There’s a long line of ambitious Republicans awaiting Virginia Rep. Frank R. Wolf’s retirement, creating a political bottleneck as jammed as Interstate 95 traffic during rush hour.
It’s likely they’re going to have to wait a little longer to run for the prized, GOP-leaning 10th District just miles outside the capital.
Once again, all signs point to Wolf seeking re-election in 2014, despite rumors of his retirement that arrive with every new Congress. Wolf has plenty of time to make a final decision, but GOP sources in the state said Wolf appears likely to seek an 18th term.
“He was making money calls two days ago,” former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., said Thursday. “I’m as close to him as anybody, and he’s given me no indication” of retirement.
Wolf had $187,000 in the bank at the end of 2012, a few weeks after he was re-elected with 58 percent. He overperformed the top of the GOP ticket by almost 10 points. What’s more, his office made it clear on Friday that — until he says otherwise — the 74-year-old congressman is here to stay.
“Congressman Wolf in January filed the necessary paperwork to run for re-election,” said Dan Scandling, Wolf’s chief of staff.
That may come as a disappointment to some aspiring politicians in the state — including former Rep. Artur Davis, a former Democrat from Alabama who has since switched parties and moved to Virginia.
Republicans mention several potential candidates eyeing that seat when it’s open: state Del. Barbara Comstock, a former Wolf aide; state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, whose husband Alex Vogel is a name partner in a top D.C. lobbying firm; and Davis.
A potential Davis congressional bid, in 2014 or later, should be taken seriously, sources said. Davis, who could also seek a state legislative seat, has garnered support in the state after various local and national appearances, including at the Republican National Convention in August. He received a standing ovation at the state party’s annual gathering late last year in Virginia Beach.
Davis is keeping a steady pace of speaking appearances, according to a copy of his schedule obtained by CQ Roll Call. He will speak to at least four local GOP groups across the state in the next month, including the William & Mary College Republicans on Thursday.
“I have great admiration for Frank Wolf and expect he will serve for a number of additional years,” Davis told CQ Roll Call. “Should Frank decide he has different plans in 2014, it is fair to say that there are about 10 Republicans in Northern Virginia who would take a hard look at the race — and I would be one of them.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.