RICHMOND — Virginia GOP Del. David I. Ramadan will not seek a third term in the House of Delegates, he announced Wednesday.
Ramadan, who represents parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties, cited his upcoming election fight and suffering business interests as reasons for his departure.
“Serving in the House of Delegates has been a privilege, but it also presented incredible challenges for my career and my family,” he said in a statement. “The 87th District is one of the most Democratic districts held by a Republican in the entire Commonwealth, which means that my next election will be incredibly expensive and time consuming, just as my previous two have been.”
Ramadan made the announcement from the House floor Wednesday, when the General Assembly reconvened in Richmond to consider vetoes by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and amendments to bills passed this year.
The district represents a strong pickup opportunity for Democrats in the closely divided legislature. Ramadan won both of his previous House races by fewer than 200 votes.
House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) thanked Ramadan for his service.
“Like all citizen legislators, David sacrificed a great deal to serve his constituents,” he said in a statement. “He always advocated on their behalf with passion and tireless determination. On behalf of his colleagues, I thank him and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
The announcement was followed by a wave of tributes from Ramadan’s fellow delegates.
Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax) commended Ramadan for ascending from the rubble of the 1970s civil war in his native Lebanon to the Virginia legislature.
Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said Ramadan “literally sacrificed a fortune” in his business dealings to serve.
Ramadan played a role in the corruption probe of former governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. He has said he was called to appear in 2013 as a witness before a federal grand jury in the case.
During the trial last summer, Cailin McDonnell Young, the McDonnell daughter whose 2011 wedding was a pillar in prosecutors’ case against her parents, said engraved silver picture frames given to guests were donated by Ramadan, who is a jeweler and friend of the former governor and his wife.
News of Ramadan’s planned departure from the legislature surprised some Republicans, given that he has been one of the more active and outspoken members of the legislature. During the recent General Assembly session, Ramadan was one of the most vocal critics of steadily rising tolls on the privately owned Dulles Greenway.
He introduced a bill that would have forced the road’s operator, Toll Road Investors, to lower its rates and apply distance-based pricing — meaning that drivers would pay only for the mileage they travel on the highway.
He also supported a constitutional amendment to provide survivor benefits to widows of members of the miliary killed in action.
Ramadan, 44, was born and raised in Lebanon and immigrated to the United States in 1989.
“Richmond can be a tough place for a new delegate, especially one with such a different background than what many here are used to,” he said.
He was facing a competitive challenge from Democrat Jewan “Jack” Tiwari, a Northern Virginia real estate broker.
Residents of the district “want a delegate who will bring full-day kindergarten, effective transportation solutions and economic development,” Tiwari said in a phone interview.“These are common sense solutions that Democrats have championed for years.”