Supreme Court, but as a non-lawyer my aspirations do not run that high.)

Now, perhaps someone should ask Albemarle County Electoral Board member Will Harvey what he is doing by suggesting that he might run for the 57th District seat.

And, just as a matter of clarification, how could Van Yahres hold "what was once Thomas Jefferson's chair" when Rob Bell (R-58) lays that claim, as Paul Harris, Peter Way, and George Allen did before him? Did Mr. Jefferson hold two seats in the House of Delegates? Was his chair split, solomonically, so that both Democrats and Republicans could sit in it simultaneously?

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