Nobody likes pie in the face, with the possible exception of politicians, who generally will consent to it in an election year providing there are votes to be gained.
However, even politicians occasionally draw the line, as Fairfax County Board Chairman John F. Herrity did last weekend when his opponent, Supervisor Audrey Moore, nearly became the pie-pitcher.
It happened like this:
Herrity, the Republican incumbent, and a couple of other local luminaries had stopped by the Mason District Neighborhood Watch fund-raiser and offered their faces as pie targets, all in the name of charity and political advantage.
The asking price for the privilege of embellishing Herrity's face was $25 until Moore, the Democratic challenger, entered the bidding.
"Thirty-five," said she, delightedly.
"Fifty," countered he, nervously.
Finally Herrity bid the mighty sum of $125. To which Moore responded: "Hooray for Jack! He's got a lot more money than I do!" Herrity got the pie; Neighborhood Watch got the dough. No word on whether the pie and the chairman's face ever connected.
In recent weeks, Moore's campaign seems to have entered an era of professionalism, as indicated by the fact that her fund-raising has exceeded the expectations of political pros in both parties.
When she announced her candidacy in April, most analysts, including Moore's own political supporters, stressed that hers would be a grass-roots appeal to the people, a campaign unlikely to feature such big-bucks trappings as television commercials and paid media consultants. Her campaign manager, Toddy Puller, seemed almost wistful when she told a reporter last spring that Moore probably wouldn't have enough money to air TV spots.
Lately, grass roots has gone uptown. At last Friday's Moore fund-raiser, starring Democratic Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, Moore spokesmen said that television ads on network affiliates and perhaps cable were definitely in the picture, probably to begin in early to mid-October.
The Baliles fund-raiser netted about $7,000 for Moore, bringing her total fund-raising to date to at least $180,000. Initially, Democrats reckoned they'd be lucky if Moore could raise $150,000. Herrity reported more than a month ago that he had raised about $200,000. Since then, Herrity campaign sources said, fund-raising has picked up, and the sum now is said to be about $300,000.
Early this week, spokesmen for Moore said she would produce three TV ads and five radio spots.
Moore has hired not one but two consultants. Jill Buckley & Associates, based in Washington, is to advise her on the ads. Jan Crawford & Associates, also of Washington, will buy time on selected stations.
Yet another consultant, Michael Ellis, is writing the script for the ads. Ellis, an independent communications consultant, is working for Moore on a volunteer basis.
When Alexandria Mayor James P. Moran Jr. attended a gala political fund-raiser for state Sen. Wiley F. Mitchell Jr. of Alexandria earlier this year, it caused a brief political tempest. Moran is a Democrat; Mitchell is a Republican. Alexandria Democrats were, to varying degrees, outraged that the sacrosanct partisan lines had been crossed.
Comes now Fairfax Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee), the grand old man of county politics, who earlier this month showed up for a Herrity fund-raiser featuring Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) and held in the private home of one of Alexander's Republican constituents.
Alexander, who has served on the county board since 1964 and is currently chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board, has been in a tough political spot for much of the year. A lifelong Democrat, he has made little secret of his dislike of fellow Democrat Moore; at the same time, he has resisted breaking party ranks to endorse Herrity. Officially, he is neutral in the Moore-Herrity race, although few members of either party have any doubt that he favors (and is ideologically akin to) Herrity.
Alexander said simply that he attended the function because it took place in his district, and pointed out that he has also attended Moore fund-raisers. Unlike Alexandria Democrats, Fairfax Democrats have generally downplayed the incident -- perhaps fearing that Alexander, if provoked, will take a more active role in the Herrity campaign in his Lee District.