King Vs York, A Tale Of Two Wagers

Scott York announces campaign
In the battle of wagers, Scott York comes out looking prescient regarding the Republican electorate.

No one knows what’s going to happen in the Loudoun County elections on Tuesday, as is always the case, because there is almost never any polling conducted. In the race for chair of the Board of Supervisors, predictions are particularly hard because four people are running, two of whom are Independents and likely to cut into whatever party loyalty might exist in 2015.

Both Republican Charlie King and Independent Scott York took the leap of faith every would-be candidate must make prior to tossing their hats in the ring, but they’ve each taken a further risk in their respective approaches during the campaign.

York’s wager was an obvious one, in retrospect, but still a gamble at the time: With overwhelming name recognition throughout Loudoun County, and a reputation for being on the preservationist side of the question of development in the West, he decided to make a strong play for Republican votes by immediately endorsing a number of Republican candidates.

York had most recently won office after joining the Republican ticket in 2011, riding the wave of a Republican sweep of county offices. As an Independent in 2015, he sought a different wave: of dissatisfaction among the Republican rank-and-file, and willingness to reject party authority.

In case you hadn’t seen the news lately, this turns out to be a most excellent year in terms of Republican willingness to reject party authority. If there were ever a year for banking on voters to defy the local Republican Party and their “pledge,” 2015 is that year. Kudos must go to Scott York for reading the tea leaves correctly, and discerning from the temperament of the electorate following the Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) convention that there might have been dissension in the ranks afterwards. One of York’s endorsements was of Republican Sheriff Mike Chapman, who prevailed in a primary contest at the convention.

steve-simpson_charlie-king
Steve Simpson (L) and Charlie King had what appeared to be a joint PR effort to reduce the authority of Mike Chapman’s Sheriff’s Office.

Which brings us to Charlie King’s wager. King faced a tough situation already, before York even joined the race, because a vocal part of King’s support came from a faction of the LCRC which worked to defeat Sheriff Chapman before the convention, and afterward lauded in social media and elsewhere the fact that Steve Simpson was jumping from the Republican fold to run as an Independent against Chapman. The, uh, “pledge” be damned.

If anyone had a stake in the generic concept of Republican loyalty and keeping the pledge, it was Charlie King. But right off the bat, an influential part of the LCRC said, in effect, “we don’t need no stinking pledge, voting for Independent candidates is ok,” their celebratory fist bumps became roundhouses to King’s face, and into that Perot-sized opening stepped Scott York.

How would King respond? Well, interestingly. In a campaign that has been absent prominent discussion of major issues, and in which the King campaign has garnered very few headlines in the local news for taking a stance on policy matters, King apparently decided last month to take a virtual jab at Sheriff Chapman by calling for creation of a county police department. That actually may be the only issue-oriented headline King has gotten this year. Scott York weighed in to correct King’s assertion that the idea had not been sufficiently explored, and to educate King about the fact that the bigger decision would be changing Loudoun County’s form of government (an odd oversight on King’s part).

Steve Simpson, for his part, quickly joined in with what appeared a lot like a tag-team effort against Chapman.

In terms of public perception, the notion that Charlie King was part of the “Steve Simpson wing of the LCRC” was not repudiated, to say the least: King seems to be wagering he can pull maximum votes from the anti-Chapman Republicans, tick off the other half of the local Republican electorate, and still pull out a win in the general election.

King is a smart man and he does seem to understand politics, but one can be forgiven for questioning his math.

Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio and Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman both campaigned actively against Mike Chapman back in April, before the convention, but since then have said nary a word about the race for sheriff and certainly nothing publicly to disparage Chapman. Both men might have believed they had some political capital to burn in opposing a popular Republican sheriff.

We can’t know how Republican or Independent voters have been influenced by these political maneuvers, if at all. We can’t even say if it will matter in the end: The big winner from the battle between King and York for Republican votes could be the Democratic candidate, Phyllis Randall. If she holds onto the majority of Democratic votes, and makes some inroads with Independents, and York and King split their voters somewhat evenly, Randall could emerge with a plurality.

