The Nov. 8 election is barely history, but county politicos are already lining up for potential races. All the speculation and machinations center on one man: David C. Mabie, the clerk of Prince William County Circuit Court.
Mabie, 62, said he is considering retiring before his eight-year term ends in December 2007 and leaving for his vacation home in Lake Anna, Va. That has triggered speculation about possible candidates for his seat, and the House seat of Del. Michele B. McQuigg (R-Prince William), who has expressed an interest in the clerk's job.
A onetime police detective who lost the 2003 state Senate race to Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William), Mabie sold his Nokesville home last year and said he now rents from his son, Chris Mabie, in Bristow. "I spend a good bit of time there and stay there on a regular basis," he said. "I can show you the lease."
Mabie quashed rumors that his departure is imminent and said he plans to stay in office at least "through the better part of next year."
He said he is concerned about the job security of his politically appointed staff members and whether a new clerk would continue to employ them. "I don't think there will be a shortage of candidates," he said.
Among names circulating through the county are Chris Mabie, who owns Jefferson Title Co.; county Supervisor W.S. Covington III (R-Brentsville); and McQuigg, who just won reelection to represent the 51st District.
Chris Mabie laughed. "It's a logical conclusion. I can understand that people would say that, but I'm not interested," he said. "Growing up around politics and on the campaign trail, I've gotten my fill as far as politics are concerned."
Covington, who has a law practice in Manassas, said: "In the past I've had some interest, but my intention is to stay in Brentsville. I have more that I want to accomplish."
McQuigg, who said she ran unsuccessfully for the seat in the 1980s, added that she is definitely interested in Mabie's post but was staying focused on the legislative district for now. McQuigg, who is on the joint subcommittee to study the operations of circuit court clerks offices, has been in the House of Delegates since 1998.
McQuigg's possible departure to run for clerk has sparked interest and gossip about her House seat, which covers Occoquan.
Supervisor Corey A. Stewart (R-Occoquan) said the 51st District was almost tailor-made for the Occoquan supervisor because both seats share the same coverage area. McQuigg was formerly the Occoquan supervisor.
Stewart said he recently hired political consultant Michael Belefski -- whose Contemporary Political Consultants has worked on several state Senate and delegate campaigns -- to work part time in his supervisor's office to create newsletters and develop public policy on taxes.
Stewart said Belefski is not involved in any campaign work for him and he is not sure the delegate seat would be a good fit anyway.
"It's something that I would think about," he said. "Going down to Richmond for three months out of the year is something that would have a big impact on my personal life, family and my job."
Stewart said that his issues as supervisor have been controlling growth and improving transportation and that he might have a better chance of tackling those issues at the local level.
County Planning Commissioner Michael C. May, who works as legislative counsel for Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), also said he would be interested in heading to Richmond.
"It's kind of early to speculate about that, but I would definitely take a look," he said. "There are a lot of ifs there, and it's hard to say what could happen."
Other names thrown about were Julie C. Lucas, vice chairman of the Prince William County School Board, and John S. Gray, a certified public accountant who lost a bid for Occoquan supervisor in the 2003 Democratic primary.
Lucas said she was flattered but is concentrating on representing Neabsco on the board. Gray said he has already filed to run for supervisor and wants to make an impact locally.