Questions Before The Elections: Loudoun Democrats At Odds In Sterling

Eugene Delgaudio Sterling Boulevard
Eugene Delgaudio’s campaign won the Sterling “sign wars” and may be about to win an historic fifth term in office.

Every four years, Loudoun County Democrats try to defeat Sterling District Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, a Republican, and every four years for the last sixteen they’ve managed to fail despite massive pre-election bluster and fulminations. This year, a rumor has been circulating in Sterling that the Democrats are not entirely united behind Delgaudio’s opponent, Koran Saines – which raises the question, yet again: Are the Democrats really intent on removing Delgaudio?

That question took on new salience in Sterling the night before last, in a mass email from one of our most well-known local Democrats, a self-identified “longtime Sterling District community and political advocate,” who stated:

Ethics, accountability, community loyalty, and leadership qualities are what I look for in our political leaders. With that said, I strongly support and endorse the eleven (11) candidates below…

The endorsements included many local Democrat office seekers – Randall, Umstattd, Ohneiser, Boysko, Liz Miller, Bell, Murphy, Wexton, Favola – and two running for the non-political offices, Flannery and Sheridan.

Missing was any endorsement in the Sterling District, certainly a significant omission on this person’s list, in the same sense that a missing roof would be a significant omission on a new home.

There was, however, this “note” in small print beneath the letter, “I also encourage you to vote against the current Sterling District Supervisor, Eugene Delgaudio.”

The loyal Democrat felt compelled to state opposition to Delgaudio, without quite being able to identify Delgaudio’s opponent by name. (Which would leave open the option of Sterling Democrats casting a write-in vote).

I don’t know what the problem is with Koran Saines: Having met him, I find him to be an intelligent fellow, not as ideological as you’d expect from a Democrat, and running a decent, albeit quiet, campaign. There has been the traditional dust-up between campaigns over “sign wars,” with Delgaudio claiming on social media that Saines’ campaign is stealing Delgaudio’s campaign signs – although riding around Sterling, one gets the impression Delgaudio has won the sign wars once again.

But whatever is going on on the Democrat side, if there are hard feelings – if Koran Saines or his campaign have appeared untrustworthy or lacking in “ethics, accountability, community loyalty, and leadership qualities” – the Democrats are going to have a tough time defeating a savvy and tireless campaigner like Delgaudio. The Republican seems to thrive on retail politics and will have made an extraordinary amount of personal, direct contact with voters by the time the polls open on Tuesday.

I speculated years ago that if Loudoun County Democrats did not have Eugene Delgaudio, they would have to invent him, because they get so much traction from his statements …. his statements outside the boardroom, that is. His day job as a nationally-known conservative activist is what gets all the attention from his partisan opponents. That Delgaudio makes great fodder for media grandstanding and fundraising letters. His voting record, however, is what you would expect from a Republican: not particularly radical, nor surprising. As an office holder, Delgaudio is a known quantity who everyone admits does care about Sterling and works hard for the district.

And maybe some Democrats are deciding, as many Sterling voters have done for 16 years, that the Delgaudio they know is preferable to a candidate they are not sure about.

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.”

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

“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?

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

Volpe Tops In Local Fundraising Again

suzanne-volpe

In the recent political fundraising reporting period, Algonkian District Supervisor Suzanne Volpe collected $31,942, and had $122,184 on hand as of May 27. Her opponent, Democrat Andrew Resnick, brought in a total of $4,010 from April 1 to May 27. He had $25,279 on hand.

Volpe, a Republican, had the highest money totals of local candidates. Sterling District Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, also a Republican, was next with $84,727 on hand.

See Leesburg Today for the full story.

“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?

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

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.”

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

Interview With Koran Saines – Bringing A Positive Approach To Campaign Against Delgaudio

Koran Saines
An upbeat challenger: Koran Saines will take on incumbent Eugene Delgaudio in the November election for Sterling supervisor.

Sterling’s voters will meet a different kind of Democratic candidate when they get to know Koran Saines during the upcoming campaign season. Upbeat, knowledgeable, and relentlessly positive, the longtime Sterling resident will also pose a new test for Eugene Delgaudio.

Saines prevailed in the Democratic primary earlier this month, winning the nomination to challenge Delgaudio for the Sterling District seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in the November elections.

