Virginia: Drake Won’t Seek to Regain Her Old Seat

Posted May 6, 2009 at 5:36pm

Former Rep. Thelma Drake (R) told supporters Tuesday that she will not run in 2010 to reclaim the seat she lost last cycle to now-Rep. Glenn Nye (D).

Drake’s decision may serve to shake loose a GOP field that had been relatively frozen while Republicans waited to see what the former two-term Congresswoman’s plans were.

“Since I have made this decision I think it is important to let everyone know so others can begin weighing their decisions about running,— Drake said in an e-mail to supporters and friends.

Attorney and Marine veteran Chuck Smith (R) is already in the race, but national Republican strategists have their eyes on several potential candidates, including a few state Senators and Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms.

The 2nd district is expected to be a competitive seat next cycle, considering Nye won by fewer than 5 points last cycle. GOP officials believe that Nye’s victory had less to do with Nye and more to do with the fact that the top of the ticket was led by President Barack Obama and Sen. Mark Warner (D), neither of whom will be on the ballot in 2010.

“We are certainly expecting a competitive race regardless [of Drake’s decision], but we are going to continue serving the 2nd district,— Nye spokesman Clark Pettig said Tuesday afternoon.

Nye is also wasting little time gearing up his political operation for next year’s race. On Tuesday night, his campaign committee held a $500 per person Cinco de Mayo fundraiser at the swanky Capitol Hill bar Lounge 201.