Greg Habeeb, a 34-year-old attorney and partner at Gentry Locke Rakes and Moore said that he was getting calls asking him to run for Morgan Griffith’s seat even before Tuesday’s election results were in. Griffith, the 52 year-old Majority Leader in Virginia’s House of Delegates defeated 28-year Democratic incumbent Rick Boucher to become Congressman-elect for the 9th district.
Trixie Averill, 6th district Republican chair kicked off Habeeb’s announcement in front of a crowd of over 100 supporters outside the Old Salem Courthouse Monday. Republican officials surrounded Habeeb as he confidently announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the 8th district House of Delegates.
Former delegate William Fralin, Senator Ralph Smith, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Roanoke County Board of Supervisor Mike Altizer and Congressman-elect Morgan Griffith flanked Habeeb as he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination.
I am proud to be a Republican … but I do not distinguish people along party lines, geographic or any other lines.” “I want to bring leadership to Richmond for all citizens of the 8th district.” Habeeb saw last Tuesday’s election as a message that, “voters are not asking for more partisan fighting – they are crying out for true leadership.”
The Blue Ridge business journal named Habeeb one of the top 20 business leaders under 40-years old. Habeeb is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law.
Goodlatte energized a crowd of Republicans still giddy from the elections characterized as a Republican tsunami. Goodlatte said Habeeb “had big shoes to fill – literally” that brought chuckles as both Griffith and Habeeb looked down at the obvious difference in their shoe size. “It’s going to be a short campaign,” said Goodlatte giving some comfort to Habeeb’s wife Christy and their three young children Daniel 5, William 3 and Anna 1.
Griffith said he had known Habeeb as a 17 year-old at Christiansburg High School student. He had traveled to the high school to put on a presentation honoring Habeeb as Virginia YMCA’s Model General Assembly Youth Governor.
Habeeb expects people to hold him accountable for his principles – “the Constitution says what it means and it means what it says. While I believe that government is not always the problem, it is very rarely the solution.” Habeeb added that he “believes in personal freedom and personal responsibility … and the entrepreneurial spirit.” He added his belief that “life begins at conception. The circumstances of that conception does not define the value of that life.”
Habeeb hasn’t taken a position on Privatization of ABC stores but philosophically he thinks, “there are very few private type industries we should be playing in. Once we have played in that industry for so long you just don’t go out overnight to change it. Clearly Richmond has become dependent on the revenue stream. We’re going to have to reduce dependency on some of those revenue streams.”
When asked who would be a valuable mentor for Habeeb in the House of Delegates if elected, Congressman elect Griffith suggested Delegate Dave Nutter (R-7), Terry Kilgore (R-1) or even Roanoke City Democrat Delegate Onzlee Ware. Habeeb said he’d look to any member of the Roanoke area delegation.
According to Averill, the 6th district will set the closing date for nominations at their meeting Friday, November 12. Certification of the 9th congressional results won’t be concluded until November 22 and Griffith will formally give up his house seat at that time. A special election requires that 45 days must elapse before the voting takes place. That would set the election to be on January 11. The 2011 General Assembly session starts on January 12.
Roanoke County Democratic Party Chair, Brian Lang issued a press release saying that, “the Democratic Committees of Salem and Roanoke County are currently conducting a vigorous recruitment and screening process for candidates for our party’s nomination for the upcoming special election in Virginia’s 8th House of Delegates District.”
“The Search Committee is interviewing candidates of diverse backgrounds, including candidates who have not traditionally identified themselves as Democrats but share our belief that residents of the 8th District deserve a strong, fair-minded leader who places the voters’ priorities above partisan ideology.”