Tony Buffington No-Show for LWV Debate

Rich Jimmerson, independent candidate against Republican nominee Tony Buffington for the Blue Ridge district Loudoun board seat, debated an empty chair last night, as Buffington didn’t show up for the League of Women Voters debate in Leesburg. Karen Jimmerson (Rich’s wife) reports that Buffington never even responded to the invitation.

This is not a good moment for Tony Buffington.

NoBuffington

The League is the gold-standard for debates. Locally, it has a reputation for being mildly right of center, but I have never heard them accused of being partisan in their debates. I have done two League debates, and was perfectly fairly treated, both times. There is simply no excuse for not responding and, absent an extreme circumstance, no excuse for not appearing.

My first debate was scheduled to be against then-supervisor Steve Snow. He had said he would come, but changed his mind and didn’t. My second was against Del. Tom Rust. The second one was easy. Debating an empty chair, however, is hard. That’s because you are either listening to a question or speaking an answer at all times. When your opponent shows up, you get to think about your answer more, while your opponent is speaking. Also, rebutting your opponent is often easier than just thinking up your own answers all the time. Everyone told me that it was the defining moment in that race, and I won largely because he wasn’t there (in all humility, people like Mark Herring also told me I looked pretty good). So, this is all to the best for Rich. But don’t anyone think he had it easy. It’s much harder to carry the whole thing on your own, than it is to switch off of your opponent.

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””

Yes, Tony Buffington Can Run as a Party Nominee

When Janet Clarke announced she would not run for another term on the Loudoun BOS, she also said she would be supporting Tony Buffington to replace her:

Clarke urged her supporters get behind Tony Buffington in his effort to secure the Republican nomination for Blue Ridge District seat in next year’s election.

Buffington is one of three elected resident representatives on the Brambleton Community Association board of directors and serves as an at-large member of the county’s Heritage Commission. The former U.S. Marine was raised in Clarke County and moved to Brambleton in 2011. He works in law enforcement for the federal government.

That last bit, pointing out that Mr. Buffington works, “for the federal government,” has raised a few eyebrows, since the (rather badly understood) Hatch Act has stopped many a federal employee from running for local office. This is more of a non-story than a story, so I’m not going to bother with the usual links to citations and all that. Instead, here’s the down-low:

  • Mr. Buffington appears to be an officer of the United States Capitol Police.
  • The USCP is an agency of the legislative branch, not the executive branch.
  • The Hatch Act prohibits partisan candidacies for federal employees of the executive branch, and also federal employees of any agency deemed by statute to be in the “competitive service.”
  • The USCP is deemed to be in the “excepted service,” not in the “competitive service.”

Thus, as a federal employee in an excepted service agency of the legislative branch, Mr. Buffington is not prohibited from seeking the Republican nomination to the BOS by the Hatch Act.

(Attentive readers will want to know how it was that Cliff Keirce was able to run for the board in ’11, as he is an employee of the FAA, most certainly an executive branch agency. The answer is that, some years back, Congress realized that the area around DC was so full of federal employees, that a total ban on those employees running for office would substantially reduce the pool of available candidates. In a compromise move, Congress allowed federal employees of certain agencies, who lived in certain localities, to run, but only as independent candidates, not as party nominees. In the ’70s, Loudoun county got itself added to the list, and FAA was already on the list of authorized agencies. Thus, Keirce could run while being a federal employee, but only as an independent, while Buffington, it appears, can run as a Republican, even though both are federal employees. I’m sure that makes perfect sense to better brains than mine.)