Prince William County campaigns began to turn up the heat this week.
Democratic candidate Babur Lateef is planning to spend $25,000 to air a campaign ad against Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart in the county’s at-large race. The advertisement, which will air on cable stations countywide, features baseballs “beaning” children and seniors — not-so-subtle critiques of Stewart’s stance on several issues, including turning down federal stimulus money and that he “snuck home” with campaign cash after the county approved funding to improve the Potomac Nationals minor league stadium, according to the advertisement.
“The Board did not turn down $17 million,” Stewart wrote in an e-mail. “We accepted the federal funding but saved the funds until the next fiscal year to avoid one-time funding being used to cover ongoing expenses.”
Stewart also said that the Board of Supervisors allocated funds to fix up the Potomac Nationals’ stadium, the minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals, “to prevent the Washington Nationals from moving the franchise to another jurisdiction.”
Stewart said he plans to release his own ad against Lateef before the election. He said most of his campaign has been positive and his mailings to voters will remain so.
“Because Lateef has hit me with a negative TV ad, I do think it’s fair to hit him with a negative ad as well,” Stewart said. He’s not yet sure when his advertisement will begin to air.
The Woodbridge supervisor race also saw its own tense exchange.
Supervisor Frank Principi’s (D) campaign said that Republican candidate Chris Royse was less than honest when he said he was “speaking with AFRICOM,” about plans to move the joint military command — and the thousands of jobs that would come with it — to Woodbridge (captured in this video). Principi filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Defense, and that office found no indications that Royse had reached out to AFRICOM for a potential move, a letter from the FOIA office shows.
Virginia Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner have advocated for AFRICOM to be moved to the Hampton Roads area to make up for the relocation of thousands of military jobs there.
Royse said it would be “completely inappropriate” for him to reach out to AFRICOM as an unelected official. He has had unofficial conversations with former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis and Martin Briley, Prince William’s former head of economic development, about the possibility of bringing AFRICOM to Prince William, among other counties, he said.
“If I get elected, and if the other supervisors and the chairman support the initiative, we’d have to launch an Olympic bid-type campaign” to get AFRICOM to move to Woodbridge, Royse said.