Interesting article on Potts
I've posted an article from the Loudoun Times-Mirror with a retrospective from the embarrasment...I mean...state seantor from Winchester Russ Potts. He gives an interesting assessment of the two good people looking to replace him this November.
"She's obsessed with abortion and social issues," Potts said of Vogel. "[Tate's]ruthless, unscrupulous. They're going to have an OK Corral-shootout to see who can out-Tom Delay each other."
Anyone that Russ Potts doesn't like is a superstar in my book.
I still have a nagging feeling that he's going to run again because, like any good horror villain, he's never dead when you're sure he is.
By: Don Del Rosso
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Russ Potts, afraid of losing a political contest?
Nonsense, according to the bold-as-brass Republican state senator from Winchester.
He decided to call it quits at the end of his current term in January 2008 because "there are other things I want to do," the 67-year-old sports promoter explained in a Feb. 26 interview.
He wants to spend more time with his family, write a book about his life (tentatively called "No Place for the Faint-hearted") and go to the Rose Bowl, "the granddaddy of them all."
"I have been thinking about this for a while," said Potts, who announced his retirement Feb. 22 on the Senate floor in Richmond. "It wasn't about winning or losing" a primary to a pair of GOP candidates he considers his inferiors. "I just didn't want to devote four more years of my life to this."
In the last decade and a half, the job has become all-consuming, said Potts, who chairs the Senate Education and Health Committee and serves on the Commerce and Labor, Finance, Privileges and Elections and Rules committees. "The longer you're there, the more responsibility you have."
Potts has represented the 27th District, which includes most of Fauquier County, part of Loudoun County, all of Clarke and Frederick counties, and the City of Winchester, since 1992.
If Potts were to seek a fifth term, he would face Warrenton lawyer Jill Holtzman Vogel and Middleburg restaurateur Mark Tate in a June 12 primary.
Incumbency, his record and a reputation for "governing from the middle" would make him the clear favorite against them, Potts said.
"In a three-way race, obviously, I'm in the driver seat," he declared. "All you need is 34 percent to win."
He said he believes the Vogel/Tate race will get junkyard-dog nasty.
"She's obsessed with abortion and social issues," Potts said of Vogel. "He's ruthless, unscrupulous. They're going to have an OK Corral-shootout to see who can out-Tom Delay each other."
In 2003, Potts found himself at the receiving end of both of their primary campaigns for the 27th District seat. They portrayed him as a tax-happy spendthrift and a liberal on social issues.
Vogel ultimately withdrew from the primary race, throwing her support to Tate.
Potts beat Tate by just 106 votes. That November he defeated Democrat Mark Herring in the general election with 58 percent of the vote.
Vogel and Tate offer moderate Republicans no choice, suggested Potts, who has little use for either candidate's conservative views.
Tate brushed aside Potts' comments.
"I think the district needs better representation," the co-owner of The Coach Stop restaurant said Feb. 26. "I wish his family well, even though he has interesting things to say about me."
With Potts' departure, he and Vogel will be able to focus on substance, Tate said.
"It'll be a good race about issues rather than words," he said.
Likewise, Vogel said she believes Potts' retirement presents a "wonderful opportunity for new leadership in the district. His leaving the race doesn't change anything, because there's so much work to do."
Voters want "solutions" to transportation, education and fiscal challenges, she said.
"People want to know if you are intelligent and engaged in the issues," Vogel said. "They're not looking for rhetoric or a fight."
Conservatives sound pleased that Potts will be packing his bags.
In recent years, they have targeted the senator, whom they believe "flip-flopped" on important social and fiscal issues, said Chris Freund, director of policy and communications for The Family Foundation.
The Richmond-based, nonprofit conservative group tracks abortion, family, tax and budget issues.
In the 2003 senatorial campaign, Potts cast himself as the "most pro-life chairman in the history" of the education and health committee, Freund said.
After the election, however, "pretty much anything that came before his committee that was pro-life, he was going to vote against it," Freund said.
Potts also opposed tax credits for families with children in private schools and a measure to permit private schools to lease public school buses, he said.
"He's pretty much at the top of the list in terms of being hostile to our agenda," Freund said.
Throughout his career, Potts championed improvements to the public school and transportation systems.
He also called for term limits, arguing no senator should be permitted to serve more than 12 years.
"He believed term limits would break the majority party's hold on committee appointments and the selection of judges. Back then, Democrats controlled the Senate and House of Delegates.
Republicans later won control of the Senate, and Potts received plum appointments like the education and health committee chairmanship.
He now believes he "made a mistake" promoting term limits. Mandatory retirement would result in the loss of invaluable "experience" and "institutional knowledge" that longtime senators bring to the legislative process, Potts said.
Potts ran for office seven times and lost only once.
In 2005, amid much furor, he broke ranks with his party and ran for governor as an independent. Never a serious threat, Potts received only 2 percent of the vote. (Democrat Timothy M. Kaine received 52 percent and Republican Jerry W. Kilgore 46 percent.)
Disgruntled Republicans dismissed his gubernatorial campaign as a lark designed to spoil the conservative Kilgore's bid in a close contest.
Potts plans to remain politically active after he leaves office.
The Republican Party of Virginia cannot govern effectively "from the far right," he said. He will work to "save" the party from "extremists." And "if I can't, I'll leave it."
Some say the renegade Republican abandoned the GOP years ago.
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Â©Times Community Newspapers 2007
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