This is great news for Erik Curren, the Democratic nominee. Everyone, including Erik himself, knew going toe to toe with an established incumbent was going to be difficult, if not impossible. Hard to know who the Republican chairs in Staunton, Augusta, Rockingham, and Highland will nominate, but at a minimum, this is a game changer that will energize Curren supporters and Democrats. You can expect new excitement, more dollars, and more attention from the DPVA for the Curren campaign.
I have no inside knowledge who might be on track for the GOP. Some speculation-
Charles Curry sought the nomination in 2001 but was beaten by Saxman. Curry is retired from teaching at JMU, farms in the Mount Solon area and involved with the Farm Bureau, and is a former member of both the Augusta County School Board and Board of Supervisors. But, trying to make a comeback, he ran as an independent for the Board of Supervisors in 2007, losing a close one. Could running against the GOP candidate be held against him?
Another possibility is Bill Kyger, a teacher at TA and Republican member of the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors. There have been some rumors that he didn't care for Saxman and he might want challenge him at some point. One has to wonder if they'll pick a candidate from that end of the district since the bulk of the population is in Staunton and Augusta Co.
Former Staunton mayor John Avoli could be a long shot. He's now director of the Frontier Culture Museum and has stayed out of partisan politics in that role. This opportunity may be appealing. Rumor is that he considered seeking the GOP nod in 2001, but decided against it.
Stay tuned. This story has as many legs as a centipede.