Two Roanoke Democrats are already gearing up to run for the House of Delegate seat held by Onzlee Ware, and a third may very well get into the race.
Roanoke City Councilman Court Rosen and Sam Rasoul, a former candidate for Congress and for mayor, said they will run for the 11th District seat. Roanoke Councilman David Trinkle said he giving “extremely strong consideration” to running.
Ware identified Democratic activist Patricia White-Boyd as another potential candidate.
Rosen, Rasoul and Trinkle said they would favor a firehouse primary to choose the nominee rather than a mass meeting. The Roanoke Democratic committee will determine the nominating process for the House race.
No date has been set for a special election. Republicans did not challenge Ware in 2011 or in last week’s general election. But Roanoke Sheriff Octavia Johnson, who lost her bid for re-election last week, has been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate in the special election. A social media campaign to draft Johnson is underway.
Rosen said Ware “has done a great job representing the city and working to represent the Roanoke Valley.”
“One thing that I think is going to be important for a future delegate, that I think Delegate Ware displayed on a number of occasions, is an ability to work across party lines,” Rosen said. “Whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican. . . it’s got to be somebody who can represent the city and the city’s needs, and the resident’s needs, but can also work across party lines.”
“I have an ability to partner with people, regardless of political philosophy, to get things done that are beneficial for the city and the Roanoke Valley and the greater region,” Rosen said.
In a news release, Rasoul thanked Ware for his service and said the delegate “worked tirelessly in the General Assembly standing up for Roanoke and working in a bipartisan fashion on behalf of the city, most recently his work to bring Amtrak to Roanoke.” He said he will follow Ware’s example “to make sure that our schools are fully funded, our children get the quality education they deserve, and Roanoke gets its fair share.”
Trinkle said he will sound out family, friends and advisers “to see if it’s the right thing to do.”
“I’m somebody who was contemplating my next move anyway,” said Trinkle who has served two terms on the council. “And I actually have been thinking whether it was good to go for a third term on the council or to wait for another opportunity where I feel like I could contribute.”
“I’m going to give it real strong consideration,” Trinkle said. “It’s something I would be honored to do. I’ve just got to make sure the timing is correct.”
Trinkle, by the way, is the grandson of Virginia’s 49th governor, Elbert Lee Trinkle, who served from 1922 to 1926.