Former U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher publicly endorsed fellow Abingdon Democrat Anthony Flaccavento this morning for the 9th District seat in Congress, now held by the Republican who defeated Boucher two years ago.
Flaccavento, a farmer and sustainability consultant, is the Democratic nominee challenging Repuiblican Morgan Griffith of Salem. Griffith, a former state legislator, ended Boucher’s 28-year run in the House of Representatives in the 2010 election.
“I’m most grateful for the endorsement and I know it will be a great help to my campaign,” Flaccavento said in a media conference call with Boucher.
Flaccavento won the Democratic nomination at the party’s 9th District convention in May.
Boucher said Flaccavento is an articulate advocate for the needs of the sprawling Southwest Virginia district “because he’s been dealing with them for a couple of decades, and doing so successfully, creating jobs.”
Boucher praised the work Flaccavento has done helping tobacco farmers transition to more sustainable forms of agriculture.
Boucher said he and Flaccevento had been talking about the campaign “going back now for about four or five months.” But Boucher said he waited until after Flaccavento secured the Democratic nomination to announce his endorsement because “I did not think it would be appropriate for him to appear to be my candidate for the nomination.”
“So I said to him, ‘Go out and win the nomination and after that’s done I will be pleased to endorse you,’” Boucher said.
Boucher declined to comment when asked about Griffith’s job performance, saying, “You know it’s not my habit to talk about the other candidate in the race and I’m going to respect that tradition today.”
Boucher now heads the government strategies group in the Washington office of Sidley Austin LLP, working with telecommunications and energy clients. He still spends his weekends with his wife in their Abingdon home.
“It’s been a good transition for me and, frankly, the career change was somewhat invigorating,” Boucher said.
Flaccavento added: “I have to say when I see Rick and Amy at the farmer’s marker on Saturday mornings he looks very relaxed.”
– Michael Sluss