Ohneiser to Challenge Plowman

Reliable sources tell FirewallNOVA that former school-board member Bob Ohneiser will challenge Republican Jim Plowman in 2015 for Plowman’s current position as Loudoun county’s Commonwealth’s Attorney. Ohneiser’s last bid for public office resulted in a loss as he sought to trade his Broad Run district seat on the school board for the at-large spot, by challenging incumbent Tom Reed. Reed won that race with 56%. Ohneiser took 31% in a three-way fight that gave 12% to Jay Bose.

Plowman’s last race was against Democratic challenger Jennifer Wexton, in 2011, with Plowman winning reelection by 52% to 48%, a surprisingly close showing for first-time candidate Wexton (who went on to win the vacated state Senate seat previously held by now-AG Mark Herring, by an impressive 53% to 37% victory over Republican John Whitbeck, with Joe May taking his own 10% as an independent).

Ohneiser’s political history is complicated. He started out in Loudoun politics as a Republican, then joined the county Democratic committee while a sitting member of the school board. His successful (and unsuccessful) campaigns must be viewed through the lens of a bookkeeper, too, as he has never spent more than $1,000 on a campaign, and never accepted donations from anyone. Most likely, that will have to change if he seriously plans a bid to be his county’s prosecutor.

The race for CA is never considered a marquee battle, being overshadowed by the county board, school board, house of delgates, and state senate races. Mostly, the seat is pulled along by the coat-tails of whichever party wins those other races (the 5/2/2 board victory for the Democrats in 2007 didn’t have the chance to pull a candidate, as only John Flannery rose to “challenge” Plowman then, with a last-minute write-in campaign). With the current all-Republican BOS in Loudoun taking a lot of mixed press for its school decisions, and county politics being as pendulous as they are, maybe Ohneiser will have the momentum he needs to win next year.

If nothing else, this reminds us that the 2015 races are already under way.

JimBob

Shawn Williams Hires Cliff Keirce

This is either a grand gesture of inclusion, or else the boldest use of the Pac-Man defense ever. From Loudoun’s Broad Run district supervisor Shawn Williams’s newsletter:

I am pleased to announce that Cliff Keirce has joined my staff to assist with land use and development issues on a part-time basis. Cliff previously served Loudoun County on the Government Reform Commission and the Planning Commission. He has also served as the president of the Broadlands Homeowners Association. I’m excited about the land use expertise and deep community knowledge Cliff will bring to this role. He will be helping my office with large projects like planning for Metrorail and other land use and development initiatives.

Keirce, who was Democratic supervisor Stevens Miller’s nominee to the previous county Planning Commission, ran as an independent (along with now-forgotten Potomac district supervisor Andrea McGimsey, who ran as a Democrat) against Williams in 2011. Williams took a clear victory with 42% over McGimsey’s 35%. Keirce’s respectable (for an independent) total of 22% was big enough that those looking for an excuse for incumbent McGimsey’s loss have sometimes blamed Keirce for it (being abusive to her staff aides probably didn’t help McGimsey much, either). Regardless of who’s to blame for what, this decision by Williams to bring his former opponent into his policy-making team (and Keirce’s decision to join that team) at least suggests a kind of broader perspective on leadership than Loudoun’s current, all-Republican board has tended to show. Time will tell, but it’s worth watching.

Loudoun Nonprofit Grant Application for FY 15 is Online

Loudoun County nonprofit grant
Nonprofit grants for FY 15 are available to organizations providing services to Loudoun County citizens

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors today issues its annual call to community non-profit organizations for funding consideration. Funding opportunities are available to organizations that provide services to Loudoun County citizens. The amount of funding for Fiscal Year 2015, if any, will be determined as part of the county

Did Loudoun BOS Violate FOIA?

The source of the advice to, “never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel,” is disputed, but its wisdom is not up for debate. Three first-term members of the Loudoun county board of supervisors might be excused for not heeding it, but Scott York leading a pack of four is surprising. Their joint letter (about the board’s spending policies) to the Loudoun Times-Mirror makes a few valid points, but, even as ink is being replaced by electrons, it may not have been their best move to tackle the LTM’s February 26, 2014 editorial on the LTM’s own Web site. Editors have a way of getting the last word in front of their readers, which York should know.

But, wise or risky, perhaps a more intriguing question created by their letter is this: How did four out of nine members of the board of supervisors write a joint letter about spending the county’s money when the Virginia Freedom of Information Act forbids more than two of them to meet, even electronically, while discussing public business?

Ignoring good advice is one thing. Ignoring the state’s transparency laws… that’s another.