Moran Resigns From Va. Assembly
Saturday, December 13, 2008
RICHMOND, Dec. 12 -- Brian J. Moran, who has represented Alexandria in the House of Delegates for more than a decade, resigned his seat Friday to focus on his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, another sign that the 2009 campaign is off to an unusually early start.
Moran, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, e-mailed a letter to his constituents saying they deserved a representative who would not be distracted during the upcoming legislative session by the rigors of a statewide campaign.
"While the decisions made in the coming 45-day General Assembly are important, the leadership of Virginia for the next four years is even more critical," wrote Moran, who was first elected in 1995. "Today's troubled times demand proven leadership. I believe the best thing I can do for the people of Alexandria, Fairfax and the entire state is to win this campaign for governor."
Two weeks ago, Moran had been contemplating running for both his House seat and governor. His resignation appears to be a direct result of pressure from former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, who is expected to challenge him and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath) for the party's nomination.
A proven fundraiser with a national donor base, McAuliffe has vowed to raise millions for his primary campaign and has begun reaching out to donors.
Under Virginia law, members of the General Assembly are barred from raising money during the legislative session.
"Terry has got him spooked," said Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), who backs Deeds. "There is a guy who has got all the money on earth, and Brian is just totally freaked out."
Statewide campaigns in Virginia have traditionally not started until after the legislative session concludes, but the prospect of an expensive contest has accelerated the schedule this year.
In recent days, Moran and Deeds have been rolling out endorsements, hiring staff and traveling the state. Last night, McAuliffe invited 150 supporters and potential donors at his house in McLean to discuss his potential candidacy. McAuliffe plans to announce Jan. 7 whether he will formally enter the race.
With McAuliffe's stepped-up activity, Moran said he realized the campaign needed his full attention.
"I have been at this for several months now, and I have been working as hard as I possibly can and it is obvious I can't do both jobs to the satisfaction of my conscience," Moran said in an interview. "You've got to do it right."
As of the last state campaign finance filing June 30, Moran had about $1 million in the bank for his campaign. He was spending more than $100,000 a month on salaries and expenses.