VIRTUCON EXCLUSIVE! – GOP Close To Landing Top Recruit For Open 52nd Dist.

To echo the Drudge Report:


Sources confirm to Virginia Virtucon that the House GOP caucus is very close to landing their top recruiting prospect for the 52nd House of Delegates Dist. being vacated in 2009 by RPV Chairman Del. Jeff Frederick.  For the past few weeks, top GOP leaders have been working hard to recruit former PWC Chairman Sean Connaughton to run for the open 52nd Dist. seat next year.  Those same sources indicated that Connaughton is now inclined to make such a run.

Connaughton is currently the U.S. Maritime Administrator and has been nominated to be a Federal Maritime Commissioner by President Bush.  However, his time as Administrator will end when the Obama administration comes into office in January and it now appears likely that the Senate will not take up his nomination to be a Commissioner (which has a term running through June 30, 2012.)

Once his time as Administrator ends, Connaughton’s focus will be on finding a job.  While Connaughton appears certain to head back to private law practice, given his bulked up resume he should be able to write his own ticket with any maritime law firm.  Such a deal could include granting him the time off each year to attend the General Assembly session in Richmond.  Upon securing employment with such favorable terms, Connaughton will then be able to jump formally into the race.



18 thoughts on “VIRTUCON EXCLUSIVE! – GOP Close To Landing Top Recruit For Open 52nd Dist.

  1. He’d be a formidable candidate, but isn’t going from Chairman of one of the Commonwealth’s most populous counties to state delegate a bit of a step backward? It’s not like it would be without precedent (Leslie Byrne running for state senate in 1999 would be another example), but it’s rare to see elected officials–even retired ones–downgrade from their previous office.

  2. Well, some people are more committed to public service than to ego. Sean would make an excellent candidate and an outstanding delegate (which would make me all the more happy given that he’d be my delegate.)

  3. This seems like wishful thinking for folks looking for a glimmer of light somewhere. Connaughton has been selfless for the Party, but why would he take a step backward and run for the House of Delegates? He has achieved international acclaim in his current position, is by far the most successful Republican in Northern Virginia outside of Tom Davis, and is coming to an end of a hugely successful run as a presidential appointee, Senate confirmed Administrator of America’s maritime policy. A recent Journal of Commerce editorial urged President Obama to appoint him Secretary of Transportation, despite his Republican bloodlines. This simply makes no sense and seems to reflect hopes in certain circles that we can easily raise the level of our game.

  4. NoVA Scout, this is more than just wishful thinking. We’ve confirmed this with no less than three separate sources. And Anonymous is correct in the response to Freddie in that Jeff and RPV have also been involved in the recruiting effort. A few of our sources even indicated that to be the case.

    As I understand it from one source, Allison Coccia, RPV’s Exec. Dir., came up with Sean’s name at a strategy session over a month ago. Jeff then contacted Sean who was said to have expressed his interest. Speaker Howell followed up with Sean as well.

  5. Uh oh, NoVA Scout has spoken!

    I would have to disagree that Connaughton is ‘by far the most successful Republican in Northern Virginia outside of Tom Davis.’ Frank Wolf is still a Congressman. Tom Davis took his ball and went home, and Sean Connaughton’s most recent run involved losing an LG primary.

    However, I think it would be a classy move on Sean’s part to run for Delegate. I think he’s a smart guy and could contribute a lot to policy in VA.

    Finally, I, for one, don’t think the House of Delegates is a step down from chairman of a board of supervisors, even in mighty Pr. William. Via the Dillon rule, boards are basically subject to the whims of the legislature. Sean would be the one writing the laws this time rather than letting them happen to him.

    Run, Sean, run!

  6. House of Delegates wouldn’t be step down from county chairman if we were talking about, say, Bath County or Tazewell County. But if my math is right, Prince William County is represented by five different delegates. Going from the head of a jurisdiction that large to representing a portion of it as a junior member of a body of 100 is a step backward. You have a point in that the Dillon Rule somewhat mitigates that backward step, but it would still be a peculiar step to take for someone with as big a name as Connaughton.

    Congress would make much more sense: look at Tom Davis and Gerry Connolly, for example. Hell, if Kate Hanley had actually stayed in the race and put forth a nominal effort, she probably would have unseated Jim Moran. While PWC isn’t as big as Fairfax, its chairmanship is bigger than an HoD seat.

  7. Connaughton has ambition for sure, and the House of Ds is the best place to put together a record for a run of either LG or Congress. Its a good move to get his name back in the forefront of VA GOP state leaders.

  8. I’d enjoy having Sean in Richmond and working with him in the Caucus down there.

    This is good news. I hope it’s true and works out for him. He’s probably our best hope to keep the seat, if Jeff isn’t going to run.

  9. Yup _ I sure as heck overlooked Frank Wolf. He’s a favorite of mine and I shouldn’t have forgotten him. But although SC lost the 2005 LG primary, he outpolled Bolling in Northern Virginia, where elections are now being decided. No question that he would have crushed Byrne, instead of squeaking by, as did Bolling.

  10. What office has Sean not considered running for? The guy is so desperate to get to Richmond he’ll run for anything! If he chokes like he did in 2005 and puts up another loss where will he run this time now that Washington is no longer an option?

  11. I think Sean would make some excelllent contributions to the State and County if he was a Delegate…… my opinion, he is every Democrat’s nightmare!!! And this is the only position open right now. Oddly, the Reps redistricted PWC so that we are only a piece of a Senate District……so he couldnt run for Toddy’s MT Vernon seat…….that runs into PWC……..Although this is also a step down …it is only part-time and a decent springboard to any office for him

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