Outgoing House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D) said he’s pondering a move from his lifelong home in Martinsville to Virginia’s capital city.
Armstrong, who lost his re-election last month after Republicans eliminated his largely rural Southside district, said he would move to expand his law practice. But he admits it sure wouldn’t hurt him politically.
“If I do run for statewide office, having a more central location would be helpful,’’ Armstrong said.
Armstrong has said he’s considering a run for governor, lieutenant governor or attorney general, though we hear he is most interested in succeeding Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R).
Democrats lost all three statewide races in 2009. Former Democratic National Committee chairman and businessman Terry McAuliffe, who lost his party's nomination for governor, is widely expected to make another run in 2013.
Other Democrats being mentioned for statewide office are Sen. Ralph S. Northam (Norfolk), Del. Kenneth Cooper Alexander (Norfolk) and Aneesh P. Chopra, who served as secretary of technology for then-Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and is now the nation’s first chief technology officer.
The outspoken and affable Armstrong had long been eyeing his chance to become speaker, but Republicans have steadily picked up seats in the House. In January, they will have a commanding 68-member majority — the largest in Virginia history.
Armstrong and his wife, Pam, own a house in Richmond’s historic Church Hill neighborhood so they could easily travel back and forth.
Republicans eliminated Armstrong’s district when they redrew legislative maps in the spring so he moved to a nearby district and mounted a surprisingly formidable challenge against Republican Del. Charles Poindexter.
But Armstrong angered some members of his own party for statements on the campaign trail as he sought to win voters in the newly drawn conservative district, including distancing himself from President Obama and stressing that he is “pro-life, pro-guns” in a TV ad.