In one of the worst kept secrets in Northern Virginia, former Del. Rich Anderson announced this morning that he’s seeking his old seat, HD-51, covering Lake Ridge and Occoquan in Prince William County.
Below is the campaign’s press release:
WOODBRIDGE – Today, former Virginia Delegate Richard L. (Rich) Anderson announced his candidacy for the 51st House District. A 30-year Air Force colonel, Anderson retired from active military service in early 2009 and was elected in November of that year to the Virginia General Assembly, where he served for eight years, from 2010 to 2018.
A native Virginian, Anderson holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Webster University. He is a graduate of the Air War College and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, where he sits on the Sorensen Statewide Advisory Board.
While serving in the General Assembly, Anderson chaired the House Science and Technology Committee and sat as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, House General Laws Committee, and House Transportation Committee. He also chaired the General Assembly Military and Veterans Caucus, the legislative clearing house for bills impacting 800,000 Virginia veterans and 50,000 veterans in Prince William County.
Outside of his House committee assignments, Anderson served as chair of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), chair of the Virginia War Memorial Board, and chair of the General Assembly Aviation Caucus as a commercial pilot with more than 2,000 flying hours. He also sat as a member of the Virginia State Crime Commission and the Virginia Commission on Youth.
Over the last year, Anderson has focused his attention on community service in Prince William County. He continues to work on veteran issues as chair of the Potomac Region Veterans Council (PRVC) that represents 200,000 veterans in the Northern Virginia region. He is also senior vice commander of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 48 and a life member of both American Legion Post 364 and VFW Post 1503. He also sits on the Freedom Museum Board of Directors, the Prince William Salvation Army Board, and the Youth for Tomorrow Board of Advisors.
In announcing his candidacy, Anderson stated that “public service is all I’ve known for 30 years as an Air Force officer and eight years as a Virginia legislator. I remain committed to making life better in Prince William County and across Virginia for working families. Public service is my calling, so public service is what I intend to do.”
Anderson further stated that “Prince William County has lost considerable clout in Richmond over the last two years. The 2020 legislative session is going to be crucial, and I want to restore our county’s leadership role in Richmond in building a responsible state budget, caring for Virginia veterans, addressing our transportation challenges, and crafting policy that sustains jobs and grows businesses. This takes on increased urgency in light of the current scandals engulfing the executive branch and attempts by Democrats in the legislature to enact a massive tax increase on middle-class families.”
Anderson and his wife, Ruth, reside in Woodbridge. Ruth is a retired 21-year Air Force lieutenant colonel, Occoquan District Supervisor on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, and chair of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (OmniRide). They are members of Lake Ridge Baptist Church in Woodbridge and have three children and four grandchildren.
Anderson represented the district from 2010 to 2018, first winning in 2009, by defeating incumbent Paul Nichols. He was re-elected three times, twice unopposed, before being swept up in the 2017 blue wave that wiped out 15 incumbents across the state. The incumbent, Hala Ayala, was one of just 20 co-sponsors of Kathy Tran’s infamous abortion bill .
Later, Ayala voted against the the $1 billion tax cuts  four times: once in committee , twice in the House , and once again  even after the Governor approved the deal with lawmakers in both parties. She finally voted with 94 other Delegates to pass the tax cuts on her fifth try; time will tell if she tries to take credit for the tax cuts she opposed so vehemently.
HD-51 is a swing district, which went for Cuccinelli and Gillespie in 2013 and 2014, but has voted Democratic in higher-turnout elections since 2016. Still, Gillespie took 44% here in 2017, making this one of the most ripe targets for Republican pick-ups in the state. With his built-in name ID, fundraising ability, and proven electability, Rich is the best candidate Republicans could hope for — perhaps except for his wife, Ruth, who has served effectively  on the Board of Supervisors and is running for re-election alongside Rich in November.
Rich represents another recruiting coup for Republicans in Prince William, following D.J. Jordan in HD-31 , Ian Lovejoy in HD-50 , Marty Nohe for Board Chairman , Alyson Satterwhite for School Board Chairman , and Mike May for Commonwealth’s Attorney .
On a personal note, I live in HD-51 and in Occoquan District. I reached out to Rich directly and asked him about his thoughts of how 2019 is shaping up, given Republican recruitment strength and what’s been happening down in Richmond . Anderson replied back:
“I look to the future with confidence because no two elections are alike. 2017 was one election, and 2019 will be another. Politics and elections are pendulums that swing back-and-forth. The speed of the swing is directly related to the quality of a given term in office.
“I look forward to again spending my days with the people of Prince William County who are focused not on the chaos, embarrassment, and progressive extremism in Richmond, but on the kitchen table issues of importance to their families.”
Rich’s website can be found here: www.richanderson.com 
More on #PWCBattleground:
This article is part of the ongoing series #PWCBattleground, featuring updates and analysis for the 2019 races in Prince William County.