Notes from the Capitol

Richmond Times Dispatch. Posted by Cynthia Terrell on April 25, 2015

By Andrew Cain

A presidential hopeful who lives in Virginia reportedly will announce a 2016 run a week from Monday.

Republican Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, lives in Fairfax County. She and her husband moved to Virginia after she lost a 2010 U.S. Senate campaign against Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Fiorina is chairman of the board of Alexandria-based Good360, which mobilizes companies to donate “critically needed goods” and distributes them to people in need around the world.

Gov. Bob McDonnell appointed Fiorina to the James Madison University board of visitors in 2012. Fiorina stepped down from the JMU board last week.

The entrance of Fiorina, born in Austin, Texas, into the 2016 campaign and the potential bid of former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., born in St. Joseph, Mo., raise the question of just who is a Virginian in the state that is “the mother of presidents.”

Consider that Fiorina probably has lived in Virginia longer than President Woodrow Wilson, who was born in Staunton in 1856 but moved with his family to Georgia less than a year later. Wilson later spent about a year studying law at the University of Virginia.

Wilson is one of the eight Virginia-born presidents memorialized in marble at the state Capitol. Two Virginia-born candidates could enter the 2016 contest — former Gov. Jim Gilmore, born in Richmond, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, born in Winchester.

Will another woman win statewide race in Virginia?

If Hillary Rodham Clinton or Fiorina receives her party’s presidential nomination and carries Virginia, she would be the first woman to win a statewide race here since Democrat Mary Sue Terry was re-elected as attorney general in 1989.

The only other woman to hold statewide office in Virginia was Republican Judith Jagdmann, who served as Virginia’s attorney general from February 2005 to January 2006.

Jagdmann, who had worked in the attorney general’s office for seven years, was elected by legislators to succeed Jerry W. Kilgore when he resigned to run for governor.

In December 2013, a group called Representation 2020 ranked Virginia last among the 50 states in gender parity, its measure of how well women are represented in elective office.

Republican Edwina “Eddy” Dalton, widow of former Gov. John Dalton, lost the 1989 race for lieutenant governor to Democrat Don Beyer. If Dalton had won that contest, the 1993 contest for governor might have featured three women — Terry, Dalton and Nancy Spannaus, a perennial candidate allied with political extremist Lyndon LaRouche.

Terry lost the 1993 campaign for governor to Republican George Allen.

In 2005, Republican Bill Bolling edged Democrat Leslie L. Byrne in the campaign for lieutenant governor. Bolling won re-election in 2009, defeating another woman, Democrat Jody Wagner.

Changing of the guard underway at Va. Capitol

A changing of the guard already is underway at the Capitol ahead of the November elections in which all 140 General Assembly seats are on the ballot.

Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, has named Del. Ronald A. Villanueva, R-Virginia Beach, as chairman of the House Transportation Committee, succeeding Del. Thomas Davis Rust, R-Fairfax, who is retiring.

He named Del. Daniel W. Marshall III, R-Danville, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources, succeeding Del. Edward T. Scott, R-Madison, who also is retiring.

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