In 2013, Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) ran for the Republican nomination for Attorney General in a statewide convention, losing a close-fought race to Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg). That race was notable for its civility and focus on the issues in large part because both of the candidates walked away from opportunities to go negative. In doing so, both men did a great service to their party.
Emerging defeated but unscathed from that race, Bell set his sights on 2017, and not too long thereafter resumed his relentless grassroots campaigning. For the past few years Bell has been ubiquitous at GOP meetings, rallies, and other events in all corners of the Commonwealth. No statewide candidate in recent memory has achieved anywhere near the presence Bell had achieved at the grassroots level, with appearances and meetings invariably followed by thoughtful handwritten notes and friendly phone calls. It is not for nothing that he’s been dubbed the Hardest Working Man in Virginia Politics.™
However, as any politico can tell you, the care and feeding of the grassroots comes at a cost; every moment spent on politics is a moment not spent on other things, including family. Rob Bell has decided that cost is too high for him and his special needs son, and the rest of his family. In short, he’s prioritized his role as a father above his role as a political leader.
That’s a fine choice indeed, from a fine man.
Bell’s statement on the matter is below:
Now that the 2016 election is over, it is time for the 2017 Virginia statewide campaigns to begin in earnest. After careful consideration, I have decided that I will not seek the position of Attorney General.
I have spent the last year traveling the state and laying the groundwork for a campaign. However, as you may know, I have two young children, one of whom has special needs. This school year has brought significant new challenges that require my personal and immediate attention. Despite my best efforts, it has become clear to me that I can’t possibly fulfill my responsibilities as a father while making a statewide run.
I am therefore ending my Attorney General campaign. I am profoundly grateful to everyone who has offered support, time, or encouragement. Unless told otherwise, I will be returning the donations I have received. Though I won’t be a statewide candidate I do look forward to strongly supporting the Republican ticket, especially against Mark Herring.
For several years, I have had the honor of serving in the General Assembly seat once held by Thomas Jefferson. I look forward to continuing my work in the House of Delegates and spending Thanksgiving with my family.
I want to be among the first to publicly thank Rob for the role he’s played in Virginia politics, particularly over the last 5 years. There will be a lot of folks who are disappointed that he’s not running to unseat the lawless Mark Herring. I hope at some point he’s able to bring his brand of relentlessly positive grassroots campaigning back to the statewide level.
In the meantime, we still have two great candidates running in the form of John Adams and Chuck Smith.
UPDATE: TBE’s own John Fredericks is reporting that Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin) is now considering a run to fill the void left by Bell’s departure.
Breaking: @BillStanley mulling bid for GOP AG -he's the immediate chalk if he gets in. @JohnAdamsforVA now very much in play for AG dogfight
— John Fredericks (@jfradioshow) November 21, 2016
UPDATE 2: Attorney General candidate John Adams, via his campaign manager (and all around swell guy) Nick Collette, released a statement this afternoon about Bell’s exit from the race. The statement hits all the right notes, and denotes commendable grace on Adams’ part.
Rob Bell has fought tirelessly for conservative causes in the House of Delegates since he was elected in 2002. And over the past 10 months, I have been crisscrossing the Commonwealth, often right alongside Rob, as we campaign to defeat Mark Herring. I have gotten to know him well out on the trail, and my respect for him has only continued to grow. He is a superb public servant, and a fine man.
Rob has been committed to defeating Herring for a long time. As we move forward, I will draw on the example Rob has set as a tenacious and relentless fighter in the battle to win back the AG’s office. I look forward to seeking Rob’s advice and counsel as we continue to campaign to restore the Attorney General’s Office to its rightful place in our system of government.”
[…] the wake of yesterday’s stunning news about Del. Rob Bell’s withdrawal from the Virginia Attorney General’s race, Bell’s erstwhile primary opponent, Richmond attorney John Adams, is moving quickly to […]
A shame, Bell’s a good man and I hope he decides to run for a higher office in the future. Senate, maybe? Kaine seems vulnerable.
I am definitely keeping Delegate Bell and his family in my prayers. He was my top choice for AG. I also see Adams, Stanley, and others as good candidates against Herring.
I guess no money and a blue Virginia could be called “family”.
Likely to exit yes
Do you think he will exit because of the numbers in the 11th, 10th, and 3rd CD’s? Or something else on the horizon? Or party pressure and lack of money? All of the above?
Nah! He’s in line for Seapower Sub Comittee Chair to replace Forbes. Powerful Chairmanship.
Never heard of him.
[…] Read more details here: The Bull Elephant […]
Sen. Bill Stanley is our best hope for Attorney General now. The only true experienced conservative.
Any chance Cuccinelli will run again? I mean, it’s kind of unconventional to run for the same level job, but Cuch is unconventional, and we could sure use him now.
That’s not even funny
When you have a plethora of good candidates, it gives us flexibility to get to optimum!
Now, who does this help the most? Besides the VA GOP.
Very sorry to hear that issues of family challenges have increased for Rob and hope that the issues will improve so that he will be able to find time in the future to campaign and serve as AG but fully support his decision as to Family First!
Delegate Randy Minchew would be another great AG candidate!!
Rob is a good man, and sorry to hear the news. He only annoyed me twice in his political career. LOL! That is a great record.
What does “immediate chalk” mean?
I thought I was relatively well-versed in the English language, but that one is new to me.
its a gambling term … when you bet “chalk” it means your betting the favorite. He’s basically saying Stanley would become the favorite
Yes. From my race horse training days in New York.
But he isn’t your predicted win yet right?
No. Too early, and Stanley has not yet announced.
John, this is what happens because you didn’t deliver the Virginia bacon to Trump. (Oops, I forgot. Virginia bacon is now owned by Communist China. They printed money (about $8 billion) and stole it)
Just think, you could have been in New York now, surrounded by gold…..
You are right. I failed to deliver Virginia’s 13 elecotral votes for Trump. Although we did force VP Candidate Sen. Tim Kaine and VP Joe and Dr. Jill Biden to spend the entire Monday before the election in Virginia, in lieu of going to Wisconsin and Pa. So some solace, but as Aaron Grubranson would say: “No cigar!”
Well John, I’m not sure any Republican could’ve overcome the effects of the massive tax increase of the McDonnell administration. Howell and Norment also rubber stamped HB 2313. And, I doubt that women have forgotten what was taken from them during the dark McDonnell years of 2010-2014 in Virginia.
Listening to your show, it is absolutely amazing how many people do not realize that Benghazi, the e mails, and Clinton Foundation talk was purely political.
Nobody in the White House is going to get into prosecuting former high ranking appointed office holders and electeds. Obama refused to. And for such obvious reasons.
Rob Bell is a young man and I hope he will be able to run for statewide office some time in the future. It’s very hard to have a young family and job that requires constant travel.
Rob Bell is the epitome of a Virginia statesman, a true class act, and an overall great person who I am proud to call a friend. We should all remember what I have often referred to as the “Bell” rule wherein you work as tirelessly for your primary competition after the ballots have been cast should you come up short. We must unite the day after our primary to elect a Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General who Virginia can be proud of!
This is the problem with this state. We keep losing long-term really great Virginians who have experience in the state legislature, and who have roots here. I was very disappointed when Mark Obenshain decided not to run for governor, and now this. Not that familiar with the other candidates, but we need these steadfast men in our state government.
Rob Bell will still be in the state legislature.
This Rino still supports Rob Wittman.
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Then you better buy one hell of a lot of farm tractors. Because to do that, you will probably have to turn the 11th, 10th, and 3rd CD’s into farm land.