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Editorial: Time for 2024's political also-rans to take a breather

The many who fell short in bids for Congress should reflect, not jump into their next campaign

In some online political blog or social-media posting in the immediate aftermath of last week’s congressional primaries across Virginia, a cogent observation was made.

We won’t have long to wait, the poster noted, before those who fell short in their nomination races for Congress announce their next bids for office – with both Republican and Democratic also-rans most likely angling for the state post of lieutenant governor.

(The race for governor itself already is crowded, and to run for attorney general one presumably should have a law degree, leaving the lieutenant-governor post the most logical option to many for 2025.)

It has, for so many aspirants, become a never-ending cycle. Lose a race? Hop into the next! As long as there are supporters and interest groups willing to extend the cash to keep running, they will do so.

If only some would have the self-respect to follow the lead of the general Cincinnatus, who according to legend was happy, unless his military skills truly were needed to protect the Roman Republic lo those 2,500 years back, to be tending his fields, with no aspirations to be in the sordid world of politics.

For every Cincinnatus one comes across, there are 100 like the late Harold Stassen, a former Minnesota governor who became best known for hopping from election to election with little chance of victory, seemingly intoxicated by being on the ballot. Such candidates either have no self-awareness they have become punchlines, or are simply too glassy-eyed to care.

So, also-rans of last week, please take a long hard look and decide whether you really need to hop into another political campaign. A breather might be the better field to tend.