Tony “Coach” Barney is on a mission. His one-and-done game plan to defeat Eugene Delgaudio hinges on emphasizing fiduciary responsibility and promoting a different image – a “more positive direction” – for the Sterling community, building on his two decades’ history and ties here. (This is first in a series of candidate interviews at Firewall NOVA ahead of the 2015 elections)
During a recent conversation (click here to skip ahead to interview), Barney’s key themes were openness and return on investment. In a nutshell:
Sterling wants to grow and Loudoun wants to grow and the only way we can grow is to work together on real issues, and be open and listen to people, and be able to compromise and negotiate, and invest in the future, and always ask the question – what is our return if we do invest?
Barney first needs to secure the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Delgaudio in the November, 2015 elections for the Sterling district seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (BOS).
If he can win the nomination, then defeat Delgaudio, after serving a single four-year term on the BOS, Barney would pass the baton to a Democratic – or Republican – successor, having “cleared” the office.
In what is certain to be one of the most closely-watched campaigns in the coming year – and not just locally – Delgaudio once again will build on his own long history in the Sterling community while fending off slings and arrows from those who disagree both with his work as supervisor and his day job as an advocate on controversial political issues.
Democrats will try to follow up a “recall” movement aimed at forcing Delgaudio from office mid-term, led by his failed previous Democrat opponents, which fizzled when dismissed by a judge. (As Barney notes in the conversation below, his personal opinion is: The way to remove Delgaudio from office is through the ballot box).
Barney’s task will not be easy. Delgaudio first won election to the Sterling supervisor seat in 1998 – making him one of the longest-serving supervisors in county history – and has beaten back fierce challenges in each subsequent contest.
In the Democrat wave election of 2007, following a Republican primary challenge and under vigorous attack by Democrats and other interest groups, Delgaudio was one of only two Republicans on the board to prevail in the general election, defeating longtime Sterling resident Jeanne West by a little more than 200 votes.
Then in 2011, Delgaudio increased his margin of victory and beat the combined vote total of two challengers: a spirited Independent and the Democrat Al Nevarez. The Democrats made an unforced error in putting up the weak candidate: a recent transplant to Sterling, “Occupy” cheerleader, Daily Kos contributor, and self-professed union activist who claimed the U.S. middle class is actually funded by the federal government.
For more background on Delgaudio, click here for a round up of stories at Firewall NOVA, and click here for an in-depth interview from the 2011 campaign.
Firewall NOVA met with Barney on election day, November 4, while Barney and his better half – Marlene – were working at the Rolling Ridge precinct. Your humble correspondent was handing out sample ballots on behalf of the Republican Party, and the Barneys for the Democrats.
Having worked across from Tony Barney at this same precinct for years, your correspondent can report that, for a Democrat, Barney is a congenial fellow – easy going and plain spoken in demeanor, who seems moderate on the ideological scale. Through the long election days Barney can be generous in sharing suggestions and observations about conservative policies and Republican Party tactics, all of which, your correspondent can assure you, are received politely and with fathomless gratitude.