According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, former Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors Susan Stimpson has formally announced her intention to challenge 28-year incumbent Speaker of the House Bill Howell for the GOP nomination in the 28th House of Delegate District. [read_more]
Friends, this is huge, and will be the marquee race among several interesting contests this spring. After all, it’s not every day that a sitting Speaker of the House in any legislature gets a serious primary challenge. The Bull Elephant broke the story that Stimpson intended to make this run nearly a month ago. What makes this more interesting at this moment is that several observers of the race, including some in Stafford County, did not expect Stimpson would actually make things official.
But she did, and from the news account she is attempting to make the race about the bedrock conservative issues of taxes and spending:
Bill Howell has been a friend, but we have profound policy disagreements,” she said in the statement. He “repeatedly sides with the liberal Democrats and The Washington Post editorial pages and thinks government needs more money. The truth is Richmond has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”
She characterized Howell as a “consistent force behind every major tax increase in Virginia in the last decade,” saying “they are his legacy. Simply put, Bill Howell has lost his way and is the chief architect of a tax-and-spend agenda that rewards the politicians and punishes the middle class. It is time for a change.”
(As an aside, FLS reporter Scott Shenk isn’t on the ballot this fall, so we’ll cut him a break this time, but when he says the 2013 tax hike and transportation spending package was “seen by many conservatives as a tax hike,” it might be because it actually was a tax hike. It’s not like higher tax bills are simply the figment of fevered conservative imaginations).
This race is just getting started, and there is definitely more to come about it’s opening days. Stay tuned this evening for an update.