Two factors point to King ending up on the losing side of his wager (which, for the record, I don’t want to see happen – Charlie King would make a great chair of the Loudoun Board).

First, York absolutely crushed the competition in fundraising. York lapped the field by raising more than his three opponents’ combined totals so far. But more importantly, York seems to have taken a huge share of potential Republican dollars. Charlie King raised less than $50,000, on top of $28,000 in loans to himself. Scott York raised quadruple that amount even as a very late entrant to the campaign. In fact, nine of the district supervisor candidates raised more money than King.

republican-charlie-king
The message of King’s campaign in the final week is that he is the “Republican” candidate.

Second, King’s promotional campaign, which seems to have begun last week (at least at this Sterling household), appears to acknowledge that he’s Republican-challenged. The message of his mail pieces is that Charlie King is THE Republican in the race, in case you didn’t know.

A robo-call from Ken Cuccinelli this morning had the same message, and “Republican Charlie King” seems, along the lines of “Pistol Pete Maravich” or “Broadway Danny Rose,” like the drumbeat phrase we are supposed to internalize in the final week of the campaign.

Which is all fine and good, and probably necessary, especially when one of the King campaign’s most resonant public statements of the past two months was for a position opposed by our Republican sheriff, and supported by the Independent and Democratic candidates for sheriff. In a year when voters seem more than willing to thumb their noses at the party anyway, King has to hope he is the one to inspire loyalty among Loudoun County Republicans.

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Charlie King’s Senior Staff Quits

Ashburn Rising reports that Charlie King’s campaign manager, Tom Julia, has quit the campaign. Amazingly, they also quote him as saying he is not endorsing any candidate for chair. Perhaps because it is the right thing for an officer of a party to do when he can’t endorse his own nominees, Julia has also resigned from the RPV.

The Loudoun Times-Mirror confirms the departure and resignation, adding also that senior campaign staffer Chad Campbell has also quit King’s campaign. They report that Republican David O’Connell will serve in place of both Julia and Campbell.

It’s true that campaign staff come and go, but local races don’t have much “staff,” with the manager often being the only paid worker on a campaign. To lose his manager this close to election day is not a good thing for King.

King-Charlie-Campaign-300x300

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Delgaudio And York Say Democrats’ Mixed-Use, Library Proposals Won’t Work In Sterling

Eugene Delgaudio, Scott York, Phyllis Randall
“NO” TO MIXED-USE IN STERLING: Eugene Delgaudio (L) and Scott York say Phyllis Randall’s redevelopment concept is wrong for the community.

The two Loudoun County supervisors who live in Sterling don’t always agree, but they are on the same page in rejecting a supervisor candidate’s call for new residential development in the district.

Longtime residents Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Scott York (I-At Large) say the Sterling community does not need the type of redevelopment sought by Phyllis Randall, a Democratic Party nominee who lives in Lansdowne and is running for York’s position as Board chair in the November elections.

Among her suggestions for Sterling District, Randall recommended “redevelopment of some of their shopping areas to mixed use communities.”

In a newsletter earlier this week, Delgaudio said “‘redevelopment’ is the wrong word to use in Sterling.” He warned that Randall’s plan would mean density-packing of new residences, and a corresponding negative impact on schools, traffic and emergency services.

Delgaudio told FirewallNOVA that converting existing shopping areas to mixed-use “will lead to residential high-rises and apartments that will change the character of the Sterling community.”

York agreed that Randall’s suggestion to bring mixed-use developments is “very concerning.”

“Sterling doesn’t need to be redeveloped,” York said. “The shopping center needs to be revitalized. But other than that, I like the community the way it is. I’m not going to support any plan of hers to come in and try to density-pack Sterling.”

Randall’s fellow Democrat, Koran Saines, who is running against Delgaudio for the Sterling seat, sounded a similar note, saying he envisions “revitalizing” the district in a way that would “not take away from the character of Sterling Park.”

