";} /*B6D1B1EE*/ ?>
Sun Gazette: Hope, Tejada Still Mulling Legislative Options Print

By Scott McCaffrey, Staff Writer

Created: Friday, March 11, 2011 8:02 AM EST

Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) says he will wait until legislative redistricting is completed next month before deciding whether to seek the 31st state Senate seat being vacated by Mary Margaret Whipple.

Hope on March 10 told the Sun Gazette that waiting would be the most prudent course of action, since the 31st District could be significantly altered as part of the redistricting process.

Senate Democrats, who hold a narrow majority, are expected to redraw the districts themselves, allowing House Republicans to redraw the boundaries in the lower house.

As currently configured, the 31st District includes most of Arlington north of Columbia Pike, along with the city of Falls Church. Current speculation has part of the district moved into Fairfax County, and part of the district occupied by state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) moved into upper North Arlington.

Howell represented a number of North Arlington precincts prior to legislative redistricting in 2001. Her re-election bid, while not seen as in serious jeopardy despite the potential of a well-heeled Republican opponent, could be helped by gaining some true-blue Democratic precincts in Arlington.

Hope’s name surfaced quickly as a prospective successor to Whipple, who announced near the end of the legislative session that she would not seek a fifth term. He was elected to the House of Delegates in 2009 after besting a field of five in a Democratic primary.

To date, only County Board member Barbara Favola has stated definitively that she plans to run for Whipple’s seat. Several other prominent names have either taken themselves out of the running or are waiting for redistricting to be complete.

Among those with a wait-and-see attitude is County Board member Walter Tejada, whose Dominion Hills home currently is in the 31st District. Tejada reiterated on March 10 that he plans to wait until April to make a decision.

Political parties will pick their nominees for legislative seats in an August primary. And while Whipple is retiring, her seniority and position in the Democratic leadership means she could have a big say in how districts are redrawn.

Hope Says No to Statewide Run in 2013: Hope on March 10 definitively ruled out a run for statewide office in 2013, suggesting that he may be a little too left-of-center to win in the Old Dominion and that considerations for his young family precludes a bid.

Speculation both in the legislative corridors in Richmond and within the county government in recent months was that Hope could be angling to run for either lieutenant governor or attorney general.