Fairfax County Board Chairman John F. Herrity (R) and Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale), the two major party candidates for the board chairmanship, have agreed to at least two debates in October, and others are in the works, campaign officials on both sides said yesterday.
Two independent candidates for the county's top elected office, James S. (Jim) Morris Jr. and Robert T. (Terry) Robarge, also are planning to participate in the debates, organizers said. The elections are Nov. 3.
In another campaign development yesterday, Fairfax County's Electoral Board asked Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. to look into lapses in financial statements filed by several candidates for the County Board of Supervisors, including Herrity and Moore. Horan said in an interview that he considered the issue trivial.
Herrity had declined Moore's challenge to debate her during the summer, saying that the campaign would begin after Labor Day. His campaign manager and son, Tom Herrity, said yesterday that Herrity had not declined any invitations to debate this fall and that negotiations are under way with several groups that have invited the candidates to a debate.
Campaign officials said it is most likely the candidates would have at least half a dozen debates this fall and many more joint appearances at various events.
The two debates confirmed by all candidates so far will be hosted by the Vienna Jaycees (Oct. 16) and the Northern Virginia Press Club (Oct. 22).
Another debate scheduled by the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations for Oct. 15 is in the works.
Jane Vitray, secretary of the electoral board, asked Horan to check the candidates' financial forms for possible criminal violations one day after learning that Herrity had not provided information about 63 of his largest campaign contributors -- information required under state law.
Moore also did not provide the necessary information in two instances.
State law requires candidates to list the occupation and principal places of business for all contributors of more than $250. That information was omitted in some cases from the candidates' forms.
Horan said in an interview that to show a law had been broken, there would have to have been a willful violation by the candidates' treasurers, who are required to file the financial forms. "Mere inadvertence under this statute doesn't constitute a criminal violation," Horan said.