Stimpson Seeks to Replace House Speaker Howell

Susan Stimpson announced Tuesday that she plans on running for a House of Delegates seat next year, reports The Washington Post. The former chairwoman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors would be running against her one time mentor, and current House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).

Stimpson intends to challenge Howell for the Republican nomination. She hinted at this in an interview last month with The Washington Post but her announcement Tuesday made her plan official.

Howell is one of Richmond’s most influential political figures, making her bid somewhat of a long shot. Her announcement is a representation of of the current divides in the Republican party between “tea-party purists” and more “pragmatic dealmakers”.

“Bill Howell has been a friend, but we have profound policy disagreements,” said Stimpson in a written statement. Once example of these differences is Stimpson’s disapproval of Howell’s support of the tax-heavy, $1.2 billion-a-year transportation funding overhaul that was passed under former governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) in 2013.

Matthew Moran, Howell’s spokesman, said in a statement last month that “The speaker completely respects Susan’s decision to participate in the democratic process [and] believes that competition is healthy.”

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