Yet another powerful House GOP committee chair is retiring as he terms out of his chairmanship. Thirteen-term Rep. and Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R) will not seek re-election. Goodlatte’s VA-6 covers most of the Shenandoah Valley from Roanoke to Front Royal. The seat is solidly Republican and the most historically-Republican district in VA. At R+13, it should stay safely in GOP hands.
The right of first refusal for this seat most likely goes to State Sen. Mark Obenshain (R), who very narrowly lost the AG race in 2013 and is well-liked among the GOP establishment. If Obenshain runs, he will likely be the near-prohibitive front-runner. State Sens. Stephen Newman (R) and David Suetterlein (R) are also a names to watch. The other two State Senators in the seat, Emmett Hanger (R) and Mark Peake (R), are less likely as Hanger is 70 and Peake was just elected this year. There are about 8 GOP State Reps. in the seat, though with the House majority on a knife-edge they may feel pressure to not vacate their seats.
Two prominent Democratic State Senators, Creigh Deeds (D) and John Edwards (D), do live here, but it seems unlikely either would try such an uphill race. State Rep. Sam Rasoul (D) also lives here and has run for Congress before.