Saturday, May 16, 2009

Joh Bowerbank Withdraws From Lt. Governor's Race

Because I've been out of pocket since yesterday, I just heard the news about Jon Bowerbank dropping out of the Lt. Governor's race a few hours ago. I actually read it first in the Washington Post as I was skimming the paper. Then, I went on line and saw the email from his campaign, which I am reprinting in full:
For Immediate Release

Contact: Brigit Helgen

May 15, 2009 703-549-5254

Statement from Jon Bowerbank Suspending His Campaign

Cedar Bluff, VA - Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Jon Bowerbank today released the following statement:

"For the past year and a half, I have traveled the length and breadth of our great Commonwealth. I have been inspired by the people of Virginia, the commitment of the various candidates and elected officials I have met along the way and by the many people who are such an important part of our democracy ... committed volunteers, activists, reporters, editors and bloggers just to name a few.

I have had the pleasure of occupying a front row seat at numerous major political events, debates and forums. I have spent a significant amount of time getting to know the other candidates for various offices. I have also learned a great deal about the issues that confront the people and institutions of our Commonwealth.

My campaign for Lieutenant Governor was born from a desire to be of greater service to the people of Virginia. That desire has not wavered. In fact, I have found that my service as a member of the Board of Supervisors in Russell County is extremely satisfying. I feel that my colleagues and I are really making a difference in the lives of the people we serve.

I firmly believe that my central campaign premise - increasing job creation for Virginia centralized through green/non-conventional energy and rebuilding our core infrastructure while we retool our educational systems - is as sound now as it was 18months ago. In fact, it is probably even more critical as we are all unfortunately in the midst of a severe economic crisis not experienced since the Great Depression.

However I am responsible first and foremost to my family and my employees at EMATS and because of those responsibilities for the next 30 days and the next 6 months, I would no longer be able to devote my energies to this campaign full time. I believe Virginia and the Democratic Party need someone who can devote their full attention and energy to the job of being the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor

I have, therefore, reached a decision to suspend my campaign and to throw my full and unqualified endorsement behind the candidacy of Jody Wagner. I have gotten to know Jody well on the campaign trail and believe she would be a great nominee and a great Lieutenant Governor.

I have also come to know Mike Signer, and I wish him well now and in the future. My decision to endorse Jody is not a negative reflection on him.

I care deeply about Virginia and I fear that to continue this campaign at this time would simply cause tumult and acrimony and give aid and comfort to those who stand in the way of the process. I want to be part of a unified Democratic Party now and in the future, and I believe my decision is in the best interest of the party.

I want to personally thank those who have been so supportive of me. My Congressman, Rick Boucher, was an early and enthusiastic supporter as were former Congresswoman Leslie Byrne, State Senators Chap Petersen and Phillip Puckett and Delegates Dan Bowling, Bud Phillips, Lionel Spruill, and Joe Johnson. I also wish to thank the 100+ elected and party officials that have endorsed my candidacy. I especially want to thank my family for the sacrifices they made as I traveled across the state and I look forward to spending more time with them.

I am very grateful to my staff; they have worked hard for me and I have said many times that I have the hardest working campaign and we were positioned well. I hope they will all work as hard for our nominee as they have worked for me.

I have also made a decision to return political contributions to those who have supported my campaign. I will instruct my staff in the coming days to prepare checks to refund those contributions.

Now simply wasn't my time. I resolutely believe, however, that my time will come. In the future I intend to again offer myself for public service. When that time comes I will be prepared to run and to serve.

Today is the two year anniversary of the death of my hero ... my father ... Tom Bowerbank. He and I shared a great admiration of Winston Churchill. My father taught me this quote of Winston Churchill's. "Never give in! Never give in! Never, never, never, never - in nothing great and small - large and petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense."

I believe my decision to give in on this campaign is based on honour and good sense and, in that respect, I hope this would have made Winston, and my father, proud."

I was deeply saddened by Jon's dropping out of the race. In the time that I've gotten to know him, I have found him to be a tireless campaigner, dedicated to winning this race and furthering progressive values throughout the state. I can't even begin to guess the real reason that he has withdrawn but I wish him well and hope this won't be the last that we see him on the campaign trail.

Although Bowerbank has thrown his support behind Jody Wagner, Lowell has some thoughts about who will be the beneficiary of his move.

I think this is an "on the one hand...then again, on the other hand" situation. On the face of it, Wagner benefits because she gets all of Bowerbank's supporters. And it's always impressive to undecideds when they hear that a candidate's opponent bowed out and endorsed them.

But on the other hand, the anti-establishment, progressive wing of the party is no longer split. So, this might simply be a case of which side gets their voters to the polls in greater numbers. One thing I agree with Lowell about is that both of these remaining contenders are excellent candidates, both of whom I respect a great deal. But my mind's not made up yet.

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