RICHMOND, Va. -- Delegate Brian J. Moran resigned Friday from his Virginia House seat and leadership post as head of the Democratic Caucus to run for governor full time.
Moran, 49, of Alexandria, is in a hotly contested three-way Democratic primary battle for the party's nomination in the 2009 governor's race.
He notified Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Friday of his intention to resign immediately from the House of Delegates seat he has held since 1996. Kaine, a Democrat, is considering a date for a special election to fill the seat, press secretary Gordon Hickey said.
Moran announced his resignation in a letter e-mailed to constituents Friday afternoon. He wrote in the letter that he would be campaigning full time for governor.
"You deserve the full attention of your representative in the legislative work this coming year," Moran wrote.
"This will be a long campaign against difficult opponents," he added in his letter to supporters.
Another legislator, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, of Bath County, is also running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He has not announced plans to leave his legislative post.
Both announced their intent to run almost a year ago, but the race was turned upside down during the fall when former Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe jumped into the race.
McAuliffe, who has hired senior campaign advisers, won't make his decision official until Jan. 7, one week before the 2009 General Assembly convenes.
His ability to raise tens of millions of dollars from a vast network of national donors he cultivated as DNC chief and as chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign sent the Moran and Deeds campaigns into overdrive.
Since the Nov. 4 election, both Moran and Deeds have been aggressively lining up and announcing endorsements of Democratic leaders and officeholders statewide.
The winner of the June Democratic primary will face Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell in the fall election. McDonnell is uncontested for the Republican nomination.
Moran's departure creates the third vacancy in the House to be filled heading into the 2009 legislative session. Until the vacancies are filled, the resignations leave the GOP with 52 of the 100 House seats, the Democrats with 43, and two seats held by independents who organize with the Republicans.
Kaine has scheduled a Jan. 6 special election to fill the seats of Republican Terrie L. Suit of Virginia Beach, who left to take a lucrative position with a lobbying firm, and Democrat Dwight C. Jones, who was elected mayor of Richmond last month.
Copyright AP - Associated Press