Inspired by her participation in the National Women's Conference in Houston recently, Northern Virginia feminist Flora Crater announced yesterday that she would seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by William L. Scott (R-Va.).
"I hadn't thought about (running) until I went to Houston," Crater said. "I was so stimulated and so inspired by the plan of action adopted here that I decided you have to take it and do something with it."
Crater received nearly 90,000 votes, or 10 per cent of the total when she ran as an independent against Republican John Dalton and Democrat J. harry Michael for lieutenant governor in 1973.
Crater said she will adopt the 25-point platform of the women's conference as her won in the race for the Democratic nomination. The plan calls for legislative action on a host of women's issues, ranging from an end to sexual discrimination in education and employment to favoring abortion and lesbian rights.
Democratic and Republican politicians alike were impressed with Crater totals in her last attempt at statewide office. Running on a spare budget of $15,000 Crater traveled by bus throughout the state and set up campaign offices in the basements and kitchens of campaign volunteers.
Nevertheless, her candidacy likely will be opposed by many Democrats who in 1973 saw her campaign as sapping votes from Michael, the Democratic nominee.
This time around, however, Crater decided to seek the Democratic Party nomination because, she said, "as a Democrat, you have more credibility." Nevertheless, she said, she planned to emphasize feminist issues even more strongly in this campaign than in her first, because "I think women are more willing to listen."
A founder of the Northern Virginia chapter of the National Organization for Women and a former chairman of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Crater is the editor and publisher of The Woman Activist, a women's rights bulletin and the co-author of "The Virgnia Almanac of Politics."
As a candidate for the nomination, she joins numerous announced and unannounced candidates on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the ballot.
State Sen. Hunter Andrew (D-Hampton), former Fairfax County Board Chairman Fred Babson and former Fairfax County Supervisor Rufus Phillips are the announced Democrats, while former state Attorney General Andrew P. Miller, state Del. Carrington Williams (D-Fairax), state Sen. Clive Duval (D-Fairfax), Rep. Herbert E. Harris (D-Va.) and state Sen. James T. Edmunds (D-Lunenberg) are also possibilities.
Both former state Republican Party chairman Richard E. Obenshain and state Sen. nathan H. miller (R-Rockingham) have announced, their intention to seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat, while former Gov. Linwood Holton and former Navy Secretary John Warner also are expected to run for the nomination.