This item has been updated.
The Democratic primary for the Alexandria City Council is just four days away and overall, it’s been a notably polite competition among the 14 candidates who are competing for six nominations.
Late this week, however, the first attack ad showed up in several thousand mailboxes, targeting Boyd Walker, a local real estate investor and activist who co-founded a group that opposed the city’s waterfront proposal.
A large, four-color illustration shows Walker before a roulette wheel. It says, “Boyd Walker wants to turn Alexandria City Council into a game show.”
The next side says, “We can’t afford to have Boyd Walker playing with Alexandria’s future,” and on the roulette wheel, it cites a number of reasons for opposing Walker’s campaign, including the fact that he didn’t pay $16,000 in property taxes on time and he received one of the largest fines ever imposed by the city for destruction of a historic property.
Gail Gordon, a local attorney who is the treasurer of a new political action committee called Alexandria Democrats for Responsible Government, said Friday afternoon that she sent the mailing out because ”I don’t think voters have all the information about Boyd Walker that they need.”
She said everything in the ad is accurate, with citations from a number of newspaper articles and city documents.
“The PAC also voted to oppose Arthur Peabody,” she said, “but we did not have the time or money to send out” a similar mailing. Peabody, a School Board member and civil rights attorney who is also running for the Democratic nomination for the council, was once sued by Gordon over a lacrosse dispute, she said.
Walker said the ad shows “people are taking my campaign seriously.” He noted that he has paid his taxes and late fees. The original $25,000 fine over the renovation of a 1932 ice house in Old Town, which he is turning into a gelato shop, was reduced by the City Council to $6,500, which has also been paid.
He said Gordon’s $80 million cost estimate for an alternate waterfront plan that he supported was a “made up number” by the city. Finally, her charge that he disrespects women because of a now-deleted entry on his personal blog is ridiculous, Walker said.
“I am not a gambler and I would never gamble with other peoples money,” he said, calling himself a fiscal conservative. “Admittedly, this is a funny cartoon, and might help me build name recognition.”
Campaign contributions reports showed that as June 1, Walker was dead last in fundraising, reporting less than $5,000 in his campaign funds.
Gordon serves on the Alexandria Democratic Committee executive board, whose members are free to endorse any candidate, said Dak Hardwick, ADC chair.
“The Alexandria Democratic Committee is committed to remaining neutral during this process even as PACs may choose to turn what has been a positive, competitive election into a mud fight,” Hardwick said in an email.