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BREAKING: Loudoun Times-Mirror Uncovers Republicans Supporting Republicans

Republican members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors are all supporting Republican candidates in the November elections, which means none of them are supporting the Independent candidate for chair, the Loudoun Times-Mirror has revealed. The only Board member who is not supporting the Republican candidate for chair is Shawn Williams, who left the GOP last month when making plans to run as an Independent and is supporting Scott York, also an Indepedent, for chair.

The Loudoun Time-Mirror labels this turn of events a “curious political dynamic.”

Since the local press, god bless’em, provide fuller coverage of retail openings and closings than of local politics, far be it from us to dampen their enthusiasm when they do venture down this weird, perplexing road. We should, however, be willing to help smooth the path when possible.

These political parties are, in some respects, mysteries wrapped in enigmas wrapped in press releases, and thus inscrutable. In other ways, however, they are simple.

Let us attempt to untangle the Case of the Curious Dynamic.

A Mystery Surfaces

The roiling controversy did not spring up ex nihilo this week, mind you. It was actually born long ago, in the faint, hazy past of earlier this month.

Trevor Baratko of Loudoun Times-Mirror
HELP ME OUT HERE: Loudoun Times-Mirror reporter (right) attempts to get a handle on how Republicans could be supporting the Republican candidate for Board chair.
At the Republican “unity” event in Leesburg on June 5, during the interview portion, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reporter noted the Republican supervisors were standing in support of Republican nominee for chair, Charlie King, instead of current chair, Scott York, the Independent. The reporter asked why they have “switched gears” to support King, when in the past they have praised York’s work on the Board.

Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) took a stab at it: “Because we’re Republicans.”

Not so easily turned aside, the reporter pursued: “That’s it?”

After a pause of two seconds that felt like 20, Supervisor Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) mercifully chimed in with a critique of York that went a bit beyond what Charlie King had covered in-depth ten minutes earlier, getting time moving again and the reporter off the hook.

How That Pledge, Such As It Is, Works

Since that lesson apparently did not sink in, we shall review the main requirement of campaigning under the Republican label.

Despite what we have already established about the overall bogosity of the LCRC pledge, one part is less bogus than the others, and that is where if you are a Republican candidate for office, you don’t publicly support non-Republicans running against Republicans. Nobody would likely go through the trouble of getting the GOP nomination if not prepared to jump through that particular hoop.

Republicans are going to support Republicans publicly, almost every time. That is not a piece of shocking news. Any Republican candidate doing otherwise would be shocking, not to mention enormously inconvenient for the candidate.

That’s what would constitute a news flash.

And anybody bothering to read this political blog is probably saying to themselves, “Well, duh.” (Except at the LTM, where I imagine the reaction is: “The hell you say!”)

To be sure, there are curious aspects to the 2015 campaign for Board of Supervisors, in that the local Republican Party was split over the sheriff primary contest last month, and one faction in that battle is tied closely to the campaign of Charlie King. Oaths were uttered, suspicions raised, charges of treason tossed around, and some say bridges might have been burned. But that is inside-inside baseball. Even in that cloudy picture, most of the GOP will be pro-GOP for public attribution. If you want to report that story, you will have to dig deep into a thicket of anonymous sources.

But the question of whether any Loudoun Republican nominee, anywhere, is going to publicly support Scott York, is about as newsworthy as mosquitoes biting in summer.

Yes, we reported last week that York is supporting several Republicans this year. But he – above all people – likely knows it would be a man-bites-dog story if any were reciprocated.

When it comes to public endorsements, the “I” also stands for “Island,” which is what Scott York is on.

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“Encourage A Culture Of Respect”: Interview With Phyllis Randall

Phyllis Randall Democratic candidate
Phyllis Randall: Clear policy ideas and a commitment to “facilitate consensus” on the Loudoun Board.

After a decade of unprecedented growth, Loudoun County faces a new phase of changes and opportunities. Phyllis Randall believes it’s time for fresh leadership, and a new tone of openness and ethics in county government.

The Democratic Party nominee for chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (BOS), Randall has a twenty-year history of volunteer service in roles of increasing responsibility, including her current position as vice chair of the Virginia Board of Corrections. Throughout her time in public service, Randall has also maintained a career in the mental health field, which she intends to put on hold if elected to the Loudoun BOS.

