The district was gerrymandered after the 2000 Census to make it even friendlier to the GOP - hence, the optimism of Delegate Morgan Griffith, a Salem Republican and House majority leader. But, Mason, who may get strong support from The Farm Team, notes the demographics and times have changed:
"I think when you have an economy like this, people are looking to the Democrats for leadership to turn the country around. Someone rooted in the community who has basic understanding of local government, who's prepared to fight for southwestern Virginia in a state chamber tilted heavily toward Northern Virginia. We need those voices. We need that presence."
Other Democrats said to be mulling a run are David Trinkle, who also serves on Roanoke City Council, and Eric Thomas, a realtor and the son of former Delegate Vic Thomas.
The Republicans haven't announced any names, but Griffith said there are good candidates "floating out there." I know lots of people who think most Republicans are increasingly "floating out there." One name that gets frequent mention is Mike Wray, a former Roanoke County supervisor. Wray says the speculation is "premature."
Fralin threw out some fresh cracked corn with his announcement - you can be sure the number of birds flocking around will quickly grow.