Thursday, November 20, 2008

Arlington's Dave Foster Decided Underdog In Race For GOP Attorney General Nomination

David Foster, former chairman of the Arlington County School Board, has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the GOP nomination to run for Virginia attorney general in 2009.

Foster, an attorney at Fulbright & Jaworski in D.C., was the last Republican to serve in any elected position in Arlington. A moderate, Foster was reelected to the school board in 2003 with 62% of the vote.

Foster was well-liked in Arlington because he was fiscally hard-nosed but kept Republican ideology out of the school board's work. Indeed, many who voted for him probably didn't know he was a Republican--school board elections are non-partisan and generally tend to be low-key affairs here.

Foster will have an uphill battle to get the GOP nomination for attorney general. Republicans will select their nominee at a state convention next May or June. That convention will be dominated by the social and religious conservatives who have taken over the party machinery in Virginia and steered their party to a series of disastrous losses in the last three elections.

Foster will face state Senator Ken Cuccinelli of Fairfax and John Brownlee, the former U.S. attorney for the western district of Virginia. Cuccinelli narrowly won re-election in his increasingly Democratic district last year, and probably see the writing on the wall for the next race. But Cuccinelli's socially conservative credentials are strong, and he will no doubt attempt to paint Foster as a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

Foster's strategy appears to be to convince delegates that he can reach out to Northern Virginia moderates. Good luck with that strategy! We don't think the GOP party activists give a darn. They think they're losing because their candidates haven't been conservative enough. More likely than not, they'll continue to purge their ranks of moderates, at least until they lose another election or two.

We like Foster and wish him well. We wouldn't advise him to go into hock on this one, however!

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