A fund-raising event that Loudoun Republican officials expect will include Gov. James S. Gilmore III and former governor George Allen is drawing criticism from some local GOP candidates who are concerned that it will be used to raise money from developers.
Several Republican candidates in Loudoun have pledged not to accept money from development interests and have told the local party's leaders that they should refrain from doing so as well.
But the leaders said that they would sell tickets for the Sept. 15 event to all contributors, including developers, and that the proceeds would be used to buy newspaper ads and provide other support for the party's slate of candidates in the November general election.
Supervisor Scott K. York (R-Sterling), the GOP nominee for chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said he has told Republican officials not to spend any of the funds the party raises on his campaign because he has pledged not to accept development-related contributions.
"The minute the party is perceived as raising developer dollars for their candidates is the minute many of them are going to be in trouble," York said. "Quite simply, if they're raising this kind of money, I'm just not going to participate in it."
Mark Tate, the Republican nominee for supervisor in the Mercer District, also has pledged not to take development money. He said he had told Loudoun GOP Chairman Tom Berezoski not to spend any of the fund-raising proceeds to promote his candidacy.
"I told [Berezoski] that . . . if he's raising money from developers, then he can't promote me because I'm not taking money from developers," Tate said. "I said, 'Tom, you're putting us in a very bad position.' "
Development has emerged as a major issue in Loudoun races, and some candidates have argued that taking money from the industry can create the impression that they're too cozy with developers. York said he would not attend the fund-raiser, and Tate said he would not attend if local party leaders "don't make a statement or do some effort not to raise money from developers."
But Berezoski said that there's nothing wrong with taking money from developers and that he would not exclude them from the fund-raiser.
He said his goal was to raise as much as possible to elect Republican candidates to local office. He said he would not spend the money on candidates who don't want it.
"Anybody who wants to buy a table can buy a table," Berezoski said. "The Republican Party is a big tent."