Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ware's Departure Opens the Door for Sam Rasoul (I Hope)

Sam Rasoul and his lovely young family.
Onzlee Ware is leaving the 11th District Virginia House of Delegates seat he has occupied for several terms, completely devoid of distinction, setting up a scramble among several Democrats for his seat.  (The report is here.)

Word is that Ware is looking for a judgeship and that's not out of the question with the new Democratic administration in Richmond, though there are serious questions from colleagues about Ware's qualifications and suitability.

My peeps tell me that the most likely combatants for Ware's seat are Roanoke City Councilmen David Trinkle and Court Rosen going against two-time candidate Sam Rasoul and Trish White-Boyd, who is with Griswold Home Care. Sam announced at 6 p.m., shortly after Ware's announcement and Rosen says he's running.

They will likely meet in a firehouse primary within the next two months. (Note: The explanation of a firehouse primary has been changed since this was initially posted. This primary is much like a traditional primary and not the closed-door variety I had confused it with.)

My lean here will go heavily to Sam Rasoul, a young community activist who has not held office, but who has run campaigns against both 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte in 2008 and Roanoke Mayor David Bowers a couple of years later. He lost both races by substantial margins, but he was not ready for either race or either office at the time. Sam's ready now and my guess is he'd make a crackerjack House member from Roanoke. He has excellent ideas, no previous commitments to special interests and a work ethic that we will all appreciate.

Trinkle, in my view, is far too busy to be an effective rep in Richmond. He is an associate dean at VTC, is a geriatric psychiatrist with Carilion Clinic, and owns restaurants. He's also heavily involved in civic organizations. Rosen is probably the least effective member of City Council and has been since his first election. He seems to have backing among young professionals, a place where Sam will likely score well. I don't know Ms. White-Boyd, but I'm told she's active in the party.

Ware has never been more than a warm body in the 11th District seat, regardless of the almost obligatory accolades you're hearing as he leaves office to take care of his ailing mother. He often has catered to the Republican majority and never, ever, ever making waves of any kind. They're saying he "reached across the aisle," but his approach was beyond that, more like bending over across the aisle. He got on my bad side from the get-go by carrying water for Republican Morgan Griffith of Salem when Griffith was mis-governing in the General Assembly. He's doing the same in the U.S. House now.

This seat will almost certainly remain blue because Roanoke is heavily Democratic, but I'm hoping it moves to an activist and not somebody who simply wants to glad-hand and show up as a big shot at public functions. Sam would be that person.


  1. Sam has my support too, Dan. And the support of a lot of my friends. I hope this time he wins it.

  2. It sounds like you're confusing firehouse primaries with mass meetings, Dan. Firehouse primary basically runs like a regular primary except with only one polling place. Voters come and go while the poll is open, and results are counted at the end.

  3. It sounds like you're confusing a firehouse primary with a mass meeting. A firehouse primary runs just like a normal primary, except there's only one polling place. Otherwise voters just come and go like a normal election. The "locked room" bit you're describing is a mass meeting, which is different.

  4. Mason: Thank you for the clarification. I appreciate it.