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Rousselot Vies for State Democratic Leadership

Update on 12/5 — Brian Moran won the voting and will be the next chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Peter Rousselot, who wrapped up a four year term as the chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee earlier this year, is hoping that fellow Dems choose him to lead the state Democratic party. Members of the party’s Central Committee will choose the next state party chairman by a vote at a meeting in Newport News on Saturday.

But Rousselot has formidable competition in the form of Brian Moran, brother of Rep. Jim Moran.

Moran, a top lobbyist for the for-profit college industry, is benefiting from his family pedigree, his 13 years in the Virginia House of Delegates and a long list of key endorsements. Rousselot, fighting an uphill battle, cites the work he’s done for the party in Arlington and the full-time commitment he’d be able to give to the job of chair.

“If you elect me as DPVA Chair, I pledge to serve out the entirety of my term, devoting myself full-time to my role until May 2013,” Rousselot said in an email to committee members. Moran, on the other hand, would likely keep his day job.

Rousselot says the party should contest all 140 Virginia Senate and House of Delegates seats, rather than “targeting” a portion of the seats. Moran has a similar message. Both men say the party should develop a stronger communication strategy for statewide races.

Rousselot says he’s confident heading into Saturday’s vote, but is not making any predictions regarding his chances of winning.

“My opponent, Brian Moran, got a several-week head start before I entered the race, and is being publicly supported by several big names in the Democratic Party,” Rousselot said in an email. “However, I believe that my candidacy has defined the agenda for the future of DPVA and has also picked up substantial support.”

Rousselot’s candidacy has gotten a bit of a boost from local political blogger Ben Tribbett.

Tribbett has posted a number of articles on his Not Larry Sabato blog questioning Moran’s seemingly prodigious fundraising ability and predicting that he would push to replace the 2012 statewide Democratic primary in Virginia with a insiders-only party convention.

It’s yet to be seen whether Tribbett’s blog, while widely read by state political-types, will be able to change the minds of any committee members on Saturday. Moran is heavily favored to win the vote.

Update at 4:05 p.m. — Locally-run politics blog Blue Virginia has also run some not-so-flattering posts about Moran, including this one calling him an “Anti-Obama lobbyist.”

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