Chairman Goes After Incumbents

By Sandhya Somashekhar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 23, 2007

The chairman's race in Loudoun County is heating up -- but not in the way you might think.

Three-term incumbent Scott K. York (I), who has been chairman for two terms, has started his campaign for reelection not by attacking his opponent but by going after five of his fellow supervisors, all Republicans, whom he has dubbed "the gang of five."

On his Web site, he accuses the group of going on a "residential over-development rampage" and of being "more than simply a public embarrassment." He urges voters to "throw those rascals out."

He also criticized the five in a letter sent this month to more than 9,000 homes.

It's worth pausing here to note that there are six Republicans on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Lori L. Waters (Broad Run), who like York is a moderate on issues relating to growth and development, managed to escape York's wrath. York is a former Republican who split with the party in 2003 over the growth issue.

Michael Firetti, the GOP's candidate for chairman, meanwhile has spent a boatload of cash on ads targeted squarely at York. At least one newspaper ad depicts York with a cane and a top hat dancing on a game board. Above that image is written, "Do you feel like career politicians and special interests are playing Monopoly with your future in Loudoun County?"

Another Civil War?

Movie director Ron Maxwell has been in Loudoun County stumping for at least two Republican candidates in this fall's elections: Greg Ahlemann, who aims to be the next Loudoun sheriff, and Jill Holtzman Vogel, who hopes to succeed retiring state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. (R-Winchester).

Maxwell made the Civil War epics "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals." Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter called the latter movie "something of a Confederate Honor Restoration Project."

What the two candidates have in common is a very early commitment to cracking down on illegal immigration, a position that has become all the rage since Prince William County passed its much-publicized resolution this summer to study new restrictions on services to illegal residents.

It is clearly an issue close to Maxwell's heart. In a letter to the Loudoun Times-Mirror last month, Maxwell warned that allowing immigrants to flow unabated into the country could have disastrous consequences.

"Mexican and American people are human -- and they will behave as all other peoples everywhere in all of human history, in predictable ways," he wrote. "Why on earth would we want to create the conditions in the American Southwest, or for that matter all across America, for future civil strife, or in a worst case scenario, civil war?"

Interestingly, one of the stars of "Gods and Generals" is Robert Duvall, who portrays Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Duvall, who lives in Fauquier County, has dabbled in local issues of late, helping to finance the Piedmont Environmental Council's fight against a proposed Dominion Virginia Power high-voltage power line through rural Northern Virginia.

And former senator George Allen had a cameo role as a Confederate soldier in the movie.

Vogel Pulls Out of Forum

Vogel was a no-show at a League of Women Voters forum Wednesday for candidates in the 27th Senate District. An aide for the candidate called the league Monday to say that Vogel couldn't make it because of "scheduling conflicts," said Denise Donnelly, voter services head for the league's Loudoun chapter.

The league said it was disappointed with Vogel's pullout, but the show went on with Democrat Karen Schultz and Independent Donald Marro.

'Coalition' Takes Aim

A political action committee has launched in Loudoun. The Loudoun Coalition "stands in opposition to five incumbent supervisors who are standing for reelection," according to a Thursday press release announcing the group's formation. The five are Stephen J. Snow (Dulles), Mick Staton Jr. (Sugarland Run), Jim Clem (Leesburg), Eugene A. Delgaudio (Sterling) and Bruce E. Tulloch (Potomac), the board's pro-growth Republicans.

The head of the group is Paul Siker, a Waterford businessman who at one time was involved with the Loudoun County Republican Committee. He isn't saying much about the coalition, not even disclosing how many members it has.

"Without being too mysterious or elusive . . . the membership is definitely vibrant and growing," he said when reached by phone last week.

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