Late in 1997 Charles Waddell (D) resigned as the state senator representing the 33rd District. On Thursday night he was at Ned Devine's in Sterling, singing.
Waddell resigned his seat to join former Gov. James Gilmore's administration, and a special election in January of 1998 decided William Mims (R) would take Waddell's Senate seat. Now that Mims resigned to join Gov. Tim Kaine's administration Waddell is campaigning for his stepson, Mark Herring, to be the next 33rd District state senator.
"Mark is well-qualified and well-suited for the 33rd District," said Waddell. He proceeded to sing a song about Herring winning an election in front of about 50 Democrats gathered at Ned Devine's in Sterling.
"I feel really good about the momentum and the direction of the campaign," said Herring. Herring said he would be a state senator who would work with Kaine's leadership team. Together they would turn ideas into laws; ideas to improve transportation and give more authority to localities in zoning cases.
Staton is already attacking Kaine's transportation proposals, said Herring. He would be just as ineffective in Richmond as Dick Black — former state delegate (R-32) — he said.
AMONG THOSE OUT to support Herring was Kelly Burk, a member of the Leesburg Town Council. She said she has known Herring for many years, and respects him for his ideals. "He is in-tune with the people of Leesburg," she said. Burk said Herring would do a good job of presenting the moderate view in Richmond.
Herring received support from other individuals and groups. Bob Pearson, the political chair of the Great Falls Group for the Sierra Club, an environmental group, said Herring had a very good environmental record. Pearson said Herring would make a good ally in Richmond to a group that is a proponent of smart growth and allowing localities more authority in zoning cases. Tom Goldsmith, a communication specialist with Democracy for Virginia — a group that supports progressive politics and increased public participation in Virginia government — said his group will support Herring in any way it can.
Also out to show support was Judy Feder, the Dean of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Feder said she was seriously considering challenging U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) in the next congressional election. "Virginia is moving in a more progressive direction," said Feder of the last November's election, "and we need to take that to Washington."
THE CAMPAIGN is receiving positive feedback from the constituents, said Kathryn Miller, the event coordinator in Herring's campaign. Miller said the campaign is using the same call lists as Del. David Poisson's (D-32) campaign did. Poisson won the November general election by beating Black, a Republican, in a district that generally votes Republican. Miller said the lists included people who crossed over from voting Republican to voting for Poisson. The people called on the list, she said, have reassured the campaign of their votes for Herring.
A group known as the Dulles Area Democrats organized the event on Thursday night. David Pierpont, one of the founding members of DAD, said the group is an outreach organization. Its goal is to reach the people who want to be involved in the process, but do not necessarily wish to join the party. It also serves as a central hub that, for example, brings the lists from all of the different Democratic campaigns to one place.