...[Vance] Wilkins is back. The 77-year-old is unhappy with the recent failures of the Republican Party and is running to become chairman of the 6th Congressional District Republican Committee. He made the decision to seek the post earlier this month. He will work Republican mass meetings across the district in hopes of securing the chairmanship from incumbent Wendell Walker of Lynchburg at the 6th District Convention in April.
In early June, Republican Bryce Reeves organized a low-dollar, meet-and-greet in Spotsylvania County for his state Senate candidacy. Among friends and volunteers was someone rarely seen these days at political events, much less outside his hill-country haunt: Vance Wilkins.
Installed in 2000 as the first GOP House speaker, Wilkins was hounded from office 30 months later by a sexual-harassment scandal. His wilderness years are ending. Wilkins is quietly coaching Republican candidates for the Senate, the last redoubt of Democratic power at the statehouse.
"I'm trying to keep them from making the same mistakes I made the first time I ran," says Wilkins, his fluty voice punctuated by his signature tremulous giggle.