Delegate Saxman has been AWOL since his man, McCain, took a drubbing in Virginia last Tuesday. Not only did Virginia go Democratic for the first time since 1964 under his leadership, Saxman's hometown, Staunton turned blue.
Saxman was co-chair of McCain's campaign and had spent weeks discounting the polls and justifying the negative robo-calls that, in the end, may have done more harm than good. He'd dropped the hint that a job in a McCain administration sounded good and he was more than willing to give up his seat in the House of Delegates.
Out at the grist mill there is talk about Delegate Saxman not really being interested in representing this district, but sees it as a stepping stone. He floated his name as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate - that was mostly about getting play in the media and buzz among GOP activists. He's boxed in by Bolling running for Lt. Governor again - yep, Chris really wanted to run for that. With nowhere to go that met his ego, Chris hoped McCain would whisk him away to the nation's capitol.
There is also talk about Saxman being one of the least liked legislators by his colleagues in Richmond. Perhaps it is his self-righteous attitude. There's a hint of arrogance and an unwillingness to compromise. Perhaps that is why he isn't considered a very effective as a legislator.
Residents who journey to Richmond to be citizen-lobbyists report that when pressed on issues with which he disagrees, he is known to change the topic to something totally irrelevant or cut the meeting short - disrespecting his own constituents. He is right and his mind is set in stone, so why waste his valuable time in discussion?
So, as the parties eye the 2009 elections, the speculation that he'll have an opponent isn't too surprising. One name that surfaces is Bruce Elder who previously challenged Saxman and has built a resume on Staunton City Council. There is also talk, without a name as yet, of an individual from Bridgewater who is interested.
It appears Republicans will be challenged throughout their stronghold in the Shenandoah Valley. Jeff Price of Amherst Co. has already announced he'll challenge Ben Cline. And, most Democrats, seeing Valley cities turning blue, expect to nominate candidates to challenge Matt Lohr and Steve Landes as well.
Early prediction: although Democrats won't bump off all of these entrenched incumbents, their new-found strength in Virginia increases their odds of capturing control of the House of Delegates. Stay tuned.