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.
Last night in Leesburg, Virginia, the Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club held the only debate between the two candidates for the Republican nomination for the office of sheriff: Sheriff Mike Chapman and challenger Eric Noble. The nomination will be determined at the May 2 Loudoun County Republican Committee convention, to decide who will represent the party in the November 2015 elections.
The debate was well-organized, impeccably moderated by Delegate Randy Minchew, and had excellent turnout. Attendees filled the room at the Rust Library. The sound system, however, was a bit sketchy, not seeming to cover the entire room evenly, and some had a hard time hearing everything that was said. Chapman, who stood a few inches further from the microphone and has a more laid back speaking style, at some times was quite faint. So, in order to do my write up of the debate I needed to listen to my recording and transcribe most of it …. and decided, what they hey, to post it here for all of you, and for those at the event who want another shot at it. I can tell you, that reading it gives a clearer picture of what the two gentlemen were saying, than I got even from sitting in the front row. I think eventually a video will be posted, but in case you are not in the mood to watch a 1 hr, 20 min. video, the following may prove helpful.
[There may be some errors, although I think they will be minor. I edited for basic clarity – but if you compare to a recording you will see this is very close to verbatim. The format was: they rotated in order of response and the first person got a rebuttal, then there was a “speed round” with shorter time limits. Also at one point they questioned each other. You will figure it out as you read. In places where I could not tell what was said, even from listening carefully to the recording, I used an ellipsis ….. to mark any unintelligible portions. I posted a copy of the audio file at the bottom of this post – the link will stay live until around May 2. It is a WMA file so best to play on a Windows computer.]
SHERIFF DEBATE TRANSCRIPT
Eric Noble Opening Statement
Convention delegates have a stark choice at this convention, when they’ll be choosing between two candidates. One that emphasizes local law enforcement, and puts deputies on the street, and a local policing model that is proactive rather than reactive. The other is built on experience gained in a federal bureaucracy where the commanders at the head office are often out of touch and out of step with what’s going on in the street. But they put a premium on press releases, and their management style is reactive, not proactive.
Let me give you just one example. The Silver Line is coming in 2018, and I’ve talked to agencies that had train stations open up recently. And what you hear from those folks is real concern. I’ll give you an example. At Tyson’s Corner Mall, the day the Silver Line opened, they had a crime issue, and it’s still there. Yet with Metro on the horizon, Mike just issued a five year plan, and nowhere in that plan does it talk about the Silver Line at all. On the other hand, I have a proactive plan: Identify and baseline the metrics today, so that we can understand the problem when that train station does open. I’m talking about developing enforcement and education strategies so that on the day that ribbon is cut, and hits the ground, we’re in a position to address both public safety and quality of life issues.
Northern Virginia’s main Republican Party insider blog, The Bull Elephant, yesterday capped a series of increasingly bold assertions by predicting Loudoun Supervisor Scott York (R-At Large) will run for re-election as an Independent this fall. York has said he is not running for office at all.
Previous Bull Elephant articles have in effect shown Sheriff Mike Chapman the door out of the GOP in suggesting his own run as an Independent, with York’s recent endorsement of Chapman boosting The Bull Elephant’s contention that “Loudoun’s Chairman of the Board and the Sheriff are likely to team up and run as Independents.”
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.