Former state Senator and Delegate Jeannemarie Devolites Davis is thinking of seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor next year, according to several reports over the weekend.
The Washington Times reported that Devolites Davis said in an email that she plans to leave her post as director of the Virginia Liaison Office “begin traveling around Virginia, full-time, to talk with Republicans.” The Richmond Times Dispatch and the Virginian-Pilot also carried reports of her supposed plans.
Devolites Davis, who formerly represented the Fairfax-Oakton area in the General Assembly, lost her bid for re-election to the Senate in 2007 to Democrat Chap Peterson of Fairfax City. That race was the most expensive Senate race in Virginia history, with a price tag of about $3.5 million, according to the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project. She had previously served three terms in the House of Delegates.
The highly personable Devolites Davis was a relative rarity in the Senate — a Republican from Northern Virginia. Although conservative on such social issues as abortion, she was to the left of the Virginia GOP on some issues, including gun control.
Devolites Davis is married to former Rep. Tom Davis (R), who retired from Congress in 2008 after serving five terms. He was succeeded by Gerald Connolly (D) who, like Tom Davis, had previously been chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Devolites Davis lost twice to Connolly for a seat on the county board before running for the House of Delegates in 1997.
Many observers think Devolites Davis would be well-positioned to pursue the lieutenant governor’s post. As a woman, she would likely escape much of the backlash over ill-fated GOP attempts earlier this year to require women seeking an abortion to undergo ultrasonic exams. Also, her husband, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, remains a powerful player in Republican politics and could be expected to aid in fund-raising and lining up endorsements. He sits on the troubled Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board, which has been criticized for cronyism and lavish spending but he is generally seen as being on the side of those trying to reform the board.
The lieutenant governor’s race is already somewhat crowded. Current contenders include Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors; state Sen. Stephen H. Martin, R-Chesterfield; and Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has announced that he will seek the GOP nomination for the governor’s office, challenging incumbent Bill Bolling. Virginia governors are allowed to serve only one term, so Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will be out of the picture.