RICHMOND – Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta County, is considering a bid to seek his party’s nomination in the newly created 3rd Senate district, which includes Staunton, Waynesboro and a part of Augusta County.
If Hanger decided to run, he would be the second Republican to do so after Del. Chris Head, R-Botetourt County, confirmed last week that he would throw his hat into the ring.
Hanger, who has represented the 24th Senate district since 1996, was drawn into the same district as Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham, and Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County,
in the new maps that the Virginia Supreme Court approved in December. Deeds told Cardinal News in January that he was planning to relocate to Charlottesville to seek the Democratic nomination in the newly created 11th district.
Hanger said the area comprising the new 3rd district has been the heart of his district for many years. “But my house has been drawn out of that empty district and combined with two other senators,” he said in an email Wednesday, referring to Deeds and Obenshain.
Hanger’s options are to run against Obenshain in the newly drawn District 2, in the currently vacant District 3 – which would require him to move – or retire from the Senate. “I do not plan to retire, but on the other hand do not feel pressure to make a decision until maybe this time next year,” he said. “I still have about two years remaining on my current term.”
Before he was elected to the Senate, Hanger, 73, a former National Guard commander and a captain in the U.S. Army, served in the House of Delegates from 1983 until 1991, when he was unseated by Deeds. He currently is a member of four committees – Finance and Appropriations, Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources.
While he is currently considering a bid, Hanger underscored that he still has time to weigh his options as he is not up for reelection until November 2023.
“Lots can happen in two years. The district lines might even change if someone were to file a lawsuit and complain about how much the Supreme Court dropped the ball by rubber stamping a plan that seems to have gone to great lengths to pair current members of the legislature in an illogical fashion,” he said.
But for now, every opinion is on the table, Hanger said. “Nesting” is for the birds!”