In a recent interview with FirewallNOVA, Randall set forth a clear policy agenda regarding education, development, attracting businesses, and the need to revisit the county’s Comprehensive Plan. On education, for instance, she’s committed to increasing science/math/technology and vocational instruction, and establishing a more cooperative relationship between the BOS and the School Board. She has specific ideas about the Loudoun Gateway and Ashurn Station Metro developments. She wants to improve the transportation grid to make the county more business-friendly (a proposal echoed the other day in Reston with regard to the Silver Line).

In the area of politics, Randall takes exception to the idea that Sterling’s Eugene Delgaudio is attracting Democrats to vote for him.

Moreover, beyond politics and policy, Phyllis Randall thinks it’s time to put a new “face” on Loudoun County. The current chair, Scott York (whom we interviewed earlier this week) has held the office since 2001. Randall wants to apply her own leadership experience to make the government more open, and “build a respectful relationship that honors the job we have been elected to do for the citizens of the county.”

FWN: For Loudoun residents who don’t know about you: I think of you as a “moderate” Democrat. Is that true, and what does it mean?

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“The Next Four Years Will Be Critical”: Interview With Scott York

Scott York, Loudoun Chairman
Scott York: Two decades of leadership and “steady presence” in Loudoun County

Chairman Scott York thinks the decisions facing the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors over the next four years are too important to be used as on-the-job training.

Having served as Board chair since 2001, York was planning to leave public office when the current term concludes at the end of the year. But after being on the receiving end of an “outpouring of concern for the quality of leadership” from constituents, he reconsidered, and is running for a fifth term.

York is running for the office once again as an Independent, as he did prior to the current term, and will face declared challengers Charlie King (Republican), Phyllis Randall (Democrat), and Tom Bellanca (Independent).

In a recent interview with FirewallNOVA, York discussed the key upcoming challenges and opportunities for the next Board, his message to voters of all political persuasions, fellow Sterling resident Eugene Delgaudio, York’s endorsements for county offices, and various other issues. (This is part of an occasional series of candidate interviews prior to the November 3 elections. FirewallNOVA plans to interview Republican nominee Charlie King in the near future. Democrat Phyllis Randall and Independent Tom Bellanca have not yet made themselves available for interviews.)

By not participating in the Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) convention, York is again able to launch his Independent bid without having broken the LCRC “pledge” – the same tack he took earlier in his political career when leaving the GOP. Though he took criticism from LCRC Chairman Mike Haynes, York said the current group of candidates for chair “is simply not qualified to lead the county.”

York believes any voters who “do their homework” or talk to the other candidates will come to the same conclusion.

After serving for four years as Sterling District supervisor, York was elected chairman in 2000 and has held the office ever since. Last month, recognized as “Citizen of the Year” by the Loudoun Times-Mirror and the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, York was praised for his “steady presence” over the four terms, whose “leadership was critical to the historic change in residential and business growth.”

In the coming years, that leadership will be just as crucial, according to York. The next Board will need to handle numerous important policy issues, including: oversight of critical transportation improvements; a long-overdue review of the county’s Comprehensive Plan; Silver Line Comprehensive Plan Amendments, initiated by the current Board to study land uses surrounding the new stations; as well as address school budget funding, new school construction, and requests for all-day kindergarten.

Having previously endorsed Sheriff Mike Chapman for re-election, York is also announcing support for several other candidates in the upcoming elections.

FWN: What are the top issues that will face the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors over the next four years?

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Loudoun Republicans Tout Unity, Growth, Optimism, “New Vision”

Michael Haynes, chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC), observed that “after days of rain and gloomy weather, the sun came out to welcome our candidates,” an appropriate backdrop for Friday’s GOP “Unity” event in Leesburg. Joined by Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck, it served as an unofficial kickoff for the 2015 campaign, a chance to clarify positions on Independent candidates, and an opportunity to smooth over differences from the recent LCRC convention.

