Two-term Commonwealth's Attorney Robert D. Anderson announced this week that he will leave the local Republican Party and run for reelection in November as an independent, marking the second time in as many weeks that a county politician has broken ranks with local GOP leaders.
Anderson said he still considers himself a Republican but has become disenchanted with the Loudoun County Republican Committee, which is deeply divided over policy issues, politics and personalities.
"I am a Republican. I've always been a Republican," said Anderson, 55. "But I believe that the politics surrounding the local party has become too intense and too personal, and I believe this office has to stay away from it."
The same day that Anderson announced his independent candidacy, Jonathon Moseley, 43, said he would run as a Republican to become Loudoun's top prosecutor. Moseley, a lawyer with Protas Spivok & Collins in Bethesda, recently moved from Arlington to South Riding and specializes in civil litigation.
Anderson's decision to bolt the party marked the latest tumultuous turn for Loudoun's GOP. Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (At Large) left the local Republicans last week after the party committee's lopsided vote to hold a convention, rather than a primary, to nominate candidates for the November elections.
York and his supporters said a convention would lock out thousands of Republican voters. Convention supporters, including backers of former supervisor Larry Beerman's bid to become GOP nominee for board chairman, said a convention is the best way for Republicans to keep control of their nominating process and choose the best candidates.
York's campaign manager, Wes Corber, who resigned this week from the local Republican Party after more than two decades as a member, said Anderson and others were leaving because it was dominated by rude behavior, factionalism and self-interested parties.
"It has really deteriorated into an ugly group," Corber said.
Patricia Grigsby, a local party official, said that the party was healthy and strong and that York and Anderson left for different reasons.
York left because he believed that his support for recently passed development restrictions would lose him the Republican nomination, Grigsby said. Anderson likely left because his longtime sparring partner, Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson, has strong support within the committee, she said.
Anderson, who lives with his wife in Purcellville and has two children, worked as a Leesburg defense lawyer before unseating longtime Democratic incumbent William T. Burch in 1995. Anderson ran as the Republican nominee in the past two elections.
During Anderson's tenure, the commonwealth's attorney's office has grown from five assistant prosecutors to 13. Anderson outfitted the office with computers and PowerPoint software that prosecutors use to present evidence during criminal trials.
Moseley, who is single, had worked in Loudoun as the attorney for Ticonderoga Farms, a nursery and composting facility. He has worked for the U.S. Department of Education and as an attorney for Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.
Mosely was the only Republican who filed the necessary paperwork seeking the nomination by Sunday's deadline, so he automatically becomes the party's candidate for the prosecutor's job.
Moseley, citing Anderson's tense relationship with Simpson, said that if elected, he would work closely with the elected sheriff. "I was very surprised that no one else is running and basically I wanted to give people a choice," Moseley said.
Moseley is representing Citizens for Property Rights, a pro-development group, in a pending lawsuit against the county.
"has become too intense and too personal."