Prince William County Democrat Babur Lateef received the endorsement of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) Monday as Lateef tries to upset incumbent Corey A. Stewart to become the next chairman of the Board of County Supervisors
Lateef, who announced his plan to vie for the seat in February, said it is time for new leadership and that he is concerned Stewart is busy advancing his own political career, not bettering the county.
“I’m endorsing Dr. Lateef because he has his priorities straight,” Moran said in a news release. “Put people first, put families first, put communities first. That’s what makes a great leader, and that’s what makes Dr. Lateef the best candidate for chairman.”
Lateef is the sole Democrat looking to upset Stewart in November. Prince William Planning Commission Chairman Gary Friedman had entered the race but withdrew last month. Friedman said the election cycle this year poses a challenge to candidates facing incumbents, so it was best to have just one Democrat in the race.
“After evaluating a number of factors I decided I was content to bail out this time, and that gives Lateef the opportunity to focus on the general election and a chance to prevail in November,” Friedman said. “Both of us would be strong candidates and have the capability to win, but not if we were competing for the nomination until as late as August.”
Lateef, a 38-year-old Coles District resident, is an eye doctor and a father of four. He said he is running because he wants to give back to his community. Lateef said the county needs more high-paying jobs and sustainable transportation solutions. He said providing a good education to local students is also important to him.
“Unemployment is up, class sizes are up, and taxes are up, and Corey Stewart thinks he deserves a promotion,” Lateef said. “I have a new vision for our county, one that serves our families and our future.”
Stewart, who is one of a handful of potential GOP candidates also considering a race for Sen. James Webb’s (D) seat in 2012, said in March he will seek reelection for county chairman. He would not say whether he will run for higher office in the future.
“Clearly what I need to do right now is focus on this job,” he said. “I’ll continue to assess all options and make a decision possibly early next year.”