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Loupassi: Money Is For "My Future"

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Loupassi, a criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor, announced earlier this year that he would not seek a fourth term on City Council. A staunch Republican, he has at times been aligned with Democrats, such as Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring. Loupassi's also known — and sometimes criticized — for drawing a wide circle of influential friends.

When his family home on Monument Avenue went on the market recently, insiders were quick to say the move to nearby Stonewall Court would place Loupassi in a different Virginia House of Delegates district, moving from the 73rd — John M. O'Bannon's — to the 68th — Katherine B. Waddell's. An Independent, Waddell narrowly defeated Republican incumbent Brad Marrs in the 2005 general election. (Loupassi's bought his new home, but has yet to move in.)

But Loupassi's not only eyeing the House of Delegates. He acknowledges that his name's been tossed about as a potential Republican nominee for lieutenant governor or attorney general in 2010. But wait four years?

It may be up to Emily Stewart, a political fund-raiser, to help determine what's next. She's worked for Loupassi in the past — helping him raise $80,000 during his uncontested campaign for City Council last year. Now Loupassi says he's retained her for "my future" in politics.

Stewart has been linked to the Republican campaigns of incumbent Delegate H. Morgan Griffith and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who both won in 2005, and to that of Troy Lapetina, who lost a bid to unseat incumbent Delegate William Barlow. According to the Virginia Public Access Project Web site, Stewart earned just over $8,000 from Virginia politicians in consulting fees and reimbursements in 2005. She did not return Style's call for comment by press time.

John V. Moeser, a visiting fellow with the University of Richmond Center for Civic Engagement, says Loupassi may find state politics to be more agreeable than his current position. Typically, he says, the higher you go on the political ladder, the more contentious it becomes. "In Manoli's case it may be the opposite," Moeser says, citing Loupassi's high-profile spot on City Council in which he's gone head-to-head with popular Mayor L. Douglas Wilder.

"Certainly his position has given him wide name recognition," Moeser says, adding that Loupassi's pursuit of statewide office may be no more oppositional than where he is now. S

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