To the Editor:
Virginia House of Delegates Member David Englin (D-45) has announced that he was unfaithful to his wife. As a result, he has stated that he will not run for reelection to his delegate seat so that he can take the time to repair his marriage. The announcement is noteworthy because the next election for his delegate seat does not occur until November 2013, 19 months from now. The announcement begs the question: If Delegate Englin needs to refrain from running for reelection in order to repair his marriage, why has he decided to hold on to his delegate seat until the end of 2013?
The answer to this question could not possibly involve politics. Mr. Englin's delegate seat is among the most reliably Democratic in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. There is little question that whomever replaces Mr. Englin will also be a Democrat. Thus, were Mr. Englin to resign now, a special election would be held to choose his successor and the seat will continue to be in Democratic hands.
Virginia Code Section 24.2-228.1 describes the procedure for replacing a Constitutional Office holder who resigns his or her position. The procedure involves the governing body of the County or City in which the vacancy occurs to petition the appropriate Circuit Court to issue a writ of election to fill the vacancy. The 45th District encompasses portions of the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, and Fairfax County. There are three Circuit Courts with jurisdiction over these areas and I presume the jurisdiction with the largest population residing in the 45th District would be the one to be petitioned.
In any event, I sympathize with Delegate Englin and support his judgment that saving his marriage is more important than representing the 45th District. I do, however, disagree that in so doing he should hold on to the delegate seat until the end of 2013. Delegate Englin should resign now and allow the citizens of the 45th District to be represented by someone who is able to give their full time and attention to the issues confronting his constituents.
H. Jay Spiegel