Robert Hurt gets Democratic challenger in Fifth Congressional District

BenHudsonBearing Drift has learned that Ben Hudson, a U.S. Army veteran who ran as a write-in candidate for Congress in 2012, will soon inform the Fifth District Democratic Committee of his intention to seek that party’s nomination to challenge incumbent Representative Robert Hurt (R-Chatham) in 2014.

Hudson has posted a skeleton campaign web site that includes a brief biography of himself but little other information about his positions on public policy issues.

In 2012, Hudson tried but failed to collect a sufficient number of signatures to run as an independent candidate in the Fifth District. He may have received some of the 388 write-in votes cast in that contest, but those specific results are scattered and difficult to find.

The Fluvanna Review interviewed him in August 2012. He explained his reasons for running:

“I have a spirit that gives me the feeling I could make a difference if I could get into Washington,” Hudson said.

Running as an independent, Hudson said he focuses on issues and answers rather than political party.

“I’ll work on an issue that leads me to the right answer that respects American values as laid out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” he said. “If Republicans agree, that’s fine. If Democrats agree, that’s fine.”

Refusing to label himself a strict Constitutionalist, Hudson said he holds dear the language of the document, marveling at the wonderful job the crafters did during such trying times.

“All men are created equal. Why did they say that when back then they clearly weren’t? Maybe they were looking ahead to a time when we would be,” Hudson said. “I think the closer we get to those ideals, the better we are.”
Hudson acknowledged he is running an uphill battle, but that is not a reason to quit.

“If people think, ‘Why bother? Why make the effort?’ If that becomes the American mantra – how we drive our national politics, woe be unto us. We are not that kind of people,” Hudson said. “If we left it to that, we’d have people on the fringes with only nefarious intent in office because people with good intentions elected not to bother. I have an obligation to the country to try.”

Hudson plans to contact members of the Fifth District Democratic Committee next Monday (February 24) before making a formal announcement of his candidacy to constituents.

Robert Hurt was first elected to represent the sprawling Fifth Congressional District in 2010, defeating then-incumbent Tom Perriello (D-Ivy), who served one term in Congress. This week the Obama administration announced that Perriello is taking a post in the State Department. Hurt appears to have no challengers for the GOP nomination this year.

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  • If the Democrats in the 5th District are anything like the ones up my way, he will get escorted to the door relatively quickly.

    • Rick_Sincere

      That’s an interesting question. If he’s the only candidate and he follows all the rules for filing, can they reject him? (I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m assuming that, unlike the Libertarian Party, “None of the Above” is not an option on Democratic Party nomination ballots.)

      • ghostofteddalton

        Interesting question. If you recall, at the turn of the century (either 99 or 01), a Democrat named Jason Campbell ran for one of the Lynchburg area HoD races. The guy turned out to lean to the right and I believe a lot of donors refused to the donate to him. But I don’t know about rejecting someone who pays the filing fee…..

    • Democrats in the 5th aren’t anything like the ones up your way. Democrats down south don’t exactly have many options. Rejecting a Veteran just because he isn’t running as a liberal, doesn’t seem to make much sense given the territory he’s running in.

  • John B Murray III

    The biography on his website says he retired as a Lt. Colonel from the Army and is now an educator at Buford Middle School in Charlottesville. Pretty impressive career in public service.

    • MD Russ

      Agree. Anyone who served in the military for 20 years and now works in a public sector job should be in Congress. That’s something north of 1 million people. Too bad that there are only 435 House seats.

  • Tom Garrett

    Was he in the military or on the Federal bench? “All men are created equal…” Isn’t in the Constitution. It’s in the Declaration. Unlike the Judge who recently botched this basic of US history, this guy presumably didn’t have a clerk to check his work.

    • John B Murray III

      He never said it was in the Constitution if you read his quotes.

  • Donna Martin

    This guy doesn’t have a chance in hell. I know Robert Hurt. The people of the 5th district love him. This guy is a joke. Bring it on. I love beating democrats.

    • John B Murray III

      As a resident and voter in the 5th district who’s family has been in the district since the 1700s you can believe me when I tell you not everyone here loves him.

      • Wanago Bob

        So how was it to be from a family of slave owners? Does it causes problem with other democrats you work with? As a First Family of Virginia does the wealth accumulated on the back of african american since the 1700’s cause you any qualms?

  • Guest

    I wonder how large an issue the Duke Power destruction of the Dan River will play in this particular election? Between ongoing hydro projects, uranium mining, general “sprawl” on the 5th’s northern frontier, I-73, and now the very significant destruction of the Dan River by one of the nation’s largest companies, the 5th is rapidly becoming a hotspot for environmental policy.

  • Scott Martin

    I wonder if the recent Duke Power pollution of the Dan River will play significantly into this election? The 5th, quietly, has a lot of very interesting natural resource and environmental policy opportunities for the sitting Congressman to engage and provide leadership. (hydro projects, pollution spills, water withdrawl/interbasin transfers, general “sprawl” due to federal transportation cost-sharing, the Blue Ridge Parkway, federal reservoir projects, etc). This stuff usually takes a big back seat to the standard economic issues that are no doubt the focus of rural Virginia districts, but the 5th is interesting in that so many of these things are going on simultaneously and that they are all just “big” enough that a congressman can strongly influence and direct the outcome (unlike the more global issues that hit most congressional seats – stuff like EPA regulations, climate change, Forest Service land use policy, etc).

  • MD Russ

    Let me see if I have this straight: a retired Army LTC middle school teacher with no elected experience is going to challenge a popular Republican as a Democrat in what is arguably the most red district in the Commonwealth. He is expected to defeat the man who threw out a Charlottesville liberal who stole the seat from a former Dixiecrat segregationist by less than a thousand votes by running a registration drive to get out-of-state liberal UVA students to register in the 5th CD?

    Well, stranger things have happened, but I would hardly characterize this as a “Democratic challenger.” “Hail Mary desperate attempt” would be more like it.

    • brianrw

      The 5th has nothing on the 6th in terms of redness.

      • MD Russ

        I have to agree with you, but only because the 5th CD is plagued with the UVA liberals. If you back out the Charlottesville precincts then the 5th votes as much or more Republican as the 6th CD.

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