Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) said Wednesday morning that he is running for reelection to the House of Delegates and won’t seek election to the senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington).

And, in an announcement sure to make the political establishment shudder, Democratic activist and blogger Ben Tribbett announced rather formally that he is considering seeking the seat.

Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola has already announced she’s running for the seat.

In a statement, Hope said the was “humbled” by the number of people who had encouraged him to run for the seat. But he said running a campaign “with the geographical diversity” of the 31st district, as redrawn by Senate Democrats in redistricting, would take too much time from his family.

He said the district “deserves a strong, progressive senator who knows how to effectively legislate and already has earned the respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

Tribbett, who writes the well-read political blog Not Larry Sabato where he is known for skewering elected leaders in both parties, responded quickly with a statement indicating that with Hope’s decision, he is considering a run.

“Now that Patrick Hope has decided not to seek this Senate nomination, a large number of his supporters and other Virginia Democrats have urged me to run,” he said.

“The voters in this Senate district deserve a strong progressive voice in the Virginia Senate, and they also deserve someone who will address local community concerns in all three counties within this district. If I decide to run, I am confident I will provide them with that voice,” he said in a statement that arrived complete with a media contact.

If Tribbett runs, he’ll be the second political blogger to jump into the fray after several years of commenting from the sidelines. Bearing Drift writer Brian Schoeneman is running against Del. David Bulova (D-Fairfax).

The campaigns would provide an interesting test of whether bloggers can turn punditry into successful campaign skills.

That would be particularly true for Tribbett, who has made a number of enemies in his own party through his blogging and would be unlikely to find much support among party leaders.

He is not a political neophyte, however--his statement notes that he’s worked as campaign manager or chief political consultant to 13 general election candidates in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

The senate contest in the highly Democratic area will likely be decided during the August Democratic primary.