The Gainesville Times has an explosive article by Dan Roem today which allowed former Chairman Vic Bras and 1st CD Vice-Chair Matt Harrison a chance to air their grievances about the Prince William County Democratic Commitee and the DPVA. It is an utterly fascinating read, and again Dan Roem has done a wonderful job of digging out the real story, this time a behind-the scenes look at the serial failures of the PWCDC in getting any of their candidates elected.
At the end of the article Bras and Harrison lay out some of their primary concerns about the committee, saying that divisions created and maintained by current elected Democrats have subverted the county committee and hindered it’s ability to be successful. There’s enough critique here to fill several articles, but their main criticism is that folks like Colgan, Barg, Jenkins and Ebert have encouraged divisions, been reluctant to lend effective support to candidates, and at times worked to subvert the wishes of the committee. If you read the article carefully, you’ll probably notice that Jenkins and Colgan pretty much confirm their heavy-handed approach to asserting control over the committee. It’s pretty stunning.
There’s analysis in the article about why recent candidates such as Jeanette Rishell, Sharon Pandak and Jeff Dion have all failed, which to Bras and Harrison has everything to do with lack of communication and lack of support. I’m sure that was a part of it, but at some point the candidates win or lose on their own, and these two former party leaders are more loyal than to talk about how poor these candidates actually were and how their messages failed to connect with the voters. Perhaps it’s too much to hope for Jeanette Rishell’s former campaign manager to talk about how hard it is to push a far-left “social justice” activist from the BRUU onto 50th District voters.
Perhaps most interesting is the narrow window the article provides into the kind of heavy-handed arm twisting that DPVA and the PWCDC impose on their candidates and committees. No primaries, unless the incumbent is greviously wounded and leaving a long blood trail, or else the DPVA is going to all but actively oppose you. There’s actually a lot more to this, as I’ve heard some pretty chilling rumors about the DPVA threatening folks who might buck the system with some rather brutal threats, but it’s hard for someone like myself to get enough access within DPVA in order to confirm these. If half of it is true, it must be hard to be a Virginia Democrat these days.
The new PWCDC Chairman Ernestine Jenkins is going to have one heck of a tough job to do this year.
UPDATE: The first part of this article is here.
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