- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Virginia Rep. Ed Schrock abruptly announced last night that he would not seek a third term, leaving Republicans just three days to field a replacement candidate to qualify for the Nov. 2 ballot.

Mr. Schrock, 63, a two-term Republican who represents Virginia Beach, the Eastern Shore and parts of Hampton and Norfolk, said in a five-paragraph statement released yesterday that unspecified “allegations” have called into question his ability to serve.

“Therefore, as of today, I am stepping aside and will no longer be the Republican nominee for Congress in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District,” Mr. Schrock said.

Attempts to reach Mr. Schrock at his Washington office and at his district offices last night were unsuccessful.

With Mr. Schrock out, attention turns to Republican state legislators as replacements.

Virginia delegates to the Republican National Convention last night said the two candidates in the running to replace Mr. Schrock are Delegate Thelma Drake from Norfolk and state Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle of Virginia Beach.

A 12-member committee from the 2nd District will meet today and vote on the replacement. Several Republicans said last night that Mrs. Drake is considered the front-runner.

Virginia Republican leaders said Mr. Schrock’s resignation was a loss to the party.

Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore said Mr. Schrock has “tremendous courage, and I thank him for allowing the Republican Party to move forward with a new candidate.”

State Sen. Jeannemarie A. Devolites called Mr. Schrock an “outstanding legislator,” and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III said Mr. Schrock was facing issues, including an illness in his family.

Several Republicans from Virginia, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Schrock shouldn’t have resigned in the face of accusations because he was unbeatable in his district — “absolutely bulletproof,” said one strategist.

David B. Ashe, the Democrat slated to challenge Mr. Schrock, was caught off guard by news of the congressman’s withdrawal.

“Wow, I had not heard that. That’s really something,” he told the Associated Press last night.

Mr. Ashe, a lawyer, said his thoughts were with Mr. Schrock and his family and thanked the congressman for his career of service.

Mr. Schrock, who served in the Navy from 1964 to 1988, including two tours of duty in Vietnam, retired as a captain. He is married and has one son.

In January 2001, Mr. Schrock was elected president of the Republican House freshman class and landed a seat on the House Armed Services Committee. He also serves on the House Budget Committee, the House Small Business Committee and the House Government Reform Committee.

He founded and is co-chairman of the House Navy/Marine Corps Caucus and the House Special Operations Forces Caucus.

The congressman won his first re-election by a landslide in 2002 — raking in 83.2 percent of the vote and totaling $322,022 in campaign contributions. He has raised $85,621 for the November election, according to www.congress.org.

• Judith Person, Stephen Dinan and Christina Bellantoni contributed to this report.

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