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Virginia: John Douglass to Switch Districts and Challenge Hurt

Ret. Air Force General John Douglass is expected to announce next week that he will run in Virginia’s 5th district instead of in the 10th.

The Democrat’s campaign said today that Douglass will travel through each county in the expansive 5th district, currently held by freshman Rep. Robert Hurt (R), before his March 6 announcement. Douglass had originally filed to run against Rep. Frank Wolf (R) in Northern Virginia, but Douglass’ home was drawn into the 5th under the redistricting plan signed into law last month.

Douglass’ statement came one day after the Richmond Circuit Court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the redistricting process, making the map drawn by the GOP-controlled Legislature close to finalized. It now only awaits preclearance from the Justice Department or a federal court to comply with the Voting Rights Act.

“Democrats at all levels have been urging him to carefully consider re-filing his candidacy following court review,” his campaign stated in a release.

The 5th runs north-south nearly the entire length of the Old Dominion, stretching from the North Carolina border to the outer exurbs of Washington, D.C., one county’s distance from Maryland. Douglass would have a difficult road ahead had he chosen to challenge Wolf in the 10th, but the redrawn 5th is even tougher — President Barack Obama would have lost it by 5 points in 2008, and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) would have lost it in his presidential campaign four years earlier by nearly 15 points.

Douglass had $170,000 in cash on hand at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011, about $300,000 less than Hurt.

“General Douglass will be traveling through each county to talk about his vision for Virginia — where we invest in better schools for our kids like his two sons, protect our safety net for those like his 90-year-old mother-in-law and pass on a growing economy to our next generation, led by small businesses like his family farm in Fauquier County,” Douglass campaign manager Gary Ritterstein said in a statement.

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