By Courtney Ridenhour
This is T.J. Aldous’ first political rodeo.
The Charlottesville tax attorney is the first to jump into the arena and take on Deeds since the Democrat became a state Senator in 2001. Deeds served in the House of Delegates from 1991 until 2001.
But Aldous says he is not intimidated by his opponent’s experience—or his clout. Deeds, a Bath County Democrat, raised more than $16 million in his 2009 gubernatorial bid.
“In fact, it’s because of his record, it’s because of his values, the things that he has done … that is the whole motivation of my running,” Aldous said. “I disagree with the direction he wants to take Virginia.”
The Republican nominee said his decision to run was based on his desire for change. Aldous said he first thought about taking public office after a family trip to Washington last summer.
“As we were looking at those sites, I saw my son, the look in his eyes … I could see in his eyes this desire, this understanding of our country,” Aldous said. “And I started thinking about what I’ve done for my country … and all of my concerns for the direction we’re heading.”
Aldous said he wants to move away from “politics as usual and find solutions that matter.”
He criticized Deeds for focusing on appealing to voters statewide rather than those in the district he represents.
“Deeds said at the beginning of this campaign that his number one priority is redistricting and that shows to me that he is out of touch with the average voter,” Aldous said.
The 2011 election is pivotal for Republicans. If the GOP gains three seats in the Senate, it will hold a majority—and the opportunity to draw Congressional lines.
A win for Aldous would get Republicans one seat closer to controlling the Senate.
The 25th District covers parts of Albemarle, Charlottesville, Rockbridge, Nelson, Alleghany, Bath and Highland counties.
The Hershey, Pa., native graduated from Brigham Young University and attended the University of Kansas law school. Aldous earned a master’s degree in taxation from New York University. After graduating, he moved to Charlottesville. He returned to the city with his wife and three children in 2009 after living in Richmond and Colorado.
His campaign focuses on creating private sector jobs, limiting government regulation, strengthening families, and keeping taxes and government spending low.
Throughout the campaign, Aldous has emphasized getting to know voters.
“I think the best approach is to get to know people individually,” he said. “Going door-to-door, going to fairs, going to middle schools, just being able to interact one-on-one.”