Incumbent Dale Polen Myers raised more than twice as much money as her opponent during the final two months of her unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, according to campaign reports filed this week.
The influx of cash, much of it from real estate and development interests, did not seem to have much effect in her race against Supervisor Scott K. York (R-Sterling), who defeated Myers in the May 22 primary by nearly 3 to 1.
Between April 1 and May 26, the period covered by state financial reports filed Tuesday, Myers raised $45,829, compared with York's $18,929. In all, however, she raised only about $5,000 more than York, $83,629 to his $78,909.
It is still unclear how much money each candidate spent on the race because not all their bills have been paid. Myers told associates that she might have spent $20,000 more than she received, leaving her in debt. York indicated that he would owe at least $4,200 after using donations to pay off outstanding debts.
Republican activists and campaign officials said they expected that when final reports are tallied in the chairman's race, a record would be set for spending in a local GOP primary.
All candidates running for local and state officials must file the finance reports listing contributions and expenditures. The reports sparked intense controversy in the GOP primary race for the House of Delegates in the 32nd District, which includes part of Loudoun County and a sliver of Fairfax County. That primary is Tuesday.
Del. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun) attacked challenger David G. McWatters, the GOP supervisor from the Broad Run District, for accepting a $5,000 donation from a New York developer with interests in Loudoun. McWatters responded by criticizing Black for accepting donations from a number of special interest groups and more than $5,000 in an in-kind contribution from a political action committee established by Gov. James S. Gilmore III, who supports Black. [See story in Metro.]
In the race for board chairman, Myers has said that she plans to file to run against York again in November -- this time as an independent. Republican leaders have been trying to persuade Myers not to do so. Loudoun Planning Commissioner Alfred P. Van Huyck (Blue Ridge) said last week that he plans to file as an independent to run against York if Myers agrees to stay out of the race.
The Myers-York primary focused on development, with York calling for slower growth and Myers pledging to bring more businesses to the county to help pay for the schools and other services required by residential growth. Van Huyck, who described himself as a proponent of "smart growth," said he did not want to run in a three-way race for fear of splitting the slow-growth vote with York and allowing Myers to win.
The finance reports filed this week indicate that Myers took the majority of her itemized donations -- those more than $100 -- from home builders, developers and others related to real estate. Among them was a $350 donation from the company working with MCI WorldCom Inc. to develop its new office campus in the county, a $1,000 donation from developer John A. Andrews II and $1,000 from Renaissance Housing Corp.
In the most recent reporting period, York took his money mostly from individuals, some of whom have ties to slow-growth efforts. He received $3,000 from Jeff Osborn, a venture capitalist who lives in Leesburg and advocates slow growth; Osborn and his company previously had donated $10,000 to York. York also received an in-kind donation of $7,372 from a Loudoun group called Voters to Stop Sprawl, which ran phone banks and sent mailings.
York's campaign manager, Wesley S. Corber, said Myers likely collected much of the money in the final months so it would not show up on a campaign report filed in April, before the primary -- an allegation Myers has denied. "They know their money sources are controversial," Corber said. "This isn't the kind of stuff that makes the voters happy."
Myers was out of town and did not return telephone messages left at her office and home. She has said that the donations she receives from developers do not influence her decisions.
Richard McCary, a Myers campaign adviser, said developers contributed to her because they agreed with her pro-business message. "I think that they support her efforts in the county to bring in business," McCary said. "It's quite obvious that York had an overwhelming victory, and I think he's just trying to kick sand in her face and kick her while she's down, and I don't think that's a fair thing to do."
McCary said Myers told her before leaving town last week that she had amassed a campaign debt of about $20,000. That was not reflected in her most recent campaign filing, which showed a surplus of nearly $21,000. Myers's campaign treasurer said this week that there were a number of outstanding bills not listed on the campaign report.
"I'm sure there are some additional bills out there," said the treasurer, Melvin Keener. "There are some bills that I know of that . . . simply haven't been given to me."
Tom Berezoski, chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, said the local GOP was considering raising money to help Myers and other candidates retire their debts. But he said such fund-raising would not occur if Myers proceeds with plans to run as an independent.