Former Northern Virginia congressman Joseph L. Fisher added his name today to the growing list of potential Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate, saying that he was considering the race at the urging of "several dozen" party leaders and activists from the Washington suburbs.
The Fisher trial balloon was one of many that floated across the state as the Democrats still found themselves without a major announced candidate with less than three weeks to go before the party's nominating convention in Roanoke June 4 or 5.
Lt. Gov. Richard J. Davis, the clear-cut favorite of the party faithful, refused once again to issue a statement on whether he will accept a convention draft, heightening speculation that the popular former Portsmouth mayor will take himself out of the running within the next few days. State Del. Owen B. Pickett, the original choice of Gov. Charles S. Robb and other party leaders, withdrew from the race two weeks ago under the threat of an independent candidacy by state Sen. L. Douglas Wilder, who promptly bowed out himself the day after Pickett.
The vacuum has been filled by mini-boomlets for more than a dozen individuals of varying degrees of notoriety, ranging from former State Department spokesman Hodding Carter of Alexandria, who has yet to express any interest, to Samuel V. Wilson of Southside Virginia, a politically unkown retired three-star Army general and former deputy director of the CIA.
Fisher is among the better known of the group. The 67-year former 10th District congressman, who now serves as Robb's secretary of human eesources, said he had originally had little interest in taking on a Senate race, but the telephone calls urging him to run have been so numerous in recent days that "I do think I should consider it."
"I am dissatisfied with the way important segments of national policy are going right now and I believe I could so something about it," Fisher said in a telephone interview. "I don't do this just for kicks." He hopes to make up his mind, he said, "within the next few days to a week."
At least two other Democrats said today they were also interested. Fairfax County Supervisor Sandra Duckworth said that members of the Federation of Democratic Women had urged her to run as a "standard-bearer for the women." "It's a possibility if that's what the women want me to do," she said. "The women can't do any worse than the men have."
Also, Del. Floyd Bagley, a legislator from Prince William County, reiterated his intention to seek the nomination, even though he acknowledged that party leaders have not taken his interest seriously and no convention delegates have backed his candidacy.