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The Gainesville District Republican Primary

By Greg L | 22 August 2011 | Prince William County | 8 Comments

Of the five candidates running for the Republican nomination for Gainesville Supervisor, only two of them have any chance of winning.  To varying degrees, the rest just aren’t ready for prime time. While poking fun at some of their antics can be enjoyable, at this point in the race doing so is simply overkill.  The choice here is really between Peter Candland and Martha Hendley, and they’re both competent and qualified candidates who would do a great job as Supervisor.  I give Peter Candland the edge here, but the difference isn’t that dramatic despite what the mailers going out in this district over the last week allege.

Peter is a solid campaigner with the right background for this district, and someone who really understands the strategic challenge of transitioning Prince William County from a bedroom community with little more than low-paying retail and service jobs into one that can bring high-technology and professional jobs to the county.  The imbalance between the residential and commercial tax base is a long-range structural problem that needs to be fixed and the Interstate 66 corridor is the place to do it.  This is the right pro-active focus for a supervisor representing Gainesville, and Candland has the right background to make this happen.

Martha’s focus is more on land use, which makes sense given that she’s been on the planning commission since 2004 where she has done an outstanding job trying to hold back residential growth and putting the brakes on some of the dumber ideas the school system has proposed to adjust to it.  She knows the county’s comprehensive land use plan better than perhaps anyone else and used that knowledge to lead some rather important fights to control residential growth.  Martha scares the daylights out of the developer community, which knows that we aren’t going to ever see another large-scale residential rezoning while she is on the Board of Supervisors.

It’s not that these candidates are exclusively concerned with these single topics, but they definitely have a focus.  Which focus is the right one, right now?  To me it’s the jobs issue.  If we can make progress on getting more county residents commuting to jobs within the county rather than driving back and forth from Fairfax and DC, we solve all sorts of persistent problems, including transportation, budgets, and quality of life issues.  That’s the harder nut to crack rather than just encouraging members of the Board of Supervisors to say “no” to rezoning requests.

That specific focus issue seems to be permeating the campaign operations of these candidates as well.  Candland has been running a traditional campaign operation based on knocking on doors for months, hosting lots of well-attended campaign events, and raising money.  Hendley has been focused more on her contacts among activists concerned about development issues and those on the Prince William County Republican Committee, hasn’t been knocking on doors until recently, has had spotty attendance at her campaign events, and is pretty much self-funding her campaign.  It’s telling that Hendley waited to start polling until late in the campaign, and as soon as the numbers came in started sending out lots of attack mailers targeting Candland, which tells me she didn’t like how that poll came back and felt the needs to start going negative.  Candland had polled earlier in the cycle, and didn’t seem to reorient his campaign afterwards, so I assume he liked what he saw.

As for Suzanne Miller, Steve Botello and Michael High, the only question is whether any of them will break above 10%.  I’d be a bit surprised if they do.



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8 Comments

  1. Allison said on 22 Aug 2011 at 11:19 am:
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    Martha has been knocking on plenty of doors in our neighborhood for more than a month now. She is the first candidate with whom I have ever knocked on doors.

    Martha will be a strong advocate for “we the people,” which is exactly what we Gainesville District residents need. She also has the ability to be a full-time supervisor.

    I firmly believe that Martha is the best choice for Gainesville District Supervisor.

  2. Allison said on 22 Aug 2011 at 11:21 am:
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    For some reason, Patty is not able to post so I am posting her post for her:

    Martha has been knocking on plenty of doors. I have personally accompanied her. She’s been knocking on doors long before Candland.

    She has an excellent track record for her service on the Planning Commission. Mr. Candland’s track record on the Budget Committee is poor attendance. That is the truth.

    I want someone who has the time to represent the Gainesville District and Martha Hendley has demonstrated that she does have the time and that she really cares about the neighbors and neighborhoods.

    Patty

  3. Joe Doc said on 22 Aug 2011 at 3:01 pm:
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    Gotta say, I was for Martha until I saw a negative postcard from her regarding Candland. I was unimpressed with the tactic, causing my wife and I to take a closer look at Candland. We have no issue with him, so we’re going with Candland.

  4. mal said on 22 Aug 2011 at 3:22 pm:
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    I can’t believe you dismissed the hardest working candidate in this election: Steve Botello. He has outworked all his opponents combined. I can’t believe you think Candland has got experience. In what?

  5. New Voter said on 22 Aug 2011 at 3:50 pm:
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    Martha has not gone negative.

    Candland fans keep saying that hoping to get some votes, we know better.

    I am Hearing that an HOA in Gainesville sent out a email today telling folks to vote for Candland because he has helped them with reducing truck traffic in the area - exactly what has he done for truck traffic please?

  6. Greg L said on 22 Aug 2011 at 3:58 pm:
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    Oh, mal, you’re hilarious. I guess we’ll see who worked hard when the results come in tomorrow evening. I personally like Steve a lot and was the first signature on his ballot petition, but he’s just not cut out for this.

    And New Voter, that’s a funny comment to make when I got a hit piece against Candland by Hendley in the mail today, the same one that Virtucon complained about being false and misleading last week.

    There’s something about primary season that really encourages some unexplainable behavior.

  7. Robert L. Duecaster said on 22 Aug 2011 at 4:09 pm:
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    I don’t have a dog in Gainesville any longer, but I can say that Martha has been a tireless worker for the good of the County for a long time, maybe longer than Pete’s been around. There’s no reason to believe she would not continue that effort as a supervisor.

  8. Sick & Tired said on 22 Aug 2011 at 8:07 pm:
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    Check out the Topix Forum for Gainesville, Mr. Candland’s lack of effectiveness on the HOA board was a subject for discussion long before he declared as a candidate. Martha has a incredible grasp of county policy which we need in place to combat the tireless attack by developers.
    Going negative does nothing to enhance the debate, only muddies the waters. Smear tactics make me think less of the people digging dirt, and I did not think Mr. Covington could sink any lower in my estimation, I was wrong. Martha should know better and I have lost respect as a result of this campaign attack, still she is the best person for the job. Wally on the other hand, not so much.

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