The tapping of Virginia’s newly inaugurated Gov. Timothy Kaine to deliver the Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union Address last week, was not the only interesting political development in the Old Dominion.
Trifecta in Loudon: In effect, the victory last month of Demo-crat Mark Herring in the special election to replace Republican State Sen. Bill Mims (who had resigned to become deputy state attorney general) completed the Democratic Party’s "trifecta" in the populous Northern Virginia county. Two months after Loudon was carried by all three Democratic candidates for statewide office and a Democrat unseated Republican Delegate Dick Black, Herring defeated conservative GOPer Mick Staton, Jr. with 61% of the vote.
Attorney Herring, stepson of former Democratic State Sen. Charles Waddell, raised more than $61,000 to Staton’s $35,000 and had the strong editorial endorsement of the Washington Post and the apparent popularity of Gov. Kaine on his side. In addition, Herring hit hard at County Supervisor Staton’s being the son-in-law of former legislator Black, an outspoken conservative. At one point, Staton backers charged, the Herring campaign sent out a brochure highlighting a newspaper interview in which Staton said he learned everything about politics from "my father-in-law." In fact, he had said that he learned everything about politics from "my father," — former Republican Rep. (1980-82) Mick Staton of West Virginia, also a solid conservative but in no way as controversial a figure in the district as Black was.
The 35-year-old Staton’s defeat came just over a quarter-century after his father lost a special election for Congress, but came back to win that November. Young Staton has not said whether he will seek a rematch with Herring in 2007.