RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This year’s Virginia General Assembly session is nearing its end, giving lawmakers not running for re-election this November a chance to say goodbye.
Several lawmakers have already announced plans not to pursue another term in office for various reasons, including retirement and wanting to be closer to family.
None have served as long as Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), 83, who announced his expected retirement Thursday after nearly 50 years in the legislature.
“They say that everybody and I mean everybody got’s a used by or sell by date stamped somewhere on ’em. And for me, it’s next January 10th at noon,” Sen. Saslaw said. “By then I will have been in the General Assembly 48 years, including 44 here in the Senate.”
Another veteran legislator, Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), announced his decision not to run again after 44 years in the House of Delegates.
“I entered politics and the House of Delegates to fulfill a lifelong dream that Virginia could do better than being a backward Southern state and could fulfill the dreams expressed by our Founding Fathers who were Virginians,” Del. Plum wrote in an open letter to constituents.
While legislators have not directly pointed to it as a reason, one factor has been the shifting of General Assembly districts for the upcoming elections after redistricting.
The required redrawing of Virginia’s political map moved incumbents into the same district, which will set up high-profile primaries later this year, and left others vacant. To avoid a contested primary battle, lawmakers would have to move to a brand-new Virginia House or Senate district.
Del. Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) shared his decision not to seek re-election in a Feb. 21 Facebook post, writing he was endorsing Del. Rob Bloxom (R-Accomack) to represent the new 100th Virginia House District.
“At this point, I intend to finish my term in the House of Delegates and will wait for the next door in my political life to open,” Del. Anderson wrote.
Del. James Edmunds (R-Halifax) — who was drawn into the same district as Del. Danny Marshall (R-Danville) — shared he wouldn’t run for re-election on the House floor Friday. Del. Margaret Ransone (R-Westmoreland) said this year would be her last term in the House of Delegates in a Facebook post.
Three Democratic state delegates announced they were not running again, citing a desire to spend time with family.
Del. Mike Mullin (D-Newport News) announced his decision the day before sharing the tragic news that his 4-month-old son died. Del. Jeff Bourne (D-Richmond) also said he would not run for re-election, telling the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he wanted to spend time with family.
Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-Fairfax) said she was not running for re-election on the House floor Friday, saying she wanted to take time to take care of her grandchildren after the death of her daughter from cancer in 2021.
Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Fauquier) made her decision to not run again official in late January, tweeting, “Anyone who makes that decision and says that they are not sad is not telling the truth!!”
Del. Roxann L. Robinson (R-Chesterfield), who was set to face off with two other Republicans running in a redrawn district, announced Friday on the House floor that she would not run for another term this November.
According to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), 10 state senators and 18 delegates have decided to retire. VPAP says 14 Virginia delegates have opted to run for the state Senate this year. (Former state Senator, now-Rep. Jennifer McClellan (D-Va.), moved to the U.S. House.)
The 10 Virginia state senators not seeking another term, according to VPAP, include Sens. John Bell, John Edwards, Janet Howell, Steve Newman, Dick Saslaw, John Cosgrove, Emmett Hanger, Lynwood Lewis, Tommy Norment and Jill Vogel.
The 18 Virginia state delegates not seeking another term in the chamber, according to VPAP, include Dels. Dawn Adams, Rob Bell, Kathy Byron, Glenn Davis, Matt Fariss, Wendy Gooditis, Mike Mullin, Ken Plum, Roxann Robinson, John Avoli, Jeff Bourne, Jeff Campbell, James Edmunds, Eileen Filler-Corn, Kaye Kory, Kathleen Murphy, Margaret Ransone and Will Wampler.
The delegates running for the Virginia Senate next year, according to VPAP, include Dels. Tim Anderson, Emily Brewer, Angelia Williams Graves, Christopher Head, Clint Jenkins, John McGuire, Suhas Subramanyam, Lamont Bagby, Tara Durant, Elizabeth Guzman, Sally Hudson, Dave LaRock, Danica Roem and Schuyler VanValkenburg.
Update: This story has been updated to include the lawmakers who decided not to run for re-election since Feb. 24.