Del. Rob Bell has often been cited as a likely contender for attorney general in the 2009 election, largely on the basis of his sizeable war chest, an artifact of going without a serious challenger in his tailor-made Republican district (in which I live). Now Bell tells Bob Gibson that he won’t be running for AG, citing his impending second child as a higher priority. Of course, there’s nothing keeping him from changing his mind: Paul Harris, who used to hold Bell’s seat, declared on March 10 that he wasn’t running for AG, only to announce precisely the opposite fifteen days later.
Democrats had hoped that a distracted Bell would either retire from his seat in order to run for AG (unlikely) or simply be unable to defend his own seat, and lose it to a centrist challenger. Straight-up running against him isn’t likely to get Dems real far. As Will Goldsmith explained in C-Ville Weekly last month, Bell works hard and gets a lot done. Though a lot of folks might not like what he gets done, neither corruption nor laziness exist to provide a purchase for prying him out of his seat.