The Republican primary in southern Fairfax County Tuesday is like a game of musical chairs. Six men are seeking five party nominations for the House of Delegates and the three most conservative candidates have singled out incumbent James H. Dillard Jr. as the man to be unseated.
"He's the weakest of the (three) incumbents," said Thoburn, who admitted that the three member conservative team has been campaigning only against Dillard. "I know his position is out of step with the (Republican) party." And in a letter mailed to county Republicans, the team attacked Dillard for his position on collective bargaining. He was the only candidate mentioned by name in the letter.
"It's unreal," three-term incumbent Dillard said yesterday of the campaign against him by conservatives, Robert L. Thoburn, John W. Adams Jr., and Lawrence C. Pratt, known as the "Pratt, Thoburn, Adams Teams."
Dillard charged that the team is behind a new litter urging that he be defeated that was mailed to county Republicans this weekend. The only name appearing on the letter is that of Kathy Teague, who has been a Fairfax County Republican committee member for about three months.
"I've been in politics since 1965, and I've never run against this type of attack," Dillard said.
However, the two members of the conservative "team" who could be reached yesterday, said they knew nothing about the Teague letter, which accused Dillard of being too liberal for the party.
"I heard that there was going to be a letter coming out attacking him but I did't know anything about her (Teague's) letter," said Thoburn. He said his first knowledge of the Teague letter was when a reporter asked him about it.
He said he thought the letter attacking Dillard was to come from a conservative political action group.
Thoburn said Teague wrote the material in a flyer that "the Pratt, Thoburn, Adams team" has prepared for distribution at the voting polls Tuesday. However, he said the team paid for the printing of the flyer.
"I was greatly surprised and very pleasantly surprised," said Adams, who said he first learned of the letter when his wife received it in the mail.
Neither Pratt nor Teague could be reached for comment yesterday.
In the letter, Teague wrote, "As a Fairfax County Committee member who has worked for years in national and local Republican campaigns, I firmly believe that Jim Dillard cannot win re-election and could weaken substantially our Republican slate in November."
"Quite frankly, Jim Dillard is much more liberal than the Republican mainstream of our area - an area which often gives its votes to more conservative candidates," Teague continued.
Teague said Dillard "voted 91 per cent of the time with two liberal Democrats . . . In other words, Jim Dillard votes for more spending, for higher taxes, and for bigger government along with liberal Democrats delegates Richard Saslaw and Thomas Rothrock."
Dillard, a Fairfax County teacher said, "It's probably true that I voted 91 per cent of the time with Saslaw and Rothrock, but they're not flaming liberals. And you can't imply that since I voted with them that means high taxes."
"It's a cheap shot," said four-term Del. Warren E. Barry, who is seeking his fifth term in the Republican race. "I think it's a little unfair," said Barry, who said he doesn't know Teague, although he has been active in the county party for 10 years and Teague's address, 8477 Kitchner Dr., Springfield, is in his precinct. In addition to Barry, Dillard, Thoburn, Adams and Pratt, two-term incumbent delegate Robert E. Harris also is seeking re-election.
Joeseph Ragan, county Republican Party leader, said he disapproves of the Teague letter and "attacks against people's records. If it were me (writing the letter), I would have preferred to list the candidates I supported and talk about their records, instead of singling out one person to defeat."