Stimpson has not formally announced the decision, though it has been rumored for some time. Stimpson once worked closely with Howell during the time she served as chairman of the Stafford County Republican Committee, and as chairman of the Stafford Board of Supervisors.
She made waves last year during her Lieutenant Governor race when she publicly criticized Howell for helping to pass the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history. At the time, she was the only candidate to publicly question Republican leaders for raising taxes. [UPDATE: Some readers have objected to the previous sentence, maintaining that other LG candidates opposed the tax increase. I concede others may have voiced opposition or disappointment about the tax increase, but in my recollection—and in the recollection of those I have consulted about this question—she was the only one of those candidates actively criticizing it. But I acknowledge I could be wrong.] Since then she has been dogged in her criticism of General Assembly leadership on issues related to Medicaid expansion and ethics.
We do not expect this announcement will be greeted warmly in some quarters. But, we also recognize that primary challenges are a crucial part of the democratic process. We at The Bull Elephant look forward to providing the citizens of Virginia, and the voters of the 28th district in particular, honest and forthright coverage of this race.