Previous Democratic campaigns have appeared, to those who live here, overwhelmingly negative and targeting a caricature of the Sterling supervisor that was always a bit off. With messages that could have been cribbed from progressive Web sites, possibly emanating from distant voices in Arlington, Ashburn or Lovettsville, they painted a picture that had no resonance with many residents who know the “real Eugene” (but managed to lock in their already locked-in hardcore base). The cheerful Delgaudio, meanwhile, connected with actual voters – and extended his advantage over opponents who were out chasing ghosts.

Not this time. Koran Saines comes with an agenda that could find supporters in both local parties as well as among Independents, and a message strong on content and noticeably light on ideology.

Much like the incumbent in the orange hat, Saines has nary a negative word to say about his opposition. He seems committed to making lots of personal direct contact. So the question becomes: Can he out-Delgaudio Delgaudio?

In a recent interview with FirewallNOVA, Saines talked about his commitment to Sterling, the importance of collaboration, attracting businesses to improve the local economy, and improving the quality of life in the district. He has a non-partisan attitude and can talk specifics about policy.

Unsurprisingly, Saines has positions that some will oppose. Topics such as education spending and Metro-related projects will engender debate with Delgaudio in the coming months, as will other policy questions that force the candidates to take concrete positions. But from this first impression of the Democratic candidate, I think we can look forward to a lively and intelligent discussion.

FWN: You had a great turnout at the recent Sterling primary, but it is safe to say there are still plenty of Sterling voters who should learn more about you. What do the residents of Sterling need to know about your background?

Continue reading “Interview With Koran Saines – Bringing A Positive Approach To Campaign Against Delgaudio”

“Fighting For What Is Fair”: Interview With Eugene Delgaudio

Delgaudio in Sterling
Eugene Delgaudio talks with a Sterling resident.

While he’s not saying “I told you so,” Eugene Delgaudio says the scope of miscues by Metro authorities is “gigantic” and bears out his warning of a Silver Line boondoggle prior to the last election. At the same time, he thanks his Democratic opponent for recognizing Delgaudio’s accomplishments in bringing improvements to Sterling.

The incumbent Loudoun County supervisor will face Democrat Koran Saines in November for the Sterling District seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Delgaudio recently answered some questions for FirewallNOVA, about his opponent, the Sterling District, Metro and various other issues, including his uncanny ability to get reelected in a Democratic district.

Delgaudio, a Republican, has won the Sterling seat in every election since 1999, making him one of the longest-serving supervisors in county history.

Anecdotally, from spending time with the group over the past few months, I can tell you that Delgaudio enjoys a strong position with area Republicans – even more than in the run-ups to past elections. During the current term in office, he survived a grand jury investigation where the key witness was a disgruntled former employee and turned back a “recall” attempt led by defeated former opponents. So he has something akin to an aura of invincibility that, from my perspective, has increased his stature among not only Sterling supporters but within the Loudoun County Republican Committee as a whole. Everyone respects a survivor.

Following is our interview with Delgaudio. FirewallNOVA looks forward to presenting similar question and answer sessions with other candidates throughout the 2015 election season.

FWN: We now know that Koran Saines has edged out Tony Barney as the Democratic nominee to challenge you in November. What was your reaction on learning of the Sterling primary results?

Continue reading ““Fighting For What Is Fair”: Interview With Eugene Delgaudio”

Sterling Democrats Voting Today For Supervisor Nominee

Until 4 pm today, voting is ongoing for the Democratic candidate to challenge incumbent Eugene Delgaudio for Sterling district supervisor in November. Voting is at the Community Center/Library near the DMV.

Candidate Tony Barney says the turnout so far has been impressive, and that there was a line out the door for quite a while after voting began.

Several people asked me about the LCRC convention and some were under the impression Eugene Delgaudio was being primaried. They were surprised he was still the GOP candidate, and more surprised he was uncontested.

I explained a little about the strength and survivor instinct and the reliability and, yes, the mystique.

Politics and Hyperbole in the Loudoun Sheriff’s Nomination Contest

Delgaudio-Saddam-twitter
One of Eric Noble’s key supporters, Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, employed some “hyperbole” on Twitter in comparing Sheriff Mike Chapman to Saddam Hussein

Having earned a record 91.5% public approval rating, and with the crime rate down 18%, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office under Mike Chapman would seem headed into the 2015 election season on a high note. And by all accounts, among county residents, that is the case.

