Democrat Drops Out of Delegate Race in 33rd District

By Derek Kravitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 19, 2009

Democrat Michael R. Turner, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, has dropped out of the race against Del. Joe T. May (R-Loudoun), citing lackluster fundraising.

Turner announced his decision Wednesday night at the monthly meeting of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee. He said that he hadn't raised enough money to wage a successful campaign, and that his duties as congressional affairs chief for the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit, Washington-based veterans fundraising group, left him little time to rally potential supporters.

"We are now in the midst of the most challenging fundraising environment I have ever encountered, politically or throughout my 12-year nonprofit fundraising career," he said. "We are in a depression, we are coming off the most hard-fought and expensive Democratic national campaign in U.S. history and there are literally dozens of Democratic candidates asking the same donors for money."

Turner, 57, of Waterford launched his bid for state delegate in February. The 33rd House District includes Clarke County and western Loudoun.

Turner did not file a first-quarter campaign finance report with the state by Wednesday's deadline, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. He said that his campaign filed the report late and that state officials had not processed it, adding that he had raised roughly $27,000.

May reported $50,453 in cash on hand as of March 31 and contributions of $21,185 in the first three months of the year. May, 71, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1994.

Turner's withdrawal left Loudoun Democrats scrambling to find a new candidate in what is now the county's only uncontested House race.

"We understand the pressures and the economic times," said Tim Buchholz, chairman of the Loudoun Democratic Committee. "But we're going to try to get someone to face Joe May."

Buchholz said finding a suitable replacement in time would be difficult, adding that May was a "tough incumbent to remove."

May also said it "would be difficult to get another candidate in time," adding that Turner was a solid candidate but that he might have been hurt by his lack of history in the area. Turner moved to Loudoun in 2005 from Colorado Springs.

Turner ran for U.S. Congress in 2008, losing in the Democratic primary to Judy Feder, dean of Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute. Feder lost to the incumbent, Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.).

© 2009 The Washington Post Company