Right now I'm teaching a course in State and Local Politics. The course focuses on the state level first, then the city, then other localities (town, county, etc.). I sometimes pitch the class to my students as if these were separate levels of government, but events this week have again reminded me to think of them more as concentric circles.
Local developer (and member of Chesterfield's Board of Supervisors) Dan Gecker just announced he's running for the Virginia 10th Senate district to replace retiring John Watkins. [By the way, read the link if you want to see press-release reporting at its finest. According to the RTD/Powhatan today, "Gecker has worked for more than 20 years to expand opportunities and improve the quality of life in the region." Maybe he has, but that sounds like Gecker wrote it, not the supposed author of this "article."]
So what? Lots of candidates are declaring this month, as delegates decide to retire or move up to replace retiring Senators. Delegate Bill DeSteph is going for Jeff McWaters' seat, while McWaters considers a run for state office. (Although he'll have to wait in line, if Ed Gillespie and Mark Obenshain have anything to say about it.)
But Bearing Drift's Norm Leahy suggests an interesting wrinkle, one that has nothing to do with state-level jockeying. Gecker was part of the Rebkee proposal for a privately-funded baseball stadium at the site of the current Diamond in the City of Richmond.
Richmond city politics over the past year or two have been, as Meghan Trainor might say, all about that base... ball. (Ugh. Sorry about that.) Leahy thinks that Gecker's involvement in a proposal that helped to submarine the Mayor's own proposal might have alienated Richmond Dems. (You can read a testy e-mail exchange between Gecker and Venture Richmond's Jack Berry here.) And since the 10th Senate district includes the city of Richmond, Gecker might need that support to get elected.
Of course, Gecker may have broader problems. As Leahy also points out, progressive Dems may prefer activist Emily Francis. (Blue Virginia has already called out Gecker for sounding like a Republican.)
But it's this connection of local and state politics that interests me here. You have a county official, running for state office, possibly threatened by his involvement in city politics. All of these levels of government are intricately connected - a point I often try to make in class. Gecker's candidacy should make a good example for my class next week (assuming we're not snowed out).