Saxman won’t run for Virginia Senate seat

State Del. Chris Saxman (R) announced Saturday that he would not enter the open Senate race in Virginia, averting a battle for the Republican nomination with former Gov. Jim Gilmore.

Speaking at the Virginia Republican Party Advance in Arlington, Va., Saxman said he has instead opened a federal political action committee to make the government and elected officials more accountable to the people.

“The last two weeks have required an incredible amount of soul-searching, discussions and prayers,” Saxman said. The young delegate said he has a problem with raising money during the general assembly session, calling it necessary for victory but unethical.

Gilmore entered the race last month while Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who had previously been leaning toward a bid, opted not to run.

A surrogate spoke for State Del. Bob Marshall (R) and said he is gauging support for his possible candidacy. Marshall is a well-known opponent of abortion rights and hit Gilmore for his support for abortion in some cases.

“We need a candidate who always protects the family and the family pocketbook,” Marshall stated in his comments.

The GOP nominee will likely face former Gov. Mark Warner (D), who looms as the prohibitive frontrunner in the race. The seat became open when longtime Sen. John Warner (R), decided not to run for reelection.

The state Republican Party will choose its nominee at a convention instead of in a primary, a decision that appeared to damage the centrist Davis’s chances.

Gilmore, who spoke just prior to Saxman, stressed his optimism and referred to his previous success in statewide elections. He has also won election as attorney general.

But he also pointed to the importance of unity in the moments before his potential opponents discussed their intentions.

“We Republicans are the only ones that can deliver on behalf of the party, on behalf of the state,” Gilmore said. “In order to do that, we must be unified.”