RICHMOND — Delegate David L. Englin’s announcement that he will not seek a fifth term in the Virginia House of Delegates surprised observers, but the news was greeted with cautious respect by members of his party Tuesday.
Mr. Englin on Monday night admitted at an Alexandria Democratic Committee meeting that he had been unfaithful to his wife, Shayna, and that he would not seek re-election in order to focus on mending his marriage.
Delegate Mark D. Sickles on Tuesday thanked the Alexandria Democrat for his efforts to combat discrimination, his work to improve transparency in the governmental process and for carrying the 2009 bill that banned smoking in restaurants in the state.
“The Minority Leader, David Toscano, and I wish David the best as he makes the eventual transition back to private life,” Mr. Sickles, Fairfax Democrat, said in a statement. “As a neighbor in an adjoining district, I have enjoyed working with David in the General Assembly, and know that his service to his community is not over. On behalf of the Caucus, we wish him the very best in all his future undertakings.”
Mr. Englin has been seen as a rising star in the party. He is a co-founder of the progressive caucus and an outspoken presence during House floor sessions. National Journal in 2006 listed Mr. Englin as one of the top nine up-and-coming stars in Virginia politics.
He gained notoriety during this year’s session as one of the leading voices arguing against a bill that will require women to undergo ultrasound imaging before having an abortion.
Mr. Englin has also been mentioned as a potential successor to Rep. James P. Moran Jr. when Mr. Moran, a Democrat, retires from Congress.
Democratic strategist Paul Goldman said Mr. Englin’s decision wouldn’t necessarily preclude him from returning to political life.
“David was highly regarded, and I think a lot of people thought he had a chance to move up the ladder down in Richmond,” said Mr. Goldman, who has served as an adviser to Democratic former Govs. Mark R. Warner and L. Douglas Wilder. “This is a personal thing, and tragic, but I don’t think it’ll change anybody’s opinion about his ability to come back at a later date if things change in his life.”
Mr. Englin said during Monday’s announcement that it would be his only public statement on his marriage.
“Shayna and I ask everyone to please respect our family’s privacy as we work through what is a very difficult, personal and painful time,” he said.