With the recent nomination of Republican and Democratic candidates in three contested primary races, the slate of competitors vying for Loudoun County’s elected offices in the November general election is taking shape.
At a Loudoun County Republican Committee convention Saturday, delegates voted to support the party’s incumbent candidates, awarding nominations to Sheriff Michael L. Chapman and Ashburn Supervisor Ralph M. Buona.
Chapman, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was elected sheriff in 2011, defeated challenger Eric Noble, a former major with the sheriff’s office, after an intraparty race that had grown particularly competitive in recent weeks.
Buona, first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2011, beat challenger Joe Scalione, a fellow Air Force veteran and former Broad Run district chairman of the county Republican Committee.
At a Democratic caucus also held Saturday, registered Democrats chose Koran Saines to face off against Sterling Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio, who will seek his fifth term in office in November. Saines was one of three candidates who had filed to be considered for the Sterling nomination, the only contested race on the Democratic ticket.
The Republican convention marked an end to a decidedly bitter contest between Chapman and Noble, who have traded increasingly pointed accusations. Noble claimed that Chapman has poorly managed the agency and its budget, and Chapman has slammed Noble for his “insidious” attempts to undermine the sheriff after Chapman promoted Noble to a top command position.
The two also clashed over issues stemming from the alleged embezzlement of more than $250,000 in seized drug money by a Loudoun sheriff’s deputy assigned to asset forfeiture. Chapman has claimed that he uncovered the problem and addressed it promptly; Noble has said that Chapman did not discover the embezzlement and failed to stop the deputy from stealing tens of thousands of dollars. The matter is under federal investigation.
In the run-up to the convention, support for the sheriff’s office candidates was split among several prominent local Republicans. Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) and U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock voiced support for Chapman, and Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney James E. Plowman and Delgaudio endorsed Noble.
Nearly 900 delegates participated in the convention, Loudoun GOP Chairman Michael Haynes said.
“The energy and excitement for our Republican Party was palpable in the room,” he said in a statement. “As a united party, we look forward to supporting our Republican nominees in November.”
Chapman will face Democrat Brian Allman of Ashburn, a former Fairfax police detective, in the general election.
Beyond the sheriff’s race, the 2015 election cycle has been particularly tumultuous. In January, York, the longtime Board of Supervisors chairman, unexpectedly said that he would not seek reelection. Vice Chairman Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) announced his intent to replace York, challenging Leesburg attorney Charlie King in the race for the chairman’s seat. Williams later quit the race after it was revealed that he had a lengthy record of legal woes, including several DUI arrests and allegations of domestic abuse.
With Williams out of the race, King will run against Democrat Phyllis Randall, a member of Virginia’s Fair Housing Board and vice chairman of the state Board of Corrections, in the general election.
In a statement Tuesday, Loudoun Democratic Committee Chairman Val Suzdak said the party felt confident that it could secure an across-the-board victory in a county that has been considered a fiercely contested and critical bellwether in recent elections.
“The Democrats have a strong ticket this year, who are dedicated to connecting with residents to ensure Loudoun’s future is headed in the right direction,” she said, adding that “2015 is the year we have the potential to turn Loudoun solid blue.”
The November election includes all nine seats on the Board of Supervisors, as well as Loudoun’s constitutional officers — including sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney, clerk of the circuit court, commissioner of the revenue and treasurer.