U.S. Attorney Henry E. Hudson said yesterday that he expects to leave his post in June and is giving "very, very serious consideration" to running for Congress in 1992.
Hudson, 43, who has served five years as the chief federal prosecutor for the Eastern district of Virginia, said he has been encouraged by "literally hundreds of people" to run for Congress.
Unless the boundaries of the current 8th Congressional District are radically redrawn by the state legislature in the fall, Hudson, a Republican from southern Fairfax County, would face Democratic freshman Rep. James P. Moran Jr.
Moran, a former Alexandria mayor with a liberal reputation, upset five-term Republican Rep. Stan Parris last fall in a race in which Moran proved he could raise substantial campaign money and appeal to voters in the district's conservative quarters.
Moran, describing Hudson as "the strongest candidate that the Republicans have for 1992," said Hudson's commitment to public service over the last 20 years has made him a well-known figure in Northern Virginia and a potentially tough political opponent.
Harris N. Miller, chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Party, said yesterday that Moran would hold a clear edge in a contest with Hudson, noting that Moran beat a longtime incumbent soundly and that voters are likely to give him several terms to prove himself in Congress.
"Jim has shown himself to be very powerful," Miller said, adding that he felt Hudson had little name recognition with the voting public.
Anne R. Keast, chairman of the 8th District Republican Committee, praised Hudson as "the most serious name out there."
"We're excited about the prospect of having a good candidate," said Keast, applauding Hudson's law enforcement successes and commitment to the community where he has lived all his life.
Keast and others added that it was impossible to speculate on the 1992 race until the state legislature reconfigures congressional districts next fall. Though political observers said Northern Virginia could receive an additional district because of its population growth, they said it was likely that Hudson's southern Fairfax home and Moran's base in Alexandria would remain in the same district.
Hudson began his law enforcement career in 1969 as an Arlington deputy sheriff. He later served as the Arlington commonwealth's attorney and was appointed chairman of the national Pornography Commission formed by then-Attorney General Edwin Meese III.
Hudson was named U.S. attorney in June 1986. During his tenure he doubled the staff size and helped form regional task forces to fight drug-related crime and white-collar fraud. Sen. John W. Warner (R) praised Hudson's work last spring but chose not to renominate him as U.S. attorney. No successor has been picked.
Hudson said he will enter private practice this summer and is weighing several offers from regional law firms. He said he will not make a final decision on a 1992 congressional campaign until the districts are reconfigured and he has "a chance to talk to my family and friends about it."