Melissa M. Bondi, the most controversial, and some say leading, candidate seeking the nomination of Arlington County Democrats for a special election for County Board has had an electoral birth by fire over the past 10 days.
Early last week, the Arlington Yupette blog reported that she was the subject of a $19,000 IRS lien, apparently for nonpayment or underpayment of income taxes. Bondi says she didn’t know anything about the lien until the blog post appeared.
Then other citizen-investigators discovered she had been overdue on two years’ worth of vehicle taxes and had been driving a car that was registered in Ohio. She notes that she subsequently paid the taxes.
This week, often-anonymous commenters on another local blog erroneously charged that she was registered and voting in Ohio, as well as in Virginia. Our investigation of this claim today proved that this is not true; simultaneously, Bondi posted her fullest explanation of all the allegations on her Web site this afternoon.
This is important because Arlington Democrats will start voting in their “firehouse caucus” Thursday at 7 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School and will also vote Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Kenmore Middle School. The results will be announced Saturday night.
Five candidates are running: Peter Fallon, Libby Garvey, Kim Klingler and Terron Sims. (The order of the names on the ballot were chosen by lottery, as party rules require. Bondi won the top slot.) Whoever wins will be the Democratic nominee on the March 27 special election ballot, facing Audrey Clement of the Green Party and Mark Kelly, chairman of the local Republicans, who just filed his candidacy yesterday.
Both Clement and Kelly have lost previous races for County Board seats. Given the Democratic Party’s historic dominance in Arlington, some say the caucus is the equivalent of the election. The seat is open because long-time County Board member Barbara Favola was elected to the state Senate in November.
Bondi, who has racked up an impressive roster of endorsements, first registered to vote in Virginia in 1996 in Fairfax County. She changed her registration to Arlington County in 1999 and has been a regular voter since 2003, according to the county registrar of elections. Because of a change in the database, it’s difficult to impossible to figure out how often someone voted before 2003, registrar Linda Lindberg said.
Bondi, 41, who grew up in Ohio, was registered to vote there and last voted there in the Nov. 2, 1993, general election, according to a Cuyahoga County Board of Elections spokesman. The other Melissa Bondi who is on the election rolls there has a different date of birth, because she’s the candidate’s mother.
Bondi also addressed a rumor that in 2006, she regularly drove a car registered in Ohio with Virginia Democratic election stickers on the fender. The car, she said, belonged to her father and she used it occasionally while commuting to his house during his life-ending illness.
The gun-shy Bondi, who dashed away from two reporters last week as her supporters attempted to cut an interview short by chanting, said in a phone call this afternoon that she didn’t expect such attacks on her and that she preferred to discuss local issues.
Whoever wins will have to do it all over again this fall, as the term expires at the end of 2012.