Virginia’s term limits

As you may or may not know, Virginia is the only state in the union that restricts it’s Governors to one term. Well, that’s not quite accurate; Governors can’t run for reelection in Virginia, but they can run again after sitting out at least one term.

It’s a screwy rule, but no one’s ever seen fit to change it, and if there’s one thing you should know about Virginia, it’s that they like being different from other states (just ask a Virginia lawyer. I’m a prosecutor myself, and one of the most difficult parts of the Virginia bar exam was just learning the terminology, which is archaic and unlike any other state).

Anyway, today’s Washington Post has this article where Democratic Governor Mark Warner weighs in with his support for ending the gubernatorial term limits. Over at my blog, we’ve followed this story as it has been knocked around for the last few weeks, spurred mostly by former governors who wish they could have run again (Jim Gilmore, Linwood Holton), and the current Governor.

Here’s why the General Assembly in Virginia will never change the rule: (1) it makes Virginia stand out as unique; and (2) there are too many politicians who want to be Governor, and allowing Governors to run for reelection would limit the opportunities for new faces to get into the mix.

We’ve debated whether it’s good policy or not, but that’s really a moot point, since it’s never going to change. And as a result, we have Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore and Dem Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine looking to move up the ladder in 2005’s gubernatorial election.

BTW, I’d like to thank Erick for giving me the opportunity to guest blog a little here. This blog is one of the best around, and I’m honored to be a part of it, if just for a little while.

About the author

Erick Erickson

View all posts