- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart said Tuesday that he still is considering a 2012 run for Virginia’s Senate seat now held by Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat who is retiring after one term.

“I have not ruled it out,” Mr. Stewart, a Republican, said after earlier news reports indicated that he had abandoned the plans.

Mr. Stewart, 42, said that for now he is focused on winning re-election in November to his county post.

“I’ve got to do the job that’s in front of me,” he said. “There’s an old saying that you bloom where you’re planted.”

Mr. Stewart has for the past several months publicly considered joining a GOP primary field that includes former Sen. George Allen as the front-runner. Mr. Webb, who narrowly defeated Mr. Allen in 2006, said last month that he would not seek a second term.

Virginia tea party leader Jamie Radtke and Hampton Roads lawyer David McCormick also have announced plans to seek the Republican nomination. Virginia Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican, has said he is considering a run.

“Running for Senate is a big decision, and I’m sure Corey will be giving it careful thought and making his decision in due time,” Ms. Radtke said Tuesday.

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is expected to announce this week whether he will seek the Democratic nomination for the seat.

Results of a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday show Mr. Allen and Mr. Kaine each with 47 percent of the vote.

“It’s early, but this definitely looks like it will be the marquee Senate race of the 2012 cycle, especially if Tim Kaine jumps in,” said Dean Debnam, president of the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling.

National Republicans already have begun targeting Mr. Kaine. The National Republican Senatorial Committee on Tuesday posted a video on its website characterizing Mr. Kaine as a cheerleader for the agenda of President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

The minute-long video features clips of Mr. Kaine praising the president and Mrs. Pelosi, then a caricature of Mr. Kaine dressed in a cheerleader outfit.

Mr. Allen, also a former Virginia governor, is a conservative with fundraising prowess and support from the party establishment. However, he faces an electorate that last year helped the GOP win the House majority by backing non-establishment candidates, many with the support of the tea party movement.

“I really don’t know what Mr. Stewart is thinking,” GOP strategist Tom Edmonds said. “But I wonder if he’s thinking: The political landscape is now really confusing, and the old matrix doesn’t fit neatly. This is a race in which people from the right, the tea party movement, are challenging the conservative credentials of George Allen.”

Mr. Stewart has called Mr. Allen a great governor but a “mediocre” senator.

Mr. Edmonds noted that Mr. Webb dropped out shortly after Mr. Allen officially announced his run, which suggests that Mr. Allen remains a formidable candidate with real fundraising clout.

“Don’t you think somebody would think twice?” Mr. Edmonds asked.

For the time being, Mr. Stewart will seek a second full term as chairman of the Prince William supervisors. He was elected in a 2006 special election and re-elected in 2007 largely on a platform of illegal-immigration reform. His efforts brought national attention when the county adopted a policy requiring officers to check the immigration status of people they arrested.

Sean Lengell contributed to this report.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide