Bell vs Curren in the 20th

Brent Finnegan -- July 28th, 2009

As expected, Staunton city councilman “Dickie” Bell was selected by 20th district Republicans to take Del. Chris Saxman’s place in the race against Democrat Erik Curren. Bell was chosen from a field of eight seven candidates.

14 Responses to “Bell vs Curren in the 20th”

  1. Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

    Wow, seven or eight candidates, and the pre-selected guy still wins…and the decision gets made at a single meeting? Even the Islamic Republic of Iran makes a better show of democracy.

  2. Gabe says:

    Bell has been a very active part of the community for many years, and it is no surprise that he would be selected. He’s also been principled enough to work for what he truly believes is best for the city of Staunton despite opposition at times from people of both sides of the proverbial aisle. And being that education is a major concern for the area, his position as an educator for some time also must have made him attractive to the Reps.

  3. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    I see Bubby put up the same comment he did on Rockdem so I will too:

    I don’t think anyone said the selection of the candidate was going to be done by popular vote. Do the local Dems do it any differently?

  4. Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

    Yeah, Four Democratic HOD candidates were selected by a mix of primaries and caucuses. The candidates were selected by popular vote.

    In the case of the 20th HOD district – Erik Curren was uncontested in his Primary – so the Primary was canceled.

  5. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    And what if one of them dropped out?

  6. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    I found some more info on this in the Democratic Party of Virginia Plan:
    “Section 12.3 Nominations of General Assembly Candidates
    Democratic party candidates for the State Senate and House of Delegates may be nominated by primary, convention or caucus. A Democratic incumbent shall have the right to designate the method of nomination for the office held by that incumbent if he or she is a candidate for the nomination. If there is no Democratic incumbent, or if the incumbent fails to designate the method of nomination, the nominating committee for the General Assembly district in which the election will occur, shall determine the method of nomination unless one or more candidates are to be elected by voters in a single county or city, in which case the appropriate county or city committee shall determine the method of nomination. In General Assembly districts that include more than one county or city, the nominating committee may, by unanimous vote, determine that caucuses need not be held in each county or city, but may be held in one or more convenient location(s).

    Section 12.7 Vacancies
    If a nominated candidate dies, withdraws, or refuses candidacy or if the nomination is set aside for any reason, or if no candidate qualifies as such for a primary, convention or caucus, then the committee having responsibility of determining method of nomination shall determine the manner by which a new candidate shall be nominated.”

  7. Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

    Democrats are not quitters. Especially in the middle of a campaign. That Saxman would do so, and hand the Republican bosses the name of his successor speaks to the corruption.

  8. JGFitzgerald says:


    There is a nomination committee composed of the local chairs (or their designees) from each locality within a district. They would make the choice if one of our candidates got hit by a truck. For instance, if Erik Curren had to be replaced, the chairs of Augusta, Rockingham, Staunton, and Highland would form a committee to choose a replacement. Their votes would be proportional to their proportion in the district. The general assumption in both parties is that there is no time to reset the nomination clock late in the game, and begin anew with a caucus or convention.

  9. Joe, thanks for the clarification. Sounds like what the Republicans did to replace Saxman, no?

  10. Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

    Rockingham Republicans could care less about democracy. Remember when they flipped out after Com. of Rev. Richard Connellee died in 2007, just before the election, and the party bosses talked the faithful into voting for him anyway – offering to hold a special election? When that ploy worked the Republican Party told their Board of Supervisors to forget about a special election. The price of their good word, and democracy was “too high”. Elections being another example of where Republicans would shrink government spending.

  11. JGFitzgerald says:


    Probably something similar. The State Board of Elections is, by law and nature, accommodating, so long as the ballot hasn’t gone to the printer yet.

  12. Lowell Fulk says:

    Actually Joe, I spoke with DPVA yesterday to seek clarification on this question and what the above mentioned weighted committee would do is choose the manner of selection, not do the selection themselves. The candidate would be chosen by Democratic voters.
    Closed or open caucus would be the likely method.

  13. Bill says:

    I was at Buffalo Gap Monday night. The auditorium was about half full, the media was present, absent WHSV, and every person there was afforded the opportunity to pose questions. Each candidate HAD to answer the questions. Questions came from the audience, from the media, from cell phones and from the internet. I applaud the committee for their opening up a process that could have easily been shut off and decided behind closed doors. Delegate Saxman didn’t leave the committee or the Republican Party much wiggle room because of the timing of his announcement.

    Of the seven candidates that presented themslves for nominations, 4 were obviously more moderate than the other 3. I felt that Dickie Bell , Charlie Curry and Ray Ergenbright were all about even when it came to responses to the questions, and that the nomination of any one of those 3 would enhance the Republican’s chances of retaining the seat.

    It would have been very difficult, with the timing of Saxman’s announcement to handle this in a much different way. I feel much better about the way it was handled than the way it was appearing to be headed at the beginning. At least there was an open, transparent process in the selection of Mr. Bell as the Republican Party’s nominee for the 20th House seat.

    As a resident and voter of the 20th District, I am looking forward to this race, as it now becomes very important to both parties. A victory in the 20th will go a long way in either keeping the majority in Republican control or turning it over to the Democrats. Tally ho!

  14. Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

    Thanks for the update Bill.

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