This post has been updated.
While Virginians interested in Super Tuesday events were watching the Republican presidential primary, the Alexandria City Council races were blowing up.
Scott Gordon, a Republican insurance agent, suddenly withdrew from the race this afternoon, because of a major medical issue in his family. He wouldn’t discuss details but said that if the issue is resolved, he’ll run again for the seat.
Most interesting, however, was his endorsement of a Democrat, Sean Holihan, one of 13 Democrats trying for one of the six council seats. Gordon’s letter of resignation to the Alexandria Republican City Committee took a major swipe at one of the two incumbent Republicans on the council, Alicia Hughes.
“The true purpose of this resignation however is in protest to ARCC’s continued support of Alicia Hughes, who (and this is entirely my opinion and in no way representative of any attempt to provide fact) is so morally and ethically challenged, whose character is so questionable, is unfit to hold office in our City,” he wrote.
Hughes has faced a series of allegations that she has failed to pay her rent in a timely manner, that she violated the Hatch Act, which bans federal employees from political activity, and even that she was not eligible to vote in Alexandria. All those issues have been resolved, but there’s a definite chill toward her from some of her fellow council members.
Over on the Democratic side of politics, former vice mayor Andrew Macdonald, who co-founded the anti-waterfront redevelopment group, has resigned from the Alexandria Democratic Committee after a series of pointed e-mails between the committee chairman and himself.
Macdonald, who is considering running for mayor, turned up at the local Republican committee last week to say that if he runs as an independent, he would like the votes of local Republicans.
Since the Democrats on the City Council passed the waterfront plan in January, Macdonald has escalated his rhetoric that it’s time for a change. After Democratic chairman Dak Hardwick heard about Macdonald’s appearance before the Republicans, he wrote Madconald an e-mail noting that some other members of the group were unhappy and suggesting Macdonald reconsider his membership.
Macdonald took that as a threat to begin formal proceedings to remove him, so he resigned.
“I think that’s only fair if I decide to run as an independent that I resign,” he said, promising to declare by May 1. “I really don’t want to be part of that [Democratic] machine.”
Hardwick said Macdonald was simply doing damage control. “You don’t have to be a member of our committee to run as a Democrat,” Hardwick said. “But I want people in my committee to be dedicated to advancing the causes of my party, not the Republican Party.”
Hardwick was talking about Macdonald last week when he said in a tweet: “Always disappointed (and quite suspicious) of folks who sacrifice core values for political expediency. Voters see right through that stuff.”
Hardwick also said Macdonald, who lost a 2000 council race as an independent, then won a 2003 council race as a Democrat, was simply afraid to face incumbent Mayor William D. Euille, a Democrat, in the primary. Macdonald resigned halfway through his term and became a lightning rod during the year-long waterfront controversy.
Macdonald agreed that he would rather face Euille in a general election than a primary. “I don’t think that would be a fair contest,” he said.
All six seats on the council, as well the mayor’s job, are up for election this fall. Vice Mayor Kerry Donley (D) and member Rob Krupicka (D) are the only ones who have said they are not running for reelection.
UPDATE: Hardwick sent an email to the Democratic committee Wednesday morning which said Macdonald may have talked tothe media, but he hasn’t yet officially resigned to the committee.
“Rather than take the steps necessary to resign from the ADC because of his recent actions, Mr. Macdonald has chosen to try and score political points over this situation, even though he opted to renew his ADC membership in December and then attended a Alexandria Republican City Committee meeting seeking their support. That is simply unacceptable and it appears Mr. Macdonald is only seeking the path of least resistance to the general election ballot,” Hardwick wrote.