Virginia: Griffith Wins GOP Nod To Oppose Rep. Boucher

May 22, 2010

Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith, the majority leader of the state House of Delegates, will be his party’s nominee against Rep. Rick Boucher (D) in the southwestern 9th district.

Griffith won the Republican nomination at a Saturday convention at which he prevailed on the first ballot over five lesser-known challengers.

Republican officials expect that Griffith will give Boucher one of his closest races in a career in which the Congressman has usually won by overwhelming margins. The National Republican Congressional Committee has included Griffith in the top echelon of its “Young Guns” candidate recruitment program.

“Morgan Griffith’s nomination crystallizes the choice for Southwest Virginians: a proven leader who shares their values and will put local jobs first versus a 28-year Washington politician who sold them out when it mattered most,” said NRCC spokesman Andy Sere.

Griffith and GOP officials have hammered Boucher for supporting a climate change bill that included a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases. They said the measure would be harmful to the coal industry; Boucher said he secured important provisions for coal.

The Democratic Party of Virginia responded to Griffith’s nomination with a statement that said he lives in the adjacent 6th district, represented by Robert W. Goodlatte (R).

Griffith’s win, the party said, “would mean the Southwest Virginia district would no longer represented by a resident.”

Griffith has noted that he lives just outside the 9th and that the district boundaries necessarily will expand after post-census redistricting. And in his acceptance speech he said that “it’s not about where you sleep, it’s about where you stand on the issues,” according to the Roanoke Times.

Boucher, who was formally nominated for re-election on May 15, begins the general election campaign with a huge fundraising advantage over Griffith. Boucher had $1.9 million in his campaign account as of April 25, compared to $110,000 for Griffith.

CQ Politics presently rates the Virginia 9 race as Likely Democratic.

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