WILLIAMSBURG -- Although Chuck Davis has officially entered the race to succeed his late wife, the expected exodus of candidates for the Republican nomination hasn't taken place.
In fact, some sound like they are moving closer to a decision to seek the reliably Republican 1st District seat.
"I'm looking at it very seriously," said James City businessman Paul Jost, who lost the nomination to Jo Ann Davis in 2000. "I'm several days away from a final decision."
Jost has been calling Republicans in the district to gauge support. "I'm getting a lot of encouragement," he said.
Jost pulled 30% of the vote in the 2000 primary to Davis' 35%. Mike Rothfeld got 22%.
"That might not sound like much, but Mike is supporting me this time and if you add 30 percent and 22 percent, that's 52 percent," Jost said.
James City Republican chairman Chris Henderson said Tuesday there may be 12-14 candidates.
The nominee will likely be picked in a convention at Tappahannock on Nov. 24. Gov. Tim Kaine has not yet set the date of the special election to fill the seat, but Dec. 11 is the most likely date.
The special election can't be held closer than 30 days after the Nov. 6 general election, or within 60 days of February's presidential primaries. So if it's not held Dec. 11, it would have to be delayed until April.
Henderson thinks that interest by Chuck Davis to run for a full term is encouraging challengers now.
"They wouldn't want him to have the advantage of incumbency in a primary in June," he said.
Chuck Davis has led some wannabes to withdraw. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, state Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Hanover) and Del. Jeff Frederick (R-Prince William) have backed off. However, Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R- Fauquier) and Del. Tom Gear (R-91st), have not.
In addition, Republican activists James Bowden of Poquoson, David Caprara of Spotsylvania, Sherwin Bowditch of Gloucester and Kevin O'Neil of Williamsburg have indicated interest. So has Gloucester supervisor Teresa Altizer.
A cattle convention for the Republican nomination could be one of the best political shows the Peninsula has seen in years.
Henderson said it would certainly go on for multiple ballots.
The 1st District is considered among the most Republican districts in Virginia. It has been represented by a Republican from the Peninsula for more than 25 years.
Among possible Democratic candidates the most frequently mentioned are:
n Phil Forgit, a popular former teacher and Iraq War veteran who made a strong run at Melanie Rapp in 2003.
n Shawn O'Donnell, who lost to Davis last year with a dismal 35% of the vote.
n James City supervisor chairman John McGlennon, who ran unsuccessfully for the 1st as a fill-in for George Grayson and alone a second time.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times