By Lynn R. Mitchell
A group of Republican leaders in the region plan to challenge the state law that gives state Sen. Emmett Hanger the authority to decide the nomination method if he chooses to run for reelection.
Hanger, R-Mount Solon, has not formally announced his intentions for next year’s General Assembly elections, but has indicated that he’s likely to run again.
Supervisor Marshall Pattie and businessman Dan Moxley have declared their candidacies to challenge Hanger for the Republican Party nomination to run for the 24th Senate District seat next year. Both are expected to challenge Hanger on his conservative credentials.
State Senator Emmett Hanger, who has indicated he will probably run for re-election but has not made a formal announcement, has two challengers (to date) and now is also being challenged on the nominating method.
The latest volley reported by Calvin Trice in the News Leader (see GOP leaders seek convention nomination) opens another round of battle between the tea party-libertarian faction of the Republican Party and the mainstream wing. Tea party-libertarians hold the majority of local GOP positions including those in the 24th legislative district, and this time they have legal representation behind them with local attorney John Wirth from the Staunton law firm Nelson, McPherson, Summers, and Santos.
State law allows incumbents who run for another term to choose which nomination method will be used to determine the party representative in the November general election.
However, heads of the Republican committees for the GOP grassroots organizations in the 24th District have invoked a state party rule giving them, as the district legislative committee, the discretion to choose the nomination method.
Committee members informed the State Board of Elections that they’ve decided to choose the senate nominee by convention and have asked for written affirmation of their choice.
Hanger indicated he would not announce his intentions until after the 2015 General Assembly session that ends February 28. The 24th Senate District covers Augusta County, Staunton City, Waynesboro City, Greene County, Madison County, and parts of Rockingham and Culpeper counties.