GOP Senate candidate proposes state-run Virginia bank

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Promoting the merits of “small government” may be all the rage for national Republican figures, but in Virginia a GOP politician collecting signatures for a U.S. Senate campaign is proposing something slightly different.

Delegate Bob Marshall, who has represented his northern Virginia district since 1992, introduced a curious piece of legislation on Dec. 27 to establish a joint legislative subcommittee aimed at “establish[ing] a bank owned, controlled, and operated by the Commonwealth.”

Last week news outlets reported that Marshall is weighing another Senate run. He lost the Republican Senate nomination in 2008 to former Gov. Jim Gilmore by a razor-thin margin.

A cursory reading of Marshall’s bill reveals that he is fond of North Dakota’s state-run bank and would like Virginia to follow in its footsteps.

If the idea seems peculiar, the legislation makes it clear that Marshall considers the money-making possibilities a potential boon for his state’s budget.

“[T]he state of North Dakota currently engages in the business of banking, owns, controls, and operates a bank known as the Bank of North Dakota,” the bill notes. “[Virginia] is expected to have a budget shortfall of between $1.8 billion and $3.6 billion in 2010 and North Dakota is expected to have an $800 million budget surplus.”

If Marshall enters the Senate race, he will face former Sen. George Allen and tea party activist Jamie Radtke in the June Republican primary. The party’s nominee will face former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine in November.

Marshall has expressed optimism about his chances, proclaiming last week, “I have clashed many times with Kaine and I have beaten him a number of times… He is the chief cheerleader of Obamacare and I am the chief opponent.”

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