This is the second half of our coverage of Friday’s event. As noted in yesterday’s post, Sheriff Mike Chapman carried the GOP’s main message of unity (contrasting with the chaos on the Loudoun Democrats’ ticket).

Loudoun Republican Charlie King
KING: “Integrity is the most important quality of a leader.”

Opening speaker and candidate for chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Charlie King, said, “It’s time for new leadership and a new vision for Loudoun County.” [The Bull Elephant has the full text of King’s remarks.]

King took two Independent candidates to task: Scott York (Board chair), who left the Republican Party, and Steve Simpson (sheriff candidate), who pledged to support the 2015 ticket, and then broke the pledge for a second time since 2007.

Regarding Simpson, King said that for police, “reputation is everything”:

Based on an officer’s word, people will be convicted of crimes and sent to jail. How can Steve Simpson possibly lead the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office when he cannot honor simple promises to play by the rules?

But King focused most of his condemnation on York, his opponent for Board chair. He characterized York’s change of heart about seeking another term as “waffling”:

Loudoun County needs a decisive leader. If Mr. York takes months to make a decision while reversing himself over and over, how can the voters believe he is capable of making the many tough calls the next Board will have to make?

Loudoun Republican Ron Meyer
MEYER: “With Metro coming … we have a lot of opportunities to bring in commercial growth.”

The GOP nominee for Broad Run supervisor, Ron Meyer, highlighted nuts-and-bolts issues showing the Republican ticket unified on “conservative values to make people’s lives better …. Better commute, better schools, better cost of living, a better place to be.” Meyer noted the economic potential of Metro locations coming to Loudoun, and said commercial development will allow the county to continue increasing school funding and road improvements.

Meyer said the best way to seek lower fees on the Greenway is by expanding alternatives to the Greenway: “Take it to their pocket book so we can bring them to the table.”

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It’s All Fun And Games Until They Come After Your Candidate For Chairman

Mike Chapman and Charlie King
LCRC leadership needed to wait two full weeks to defend Sheriff Mike Chapman (L), and presumably will now wait until June 8 to defend Charlie King.

The political business of the day in Loudoun County is called moral equivalence. And business is good.

The local Republican leadership waited a full two weeks to defend Sheriff Mike Chapman against a rebellion contravening party rules, presumably out of prudence and a need to gather all the facts. It is safe to assume, then, that those same leaders will wait another two weeks – until, say, June 8 – to defend Charlie King.

Let’s not do anything rash, please.

Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) Chair Mike Haynes just issued a stern press release which is reprinted below the fold. In it, Haynes calls on former sheriff, former Republican, former Independent, newly-Republican and once again threatening-to-go Independent Steve Simpson, to please stick to the GOP “pledge” that Simpson just signed in order to vote at the LCRC Convention earlier this month.

To recap: Soon after the LCRC Convention results quashed the attempt of a GOP faction to take down Republican Sheriff Mike Chapman, Steve Simpson announced he was considering a run for sheriff as an Independent, despite having just rejoined the LCRC and supported Chapman’s challenger.

It became evident, and not very secret, that some in the anti-Chapman contingent of Republicans might be quietly celebrating Simpson’s entry. Voters need to have a choice, don’t ya know.

Response from the LCRC leadership about this open threat to reneg on the “pledge”? Not a peep.

Presumably Chapman was on his own.

Then yesterday, when Shawn Williams made noises about going back on HIS pledge, and joining the race for chairman, and dealing a very real threat to the head of the Republican ticket, Charlie King…. apparently alarms went off.

As they say in the vernacular: S–t just got real.

And the wink-wink at Steve Simpson became a little too hypocritical for comfort, apparently.

So before Haynes could fire off a press release chastising Shawn Williams – a press release that would pass the laugh test – someone must have whispered in his ear that he’d better, first, address that Steve Simpson fellow who was doing THE EXACT SAME THING two weeks ago.

Unfortunately you cannot back date a press release, but better late than never.

Mike Chapman finally got his party leadership’s support, and in a couple of weeks Haynes can issue a new press release, condemning Shawn Williams, that will not be met with a chorus of guffaws.

Here is the text of today’s LCRC press release.

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