But within the local political party it’s a different story, and Chapman faces a nomination contest prior to the November elections. Instead of anything resembling smooth sailing, Chapman’s potential path to re-election will be turbulent. He must overcome a Republican faction bearing overheated rhetoric – and taunting Chapman to quit the party – and an opponent leading a mini-rebellion from within the agency (which actually began about the time Chapman took office) who also happens to have the backing of a Republican-turned-Independent, turned-Republican, former sheriff (who always seemed to hold substantial Republican support). And there is a subplot, with sock puppets.

Party politics is about nothing if not chest-thumping, temporary loyalty, brandished in a bellicose spree of righteousness and situational ethics, where a careful observer can almost always pinpoint the irony.

This introduction is the first in a series of articles between now and the May 2 Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) convention, in which we’ll cover some of the complexities of the race for the nomination for sheriff.

Continue reading “Politics and Hyperbole in the Loudoun Sheriff’s Nomination Contest”

“Fact vs Fiction”: Mike Chapman Answers Republican Group’s Attack

Mike Chapman with Brian Reynolds and Ed Levine
Sheriff Mike Chapman (R) with Loudoun Republican supporters Brian Reynolds (L) and Ed Levine. Chapman is opposed by a GOP faction in the upcoming nominating elections on May 2.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman penned a detailed response to a Republican hit piece last month, which has left the GOP faction opposing him, thus far, dumbfounded. Composed within a few hours’ time span, the Chapman article is remarkable both for its comprehensiveness and clarity – in a campaign that, so far, has seen some confusing messages.

As noted in yesterday’s post, the Loudoun County Republican Committee faction supporting Chapman’s “tag team” of opponents includes Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio. “Endorsements” is probably a topic worth its own post, but I will expand a little on what I said yesterday: I think sometimes endorsements reveal more about networking than they do about public policy. The tag team has Delgaudio and Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman and some prominent activists; Chapman has Ollie North, Barbara Comstock, Mike Farris and his own host of prominent Loudoun activists.

I can think of a couple reasons that Delgaudio weighed in on this race, one of which is, half of the tag team duo is former Loudoun deputy Ricky Frye who was stationed in Sterling district for some time. While I am a Delgaudio supporter for a number of years, I find it odd that he did this, and I wonder if he really thought it through.

Because it looks to me like Mike Chapman made some changes in the Sheriff’s Office that some of the existing deputies did not like (and in fact it looks like some were committed to taking Chapman down from the moment Chapman took office). But we did elect Chapman, after all, to replace Steve Simpson in 2011 and presumably also to make changes. Sterling was one of the areas where residents took an active interest in the Sheriff’s department in recent years, and one would think that rolling back the clock, to reinstall the old regime that Chapman has shaken up, would not be high on the Sterling supervisor’s list of priorities. But whomever is supposed to be benefiting from Eugene Delgaudio sticking his neck out for the tag team – I hope they appreciate it.

Anyway, Delgaudio circulated a message both in email and paper copies criticizing Sheriff Chapman. The Sheriff, immediately, sent out the following message listing all of Delgaudio’s points and answering them in full:


FROM LOUDOUN COUNTY SHERIFF MIKE CHAPMAN:
“Sterling District Supervisor Supports Flawed Candidate”

Last night, Supervisor Delgaudio sent an email message out in support of my opponent, utilizing statements solely from my opponent, without checking a single fact. The information Delgaudio relayed was FALSE. It is time to distinguish fact from fiction.

Fiction: Supervisor Delgaudio accused me of being a liberal.

Fact: False: I am a fiscally conservative Republican and due to the management efficiencies I put in place, the LCSO was able to return over $4.5M in budgeted funds to the county over the past three years.

Fiction: Supervisor Delgaudio accused me of being inexperienced at the local level, having served only federally.

Fact: False. I served law enforcement at the local level for over 10 years; 7 with the Howard County MD Police Department (3 Patrol, 3 SWAT, 1-Detective), 3 with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, 23 as a Federal Special Agent (Drug Enforcement Administration), and 3 as a law enforcement Subject Matter Expert with Booz Allen and Hamilton. I served in critical law enforcement capacities all over the world. Additionally, I have a Master’s Degree in Public Administration; a Bachelor’s in Business Management. I am a recent graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute, the VA Sheriff’s Institute, and the FBI’s National Executive Institute and stay educated and involved with the latest trends and techniques in addressing and preventing crime. My opponent’s has never been an investigator, and has far less education, training and experience.

Fiction: Supervisor Delgaudio said that Loudoun County has a DUI problem.

Continue reading ““Fact vs Fiction”: Mike Chapman Answers Republican Group’s Attack”