The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Race to fill 15th District seat heats up

Editor's Note: This story contains a correction from an earlier version.

By Garren Shipley
Daily Staff Writer

It’s a low-dollar affair compared to the top of the ticket, but the fight to succeed 15th District Del. Alan Louderback, R-Luray, is heating up.

At the end of the July-August reporting period, both candidates had raised appreciable sums.

Democratic nominee Jim Blubaugh, a business owner and retired federal executive, brought in some $38,000 over the two months, outpacing his Republican opponent, Shenandoah County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Todd Gilbert, by more than $18,000.

Gilbert brought in $20,400, but still has more than double the cash on hand of his Democratic rival — $48,310 to Blubaugh’s $20,280.

At the bottom line, Blubaugh’s campaign has raised a total of $52,317, while Gilbert’s campaign has raised $71,127.

“I’m very happy that so many people have contributed in large and small amounts, just as I am proud to have met so many people and have been able to hear their concerns and issues,” Blubaugh said. “It is clear that when people see the choice they have, they have rallied.”

Gilbert’s campaign manager, Wade Zirkle, expressed similar sentiments.

“We are very humbled by the generosity of the people in the 15th District who so strongly believe in Todd Gilbert’s unwavering conservative values,” Zirkle said.

“Many of these people have known Todd since he was a boy, and we are grateful for their continued commitment to Todd’s conservative principles,” he said. “We are very excited about the momentum we have going into the final seven weeks of the campaign.”

Blubaugh claims more individual donors than Gilbert — Gilbert’s report lists only about two dozen donors this reporting period, while Blubaugh claims more than 125. That number couldn’t be confirmed independently Friday, as the State Board of Elections had not yet made his report available.

Of Gilbert’s donors, the single largest check, $3,000, came from the Virginia Association of Dentists Political Action Committee in Richmond.

Both men seek to succeed Louderback, who is retiring at the end of his term.

The campaign to date has been very quiet.

Neither man has made a large number of public appearance, although Gilbert did appear with GOP gubernatorial nominee Jerry Kilgore at an event last month.

Gilbert has since announced that he will leave the prosecutors’ office next month to focus on his campaign.

The 15th District takes in Shenandoah, Page and Rappahannock counties, along with a portion of Rockingham.

Election Day is Nov. 8.