Friday, December 12, 2008 1:55 PM
Del. Brian J. Moran resigned today from his Virginia House seat and leadership post as head of the Democratic Caucus to run for governor fulltime.
Moran, 49, of Alexandria, is in a hotly contested three-way Democratic primary battle for the party's nomination in the 2009 governor's race.
Moran notified Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Friday of his intention to resign immediately from the House of Delegates seat he has held since 1996.
He announced his decision in a letter e-mailed to constituents Friday afternoon. He wrote in the letter that he would be campaigning full time for governor.
"You deserve the full attention of your representative in the legislative work this coming year," Moran wrote.
"This will be a long campaign against difficult opponents," he added in his letter to supporters.
Another legislator, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County, is also running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He has not announced plans to leave his legislative post.
Both announced their intent to run nearly a year ago, but the race was turned upside down during the fall when former Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe jumped into the race.
McAuliffe, who has hired senior campaign advisers, won't make his decision official until Jan. 7, one week before the 2009 General Assembly convenes.
His ability to raise tens of millions of dollars from a vast network of national donors he cultivated as DNC chief and as chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign sent the Moran and Deeds campaign into overdrive.
Since the Nov. 4 election, both Moran and Deeds have been aggressively lining up and announcing endorsements of Democratic leaders and officeholders statewide.
The winner of the June Democratic primary will face Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell in the fall election. McDonnell is uncontested for his party's nomination.
Moran's departure creates the third vacancy in the House to be filled heading into the 2009 legislative session.
Kaine has scheduled a Jan. 6 special election to fill the seats of Republican Terrie L. Suit of Virginia Beach, who left to take a lucrative position with a lobbying firm, and Democrat Dwight C. Jones, who was elected mayor of Richmond last month.
There was no immediate word from Kaine's office about a special election date for Moran's seat.