Del. Lacey Putney may finally make his association with the Republican Party official.
Putney, a Bedford independent and Virginia’s longest-serving legislator, said he will run as a GOP candidate if he seeks re-election this fall, according to this item posted on The Botetourt View. Botetourt Republicans have been urging Putney to seek the GOP nomination.
“I am pleased to receive so many calls and visits from a number of constituents and Republican Party leaders in my district, particularly Botetourt County, urging me to seek re-election and to run for the Republican nomination,” Putney said. “I am strongly leaning toward running, and if I do seek re-election, I will run as a Republican.”
Putney has been a member of the House Republican Caucus since 1998 and serves as chairman of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee. But he has run for election as an independent ever since he left the Democratic Party in the late 1960s. He was first elected to the House in 1961.
In 2011, Republicans nominated Jerry Johnson to run against Putney and Democratic challenger Lewis Medlin in the redrawn 19th District. Putney won the three-way race, but got just 41.6 percent of the vote. The 19th District covers the cities of Bedford and Covington, parts of Bedford and Botetourt counties and all of Alleghany County.
Putney, 84, is bouncing back from a minor stroke he suffered in early January while vacationing in Mexico. He said he will follow his customary practice of waiting until after the General Assembly adjourns to announce whether he will run for another term.
– Michael Sluss