The Loudoun County Democrats’ candidate for sheriff, Brian P. Allman, does not appear to have a campaign Web site yet, but he is already making an impact on the sheriff contest – and possibly other races as well.
According to Leesburg Today, Allman has filed a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against fellow Democrat – and key party volunteer – Larry Roeder. Allman’s suit reportedly claims both that Roeder defamed Allman in the course of challenging Allman’s petition for membership in the Loudoun County Democratic Committee (LCDC), and that Roeder plans to run for sheriff himself.
Presumably the situation at LCDC is still quite fluid, but some of the questions likely to be addressed in the imminent future are:
- whether the committee will hear any challenges to Allman’s standing as the Democratic nominee – which he was named in late March;
- if he remains the nominee, how to repair the relationship such that Allman’s candidacy can be promoted in the same manner as the campaigns of other Democratic nominees; and
- whether the LCDC will provide any legal or financial assistance to Roeder in his response to the suit.
(LCDC Chairwoman Valerie Suzdak has not responded to FirewallNOVA’s request for comment, but if she does we will update this post.)
If the LCDC withdraws support for Allman’s candidacy, either by actually withdrawing the nomination or as a result of a lack of enthusiasm among LCDC members, the door will appear even more open for another candidate (ahem) to enter the race, than already is the case.
In addition to legal and financial complications brought about by having a candidate sue a committee member, in this case the target is someone who has been an instrumental volunteer for the LCDC. Roeder has opened portions of his home to serve as grassroots headquarter offices in past election seasons for the Democrats, and has dedicated many personal hours of work. Will Roeder be able to contribute to the same extent for the 2015 campaign season?
Normally, the formula for winning a local campaign would include some combination of: A) access to piles of money, and B) the goodwill of an army of grassroots volunteers. If A is lacking, it must be made up for with B, and vice versa. Presumably, even without this lawsuit, the LCDC would have to consider carefully where to allocate money and labor for the many races taking place. Now, that calculation will be more complex, especially if Allman remains the nominee. And to the extent that Allman was going to be responsible for coming up with most of his campaign resources anyway, as all candidates are, it will be interesting to see whether he will draw money, or activists, or both.
From an outsider’s perspective, the situation has a surreal aspect to it – mainly because of the logistical nightmare facing the LCDC, but also because of the surprise factor in learning Larry Roeder is accused of wanting the sheriff’s job. That would seem to contradict his public image.
But for an already-bizarre campaign that has been conducted more in newspaper comment sections than anywhere else (in fact, if you search the Web, most of the statements you can find from Brian Allman regarding the campaign are newspaper comments), maybe surreal is the new normal.
In April, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reported that Allman has filed at least 25 civil lawsuits over the past few decades. In the course of one case, he allegedly repeatedly referred to an opposing attorney using a term for a part of the female anatomy.
The Times-Mirror asked Suzdak, the LCDC chair, about that allegation against Allman, and Suzdak said it “wasn’t something that raised to the level of major concern to me where I felt like he wouldn’t be able to be a strong candidate and be able to do the job as sheriff when he gets elected …. We’re happy to have him as the nominee and we’re looking forward to November.”
Presumably the LCDC’s nomination procedure is being rethought and its level-of-concern meter has been recalibrated.