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.

About FirewallNOVA Right

They can kill you, but they can't eat you.

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”

About FirewallNOVA Right

They can kill you, but they can't eat you.

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”

About FirewallNOVA Right

They can kill you, but they can't eat you.

“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”

About FirewallNOVA Right

They can kill you, but they can't eat you.

BREAKING: Koran Saines Wins Sterling Dem Nomination

Koran Saines is the winner of the unassembled caucus and will be the Democratic nominee to run against Eugene Delgaudio for election to the Loudoun board of supervisors in November.

Word is that Mr. Saines won by five votes. More when we get it.

_MG_9757WebFrontPage (4)
Democrat for Sterling, Koran Saines

Congratulations and good luck from FirewallNOVA Left!

UPDATE: Final tallies reported as Saines – 220, Barney – 215, Aliriza – 118. Total turn-out of 554 (one vote was disqualified). This is a lot higher than anyone expected, and bodes well for Democratic turn-out in November.

About FirewallNOVA Left

Couldn't we just knit a quilt for peace?

Meanwhile, Three Virginia Gentlemen…

This site, at least one other, and one, maybe two Facebook pages (hey, don’t touch that last one until the paint dries) have tracked the shockingly ugly process by which Loudoun Republicans are choosing their nominee for Sheriff. Along the way, two other races for nominations to candidacy for local office have been kind of overlooked. That’s easy to understand, perhaps, when those two are being conducted by the oft-overlooked option of suggesting that each candidate has merits they’d like their party-mates to consider, then letting the voters decide. Now, I can only say that with much certainty regarding the race to be the Democratic nominee for the Sterling district seat on the county board of supervisors. For the Republicans seeking to be the nominee in Ashburn, I only know that no one has brought anything untoward about that process to my attention. For more about that one, I’ll rely on my colleague with the funny hat.

The Sterling race, however, I do know something about. The three candidates are all good guys, and have run their campaigns accordingly. Tony Barney is my personal friend of many years. He has a lot of community support, knows how to campaign, and is one of the most decent men I’ve ever met. He’s been making his case, and forcefully so, but hasn’t tossed so much as a speck of mud at his opponents. Koran Saines has also been around for a long time, though I believe he’s only become politically active in the last couple of years. He’s a very sharp man and I’ve liked him since I first met him. He’s not a mud-slinger, either. Bahri Aliriza is making his second attempt to obtain the nomination. Another Virginia gentleman, I’ve never heard anything that tells me he plays dirty, and he deserves some credit on this go ’round for having sought to topple Eugene Delgaudio before evidence of his official misconduct came to light.

These guys are doing it with class, running for nomination without overnight Facebook pages, doctored party e-mails, or anything remotely like the finger-pointing and name-calling that’s been reported here in the Republican Sheriff’s nominating process. This is great for Democrats because it lets them say, with complete sincerity, that they’ll all be happy to support whomever is nominated tomorrow against Mr. Delgaudio. Alas, it also makes for a somewhat boring story, with less attention being drawn. Most likely, the turn-out will be very low. LCDC chair Val Suzdak has said she expects over 300 voters. I’m thinking the number will be less than half of that. That’s too bad, because these three men have all run campaigns that deserve a meaningful public response. Still, a nominee will be chosen, and it’s great to know that all three will be united with one another in that nominee’s effort to take Sterling forward in November.

The Republican Sheriff’s nominating contest is what people think politics is always like. That’s because it’s hard to ignore a noisy brawl, and easy to overlook a mannered debate. Take a moment and post it to your memory, please, that even while another contest makes the system look really bad, we also have some pretty classy guys, showing us how to make it all look good.

Three

About FirewallNOVA Left

Couldn't we just knit a quilt for peace?