Friday, September 21, 2012
Roanoke Mayor David Bowers considers run for lieutenant governor in 2013
Bowers said he's been urged to run on the Democratic ticket but that he's undecided.
The latest from our Blue Ridge Caucus politics blog
From The Roanoke Times
Roanoke Mayor David Bowers said last year he had no interest in running for a seat in Congress.
"Why would anybody want to go to Washington when you can be the mayor of the greatest city in America?" he said then.
Richmond, however, might be another story altogether.
Bowers said Thursday that he's been asked by "longtime friends of mine in the Democratic Party from other parts of the state" to run for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor next year.
And he's giving the proposition some serious thought.
"I would say no decision has been made," Bowers said. "I'm certainly waiting until the presidential race. That's the first thing, probably. I would say I have had every intention of remaining in the mayor's office. But others have brought it to my attention and asked me to think about it."
Bowers has been part of Roanoke politics for most of the past three decades. He served two terms as a city councilman before succeeding Noel Taylor as mayor. Bowers served two terms before finishing third in a 2000 race that included Republican Ralph Smith — who won and is now a state senator — and independent candidate Mac McCadden.
Bowers wandered in the political wilderness for eight years before he defeated incumbent Mayor Nelson Harris by running as an independent. He eventually rejoined the Democratic Party and this year won re-election despite primary and general election challengers.
Bowers said the people asking him to consider running cited his extensive career, as well as the fact that few if any of the candidates named for statewide office so far come from Western Virginia.
"As the Democratic ticket's developing, it appears to be a Northern Virginia ticket, and so they were suggesting that maybe the ticket needs some geographic balance to it," Bowers said.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Aneesh Chopra, who served as Virginia secretary of technology under former Gov. Tim Kaine and then as federal chief technology officer under President Barack Obama, is the only Democrat to have announced plans to run for lieutenant governor. Chopra is scheduled to visit Roanoke today.
The list of Republican candidates is longer: Del. Scott Lingamfelter, Virginia Sen. Stephen Martin, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and Stafford County's Susan Stimpson are running.
Bowers has previously run for higher office. In 1998 he challenged U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte in the 6th District but lost every locality.
Smith, who will work with whomever is elected as the next lieutenant governor in the Virginia Senate, responded to the news of Bowers' candidacy with this: "If David Bowers is going to run for lieutenant governor, I would be forced to run to keep balance here in Southwest Virginia."
Smith was joking, but he said there were in fact too few candidates from Western Virginia.
"He has a good argument when there's no one on the ticket from Southwest Virginia. Give him credit for that," Smith said. "David's probably as strong as any Democrat candidate who's stood up so far."