Bell holds son, Parker while wife, Debbie and daughter Sarah stand at the Registrar counter.
This afternoon the former Senator in the 22nd Senate District officially became the Independent candidate in the 19th Senate District. A race people are calling a “rematch” though Bell dismisses the term.
It can’t be ignored that Sen. Ralph Smith won against Sen. Bell the Republican incumbent in a 2007 primary. Bell was confident and relaxed when he filed. His confidence stems from what he has heard from 19th district constituents – they are tired of both political parties standing in their respective corners with their arms folded – unwavering and refusing to compromise.
He also says he has learned a lot from past elections both the primary and his loss to Democratic challenger Sen. John Edwards in 1995.
It was a family affair Monday afternoon at the Roanoke County Registrar’s office. Bell 52, was accompanied by his wife Debbie, 6 year-old daughter Sarah and 2-½ year-old son Parker.
Sarah insisted on having her name on dad’s petition and a separate piece of paper was attached to the clipboard inscribed with “Sarah Bell” and some sort of scribbling at the top that could be the attempted signature of “Parker Bell” though that can not be confirmed. (Just confirmed by Sen. Bell that above Sarah it reads “Daddy.”)
After filing Sen. Bell challenged Sen. Smith to at least five debates. “Not just forums but actual debates where they could ask each other questions directly,” explained Bell. (Call is in to Sen. Ralph Smith for comment on debates.)
Sen. Bell still clings to the “conservative” side of the political spectrum and when asked what kind of conservative he was – he said “a reality based conservative.” He says Governor Bob McDonnell is “doing a good job.”
I’ll have more on my interview with former Sen. Bell including his views on the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), his thoughts on transportation funding, and the 72-hour review of the budget, etc.
He repeated that if elected he would neither caucus with the Senate Democrats or the Senate Republicans. More on that later too.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Election 2011, Elections, Politics, State Politics
Tags: Election 2011, Elections, Independent, state_senate